A Call to Worship
THE PARABLE OF THE LIGHT - A Song Inspired by Matthew 5. 14-16
Mark 4:21-25 (New International Version)
He said to them, "Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don't you put it on its stand? For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open.
If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear."
"Consider carefully what you hear," he continued. "With the measure you use, it will be measured to you-and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him."
"Things Are Different Now" by Stanton W. Gavitt
Message by Roger Templeton - “Jesus - Mindbender”
What is a Mindbender?
A person or thing that radically and suddenly affects one's thinking, perceptions, psyche, etc.
Jesus Came to Change Minds
From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."
After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!"
Jesus message was all about mind changing. The word “repent” is translated from Greek “metanoeō.” It means to think differently, to reconsider, meta – after and noeo – thought.
He proclaimed good news about a change in God’s relationship to man – The kingdom is near.
Jesus the New Teacher
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.
The gospels give us no indication that Jesus was known as a teacher or preacher before he was immersed in water by John the Baptist.
In John 1:29, John confirmed the identity of Jesus as the “Lamb of God” who takes away the sins of the world. He identified Jesus as the Messiah, the one who baptizes, not with water, but with the Holy Spirit, the Son of God. John saw the Holy Spirit descend and come to rest on Jesus. It was after this, at age thirty, that Jesus began his ministry. Starting with time alone in the desert, Jesus then began going throughout Galilee.
A Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus
Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him." Jesus replied, "Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again."
What Jesus did when he went throughout Galilee did not go unnoticed by important people in religious circles. Nicodemus came alone, at night, to question Jesus. What Jesus said to Nicodemus about “seeing” the “kingdom of God” is known to most of us. It was confusing to Nicodemus, and probably is to most of us also. Jesus initial statement to Nicodemus did not respond to Nic’s complement, but to question, to Jesus detriment, Nic’s qualification to make the statement. They end up talking about rebirth, natural birth, spiritual birth, and the wind and with Jesus questioning Nicodemus’ competence as an elder and instructor of the faith if he did not understand. The gospel writer never tells of if Nic ever became “born again.” He is not heard of again until he helps bury Jesus. Do you think maybe Jesus was a mindbender to Nicodemus?
The Son of Man must be lifted up.
"Moses lifted up the snake in the desert. It is the same with the Son of Man. He must be lifted up too. Then everyone who believes in him can have eternal life.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
Jesus finishes his discussion with Nicodemus by telling him the Son of Man must be lifted up on a stake like the snake in the desert. So that everyone who believes in God’s Son can have eternal life. The Germanic root of the word believe meant to hold dear to love. Is this statement by Jesus about everyone who believes a mind-bending statement by Jesus? Did this make Nicodemus into a believer then, or maybe it began the process?
The Samaritan Woman
The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."
In this story Jesus is tired and thirsty and asks help from someone that social norms dictate he should not have acknowledged or spoken to. He talks about the Gift of God that he is. He talks of living water that would not leave one thirsty. He tells her things about herself that he would not normally have known. Was Jesus a mindbender to her?
A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth."
The woman asked about which temple is the correct place to worship God. He responded that the time is coming and is now that she would not need to be in either place to worship. True worshippers will worship God in Spirit and in Truth. Based on all this, she went and told others “Come see him. Maybe he is the Messiah. Was Jesus a mindbender to her?
Jesus taught in Parables
He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: "Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed.
Jesus taught many things by parables. We started today’s service with one of Jesus' parables set to music. It was followed by a reading of the parable the song was based on from Mark 4:21-25. Mark 4:2-3 begins a parable we are all familiar with, the parable of the sower. When Jesus used parables to teach was, he a mindbender?
Then Jesus said, "Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear." When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables.
The parable of the sower seems to have specifically elicited questions from the disciples about the meaning of that parable and why Jesus taught in parables in the first place.
Understanding the Teachings of Jesus
Mark 4:11-13 (Easy to Read Version)
Jesus said, "Only you can know the secret truth about God's kingdom. But to those other people I tell everything by using stories. I do this so that, 'They will look and look but never really see; they will listen and listen but never understand. If they saw and understood, they might change and be forgiven.'" Then Jesus said to the followers, "Do you understand this story? If you don't, how will you understand any story?
Jesus seems to indicate in his answer that he does not want everyone to know the truth about God’s kingdom. It is a secret only his immediate followers are supposed to understand. Is Jesus saying that he tells the same message to everyone but expects different understandings by different hearers? Didn’t Jesus start out preaching “Change your thinking because the Kingdom of Heaven is near? Is Jesus saying he came to get people to change their thinking, but only those who are ready to do so? Does he not expect long lasting results for everyone within earshot of his words.
Jesus said, "Do you understand this story? If you don't, how will you understand any story?” Jesus seems to imply that this parable of the sower is easy to understand.
Is the whole discussion of how Jesus taught an indication that Jesus was a master mindbender to some?
Did Jesus teaching using parables and miracles radically and sometimes suddenly affect the thinking, perceptions, psyche of those who witnessed his life and teaching?