As you may have noticed I missed yesterday’s Bible Study. This is probably the hardest content to update and it seems to get the least amount of feedback so I’m asking you all whether or not it’s something you actually want to see here.
Parable of the Sower Mark 4 1-20
This parable is about how people receive the word of god. It talks about the different ways people reject it and how one accepts it. You know, the ones on the path, the ones, in shallow soil, the ones in the thorns, and the ones that grow great crops. He then tells his close followers what he meant by the whole thing. There is something that appears to be missing and I seem to fall into this category. What about the one who hears the word receives it, produces crops, and then, I guess to go along with the parable, withered and died? Or does nearly two decades of having this as an identity lump me in with the ones that shot up quickly but then died due to lack of soil?
The Parables of the Lamp, Growing Seed, and the Mustard Seed Mark 4 21-34
Jesus goes on to talk in more parables about faith and how it is used and what it should be like. The interesting line that stands out to me is at the end. It says he spoke in parables to all the crowds be only told what they meant to his disciples. He says it’s because of a prophecy in Isaiah. Doesn’t this become a self fulfilling prophecy. If you’ve already read this and wanted to make sure you fulfilled it, knowing it would be a good start.
Jesus Calms the Storm Mark 4 35-41
So they are on the boat at night and a storm kicks up. They wake him up and he says “Quiet! Be Still!” is it possible he was yelling at the people on the boat and the storm happened to calm down at the same moment. Or maybe the storm was a bit less intense than they thought.
Jesus Heals on the Sabbath
Ok so again we see Jesus doing things just to piss off the religious leaders. I understand what is trying to be conveyed here, that it’s better to do good on a holy day than do nothing and thus changing their paradigm. However, perhaps it would have been better to change other social ideas. Maybe denounce slavery, or incest, or rape?
Crowds Follow Jesus
Another example of Jesus being mysterious. He’s got people falling down and saying “You are the son of god” and he shushes them. I still don’t understand this whole “don’t tell anyone who I am” thing. Seems like he’d be in his prime to say who he was, if that’s who he was, in order to spread the message of it’s validity. The one thing that comes to mind is that this wasn’t really his end game originally.
Jesus Accused by His Family and by Teachers of the Law
This opens with Jesus’ family wanting to go collect him because they thought he was crazy. Perhaps they were right lol. It goes on to the religious leaders accusing him of being the devil. Jesus refutes this saying that the devil couldn’t cast out demons because that would be him fighting against himself. I thought about this even when I was a believer. Wouldn’t that actually be a great tactic for the devil to do? “Look at me getting rid of all this evil! Aren’t I doing good things?” It seems that even though he’s driving out theses “evil spirits” they don’t seem to be “killed”. Can you kill a spirit? Could you prove that? Even if that were the case, killing a few pawns to further your end game seems to be worth it.
He then goes on to completely ignore his family and say that everyone there is his family. I’m pretty sure one of those commandments says to honor your mother and father, saying that everyone is your “mother” seems to be a bit disrespectful to your actual mother.
This week I read Mark 2.
This chapter give us the story of the paralyzed man that Jesus healed. For me this whole set up feels very staged. He’s hanging out at Peter’s house with a bunch of people listening to him and wanting to be healed. I’m betting dollars to doughnuts that he told one of his buddies to go find some guys to put this whole thing on. Thinking about context I can’t imagine a paralyzed man at this time having 4 friends to carry him through the crowed and the dig through a strangers roof for this. If you were paralyzed you were cursed by god and I’m pretty sure no one would want much to do with you. So the lower him down knowing that the religious elders were there and he doesn’t heal him right away. He says “Your sins are forgiven”. He KNEW this would piss of the pharisees. What better way to get a following than to piss of “the man”?
After the first show Jesus starts another by calling out a tax collector and parting with him. Again this was going to piss off the religious leaders to no end. Tax collectors at the time weren’t like the IRS today. Rome required a certain amount of money from them and they got paid by how much over that they could collect. So essentially they were ripping off their neighbors. At least that’s what I was told back in the day….looking at it now I’m having a hard time finding sources out side of biblical theology that states this so….
The chapter ends with Jesus talking about fasting and the Sabbath and telling a different story than that of what the religious leaders were teaching…you know the stuff that was written down…from the god that sent Jesus….and is also Jesus…yeah there’s that. So in short I feel like this whole chapter is Jesus being rebellious in public forums to gain a following.
Welcome to something new! I’m beginning a weekly study/commentary on the Bible. This will be my first time reading the Bible through an atheistic lens. I’m curious to see what comes out to me re-reading. I’m going to start with the New Testament simply because it’s where I spent a bunch of time in there in the past. I’m also going to jump a little bit and start where I started in my reading as a Christian. So this week I’ll be looking at the book of Mark. I’ll also be use the NIV translation, after all it shouldn’t matter the translation it’s all the word of god right? Anyway Mark Chapter 1.
So I’ll start with a quick summary. Interestingly enough this chapter doesn’t talk about the virgin birth of Jesus at all, It starts right in with his baptism. After a bit of research it turns out that this might be the first book ever written in the new testament. I guess that makes sense it being the least sensationalized gospel. It starts with Jesus’ baptism, goes into his temptation (very briefly), then starts to talk about his early ministry.
I’d like to talk about John the Baptist first. This character is very…different. If you plucked him out of his time and put him in modern times he seems like he’d be one of those guys in the quad of a college with a billboard sign and a megaphone. He makes mention of him being the voice in the wilderness clearing the way for god’s coming. But in other gospels when asked if he was Elijah he says no. The prophesy about being the voice in the wilderness specifically refers to Elijah. So is he either lying or mistaken?
So on to the big show. Jesus is baptized and a voice from the sky says “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” He was so well please with him that he marked him for a horrible horrible death? I never understood that whole thing. Why would he torture his son/self that he was happy with? Seems like the kind of thing a sadist would do. And right after saying how happy he was with himself(?) he sent him to be alone in the desert alone for 40 days?
So he goes through all that and comes back to town saying that the “Good News” is here. Essentially announcing who he is. This is important for later. He then goes out to recruit his new posse. He calls out to two guys on a boat who have spent the last few hours fishing. Not like relaxing with a beer fishing but like fishing for a business. He tells them that he’ll make them fishers of men. Now I’m pretty sure that slavery was a thing back then so it’s possible (at least in my mind) that they thought he meant joining the slave trade…would probably make a lot more money than fishing. Also these two guys left their dad to do all the work while the went off with this other guy…seems like a dick move. They had no idea who this guy was.
After he’s got his new friends, he goes to another town to preach. While preaching some guy stands up and says that Jesus is the “Holy one of God”. He tells him to be quiet and expels the “demon”. Here’s something I never got the whole be quiet thing? Why all the secrecy, he’d already announced who he was once before (see I told you it would be important later). This is a big theme in his early ministry.
He then goes on to heal a bunch of sick people (I can’t help be envision Benny Hinn). Apparently he gets so popular he can’t even go into the main portion of the towns anymore. This kinda gives me the “The fish was THIS big” vibe to the story. Keeping in mind that none of these were written down as they happened but suffered from 50-70 years of the telephone game.
That kinda sums up Chapter 1. As it’s my first go at this I’m open to feedback!