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Mark 3: who are my brothers?

Mark 3: who are my brothers?

familyThe DNA Group I’m a part of is currently reading through the Gospel of Mark together and we’ve begun to notice how Jesus embodies our new identity (family, missionary, servant) and lives it out in the everyday rhythms of life.

Each week we follow up with each other about what we learned last week and how we are all doing living in that identity. We don’t want to just be hearers of the Word, but doers also.

This week we took a look at chapter 3 of the Gospel of Mark. In this passage we witnessed Jesus living out the identity of family with his disciples, and the rhythm of rest.

First we noticed that Jesus observed the sabbath practice of his culture, entering into their rhythm of weekly rest, but he redeemed it from the legalism they had attached to it, by showing that the sabbath wasn’t an excuse to ignore the needs of your fellow man.

Then we saw that Jesus attempted to withdraw from the work of his ministry by taking a beach vacation with his disciples.

Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea (Mark 3:7)

Next Jesus appointed the 12 apostles “so that they might be with him”. He kept these guys close. He spent a lot of time with them. He took them along when he was healing people, teaching, and even when he was looking for some rest from the work. They became like family to him.

Finally, Jesus is at his home, with the disciples, teaching and healing, and his biological family, his mother (Mary) and his brothers came looking for him. They were actually intent on hauling him away somewhere because of the way he was acting. They thought Jesus had lost it mentally.

for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.” (Mark 3:21)

It seem they were unsuccessful in this first attempt, probably because of the crowd that surrounded him. So they show up a second time and the crowd tells Jesus that his mom and brothers are there. His response makes it clear that Jesus is living out of his identity as a child of God.

And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking around at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:33-35)

As believers, we have been adopted into the family of God. We have been made sons of God, and brothers and sisters to each other. Jesus fully demonstrated this for us by both words and actions in this chapter. He spent time with his disciples, just like you would with your family, he worked with them, ate with them, and rested with them.

As family, we need a lot of time together. We can’t live out all the “one another” commands of scripture unless we’re together. Being family isn’t always easy. Sometimes it is downright difficult. But as the household of God we get the unparalleled privilege of experiencing family in an all new way. We personally care for one another – both physically and spiritually. We disciple, nurture, and hold each other accountable to Covenant life together. One of the ways we do this through steady-state gospel community and consistent involvement in a DNA group.

* The photo at the top of this post was drawn by my four year old daughter.

Mark 2: Missionary Eating

Mark 2: Missionary Eating

The DNA Group I’m a part of is currently reading through the Gospel of Mark together and we’ve begun to notice how Jesus embodies our new identity (family, missionary, servant) and lives it out in the everyday rhythms of life.

Each week we follow up with each other about what we learned last week and how we are all doing living in that identity. We don’t want to just be hearers of the Word, but doers also.

This week as we looked at chapter 2 we identified Jesus demonstrating the identity of missionary, in the rhythm of eating. Jesus calls Levi (Matthew) to be his disciple and immediately they are in Levi’s home sharing a meal with all Levi’s friends, who happen to be “tax collectors and sinners”. The tax collectors were worse than simply IRS agents, they were traitors to national Israel, collecting taxes for the occupying Roman Empire. Furthermore, they used, and abused, the system and their position in it, to collect a sizable profit for themselves, taking advantage of their fellow countrymen. Needless to say, they didn’t have a lot of friends within the normal social circles.

The other people present at this meal are labeled as “sinners”. These are those who had abandoned any effort to keep the law of Moses and maintain ritual purity as prescribed by the Pharisees. This probably included criminals of all sorts, disreputable ruffians, and prostitutes. Not your genteel dinner crowd! And here Jesus is sharing a meal with them, which even today is a sign of social acceptance. We just don’t eat with those we find to be socially unacceptable, yet Jesus did just that.

The Pharisees had a big problem with this. They questioned Jesus’ disciples as to why he would do such a thing. Why associate with people of this sort. It’s just not done in polite society!

Jesus overheard the complaint and responded:

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17)

Jesus took an ordinary, everyday rhythm, eating (we all do this rhythmically every day), and turned it into a missionary activity by eating with those who where far from God.

With Jesus as our example, the question is: When was the last time you ate like a missionary, with those who are socially outcast and far from God?

We all eat approximately 21 meals a week. What if all of God’s people began to share just one meal a week with someone who needed to hear about Jesus? Just sit at the table, share a meal, listen to their story, share your story, and connect your/their story with Jesus’ story. Missionary eating … It might change how you think about others, it might change how they think about you, and most importantly, it might change how they think about Jesus, which could result in an eternal change in their relationship to him!

Mark 1: Sonship and Listening

Mark 1: Sonship and Listening

The DNA Group I’m a part of is currently reading through the Gospel of Mark together and we’ve begun to notice how Jesus embodies our new identity (family, missionary, servant) and lives it out in the everyday rhythms of life.

Last week in Mark 1, we saw Jesus as the Son living out the identity of family.

At his baptism God declares “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:11)

Later in the chapter Jesus actively lives out this identity of Son by rising early in the morning to spend time with the Father through prayer. This is the rhythm of listening (we listen to the Holy Spirit as we pray).

We discussed the fact that in Christ we have been made sons of the Father as well. What an amazing thing it is that the Creator of the universe adopts us as his sons and invites us to spend time with him through prayer.

Prayer isn’t a “have to” thing, it’s a “get to” thing. We get to speak with the Creator as his children! What an amazing reality this is!

We committed together to follow Jesus’ example and actively rise early to spend time with the Father. When we met this morning we checked up on each other and found that while none of us had gotten up early for prayer every day in the last week, we had all done so several times, and found great joy in time spent with our Father.

Jonah: Love and Hate

Jonah: Love and Hate

As you read through Jonah 4, take note of the character of God in this passage.

Jonah himself tells us of God’s character in verse 2

And he prayed to the LORD and said, “O LORD, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.” (Jonah 4:2)

Jonah then goes on to experience God’s loving discipline and rebuke (Hebrews 12:5-11). He continues to experience the grace, mercy, patience, and steadfast love of God, all the while harboring hatred of his enemies.

Jonah’s lack of compassion for his fellow man, specifically for his enemies, is the main point of the book. Jonah had more concern for a plant, than he did even for the children of Nineveh.

God has shown us compassion and love while we were his enemies (Romans 5:10), Jesus tells us we are to do the same (Luke 6:27-36).

“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you . . . Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:27-28, 36)

I encourage you to reflect on your own attitude toward those you dislike, those who may curse and abuse you. Are you showing them the mercy that God has shown you? You are no longer God’s enemy, you are his child. As children, we are to imitate our father’s behavior. Remember that you are called to reflect and image your heavenly father to those around you who do not yet know his love.

But take heart that God even works through imperfect messengers like Jonah, and me, and you!

Jonah: Mercy

Jonah: Mercy

Take a look at chapter 3 of Jonah, and meditate on the mercy of God to not only forgive our sin, but to spare our lives, and more, to give us spiritual life.

In Psalm 119:73-80, David calls out to God for mercy.

In verse 73 he acknowledges God as Creator and Authority.
In verse 74 he places his hope in God’s Word
In verse 76 he asks for comfort from affliction
In verse 77 he pleads for mercy and life

Let your mercy come to me, that I may live;
for your law is my delight.
(Psalm 119:77)

Notice that we do not go to, or achieve, God’s mercy. It must come to us. Our sin is a barricade against the mercy of God, an obstacle of our own construction. For God’s mercy to come to us, he must first remove the offense and obstacle of our sin.

When his mercy then comes to us, it comes personally. We don’t just know of God’s mercy, we experience it for ourselves. It gives us life. One measure of this life beating in our heart is our delight in the law of God. This delight is evident throughout the Psalms, but especially here in Psalm 119.

Plead for God’s mercy. His mercy to forgive. His mercy to comfort. But also his mercy to give life to our stone cold hearts, stirring up affection and delight in his Word. Ask God for this mercy. Plead with him to stir up this kind of delight in your heart. When you delight in God’s Word, you have evidence of his mercy to you personally, to give you a holy delight for that which the sinful man both fears and detests.