Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Parables meant to hide, or explain?

Again, I'm still in the beginning of the book of Mark, and I am troubled by a few things I read regarding parables.
As I understand it, a parable is usually meant to help "explain" a topic - Like an analogy.
But, in Mark 4:1-12, he speaks in a parable about seeds and planting and such, where he finishes with "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
It goes on to say that later, when the disciples were alone with Jesus, they were asking for clarification... To which Jesus says:

"The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that,
" 'they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,
and ever hearing but never understanding;
otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!'"

What is this "secret" that he's speaking of?
Who does Jesus mean by "those on the outside"?
Lastly, Isn't that the goal of Jesus preaching, to gain followers, and to preach the word of God? Why then would he not want people to turn and be forgiven?
This is a very confusing passage for me.

Status: Unanswered

Jesus has mercy on demons?

First: It's been a while since I've posted here. Guilty confession - mostly because I haven't read my bible in a long time. Ha, and you thought it was because I had the whole thing all figured out - hardly :)
Well, I recently picked up my bible, and guess what... more questions :)

So, I've started to read Mark, and I noticed that a few times it talks about Jesus casting out demons. I guess my first question, is that we are never told exactly what a demon is. Is it like we see in the movies, where a person speaks in scary voices, and has physically horrifying attributes? Is it more of a metaphor as in speaking like a drug addiction is a demon. I have to lean towards the first example, because Jesus actually speaks with the demons (assuming it's through the host?). I just finished Mark 5:1-20, where he casts out a "legion" of demons.
What struck me about this, was that "legion" asks Jesus to take mercy on them and to "not send them out of this area". They actually "begged" Jesus, to send them instead "into" the nearby pigs. To which Jesus agreed and "gave them permission".

Why did Jesus show mercy? Why did he agree to the demon's wishes?

Status: Unanswered

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

God and Mary

I'm hoping this might be an easy question...
Did God ever speak directly to Mary (Mother of Jesus)?

I was just driving to work the other day when this thought popped into my head. I know he sent an angel to her to tell her not to be afraid, but I could not recall if He ever spoke to her directly.

Status: Unanswered

Monday, July 7, 2008

old bible or new bible?

The Bible is a collection of "little books".
The majority of those books make up what's called the "Old Testament" with the remaining 27* books making up what's called the "New Testament".
No where (that I'm aware of) does the "New Testament" tell us to disregard some or part of the OT using specific words. Yet, there are some obvious differences between the two "covenants". I'm trying to think of some obvious ones... Ok, here's one... we do not have to offer up animal sacrifices any more under the NT.
This is a two part question...
I know very little about the Jewish faith. (which is embarrassing to admit).
Is the Jewish bible, the SAME text(s) as the Christian OT?
(edit: It looks like I should be using the term "Hebrew Bible" instead of "Jewish Bible"? wikipedia)
Follow up... If yes... Do the Jewish people still practice animal sacrifices? If not, what is their reasoning?

Second Question:
As mentioned above, there is no clear part in the NT that tells us to disregard certain parts of the OT... So how are we to determine which parts to regard, and which parts to disregard. And by disregard, I mean as if we should just eliminate the entire OT (or are we?). For example, there are a lot of good stories, history and or moral guidelines in the OT (Some bad ones too like Slavery).
Are we (we meaning "Christians") meant to only keep the OT as a sort of reference and then actually Live under the guidelines of the NT?

I apologize here too, because rather than take some time and think these questions out further and come up with a clearer question, I would rather post this now while it's on my mind. Perhaps later I'll either come back and edit this post, or post a follow up. I hope SOME part of the above makes some sense as a question or two, or three...

*I learned via wikipedia that not all "Christian" NT's have the same amount of books in them.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Matthew 16:4

A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah." Jesus then left them and went away.

What was the "sign of Jonah"? Is Jesus referring to Jonah and the "whale"?

Status: Answered - yes

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Matthew 12:46-50

46While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you."[a]

48He replied to him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" 49Pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. 50For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."

So, when I looked up this text on BibleGateway.com I noticed it had a footnote [a] that said:
"Matthew 12:47 Some manuscripts do not have verse 47."
huh... who knew :) Seems like a big sentence there to just leave out. Odd. Or was it like a page was ripped and that section of text was just destroyed rather than intentionally edited.
I also now have a totally new question - how many manuscripts are there, and who said which one(s) to use? The plot thickens :)

Anyway, back to my original question...
Why was Jesus so (not sure the word I want to use) antagonistic? to the news that his family was outside? I've come across a couple verses here in Matthew where Jesus seems really upset or angry in regards to his family, I'm wondering why? I'm also wondering how this fits in with the commandment to honor your father and mother?

One more... When I read this, I couldn't help but wonder how the Catholics deal with this verse. From what I know about Catholics (which is very little!) they do not believe that Jesus had any brothers or sisters (please correct me if I'm wrong). I'm going to make a guess here that the catholics are using the manuscript that left out verse 47?

Status: Semi-Answered - Someone responded to my question about the Catholic faith. Though I respectfully don't understand their points. You can read more in the comments of this post.

Matthew 12:36-37

Jesus said...
But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 37For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."

I have to be very careful how I word this question...
Based ONLY on those two sentences, does that sound like a person may or may not get into heaven, based upon the things they have said during their lifetime?
ie: I know there are other phrases in the Bible that seem to contradict the above statement. I'm also aware that if a person says something "nasty" then asks for forgiveness, then "the slate" has been wiped clean, that's why I over-emphasized the word "ONLY" :)

Status: Unanswered