Judges 4-5, Psalm 83, Mark 5:21-43, 1 Corinthians 9:13-27 Mark 5:21-43: Two daughters, two healings, two acts of faith met with gracious love and merciful power. First we have one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus, who comes to Jesus about his daughter (5:22-23). He was a powerful man, presumably, a religious authority figure, an elder, pastor,…

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Judges 1-3, Psalm 82, Mark 5:1-20, 1 Corinthians 9:1-12   Mark 5:1-20: One of the more extraordinary stories in Mark’s Gospel, a demon possessed man, notorious for his unsocial and presumably dangerous behavior, is dramatically healed. But the details are initially strange, unusual, and for some a little disturbing. Why should it be that Jesus would allow the…

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Joshua 24, Psalm 81, Mark 4:21-41, 1 Corinthians 8 Mark 4:21-41: The power of Jesus’ Word is now made evident in several parables, and one extraordinary miracle, that illustrates the reality of what Jesus has been teaching. First, the lamp under a basket: it is not normal to turn a light on in a house and then immediately…

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Joshua 22-23, Psalm 80, Mark 4:1-20, 1 Corinthians 7:17-40 Mark 4:1-20: Jesus now teaches his famous parable of the sower. The contours of it are familiar enough for many. What is surprising to many is Jesus’ rationale for telling parables (4:11-12), where he seems to explain his parables in precisely the reverse way to how it is normally…

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Joshua 20-21, Psalm 79, Mark 3:20-35, 1 Corinthians 7:1-16  Mark 3:20-35: Things are becoming sufficiently extreme, such that Jesus’ family comes to take charge of the situation. The crowds were so insistent that they could not eat, and people were beginning to say that he had lost his marbles, was out of his mind, and so the family…

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Joshua 18-19, Psalm 78:40-72, Mark 3:1-19, 1 Corinthians 6:12-20   Mark 3:1-19: Jesus’ opponents are now watching him closely—but not in a good way. They are watching to see if they can trap him in what he does or what he says. They want to “accuse” him. Irrespective of their ill intentions, Jesus, in his mercy and love,…

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Joshua 15-17, Psalm 78:1-39, Mark 2:18-28, 1 Corinthians 6:1-11   Mark 2:18-28: Jesus was constantly attacked by the Pharisees for seeming—in their eyes—to take liberties with the law. They wanted him to stick to their particular human interpretation of the law and not stray one inch either way, and it was a formula for controlling him and bringing…

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Joshua 13-14, Psalm 77, Mark 2:13-17, 1 Corinthians 5 Mark 2:13-17: Jesus’ extraordinary love, compassion, and anti-religious true religion continues. He calls a tax collector to follow him. Tax collectors were not just disliked because they were collecting taxes—they were collaborators with an occupying army, like the traitors who helped the Vichy regime in occupied France in World…

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Joshua 10-12, Psalm 76, Mark 2:1-12, 1 Corinthians 4 Mark 2:1-12: The famous story has a point that is not always well elucidated. At the core of this interaction, Jesus is making an astonishing claim. When he says, “Your sins are forgiven,” Jesus is making an implicit claim to be God. The scribes understand this is what Jesus…

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Joshua 8-9, Psalm 75, Mark 1:35-45, 1 Corinthians 3 Mark 1:35-45: Jesus sets a model for us to follow. He rose early in the morning while it was still dark, found a place to be quiet, and prayed (1:35). Think for a moment, beloved. If the Son of All Glory, God Incarnate, Jesus the Christ, need pray—and pray…

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