‘questioning Jesus,’ the gospel of Mark-

4 Aug

questioning Jesus, the gospel of Mark-

Today I am beginning a summer 2020 August series entitled ‘questioning Jesus’.

Titles are important. When I read or write, I spend significant thought time composing and reflecting on them. For example, the Arthur Miller play ‘Death of a Salesman’ was originally entitled, ‘Inside a Man’s Head’ defecting the dreamlike internal monologues of its man character, Willy Loman.

Today, the significance of these two titles, the gestation one, ‘Inside a Man’s’, and the play’s birth one, ‘Death of a Salesman’ is the common word they share: a

‘a’ man. An ordinary man with an ordinary life, death and thoughts. One in a crowd. alone, a small insignificant ‘a.’

‘questioning Jesus’ composes two main tropes: first, what questions are asked of Jesus and second, what questions of others does Jesus ask.

Alongside Socrates, Jesus was, is, the finest practitioner of questioning: but not for himself. Jesus purpose is to make questioning into a gift, for others and, by them, to us.

These questions concern Jesus’ life and nature; his character and teachings; his meaning and resurrection. They are at the core of life.

These questions also reach thru the ages past into ages present and future. They evoke other questions and invoke an essential quest: was, is, Jesus’ God’s only son?

Mark uses multiple questions in his gospel narrative to get to this essential question for his intended Hebrew audience, who is Jesus? If he is, What does, what should his life mean? to you? to others? to, for, me,…

an ‘a’ ( a man; a salesman; a person ) in the history of the world? in my present, earthly life?

This is what ‘questioning Jesus’ will explore. As of today, the present, the ‘right now’, I have 20 August blogs planned: one per each each chapter in Mark; two introductory blogs to the series ( of which this is the first ) and two epilogues at series end. We should finish be August’s end. ( one each day )

After this somewhat first lengthly intro ( pieces will get shorter I promise ) I would like to move ( briefly ) to a central story, a questioning story, in the text, Jesus and the disciples in the great storm.

35  ‘And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side.

36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.

37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.

38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?

39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?

41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’ Mark 4: 35 – 41

Jesus asks the disciples one question here, and it is essential ‘why are ye so fearful? How is it ye have no faith?’

These are not two questions, but one. They, the disciples, don’t have little faith. If they had a little, they would have much.

They have none. Faithless, as they are, they do have a much. They have ‘exceedingly’ fears.

They worry about their life’s and the waves; the storms and their families. They are alone in their head and heart fears so much, they are so filled with fears, there is no room for faith. There is none.

So Jesus questions, he asks them to think and feel: why are you do faithfulness? Why are you do fearful?

Their initial answer? They fear more ( verse 41 ) ’exceedingly’ more. As the outside storm ceases, their internal storm increases.

This is a main thrust of Jesus’ questions in the gospel of Mark: Jesus’ questioning creates storms. Storms of the heart and the mind; storms of faith and fears; storms that will walk in our lives and with us to death. Jesus’ questioning creates storms. At a great number of times we will see in this series that Jesus’ questions creates storms. But in with a purpose: Jesus’ questioning has the purpose of seeding faith.

Thus, the series ‘questioning Jesus’ has the purpose of placing readers in the disciples boat, within Jesus’ questions, within storms.

question, listen, pause and breathe; experience the storms of with Jesus.

Enjoy this August passage.

Charles

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