TODAY'S READING: MARK 3:20-5:20
I almost always lose my breath when I read Mark - the action is so fast. Today's reading is no exception; in two short chapters, look at all that Jesus does. Pretty astounding. Pretty challenging. Perhaps troubling too.
I've always cringed a bit when Jesus seems almost dismissive of his mom and brothers, using them as a point to be made: "Who are my mother and my brothers? ... Whoever does God's will." I wonder what Jesus would make of our almost worshiping the family these days, especially within the church. Perhaps the point Jesus makes is that the day may come when we stand before him not to answer how much did we focus on our families, but how much did our families focus on the Kingdom of God?
I say this because right after his family visit, Jesus tells parable after parable of what real faith is - a sower of seed - a lamp on a stand - a mustard seed. It seems that his point is most poignant when He says, "With the measure you use, it will be measured to you and even more." (4:24)
Faith for Jesus is a spiritual verb - a muscle - something not so much to be possessed - instead something to be used - something to be shared. Did you notice that, after these teachings on faith, Jesus loads the disciples in the boat and crosses to "the other side" - an alien foreign land? Even before they reach, the sudden storm offers a chance to use that faith about which he had been speaking. And that "other side" excursion results in a new follower - the vocal healed cemetery resident.
So what to make of this action packed reading? Maybe self-reflection about the role I play in my family. Maybe wondering how my faith might grow, like a muscle, the more it is used. Maybe considering when Jesus might want me to go to "the other side". Maybe praying that the measure I use will be so gracious and extravagant that it will be measured to me - and even more. Exclamation point after exclamation point!
Who are my mother and brothers?
What measure of faith, forgiveness, love, and hope do I use in my life with others?
What storm of faith do I need Jesus to calm today?
Where is "the other side" - that place where Jesus wants me to exercise the muscle of faith - for me today?
Ok, put the Bible down and go do it!