The heart behind these posts is to explore the bible together, and to try and apply what it says to our lives, to genuinely let the Word of God affect us on a Monday as well as a Sunday.
For the next sixteen weeks we will be looking each week at a chapter of Mark. I would encourage you to read through the whole chapter at least once as well as the specific chunks we’ll be focusing on.
Mark is the shortest of the four gospels that show the life of Jesus. It is the action film, it is fast and punchy.
Have you ever been in church or somewhere similar where everyone is sat listening to a speaker, then all of a sudden a young child begins to talk loudly, or to play with a loud toy, and they are almost distracting. Just as the preacher is praying the sound of a train noise is heard from an infant playing on the floor, and it just doesn’t fit in, it is so different to how everyone else is acting. Some would say it is more free than everyone just sitting there, listening to a speaker. The thing is, the child doesn’t even know, let alone care that they ‘aren’t acting correctly’. Also I bet there is a bunch of people there that are irritated by the child, and will probably be thinking about speaking to the parents, because it just isn’t right.
In Mark 10 verses 13 to 16 it says:
People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.
Jesus is saying here that the kingdom of God belongs to children. There are loads of interpretations as to what that means. Some say its because children are humble- I agree with this one. To see the kingdom of God it can’t be about ourselves, we can’t be big-headed, we can’t be arrogant and think its all about us, because its not. It’s all about Him. I once heard a quote by C S Lewis. It said this:
True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.
I think this is essential, however I like to think this isn’t all Jesus meant by this.
I love the picture at the start. I love the idea that this is what Jesus means. What would this look like for us. I think it looks like us freely not fitting in with culture. I think these three verses are massive. I think it calls us to be separate from the way the world works. To openly live different. For people to see Jesus in the way we act not just the words we say.
Here is another quote:
Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary. – Saint Francis of Assisi.
This should change the way we make decisions about our money, about our time, about how we treat our family and friends, our decisions about relationships, about the way we speak of others. THIS SHOULD CHANGE THE WAY WE LIVE. Just like how the child isn’t thinking about what others think, or how while everyone is sat there, in rows, quiet, the child is playing on the floor, loud and full of joy. The child is free, and can’t help but show it. Even though there are people there that are irritated maybe even angry at them, they don’t care, they keep on being free. We need to be different. We can’t fit in. Jesus didn’t fit in, and if He lives in us, and our lives are centred on Him, how can we fit in?
There have been times where I have been sat in church and an infant has been playing on the floor at the front, and it has distracted me, and if I’m truly honest, I was jealous. It was one of those services which wasn’t particularly exciting, so I was sat there (quite bored) looking at this kid play with his cars on the floor, and thinking:
I would rather be doing that right now, if only we could swap.
I think that quite often, this is what the people think when they see Christians living lives all about Jesus. I think that sometimes they don’t understand how we live like that, but I bet they wish they could live like that. Lives free from fear, from shame. Unafraid of situations, because we have an Anchor to hold on to. Lives full of joy, because “the joy of the Lord is our strength”. Having that peace that is “beyond all understanding.”
I wonder, if we were to live our lives unashamedly and obviously focused on Jesus and the freedom He willingly gives us, would our friends start to be distracted from how bad the world is, and become hungry, perhaps even jealous of our lives? How awesome would it be to be sat with our friends, and for them to turn round and say: “we’ve noticed that there is something different about how you live, that there is something different about you, and we’ve been talking and we want to know, what is it? What is it that makes you different? And whatever it is, can we have it?”
“Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.”
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