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Mark For Everyone

MARK 7.14–23

..Back to jokes again. Have you ever told a joke and seen a row of blank stares? They didn’t get it? What can you do? Explain it? Surely that’ll take all the fun out of it. Yes, but a parable isn’t a joke. This one in particular was no laughing matter. Some of the most famous martyr stories in Jesus’ world were about Jewish people who had been tortured and killed for refusing to eat unclean food, particularly pork. And Jesus has grasped something, a deep truth about the way humans are, which means that as part of his kingdom-message he must take a different line. A radically different line. It’s not going to go down well. You might as well try to tell the leaders of the old South Africa that all races are equal in the sight of God. It’s not something they’re going to want to hear.

That’s why Jesus had to use parables, not only here but on many other occasions. It was the only way he could say some of the most devastating things he wanted to say. If you’re trying to tell your own world that it’s going the wrong way, that its heroes fought for the wrong cause and its martyrs died in the wrong ditch, you’ll be careful how you do it. It’s got to be cryptic. The Pharisees needed to be answered (clearly the dispute was not private; Jesus had to make some kind of statement), but Jesus was not about to hand them an obvious propaganda victory...

Taken from Mark for Everyone by Tom Wright

Publisher: SPCK - view more
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