Tag Archives: God

Exegetical and Theological Issues: Mark 4:10-12


10 As soon as He was alone, His followers, along with the twelve, began asking Him about the parables. 11 And He was saying to them, “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables, 12 so that while seeing, they may see and not perceive, and while hearing, they may hear and not understand, otherwise they might return and be forgiven.” (Mark 4:10-12 NASB95)

This text sits awkwardly in its present context. The previous context is about Jesus teaching the crowd in a boat (4:1-2). Without further explanation, Mark shifts the narrative that takes place in private with those around his Twelve disciples (4:10-12), a small group of disciples. Another textual issue that occurs in the passage is the use of plural form of parables, whereas Jesus completes one parable (4:3-9). The placement of the discourse between Jesus and “those around him” also interrupts the sequence of parable. Jesus was still on the boat in the sea (4:1-2), but he and “those around him” appear to be in a private (4:10-12) and the clarification of the parable occurs again in the boat in the sea (4:35-36). At this point, Jesus is again in the public setting with his disciples in the boat. With few exceptions, some scholars believed this passage to be a latter insertion. But this inconsistency is more likely due to tradition, so he decided to leave the setting the way it is now.

Many ascribed the Markan redaction to traditional material. One cannot avoid the questions no matter whether Mark inserted his independent tradition unit or borrowed from the tradition within the parable collection. If he borrowed it from Pre-Markan tradition, where did he find it and what qualified him to apply this text there (4:10-12)? His form, materials within his redaction, and context show that he found it in tradition. Yet there are some questions to be asked. Why did Mark quote Isaiah 6 here? Is the text is about double predestination that only elect or insiders are foreordained to hear the message while outsiders’ ears divinely closed? Some people think that v. 7:17 supports it. But what do we do with 12:12 when outsiders also knew that the parable was about them? As Robert A. Guelich asserts that the text is not about the “double predestination” but about the hardness of heart of those who constantly rejected Jesus and his message.[1]


[1] Guelich, Robert A. Mark 1–8:26. Vol. 34A. Word Biblical Commentary. Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1998.

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Friday Phraseology: Anthropomorphism


Anthropomorphism: The human tendency to see other things as analogous to ourselves. Thus people sometimes see their pets in overly anthropomorphic terms. In *philosophy of religion, the term anthropomorphism is often used critically, to refer to views of God that make God seem too similar to finite human persons. Ludwig *Feuerbach claimed that all theology is anthropomorphic, since God is essentially a projection of unfulfilled human potential.


Evans, C. Stephen (2010-04-28). Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion (p. 11). Intervarsity Press. Kindle Edition.

 

No More Animal Sacrifice… But Redeemed by the Blood of Jesus


“Who is Jesus?” This question has always generated different sorts of answers or debates throughout the history. Many people had to say different things about who Jesus was and is. That is to say, he was a god to a guru; he was a mere lunatic to moral teacher. Some go even farther to deny him his historical existence. Even Jesus was interested to know what his disciples thought who he was (Matthew 16:15). I leave these topics for some other days to discuss but want to focus on Jesus as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29, 35).

Generally, Hindu converts do not need someone tell them what the animal sacrifice is about. The ritual killing and offering of animal such as goat, buffalo, hen, or duck to the shrines in the temple is not something new to them. Animal sacrifice is one of the means to appease god or goddess. Through that satisfaction, they believe they can maintain or sway the divine favor on their side. For the ritual, they would keep or find a sacrificial animal without any blemish, by which means it has to be spotless or woundless that has never been hurt or wounded before. That is, therefore, a consecrated offering for the remission of sin of the entire household.

If  any question that a person should be asking, it is this- how much blood of animals would be enough to wash the sin of a person? What if the person committed any sin just before her/his death with due sacrifice?  How do we know that the sacrificial animal’s blood has blotted our sin? We, unless deluded, know well that none of the existing creatures comes close to human beings in terms of intelligent mind. Then, why some are told that the blood of an animal vindicates a man from the judgment of his wrongdoings! An animal cannot be equated with a man.

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Therefore, God himself took a human body to be a perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins, so that we might live through his blood. 

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There is nothing that can cover our sin, not even with human blood, since the Bible tells us that no man is righteous and all men have sinned (Romans 3:23). As a result of sin, we are inevitably destined to the grave because the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). No man is without blemish, so it does not leave us an option to sacrifice a sage to turn the table of judgment. Therefore, God himself took a human body to be a perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins, so that we might live through his blood. Jesus became a lamb who was sacrificed on the cross on our behalf while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). His flesh was cut open with lashes; his limbs were nailed. He was pierced and his holy blood was poured out. And only that holy and unblemished blood of Jesus can wash away our sin and make us clean, pure, and holy. Through this blood of Jesus, we are saved from the grip of sin and its power thus are redeemed (Ephesians 1:7). Unlike animal sacrifice that covers our sin temporarily, the sacrifice of the perfect Lamb of God is for the eternity.

 

Ravi Zacharias: The Intolerance Test


I frequently hear people say Christianity is intolerant. After all, it calls all people – no exceptions – to think and to act as God commands. It requires all people to bow to Jesus alone. Yet in that sense, all religions are intolerant. Every religion requires people to follow what it says is true and right.

“Believe like I do” is easy to spot as an intolerant or “exclusive” claim. But other statements sound more accepting, like “You have to let people believe what they want.” But you can put the plea for openness to this test: Ask yourself, “What does the person mean by ‘You must be open to everything’?” What it almost always means is, “You must be open to everything that I am open to an disagree with anything I disagree with.”

The person who sounds tolerant will never leave you free to believe as you wish. That’s intolerance – and the worst kind of intolerance, because it is intolerance that doesn’t admit it is being intolerant!


Ravi Zacharias and Kevin Johnson, Jesus Among Other Gods: The Absolute Truth of the Christian Message, Youth edition (W Publishing Group, Nashville: Tennessee, 2000), 9.

Sabbatum Excerpt: N.T. Wright on God’s Overflowing Divine Love in Jesus’ Death


And as we watch the events of Jesus’s final days unfold, we cannot simply look on and register them as an odd quirk of history. The claim being made in the stories of Jesus is that this was the perfect storm. This was where the hurricane of divine love met the cold might of empire and the overheated aspiration of Israel. Only when we reflect on that combination do we begin to understand the meaning of Jesus’s death. Only then might we begin to understand how it is that the true Son of God, the true High Priest, has indeed become king of the world. This is, of course, to run too far ahead of ourselves. If we are to approach that density of understanding, we must first grasp just how powerful, within the ancient scriptures, this theme of God’s sovereign, independent action really was.

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Wright, N. T. (2011-10-25). Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters (p. 39). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.