The story of Blind Bartimaeus acts as a bookend in Mark’s gospel. It closes out a long section that began back in chapter eight, when Jesus healed another blind man – only that time, Jesus had to spit twice before the man could see. This whole section has come to its climax here in chapter ten, where we’ve been walking with Jesus this month. The itinerary Jesus and his disciples have been following, as they travel from Galilee to Jerusalem, has been pretty … eventful.
I had a friend who worked really hard at appearing humble. In public, he was always putting himself down, always declining praise when he’d done something good. But in private, it was a different story.
One time he told me of a particularly generous thing he’d done for someone we both knew. And then he said, “But of course, I don’t want anyone to know it was me. Jesus says to give alms in secret.” And I thought, “but you just told me.” Continue reading →
Have you ever held a garage sale? Somewhere in the process of getting all the items ready for the sale, did you ask yourself “How on earth did I accumulate so much stuff?” Our culture encourages consumerism – advertisers play on our emotions to convince us we really need something that, to be honest, we probably don’t need at all.
Mary Hunt writes a newspaper column called “The Everyday Cheapskate,” and she has a saying I really like. I think many of us could put it on our bathroom mirrors to read as we brush our teeth every morning: Continue reading →
We are beginning a new series this week, which will take us through the tenth chapter of the gospel according to Mark. Since we’ve been focused on the letter from James, we might need a little context to help us re-focus on the gospel story. Jesus is on the move. Several themes will appear in chapter ten. These themes are like threads in a tightly woven tapestry, weaving together ideas that might seem at first glance to be disconnected, but when woven together, they form a perfect image of the Kingdom of God.
There’s the theme of walking – in Chapter 9, Jesus walks down from the mount of transfiguration, and then takes his disciples on a walk through Galilee so he can teach them privately about his coming death and resurrection. Which, by the way, is teaching they don’t understand, but they are afraid to ask him about it. Continue reading →