I have already repented
And wished you back
I see my need after all
In the momentary pause of a dying light
Fighting to remain
A thin line
You fight back the darkness
And in doing so
Quiet fight begets the most extraordinary
Color of heaven
A blue alive
At the core of fire
Mark 4:1-9 (NIV)
Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge.  He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said:  “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed.  As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.  Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.  But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.  Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain.  Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.”  Then Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
I love the image of Jesus teaching from the boat. I assume that since he is God, his voice carried. I picture the crowd, myself in it, leaning toward him–eager to catch each word.
I rarely read the gospel without seeing something new. Today it is the slapdash profligacy of the farmer.
Seeds everywhere, dude…
But that is part of Jesus’ point. God is as prolific in his generosity as he is in his gift of freedom.
We wanna get all caught up in tangles or consumed by birds? He will let us.
But the deep soul, the deep soil, there is deep life there.
Mark 3:31-35 (NIV)
Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him.  A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”  “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.  Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!  Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”
You might be surprised to learn that family is very important to me. I have fostered and adopted kids and have treated dozens of children as though they were my own. I miss them, most of them.
I am estranged from my mother and brother, my in-laws have written that they hate me. My adopted children harbor their own opinions…
So this story is very, very important to me. I may be the one causing all the trouble but I have done this–moved away from my genetic family because I was trying to heal my kids.
It is hard to survive abuse. There is little room left over to pander to squeamish and difficult family members.
We need a new family. We need to be a new family. We need the face of love. When Jesus seems to be rejecting his own family he is really not. He is simply saying–
the people in my family will love. Love like me.
Mark 3:20-26 (NIV)
Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat.  When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”  And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub ! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”  So Jesus called them and spoke to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan?  If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.  If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.  And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come.
I deliberately break this story up. The next few verses are very important to me…
But first this…
The last time Jesus was in a crowded house someone broke the roof. This time he is accused of being a madman or a demon.
Huh. Wonder what they would do with Justin Bieber.
Jesus is changing the landscape of human existence and the power people reject him as evil and his family wants him committed.
We don’t get it. Often we don’t get him. Because we can’t control him and because he does not fit.
He is too big for us.
But if we can get past God in the figure of an ordinary man…if we can push into that crowded house…
Love breaks free.
Mark 3:11-19,27 (NIV)
Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.”  But he gave them strict orders not to tell who he was.  Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him.  He appointed twelve—designating them apostles—that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach  and to have authority to drive out demons.  These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter);  James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder);  Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot  and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.  In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house.
He has power over evil. He has complete power over evil. Good news
But how come he dies on the cross? But why does John get murdered? But? But? We can list all the evil in the world and question why?
The answer is painfully simple. Angels have corporeal presentations in the Bible. Past the Flood, evil spirits don’t.
Every act of evil unleashed on us/by us since Noah has been perpetrated by human decision.
We see this in our own failed hearts. We see this in Judas Iscariot.
When you betray the way of love you open the window, open the doors to the howling gates of hell.
Which, by the way, cannot stand against Jesus.
Mark 3:7-10 (NIV)
Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed.  When they heard all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon.  Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him.  For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him.
If you want the last point in Mark’s account of Jesus where glorious kingship seems like the easy call it is here–the crowds!! The healing!!! The international fame!
Must have been and felt amazing to his friends. He was unchanged. He knew the road ahead of him.
He knew the pain to come.
When life gets hard and feels dark and tragic, remember he went to hell for us.
He will prevail, even through the hardest of times.