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Bible Study Guide for Sunday, June 6, 2021

June 2, 2021
  • 1 Samuel 8:4-20; 11:14-15
  • 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1
  • Mark 3:20-35
  • Psalm 138

After some detours during Lent and Advent, we are back to working our way through the Gospel of Mark. Jesus has been busy! He’s been healing people, casting out evil spirits, eating with notorious sinners all the while disregarding laws about fasting and Sabbath observance. And he’s attracting a lot of attention, with crowds following him everywhere, pushing towards him in hopes of being healed.

This is getting unseemly. Downright embarrassing. As yet another crowd presses in  on Jesus, someone has to do something. Cooler heads need to prevail. Jesus’ family sees that something must be very wrong and come to get their son and brother out of this mess. He can’t be well. The scribes have a different diagnosis: this seems downright demonic. This is just not what respectable religious leaders do.

Jesus will have none of this. He can’t be using demonic powers to cast out demons that doesn’t make any sense. Jesus’ power must come from another source. It must be from God.

Having addressed the scribes’ accusations, Jesus’ attention returns to his family. He isn’t fulfilling the scribes’ expectations and he isn’t going to fulfill his family’s expectations either. In fact, Jesus doesn’t even acknowledge them. His true family is right here. Jesus’ mother and brothers are trying to save him from this crowd. Jesus recognizes this unruly troublesome crowd as people who are doing the will of God, even when it isn’t respectable or dignified or expected.

God seems to make a habit of not meeting expectations. This is not a new problem. In our first reading, up until this point the people have been ruled by God directly, speaking through prophets such as Samuel and raising up Judges when needed. And yet the people are asking for a king, because that’s what all the other nations have. That’s normal. They want to be normal. Of course, the kings of all the other nations are not wholly benevolent.  Samuel is very clear about what life under a king will be like but the people are not deterred. Maybe they don’t think it will end up being so bad (though it absolutely did end up being so bad). Maybe they don’t care. They want to be like everyone else.

In our first reading, God has been giving the people of Israel a radically different way of living, and they don’t want it anymore because it’s weird. In the Gospel, Jesus is working wonders right and left and ushering in the radical kingdom of God, and all the respectable people try to shut things down. This is too weird. But often, the unruly, improper, inconvenient crowd is exactly where God will be found.

  • Have there been times when you’ve seen God working in ways that seem unruly and inconvenient? How did you see people react to this?
  • What are some ways that we as Christians ought to be different from our surrounding community, not like everyone else?
  • Jesus’ rejection of his mother and brothers must have been terribly painful for all concerned. Have there been times for you when following Jesus meant hurting other relationships? How did you navigate that?

Author: Kristen Filipic


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