Bible Study week 1 reflections

Reflections from Bible study 6th November

First we saw how Mark interweaves the stories of John the Baptist and Jesus, even though he doesn't go into details of their birth, as Luke does.

Heegon pointed out that because they were related, they would meet up frequently at family gatherings, and especially on pilgrimage to Jerusalem for example for the Passover. They might well have debated their visions for the world God wanted. We thought about the conversations they might have had. Heegon suggested John might have been trained as rabbi, but Jesus was not. John was ‘straight’ and wanted to get people to repent and ‘get back on the rails’, whereas Jesus wanted to get behind the rules and discover a better way to fulfil what God really meant.

We talked about the Holy Spirit – John told people that Jesus would baptise them 'with the Holy Spirit and with power'. We found that some had experienced the Holy Spirit as conscience, guide, helper, support in times of difficulty, and we shared our stories.

We taked about how John the Baptist’s water baptism relied on the person’s own will, but Jesus’s baptism called on the power of God to reinforce the person's own decision.

We noticed how there is a lot of conflict in Mark's Gospel. It comes very early – in chapter 3 religious leaders are already plotting to kill Jesus. We noticed that this comes after healing on the Sabbath in the synagogue - we wondered if this was at the heart of the leaders' ‘power base’ so maybe this was why they wanted to be rid of him?

We wondered if Mark had agenda in the way he wrote? Heegon said not – he just wanted to get story down, without the ‘agenda’ of Jews or Gentiles, as Luke and Matthew did.