Mark 2:13-17

13] Jesus went out again beside the sea; the whole crowd gathered around him, and he taught them. [14] As he was walking along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him.

[15] And as he sat at dinner in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were also sitting with Jesus and his disciples — for there were many who followed him. [16] When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” [17] When Jesus heard this, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”

Our Western culture has a hard time identifying with the disciples sometimes.  Their choices seem counter-intuitive to our world.  Jesus walks up to Levi, and he said, “Follow me.”  And Levi gets up and follows.

Of course my Western mind begins to ask those responsibility questions:  Did he walk away from his job and his income?  Did he leave a family behind who needs food and shelter?  Don’t I need to renew my insurance policy and sign my living will before I can go?  Do you have an umbrella policy?  I am amazed with the apparent easy the disciples follow Jesus.  The phrase “no worries” comes to mind.

Yet my mind goes to things in the world which are counter-intuitive, and I have a better glimpse into the disciples.  When driving on icy roads, our first response is to turn away from skid, yet the correct way to regain control is to give into the skid, turn into the skid to regain traction first before getting back on the path.  When disoriented under water, the natural response is to hold onto the breath until reaching the top of the water. Yet releasing the breath creates a path of bubbles which leads to the surface of the water.

A breath path which leads to the surface of the water.

A breath path which leads to the surface of the water.

Now, I have a better glimpse into the lives of the disciples.  The breath leading them comes from within.  It is not always a leading which seems intuitive from our cultural point of view.  It is not always a leading which gives us an immediate sense of safety and security.  Turning into the ice, giving into loss of control is not  an easy thing to do.  Releasing life-giving breath to find the path under water, giving up life, struggling to hold onto the immense desire to inhale, waiting for the moment you break the seal of water into gasps of breath.

Sometimes taking a step toward the insecure leads to a better path.  Yes, it is counter-intuitive if you look at this step through the eyes of our post-modern Western culture.  But if you look at this step through the eyes of God’s love, this is the most secure step you can take.  Be open to your true intuition.  Look for the breath within.



Filed under Cursillo, Devotion, faith, God, Jesus, Mom, prayer, Presbyterian, Seminary Student, Spirit, Spiritual Formation

2 responses to “Counter-intuitive

  1. Lil Smith,
    After finishing my post for today I was just looking around at what others had written. I read what you wrote today and I just wanted to say, “Thanks, I needed that reminder.”

  2. endtimesprophet

    Here’s some of my thoughts that might apply to your excelent article in the form of a Bible Study:

    At the end of this unit, you will be able to do the following:

    Identify the two main events Jesus talked about in the Olivet discourse and give the reference for each.

    List the three questions which Jesus answered in the Olivet discourse and name the Three Parables Jesus told to answer two of these questions.

    Divide the signs of the end of the age given in Matthew 24:3-28 into the three different areas they will affect. Tell when these signs will be seen.

    Identify the two signs which would announce the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. Discuss the meaning of the “Abomination that causes desolation” as found in Matthew 24:15.

    Prepare an outline for a sermon or Bible Study on the Second Coming of Christ, using the Old and New Testaments. Be able to apply these teachings to the lives of believers and non-believers today.

    Explain the meaning of the Millennium as described in Revelation 20:1-6. Be able to discuss the three different positions on the millennium. list the order of events of the second coming according to each position.

    Give the reference and the main teaching of the parable of the ten virgins. Take part in a discussion about what the characters and the events in this parable symbolize.

    The End of the Age.

    All day Tuesday was filled with between Jesus and the religious authorities. In Matthew’s gospel, this controversy is told by first grouping parables together and then questions which the authorities asked Jesus. (How many parables and questions)

    Jesus finally put an end to the confrontation when He denounced the and the . Jesus gave a series of (how many) examples of their hypocrisy. He then left the Temple to return to the village of for the night. On His way back up the slopes of the Mount of , Jesus looked back and wept over the city of and its people. Here we saw the love of as compared to the hatred of the .

    After Jesus left the Temple He foretold the complete destruction of Jerusalem. That prophecy was fulfilled in the year A.D. by the armies of the Empire under the leadership of a general named . According to Matthew 24:3, Jesus rested on the Mount of where He talked to His disciples further.

    On Tuesday evening, Jesus spoke what has be called the “second” Sermon on the Mount. Matthew records this sermon in chapters 24 and 25 of the gospel.

    The Olivet Discourse is an answer to three questions which were asked by Jesus’ disciples. Read Matthew 24:3. What were these three questions?

    When will ?
    What will be the sign of your ?
    What will be the sign of the of the ?
    The first question the disciples asked refers to the prediction Jesus had just made (see Matthew 24:2).

    What was this question?
    What event had Jesus predicted?
    Seated there on the slopes of the Mount of Olives, the disciples could look back across the Kidron Valley to the huge buildings of the in Jerusalem. Perhaps it was this magnificent sight which brought about their question.

    However, Jesus did not directly answer this first question. He did give an answer to the other two questions. What two questions does Jesus answer in the Olivet Discourse?

    So then, there are also two parts to Jesus’ answer. What are the two subjects Jesus talks about in Matthew 23 and 25?

    In Matthew 25 Jesus finishes this discourse by telling three parables. These parables also deal with the two subjects found in Matthew 24. Read Matthew 25:1-13. What is the title of this parable.

    Now Read Matthew 25:14-30. What is the title of this parable?

    The last of the three parables is found in Matthew 25:31-46. What parable is this one?

    We have already talked about the three different aspects of Jesus’ ministry: Prophet, Priest, and King. Which of these ministries:

    represents the people before God?
    represents God before the people?
    governs the people for God?
    The ministry of the Prophet represents God to His people in two ways:

    When He interprets the Word of God to the People.
    When He foretells events of the future which have been shown to Him by God.
    In the episode of the Olivet Discourse, Jesus carries out the ministry of the:
    Jesus fulfilled the ministry of the prophet because He foretold
    Look at your Bible to answer the following:

    1. In what verses of Matthew 24 does Jesus talk about the signs of the end of the age?
    What is the subject of Jesus teaching in Matthew 24:3-28?
    Provide the verse for the following signs?

    False Christs:
    False Wars and rumors of war:
    Famine and Earthquakes:
    False prophets:
    Increase of Wickedness:
    Gospel preached to all Nations:
    False Christs and False Prophets:
    Exercise: Underline each one of these signs in Matthew 24 with your Blue Pen or Pencil.

    Read verses 6, 8, and 14 again. Do these Signs Jesus is talking about take place BEFORE the end of the age or AT THE SAME TIME as the end of the age?

    We can see then, that the Signs which take place Before the end of the age will affect three different areas. They are:

    Spiritual Events
    Events in Nature
    Political and Social Events
    Study the following analysis of the Signs Jesus mentions and write the corresponding title from the list above in the right space.

    Earthquakes and Famine:
    War and rumors of War. Increase of wickedness.
    False Christs and Prophets, Persecutions, Gospel preached to all nations:
    Of course, you remember that Jesus had also predicted another sign of the end of the age.

    What did Jesus predict about the Temple?
    In what city was the Temple located?
    Exercise: Naturally, the city of Jerusalem would fall before the same Armies that Destroyed the temple in it. Write the words: “The Destruction of Jerusalem & the Temple” in the Margin of your Bible beside Matthew 24:15.

    Read Matthew 24:15-16 and Compare these two verses with Luke 21:20-21. Here Jesus give His disciples Two signs which would announce the soon destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. One of the Two references is rather easy to understand and requires no further explanation. The other will take some additional study to explain it.

    In the space below, write the sign Jesus gives along with its Bible reference:

    The one which needs little explanation is found in . What is it?
    The one which does need to be explained can be found in: . What is it?
    The word ABOMINATION talks about something which is hated or disgusting. In the Old Testament the term was most often used with reference to idols or the worship of idols. Or in other words: Statues and other objects which were worshipped by the Gentile nations.

    Modern armies normally carry banners which represent their unit as well as the flag of their nation battle. What is the purpose of this practice? They identify the military units and help gather the troops in battle.

    The armies of Rome also carried banners to identify themselves. But, the Roman banners were actually small statues (called busts) of the Roman emperor. Before going into battle, Roman soldiers would kneel before the bust of Caesar and worship him. This act of worship by the Roman soldiers: was a form of idolatry which the Jews hated.

    According to Old Testament usage, the term that the Jews would apply to this practice of the Roman armies would be the word . The Old Testament word Abomination which Jesus quotes from the prophet Daniel in Matthew 24:15 refers to

    Roman soldiers were not usually quartered in Jerusalem. Under normal circumstances, they stayed in other places in Palestine. When a garrison of soldiers was sent to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration they did not bring their banners into the city because they did not wish to offend Jews and cause unnecessary trouble. What was it about the Roman banners that made them offensive to the Jewish people?

    Once, toward the beginning of Pilate’s rule in Palestine, he brought a legion of Roman troops into the city with their banners. When the Jews found out about it they were angry and said to Pilate: “Kill us if you want to, but take that Abomination of Desolation out of our Holy City and away from our Holy Temple.”

    It is POSSIBLE that Jesus war referring to this episode when He talked about the Abomination that Causes Desolation. His prediction would have had a special meaning to the Jews because of this experience with Pilate.

    According to Matthew, where would the Abomination that Causes Desolation be placed.
    In what building then would this be?
    So then, which of the signs Jesus gave are associated with the Temple and the destruction of the city of Jerusalem? According to Luke 21:20, this sign would be around the city:
    The resentment of the Jews against their Roman rulers finally burst into open rebellion in the year 66 A.D. The Romans decided that the time had come to put an end to the rebellious Jews once and for all. In the year 70 A.D. the Romans camped their armies around the city and laid seige to Jerusalem. Their seige did not last very long. In that same year, the city was taken and destroyed.

    What was the name of the Roman general who commanded their armies?
    What is the name of the only part of the Temple which remains standing today?
    What is the name of the modern building which stands on the site of the Temple?
    After the rebellion began, thousands of Jews from all parts of the country gathered in Jerusalem. This caused a shortage of food and many people died of hunger. Whole families starved to death during the seige. To make the matter worse, different political groups within the city itself were killing one another. By the time the seige had ended, more than 1,100,000 Jews had died and another 97,000 were taken captive. If the seige had lasted longer would there have been any survivors?

    Josephus tells us that Titus gave the Jews an opportunity to leave the city in peace at the beginning of the seige. This opportunity was taken by many Jewish Christians.

    Hunger and civil war made the situation in Jerusalem hopeless.
    Seeing the city surrounded by Roman soldiers, the Christians remembered Jesus’ words (Matt. 24:16-17) and fled from the city when they were given the chance.
    The Temple was reduced to a pile of stones in the year 70 A.D.
    Using what you have learned of the prophecies that Jesus mad have come true. Look up these Bible verses and provide the Sign that applies. (As you read, you will need to remember that the “Egyptian” which is mentioned in one of the references was a Jewish Egyptian who called himself the Messiah.)

    Colossians 1:6:
    Acts 12:1-2:
    II Peter 2:1:
    Acts 21:38:
    Acts 11:28:
    It is truly amazing to see that Jesus’ preaching about the destruction of the Temple was so accurately fulfilled. Many of the other signs of the end of the Age which Jesus gave have also been fulfilled. However, there is one more thing which we must understand about these Prophecies.

    Throughout this course we have looked at many prophecies which were fulfilled at Jesus’ coming. However, there is a rule which you must always keep in mind as you study prophecy. It has to do with prophecy about Jesus’ first coming as well as the Second Coming which lies in the future.

    Many of the prophecies in the Bible have a DOUBLE fulfillment. They are fulfilled very soon after the prophecy is made and especially in those prophecies which have to do with the coming of the Messiah, they will be fulfilled at some time in the Future in a more COMPLETE way.

    A very clear example of this principle can be seen in some of the prophecies about Jesus’ first coming. Read Isaiah 7:14. In this verse the prophet Isaiah is giving King Ahaz a sign that the city of Jerusalem would not fall to the armies of Syria. What was this sign? A would be with and have a .

    Isaiah’s prophecy was to have a DOUBLE fulfillment. The FIRST fulfillment can be seen in Isaiah 8:3-4.

    Who was the virgin who had a son?
    Who was the father of the child?
    What was the child’s name?
    We have already studied the second, more complete fulfillment of this prophecy.

    Where can the COMPLETE fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy about the virgin be found?
    Who was the virgin?
    Who was the father of the child?
    What was the child’s name?
    When we apply this principle to the prophecies that Jesus made in Matthew 24, we can see that Jesus is not ONLY talking about the destruction of the Temple and of Jerusalem, He is also describing many of the things which are taking place now, in the days before the end of tthe age.

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