Posted by: robbiexgibson | 28 January, 2009

The Mystery Discriminates (Mark 3:13-35)

In this passage we saw three different groups of people:

  • The scribes
    They had come a long way, so had made the first necessary (but not sufficient!) step; their relationship was still at the “wait and see” stage; for some of them, when Jesus went beyond what they were expecting (not “just a healer”) they turned against him, for others this was a powerful cal
  • The family
    There aren’t many people about today who can claim blood relationship with Jesus! But even so, this was a reminder that “God has no grandchildren”, that is, it is incumbent on each of us to own our faith, and not blithely assume that because we have grown up in a church environment that is enough to know Jesus. Even (especially) his family members had to come to terms the real Jesus, and this was probably harder for people who thought they knew him, having grown up with him.
  • The disciples
    Here we saw only those who accepted to come and follow Jesus – maybe there were others? It’s also not clear how long Jesus had known them before he called them, maybe the journey hadn’t started the day we’re told about the call. Anyway, the relationships were clearly personal (called by name) and all-sacrificing (leaving everything).

We can probably see aspects of these 3 relationships in our own lives of faith – times when we feel God isn’t doing what he is supposed to or where we doubt his purposes or ability (scribes); times when we are surprised by some aspect of God and realise that we have an imperfect conception of him (family); times where we feel able to make a big step of faith or can hear God calling us by name.

We also touched briefly on the subject of unity (discussion was started off by the quote from the study guide: “only in the unity of time and activity, reflection and service, worship and mission, can the church realise who it is and live up to its name.”). We saw two senses of the word “unity” here, the traditional unity within God’s church (broadly defined) which is principally built up by understanding that God desires unity and practically can be worked out, perhaps, by working together to a common mission (hmm, what could that be?); and then the personal unity that knows no separation between the secular and the spiritual, between the holy times and the just-getting-on-with-it times. We thought that maybe the best way to achieve that was by being aware of where we compartmentalise and prayerfully work towards getting rid of those divisions. (Ha, see how it’s not justification by works if you just say “do it prayerfully”!)

Lastly we considered the questions of relationship and mission: we were offered a great explanation of how to have a relationship with an invisible being: “respond to God in everything you do”. We shared our ideas of what the good news is for us (I won’t repeat them all here, but they mostly centred around “God loves me individually and no matter what I do or have done”) and collectively wondered how we could practically share that good news this week. Our idea was to find someone (close to you?) and think of a way to “jump-start” their faith, or encourage them to move closer to the cross (might be practically, verbally, or in prayer). Be bold, but watch out for those planks in your eyes!

Sorry this isn’t any shorter, but my notes are very rambling! Hope you managed to read all the way through my 600 words.



  1. Well as those who weren’t there were invited to read Robbie’s comment (by Robbie), just leaving a little calling card to say we did!
    Am slightly traumatised to have been inside the highly intelligent Robbie brain, sounds like you had a humdinger of a session. We would love to have been there just to say hi to you all and not miss the fellowship, but to be honest, we were shattered after arriving back from Yorkshire by boat/car at 4pm and hadnt done any of the reading/preparing.
    See you all next time!

  2. Thanks Robbie it just reminded me to pray for my friend and i will watch out for the plank i’m by no means perfect.

  3. Thanks Robbie. It strikes me that unity of worship and mission is like the act of breathing. We need to breathe in (worship) and breathe out (mission), and then breathe in again, etc.. So breathing involves two activities (in/out) and being church involves two (worship/mission) but just like you can’t breathe in all the time (you’d explode!) or breathe out all the time (you’d shrivel up!), we need to have that rhythm.

    This seems easier for me to contemplate than doing both at once all the time! Would you disagree?

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