Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives. The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version. At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture. To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.
Questions & Observations
Q. (Mark 7:26b, 28): How would one know if someone was a Jew or Gentile without talking to them? Jesus is calling the Gentiles “dogs” right? He’s saying that He is supposed to take care of his own people before others? She said though even the dogs are hanging around and getting love from the master. But, this woman proved faithful, a hint that Jesus’s love and his salvation are meant for everyone?
A. Pretty much if they didn’t live in Judea, they were a Gentile. It is very likely they dressed different as well. In the story Jesus appears to be testing the woman (for reasons lost on me) and say that He has been sent to the Jews first (which is consistent with what He’s been saying the whole time). But since her faith is proven, Jesus grants her daughter’s healing.
Q. (Mark 8:1-10, Matthew 15:32-39): Why do we hear this same story again only with 1,000 (plus wives and children) fewer people? I’m guessing it’s because that the people — Jesus’s disciples, in particular — were still wavering on who Jesus was.
A. This crowd was probably more of a Gentile gathering than the feeding of the 5000, and note that Jesus refers to both feedings, which indicate their separate inclusion is not an accident. It certainly appears to be something of a repetition to emphasize Jesus’ care for the needs of the crowd.
Q. (Matthew 15:33): The wilderness is brought up many times in the New Testament. I’m guessing that the wilderness symbolizes a place 180° from the towns. It’s where you could be alone with God and away from all the bad influences in crowded areas. It’s also a place where you would become more dependent on and thus, close to, God, relying on Him for your own survival.
A. You’ve got the idea. Jesus, in entering the wilderness, is again connecting with the history of His people, since they obviously spent many years in the wilderness during the Exodus period (a Matthew theme).
Q. (16:2-4): Can you explain why Jesus is referring the Pharisees and Sadducees to the story of Jonah?
A. In Jonah’s story, Jonah spent time in the belly of the great fish (a whale by tradition, but the word whale is never used either in Jonah or by Jesus). He spent three days and nights in the belly of the fish. There is some thinking that goes that since Jonah was inside the fish, the stomach acids discolored Jonah’s skin and hair, which would have made him look very strange. Thus, when he finally traveled to Nineveh on his mission, it would have been very easy to get the people’s attention: he looked discolored, and possibly pale white. This was apparently a sign to the people of Nineveh. In the same way, Jesus’ body being buried and then returning to life in a different form (more on that later) was the sign to all those who were seeking after Him that His words were true. The resurrection would prove to be the final “sign” that the people (including the religious leaders) sought, and many, including some of those leaders, would come to believe. That’s the sign of Jonah Jesus refers to.
Q. (Mark 8:21): Jesus will give you all that you need. He won’t skimp.
A. I like it.