Friday, May 11, 2012

JESUS' REACTION(S)...[Book of Mark]

This is the second installment of a Study-Series I am submitting for your edification.  The research concerns itself with Jesus' humanity and more specifically His human reactions.  So, let us dive into what Mark has to contribute.

The first verse we come to spells out Jesus' reaction on it's own.  Mark 3:5 says, "He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, 'Stretch out you hand.'"  So, "anger"and"distress" are the two reactions to lift from this account.  I have noticed that one of the main gripes that the Pharisees had with Jesus was anything that He did on the Sabbath.  This event was one of those occasions.  The Pharisees "were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath." (verse 2)  In this instance, the Scripture does not say that Jesus knew what they were thinking or anything of the like.  However, considering the track record between Jesus and the Pharisees -"looking for a reason to accuse" was nothing new and if you were paying attention alongside Jesus, back then, you could probably see this coming a mile away.  Jesus sure saw it coming, just observe the question He asked.  "Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?"  The Pharisees were silent because they knew the table was turned and they were the ones that were trapped in their own snare.  Jesus healed the man.  The Pharisees remained stubborn-hearted and even teamed up with the Herodians to try to find a way to kill Jesus (v.6).  With the condition of their souls and the way these Pharisees and others operated, it is no wonder Jesus was angry and distressed.

After Jesus told His Disciples the parable of The Sower He said this - "Don't you understand this parable? [Then I imagine the Disciples shaking their head "No" in response. Then Jesus continues - ] How then will you understand any parable?" (Mark 4:13Perplexed at their reasoning power, as a reaction, surfaces once again.  

I was actually surprised when I realized Jesus was secretive or really private at times.  There are two places where Mark records Jesus in this state of being - Mark 7:24 and Mark 9:30-31.  The first reference reads,  "Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret."  The start of the next verse really emphasizes the point of Jesus' inescapable draw to people in need, which was everybody.  The following verse says, "In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an evil spirit came and fell at his feet."  Then the story of the faith of a Syrophoenician woman began. 

The second verse mentioned above concerning Jesus getting some alone time (Mark 9:30-31) pictures Jesus just leaving the scene of Him healing a boy with an evil spirit.  He and His Disciples traveled through Galilee and this time Jesus evidently called a closed/private teaching session.  We even find out what Jesus wanted to teach them in this Inner-Circle Meeting"They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, 'The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.'  But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it."   Even calling this closed session and delivering this news/teaching the Disciples still did not get it.  All is not lost.  They would remember this meeting after the resurrection I'm sure.  I'm not sure why I was so surprised to see that Jesus would actually seek out some privacy.  The public demand for what He supplied was great.  And I'm sure I just gave one of the largest understatements of all time, but I can venture an educated guess at what those private times would be used for - regeneration or revival by meeting with His Father in a closed/private prayer session. 

Jesus sighed and Jesus sighed deeply.  The first time Jesus sighed it was connected with compassion (Mark 7:34).  The second time Jesus sighed, He sighed "deeply" and it is joined with frustration (Mark 8:12).  For more on these two scenarios, please see my previous blog - When Jesus Sighed.

Anytime children are involved in a scenario of any kind the antenna of parents, lovers of children, and God perk up immediately.  You see..."People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them.  When Jesus saw this, he was indignant." (Mark 10:13-14)  For being indignant Jesus did a wonderful job at controlling this emotion and not allowing it to get out of hand.  Look how He handled it - "He said to them, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.'  And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them."
In my mind's eye, I can see that emotion welling up in Jesus and then maybe taking a breath and remembering "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." (Proverbs 15:1).
You would think Jesus might remember this one with the Pharisees, but I think that was a different case and they got what Jesus had coming to them (that's a loaded statement).  ;)

In Mark 10 we find the story of the Rich Young Man.  This is the individual who seemed to have it together under The Law, but when it came to parting with his wealth, that is where it hurt him, that is what he valued.  However, observe Jesus' reaction.  Mark 10:21 records, "Jesus looked at him and loved him."  The word "loved" in the original Greek is the word Agapao.  This word Agapao means value.  Jesus was and still is in the business of valuing the lives of people.  In fact, in this case Jesus valued the man so much that He gave the man instructions on the things he lacked to inherit eternal life.  Unfortunately, the man's value system was based on worldly wealth.

Jesus got defensive in Mark 12:15 because the Pharisees tried their tired old trick of entrapment.  "Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words." (v.13)  Their question was - "Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?  Should we pay or shouldn't we?" But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. "Why are you trying to trap me?" he asked."  I love Jesus' response.  He first recognizes their motivation - "Why are you trying to trap me?" then asks for a visual aid - the coin of that day, a denarius - and proceeds to tell them to separate out what belongs to whom in life.  "Bring me a denarius and let me look at it."  They brought the coin, and he asked them, "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?" "Caesar's," they replied.  Then Jesus said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's." And they were amazed at him." (vv. 15-17)

Here is another telling of the Sadducees speaking to Jesus about the Marriage at the Resurrection.  This was mentioned in JESUS' REACTION(S)...[Book of Matthew] blog also.  In that previous blog I associated a reaction of bluntness with Jesus and this event.  However, the way Mark 12:24-27 presents the scenario I see Jesus reacting in indignant and adamant ways.    The verses read -


"Jesus replied, 'Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?  When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. Now about the dead rising--have you not read in the book of Moses, in the account of the bush, how God said to him, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'?  He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!'"

Jesus is adamant in His reaction and uses book-ends of similar phrases to emphasize His righteous indignation.  In the beginning of His response He says, "Are you not in error...?".  Then in the very end of His reply Jesus states, "You are badly mistaken!".  Paraphrased:  If you knew the Scriptures and the power of God you would not have to ask me this and show your ignorance.  The answer is there is no marriage in heaven.  Haven't you even read the book you claim to know?  You are so way off target!

In Mark 14:6 Jesus seems perturbed when some around Him cause a stir about the woman with the alabaster jar of very expensive perfume pouring it on Jesus' body.  He says, "'Leave her alone, why are you bothering her?'"  Those present and commenting were more concerned about the monetary value than human or spiritual significance.  At the end of His response, Jesus even said, "'I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.'" 

In Mark 14:33-34 we read - "He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled.  'My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,' he said to them."  This was the condition.  Jesus' reaction was - "Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him.  'Abba, Father, everything is possible for you.  Take this cup from me.  Yet not what I will, but what you will.'"  He repeated this prayer two more times before Judas came and identified Him for the temple guards. Jesus' reaction could be seen at first as scared, overwhelmed, and sad, but then yielding to the will of His Father.

Jesus was disappointed with His sleeping Disciples and voices this disappointment in Mark 14:37 - "Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. 'Simon,' he said to Peter, 'are you asleep?  Could you not keep watch for one hour?'" 

Jesus' reaction was no reaction or no defense of Himself in Mark 14:61 and Mark 15:5.  In the first reference it states, "But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer."  The option to defend Himself was evidently not part of Father God's plan.  I imagine if Jesus did defend Himself, history would have been different.  The second reference says, "But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed."  With this Jesus fulfilled prophecy from Isaiah 53:7 - "He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth." 

Alone with the sin of the world on His body, God the Father turns His head away from all our sin - past, present, and future. With our sin being placed on Jesus and paid for with His life, at this time we hear Jesus' reaction, a reaction that has not been heard in or out of time, The Word of God made flesh says, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"Desperation.

Mark 16:14 records, "Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen."  Another instance of displeasure or disappointment.   

As you can see there are a variety of reactions that Jesus displayed in Mark.  I have two more books - Luke and John to pull references from and share with you.  So, stay dialed in and we will continue to see how Jesus reacted.