We all have a past. Sometimes that past can feel like a hindrance or a hurdle that makes it difficult to move forward. But Jesus breaks down all kinds of barriers to get through to us. He broke all kinds of rules and customs to meet the demon-possessed man in the Gerasenes. Not only that, but this man was the first person in Mark's gospel that Jesus empowers to be a missionary. In Christ, your past does not paralyze you; it propels you into purpose.
People respond differently to God. We see this all the time. Some people are interested in God, some people aren't. There were a variety of responses to Jesus in Mark. Jesus describes why some people respond differently than others in Mark 4:1-20. This is the critical question: what kind of soil are you?
The Pharisees brought many accusations against Jesus during his ministry. Out of all those charges, only one was labeled unforgivable--blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. They essentially said Jesus was empowered by demons, rather than by the Holy Spirit. Often we are quick to judge or condemn people, ideas, and movements that look different from ours. But Jesus welcomes all who do the will of the Father.
The Pharisees distorted Sabbath and weaponized it. Jesus understood God created Sabbath for the good of the people. They didn't see the world the way Jesus did. Eventually, their hearts grow so hard that they start to plot Jesus' death. The hardness of their hearts determined their ability to see.
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