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Jesus' Compassion & Challenge

Have you ever been to a 3-D movie? We went to see one in Disneyland a number of years ago. It looked like objects were flying right at us. They even had a special effect that made it feel like something was crawling up our legs.

Of course the key to experiencing a 3-D movie properly is that you have to wear the right glasses. If you don’t wear those funky paper glasses they give you before the movie, the ones with one red eye-glass and one blue eye-glass, everything looks wrong and you can’t even figure out what’s going on in the movie.

The same holds true when we approach the Bible. If we want to see correctly what it is saying, we have to be wearing the right spectacles. For example, in order to understand Mark 8:1-10 which we are going to read this morning, we have to put on our first century Palestinian spectacles.

In order for you to see the difference, between wearing the proper spectacles and not wearing them, let me first read to you from Mark 8. Then we’ll put on our spectacles …
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Be Open

Leaking and leakers have been hot topics in our current U.S. administration, more so I think than they have been for a long time. However, this sort of thing goes on all the time in politics. Reputations are made and broken sometimes with one careless remark that gets out to the media. Then of course there are calculated leaks, as we saw in the case of former FBI Director James Comey earlier this year. Such leaks are sometimes designed to destabilize political opponents.
Jesus was a leader who was concerned about leaks. There were some things, like his identity, that he wanted to keep secret until just the right moment. New Testament scholars often refer to this as the Marcan Secret. Yet here, as elsewhere in Mark’s Gospel, we do not simply see the good news about Jesus leaking out. Rather, it is pouring out, as people find themselves unable to be silent about what Jesus is saying and doing.
Let us read together Mark 7:31-37 and see what God might have to say to us through this story….
T…

Handling Interruptions

Have you ever wanted just to get away from it all?When I was in college I went through a very difficult time where I was trying to go to school full time and work full time.I quickly got burnt out.One day I decided to put down everything I was doing and travel up the California coast. I took some money out of the bank, a change of clothes, borrowed a friend’s tent and camped along the way. No sooner had I reached my destination of Big Sur then I realized I was ready to go back home, face and deal with my problems one by one.
Last Sunday we read about Jesus’ continuing battle with the Pharisees.This time the point of contention was hand-washing. We get the sense in our passage for today that Jesus was growing weary in battle. He wanted to get away from it all and just have a break. On this occasion, for his break Jesus went clear outside the boundaries of Israel, into the region of Tyre and Sidon. This region represented an ancient enemy of Israel (Jeremiah 47:4; Joel 3:4; Matthew 11:21…