40 WAYS IN 40 DAYS LENT 2015
#2 Understand Location Mark 1:5 & 9
Falls Festival Promo Video.
And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins…
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
Mark’s story of Jesus comes to us from the wilderness and narrates journeys of people traveling from Jerusalem and Judea to the backwater regions of Galilee. Although he dressed wild and was apparently pretty loud I’m not sure that John the Baptist was an alt. rock act. (He did die after a dance party got wild!). For me this gospel image captures throngs of people fleeing the city at summer time for the music festival experience.
It is often said that where we stand determines what we see. The corollary of this is if we take Mark’s ‘way’ / journey motif seriously, our starting location must also be important to understand in which direction we each will need to travel on the journey toward Jesus.
This gives us an understanding that the direction that some people will need to take will be different for different people.
Beyond physical geography, elements of gender, race and class are also important markers for location. We will see in Mark’s story that of the diverse disciples and participants in Jesus healing ministry, some are called to follow Jesus closely to new places while others are ordered away from Jesus to remain, live and serve in their own places.
In terms of geographic location, Mark’s story mostly seems to avoid the big emerging Roman towns and architecture that modern archeology reveals dominated the 1st century landscape. Major centres like Sephoris just a few miles from Nazareth go unmentioned as if to say don’t be distracted by the big ‘happening’ places.
The story asks us to trust that it is often from the byways, from the unlikely, ordinary people and places that we we least expect; The ‘Nazareth’s’ of our lives if you will, where Jesus will find us and from which that the good news will continue to emerge.
In what geographical, social, cultural, gender location do you find yourself standing? Given this place, what direction will the first step of following Jesus take for you?
– MC, Newmarket Baptist