Saturday, July 07, 2012
Some thoughts on this coming Sunday’s lectionary readings, Mark 6:1-13 and 2 Corinthians 12:2-10.
Mark 6:1-6 Jesus is ‘without honour’ – experiences a religiosity that refuses to welcome him and puts pressure on others to not welcome him either.
Mark 6:7-13 Jesus sends out his disciples to extend his mission – including sharing in his experience of rejection – but where they are welcomed, they are used by God to bring deliverance and healing.
2 Corinthians 12:2-10 the context is Paul’s experience of rejection and being without honour; of a religiosity that refuses to welcome him and puts pressure on others to not welcome him either. Paul speaks of intimate relationship with God, but also of a ‘thorn in my flesh’ – reference to Numbers 33:55, other people who, if not removed, undermine the relationship between God and his people (a splinter in your eye and a thorn in your side, cf. Jesus telling people to deal with the plank in their eye before commenting on the splinter in someone else’s, to consider whether the company we keep keeps us from God before passing judgement on the company other people keep) – reference to those who followed Paul everywhere he went, telling new Christians they needed to become cultural Jews. Paul cites this opposition in another context of opposition. Previously, Paul had tried to root out his opponents - the Christians – with violence, but now understood that taking such action was not an option open to him, so asked Jesus to intervene on his behalf; Jesus responds instead with reassurance of sufficient grace, and of his power made perfect in weakness. These attacks keep him from becoming conceited, keep him dependent on Jesus.
Jesus and Paul both testify to an intimate relationship with the Father; both testify to the resources of heaven available to those who welcome Jesus; both testify to opposition from those who ‘know better’ than them.
The consequence of intimacy with God is opposition from those who do not experience such intimacy. The grace we need in the face of opposition is available through intimacy with God. If we don’t have intimacy with God we won’t experience opposition, or grace and power in our lives.
Are we pursuing intimacy? How do we deal with opposition?