I have a confession to make. I love Fiddler on the Roof. I love the characters, I love the look into the Jewish culture, and for the most part, I love the music. One of my favorite scenes in the movie is where Tevye talks, or rather sings, about the importance of tradition to the Jewish people.
Tradition, like anything else, can be good or bad. It can help us understand God and who he wants us to be, or it can separate us from God and keep us from understanding grace. As you read through the Gospels you see Jesus both embrace and renounce the traditions of his day. Continue reading
As you read through Mark chapter 6 there is just a lot happening.
- Jesus returns to Nazareth and the people are astounded and offended by his words.
- Jesus takes the disciple to the surrounding villages and continues his teaching
- Jesus sends the twelve out in pairs, giving them authority over unclean spirits and instructing them to preach a message of repentance
- Herod has heard about Jesus and thinks he might be John the Baptizer raised from the dead and begins to keep an eye on Jesus
- Jesus feeds the crowd of 5,000
- The disciples set out in the boat for Bethsaida and a storm blows in. Soon we find Jesus walking across the sea to them.
- And as soon as they landed, people began bringing the sick to be healed.
Quite a chapter.
But in the middle of it all there is a paragraph that is often lost in the busyness of the ministry that is happening. One that we would do well to read and re-read. Continue reading
The disciples grew up wondering what was on the other side. Of course they had never been there. No good Jewish boy willingly crossed over to the Decapolis, to the area of the pagans. And the land of the Geresanes — it was to be avoided at all costs. This was the area where the pigs were raised for sacrifices to the pagan gods and it was a Roman army outpost . No self-respecting Jew would set foot in that village.
So when Jesus set out in the boat with the boys you can imagine the look on their faces as they headed south-east. Peter asks, “Jesus, where are we going?” Jesus responds, “You’ll know soon enough.” Peter follows up, “But Jesus, it looks like we’re headed to the Decapolis, are you sure this is a good idea. What will people say?” Jesus smiled.
As they pulled up to shore they saw a man, or what looked like a man, come running down the hill from an area filled with burial caves. Some of the younger disciples started backing up into the boat. Jesus walked toward the man. Continue reading