CMC Eps 23 – Mark 3:7-12
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The Title for this podcast is: “You are the Son of God”
This is podcast episode 23.
The passage we are looking at is Mark 3:7-12 ESV
“Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great crowd followed, from Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from around Tyre and Sidon. When the great crowd heard all that he was doing, they came to him. And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him, for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him. And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.”
In the previous passage, Jesus had confronted the pharisees and healed a man with a withered hand. It got very intense.. It’s a beautiful passage revealing the true heart of God contrasted with hard nosed religion. The Pharisees left the synagogue in a huff.. thinking of ways to destroy Jesus. That sounds like reason enough to me to want to get out of town and hang out by the sea for a few days, which is exactly what he does.
There is a really good lesson right there. I imagine as this pandemic clears up, more and more, people will be escaping in record numbers to any body of water they can find.
There is just something special about water. Setting by it.. floating on it.. swimming in it.. listening to it.. playing on it. All of the above.
But.. Jesus has a hard time escaping the crowd. His fame is spreading, even without the internet. He doesn’t have a twitter account, no facebook, no YouTube channel or instagram or tiktok. No podcast, blog or publicist. What He does have is the power to heal people of their diseases and show people who God really is. As Jesus said, he came to “set the captives free”. There are plenty of captives, then and now.
If you have ever lived in close proximity to someone who is chronically ill or crippled in some way than you know how desperately they chase the potential for any kind of relief or healing. The hope of it preoccupies them day and night. In Jesus day medical assistance was a good deal more primitive and hard to come by. Any kind of injury or infection could become a life ending or altering event. It’s really no wonder at all why people were flocking to Jesus to be healed. And, they were coming from every direction in droves.
I don’t think anyone really knows how big the crowd was but it was big enough to cause concern. The fact that thought was given to the idea that they may need to escape the crowd is telling. There are no limo’s available to whisk Jesus away so the next best and only option is by water in a boat. The sea of Galilee would be the escape route.
A note about the Sea of Galilee. It’s a lake really. Fresh water and not that big. It will be helpful to understand what people thought about the Sea of Galilee. They thought the lake was a portal to hell. They were terrified of it. It was the entrance to the underworld and the access point for demons to enter the human world. I know, this is hard for the modern western mind to comprehend. This will become an important bit of information soon. At this point in history, there were many forms of superstitions that were a common part of life. Which brings us to the next element of this passage, quoting : “And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.”
You are the son of God, the title of this podcast. I think I know what that means to me and to people of my generation and specifically to Christians. At the time of Jesus, it could mean something very different. The term son of god could be assigned to the emperor of Rome, or a pagan deity. Kings of Egypt were referred to as sons of RA, their god. In Genesis 6, Angels were referred to as sons of god. It was also a term used to describe someone who is specially near and close to god.
The assumption could be made that the people who came to Jesus assumed they were demon possessed because they knew of no natural explanation for their condition and symptoms. They believed they had been taken over by some alien force. If you have ever witnessed a seizure of any kind, it would be hard to disagree. Almost any illness or bad luck at that time in history would be considered a judgement from God. A punishment. Many still see that as true today. It wasn’t that long ago in American history that women were being burned to death or drowned as witches. History is replete with these human superstitions with horrible outcomes.
These people who are mentioned as being demon possessed fell at Jesus feet as to a deity, proclaiming Him the son of god, which in this context may very well mean they think he is the messiah. And, they were right but in the wrong way. At the time, they believed The Messiah was coming to conquer all the enemy’s of Israel and set them up as the dominate world power. John the baptist had this same misunderstanding and He was very close to Jesus.
Its one thing to have a prophet roaming around the country side healing people and talking about a loving God and its quite another to have a messiah setting up his political power machine to overthrow the world systems. Its important to remember that Israel was an occupied country and Rome was not nice to anything or anyone who even remotely threatened a revolt.
By labeling Jesus as the Messiah in a public forum with who knows how many thousands of people from all parts of the region present was a blatant invitation to the current political power holders to come after Jesus.
What we see next is Jesus choosing to quiet these messianic proclamations. Apparently there was more work to be done before that part of the story was meant to take place.
There might be a couple reasons Jesus did not explain what was going on. One is that the people were actually possessed by real demons. Another is it was not the right time for him to teach people the true nature of the world and dispel their superstitions. Example being that you teach children certain truths at appropriate times when their maturity levels are developed enough to accept them. Think Santa Clause, Easter Bunny’s and Storks. And lastly, having the declared demon possessed persons proclaiming Jesus’s messiah-ship diminished the validity of the claim. Essentially.. a smoke screen.
The way I see it is Jesus is accommodating their current belief system. There will be time later on for addressing the many things we believe with all our hearts to be true only to find out that it was tradition or culture based understanding. There is a much bigger and more central story developing and nothing will deter him from that mission. Jesus continuously tries to tell the disciples that the messiah is not who they think he is.. but that’s not the story they want to hear so they choose not to hear that one. This is still going on today.
Jesus is showing people a living example of the loving restorative nature of God. The people do want to be healed, of course, they want their everyday needs to be met but they also want to be in control. They want power.
The Jesus model of loving authority is completely beyond their comprehension. They know what power looks like. Political power and religious power.
Jesus was completely surrendered to His Fathers will and that will was self sacrifice. The world’s power structure knows very little about self sacrifice and everything about domination and enforcement.
Here is a perfect example of a single word being perceived in two completely different ways.
It makes me wonder.. How Have I defined what Messiah means to me ?
Well thats enough to think about for now..
Until next time .. I am Gene Ort and Thank you for listening to the common man commentary.
I’D LIKE TO LEAVE YOU WITH This “ blessing :
Love God. Love Yourself. Love the next person He puts in front of you.