To Hear, To See: Community Group Study Helpers
Posted: 02 March 2014
We move onto week 5 of our studies in Mark by looking at chps. 6:14-8:30. Now, like much of Mark we need to be keenly aware that each story in the Gospel has a purpose. They never act alone but will cluster together to make a significant point in the Gospel. Within these chapters we see 3 main characters: disciples (6:30-52; 7:17-23; 8:1-21, 27-30), opposition to Jesus (8:15, cf. 6:14-29; 7:1-16), and converts (7:24-30, 31-35; 8:22-26). The purpose of Mark is to show us as readers that we are more like the Disciples than we know, as our response to Jesus stands on the edge of belief or unbelief and we need help from Him.
"Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod" (8:15)
So what are the truths, the lies, the Gospel, and the implications within this passage?
The Truths that we are called to love in this passage are many, but a few stand out. Firstly, Jesus is King (8:29). That is the grand truth that Mark has been making his way to through the journey of the disciples. We like them are to see Jesus as the Messiah, God's anointed King. Secondly, we need to be aware that our hearts are dull, that we are like a man born deaf and a man born blind. That is our problem, and thus we need thirdly to see Jesus as the healer of our hearts, making deaf and blind hearts hear and see.
The Lies in this passage also clearly are seen through the opposition. Jesus warns his disciples of Herod (whose power and fear of losing it blinds him to the reality of Jesus) and the Pharisees (whose power and religious facade deafens them to any truth that Jesus proclaims), and thus we are to be warned of them too. The 'yeast' of lies that grows from them are that...our hearts are good, religious acts impress God, God comes for the impressive, sin is an external thing, human teachers have authority over Christ, etc.
The Gospel is clearly preached within 3 stories of faith - firstly of a Syro-Phoenician women (7:24-30) in whom we see that our God comes for the humble sinners not prideful self-righteous. We see that our God knows our real problem, that of deaf and blind hearts and it is this he comes as healer for. The good news is that Jesus heals our deepest need and not just our external ones.
The Implication then are many. One to ponder on is the pastoral care implication here, that when dealing with sin we need to move deeper than the deed to the deaf/blind heart in which that sin is being produce from. It means that the cure to a rotten heart is the message of Christ as we see Him and hear Him. We also see hear that this state of our hearts begins at birth, so it changes how we parent and disciple the young, not primarily focusing on their behavior but on their hearts. They need, and we need to hear God's love for us in Christ, the Gospel, in order that hard hearts are melted.
This is a beautiful passage where we see the heart of our problem but the main ministry of Jesus - to fix dull hearts. We then move on to the cross now as we move from chapter 8, so stay tuned for next week.