Past 2 – The Dark Days
Week 6(11-17 Feb.)
Sunday – Dogs and Crumbs
Scripture Reading: Mark 7:24-30
As we enter the “dark days of ministry” it is with the story of Jesus dealing with darkness of prejudice (seeing someone as less than human). The Syrophoenician woman is seen by the Jews as a dog. So, when Jesus talks to her he is using this situation to teach his disciples. When Jesus talks about feeding the children first, he addresses the view of the Jews (children at the Table) and Dogs (everyone else). When she responds with “even the dogs get the crumbs the children drop” it is recognizing that God’s love is for everyone. Jesus physically affirms this in healing her daughter by casting out the demon. She understands God’s love, gets God’s love and God’s light overcomes her darkness in life.
Pastor’s Pondering: Who are the people you may view as dogs in your life and how can you bring light to their darkness?
Monday – Deaf mute Healing
Scripture Reading: Mark 7:31-37
When Jesus heals the deaf mute, it is engaging the struggle this man had that brought darkness to his life. Notice the unusual way Jesus went about healing him – privately, away from the crowd, stuck his finger in the man’s ears, spit and touched the man’s tongue, said “Be opened.” Why? Not sure, other than there is no cookie cutter, one size fits all, way to do ministry. It has to be a personal, Spirit-led ministry that will bring about the change that people will take notice.
Pastor’s Pondering: What needs to be done to keep ministry personal and Spirit-led for others to see?
Tuesday – Feeding the Crowds II
Scripture Reading: Mark 8:1-10
After three days of feeding the people the Bread of Life which is the Word of God, Jesus teaches the disciples that we are to also have compassion on the people not just spiritually but also physically. This brings about the second miraculous feeding of the masses. As people gather to hear the Word of God, the challenge can be how to provide for them by dealing with their needs. Faith in Action means not just bringing light into someone’s spiritual darkness but also into their physical darkness.
Pastor’s Pondering: How do we see this being lived out in the first church of Pentecost and the Church today?
Wednesday – Seeking Signs (Ash Wednesday)
Scripture Reading: Mark 8:11-21
Corresponding with Ash Wednesday (beginning of Lent) when the Church traditionally looks to Jesus and his wilderness temptations, we look to the passage where the Pharisees come to Jesus seeking signs to prove that He is the Messiah. Likewise, Satan tempts Jesus to do something that will prove to others that He is the Son of God. Just as Jesus tells Satan, “No” so Jesus tells the Pharisees, “no sign will be given to this generation.” Jesus follows this up with the lesson on not being like the Pharisees, “are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes, and fail to see? Do you have ears, and fail to hear? And do you not remember?”
Pastor’s Pondering: This season of Lent, let us focus on having faith in action with softened hearts and open eyes and ears that the light of Christ may shine through us upon a darkened world.
Thursday – Blind man Healed
Scripture Reading: Mark 8:22-26
As Jesus heals this blind man, it is with two steps. The first step brings light in but with Fuzzy sight and the second step brings clear focused vision. Why? Maybe to teach us that receiving the light into the darkness can be a process that it is not a once for all but rather a gradual process for the light of Christ, the Word of God, to bring about clarity in life.
Pastor’s Pondering: How might this healing of blindness encourage us in our healing of spiritual blindness?
Friday – Great Confessions
Scripture Reading: Mark 8:27-30
What we are willing to say with our mouths, confess with our lips is what we really believe. When Jesus asks, “Who do people say I am?” and “But who do you say that I am?” it is to bring this out. Peter answers him, “You are the Messiah.” Jesus then warns them not to tell anyone. It is not the time for them to proclaim it because they do not understand completely what this will mean. They have received the light but the picture is still fuzzy and have to receive more light for the darkness to be overcome in them in order for them to truly have a clear vision to be able truly confess that “Jesus is the Messiah!”
Pastor’s Pondering: How important is it to have a clear understanding of the good news of Faith in Action before we can truly confess Jesus as Savior and Lord?
Saturday – Christ Foretelling
Scripture Reading: Mark 8:31-9:1
This begins Jesus work at trying to teach the disciples of the dark days of ministry. When Jesus tries to tell them that “the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again, Peter rebukes Jesus. Which, like Peter, when we do this we are letting Satan take control. We must be focused on “divine things” which means taking up the cross and following Jesus!
Pastor’s Pondering: What might “deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me” look like in your life?