“The fate of the world is determined by what happens in the soul of humanity.”
(Hans Chrossa in Masks of the Soul)
Art: Marc Chagall “The Poet”
Recap: Jesus went to John to be baptised, one assumes, for a rite of cleansing/forgiveness. It brings more than he expects, for he has an ecstatic experience that reshapes his image of god and forces him to re-evaluate himself. This marks the beginning of a new Jesus, a reborn Jesus, a man who has been chosen by God, but for what? Now he must try to make sense of what has happened and choose what to do with it.
JESUS IN THE WILDERNESS (Bible Hub page 24 – Mt 4:12-17 and parallels)
Why does the Spirit want Jesus to immediately head for the wilderness?
What is a wilderness?
Note the use of the word “drive” in Mark, compared to “led” in Mt & Lk.(Doc.Q) Which is more likely?
What do you notice about Mark’s account?
Look at Mk. 1:13b. What do “wild beasts and angels” represent?
Who are your wild beasts and angels?
Mt and Lk start with Mark, but continue with an account from Document Q
What questions did Jesus bring with him into the wilderness?
What is the issue in Mt.4:8-10?
What is the issue in Mt.4:5-7?
What is the issue in Mt.4:3-4?
How would a Jew of this era viewed these options?
What are the implications of “every word… of God” Mt. 4:4
What was going on in Jesus that pushed him to say ‘No’?
Which one is most tempting for you at this moment?
Who is the tempter? When is he called by name? What does this imply?
Who is Satan?
There are three players in this drama, a human, the Spirit and Satan. What is the relationship between Satan and the Spirit?
Enlightenment is to know both evil and good.
What is this encounter pushing for?
What is the role of the human here?
At the end of the wilderness time, what does Jesus know and what does he not know?
What are the implications of Lk 4:13?
JESUS TEACHING THROUGHOUT GALILEE (Bible Hub, page 43 – Mk.1:35-39 and parallels)
What does Jesus conceive his role to be in Mk.1:38?
Note the difference in the last three words of Mk & Lk, and how Lk modified Mk’s original text in order to emphasise Jesus as the one who is ‘sent’ (suggesting a messianic theme).
Note also the variation in the editorial comments in Mt.4:23 and parallels
JESUS GOES TO NAZARETH (Bible Hub, page 38 – Lk.4:16-30)
Go to Lk.4:17-19 – Who is the spokesperson in vs. 18 & 19?
In what situation?
What is the purpose of the words?
What does Jesus say about himself?
Is this a messianic text? or a prophetic text?
JESUS FINDS FOUR FISHERS OF MEN (Bible Hub, page 40 – Mk.1:16-20 and parallels)
In Mt. and Mk, why did the fishermen follow?
Why do they follow in Luke?
Did the miracle happen? What are all the possibilities giving rise to this story?
Why did Mt. choose to follow Mk here and leave out this outstanding event?
What is your opinion on miracles?
What is Peter doing in Lk. 5:8? Why?
Mime what it feels like to resist Jesus’ call.
EARLY POPULAR OPINIONS ABOUT JESUS (Bible Hub, page 41 – Mk.1:21-28 and parallels)
What is Jesus doing?
What is the reaction?
What does it mean to teach with authority?
In modern language, who does Jesus encounter?
What does the Spirit fear?
What does he call Jesus? Which strand?
What is Jesus response?
Note Mt. on this. You will see this in several places as we proceed, because one of Mt’s aims is to proclaim Jesus as the expected messiah to his Jewish community. He avoids passages in Mk and Lk in which Jesus rejects messiahship.
Fritz Kunkel, a psychologist, offers an explanation that may pertain to situations such as this. He talks about -100s and +100s as states of well-being. If the zero line on a graph is the average value for human well-being, then +100 would be the absolute peak, when a person is feeling invincible, on top of the world, etc. -100 would indicate someone who is utterly devoid of resources and without hope. At +100, people have no need of God. They are fully self-sufficient, independent and feeling great about themselves. Consequently, they don’t listen for God and ignore God’s attempt to be involved in their lives. At -100, the situation is reversed. It is the prime opportunity for God to enter a human life. This is the ‘gutter-to-glory’ phenomenon that people (alcoholics, drug addicts, etc) have experienced throughout history, and would explain the healing of the mentally ill person in this story.