On July 25 I will be completing the section of Mark in which Jesus manifests His plenitude to both Israel and the Gentiles, in the midst of persecution, and people, in particular the disciples, do not understand because of the hardness of their hearts.
In the ending of this section, Mark 8:11-26, Jesus’ Pharisaic antagonists demand a sign, the disciples demonstrate their incomprehension of Jesus, and a blind man receives his sight after a second touch. The discipes at this point are like the blind man when he could only see partially. The disciples are in need of what the second touch (the laying on of hands) signify. The laying on of hands signify identification. The disciples need to identify with Jesus on the way of the cross before they can see clearly.
The following section of Mark, 8:27—10:52, I have entitled “Discipleship and Enlightenment on the Way of the Cross.” Here Peter confesses that Jesus is the Messiah. But as soon as Jesus begins to reveal the way of the cross, Peter demonstrates how little he understands Jesus. Jesus then reveals the glory of the way of the cross (the divinization of human nature) to a select few even though they still do not yet understand it.
So the journey on the way of the cross begins. On August 1 I will continue with Mark 9:14-29. Jesus and the disciples come down from the mountain and confront the world as it is, overcome by the power of evil. The disciples need to equip themselves with faith through prayer.
On August 8 I will continue with Mark 9:30-41. Jesus announces His approaching death and resurrection again (and the disciples still do not understand). He then begins to teach them about how to act towards one another in the church: Who is the greatest? Be receptive.
This teaching continues in verses 42-50, which I will discuss on August 15: Do not cause one another to stumble.
In 10:1-16 Jesus turns to the household unit within the church and teaches on marriage and children. I will discuss this on August 22.
In 10:17-31 Jesus teaches on the atitude of the Christian household towards wealth. I will discuss this on August 29. Like in Matthew, this subsection from Mark 9:30—10:31 speak about taking the way of the cross within the church. It is divided in two parts: the first, 9:33-50, is about the fellowship of believers and how they treat one another. The life of the church takes place within the hospitality of the household. Therefore the second part, 10:1-31, is about the households of the believers—applying 9:33-50 to the household unit.
On September 5 I will discuss Mark 10:32-45. Here Jesus foretells His death and resurrection for the third time. After that He teaches concerning the kingdom. The way of the cross dictates the way of the kingdom. The disciples still think the way the world does. But Jesus explains that it is by taking the last place, becoming a slave, and giving up the soul to death that we “rule.”
The section that began with Peter’s confession ends with the opening of the eyes of blind Bar Timaeus. Jesus has revealed the way of the cross, and when Bar Timaeus’ eyes are opened, he follows Jesus “in the way.” The way of the cross is the way of discipleship and enlightenment. Jesus manifested Himself in the feeding of the five thousand and the four thousand, but the disciple can only really understand (and see) if they identify with Jesus on the way of the cross. I will speak on this on September 12.