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Always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience (1 Peter 3:15b-16a ESV)

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1/11/2005

Study of Mark -- Mark 6:53-56 

When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore. And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.
(Mark 6:53-56 ESV)

Conclusion to the chapter, illustrating the rise in Jesus' popularity. This is pretty important to what comes next -- the Pharisees begin to take an active interest in Him, and His disciples. Their influence is being threatened -- they want to make sure that this new guy conforms to their view of the Law, so that they aren't threatened more.

The first six chapters of Mark detail the good that Jesus did throughout the land. He healed people, he ministered to people, he taught them about the Kingdom that was to come. I think it's important that we notice the order that these events are told in Mark -- He ministers while He is teaching. People come to Hm to be ministered to physically, and He does that, but He also is ministering to them spiritually, and is teaching them. He's also teaching the disciples. He knows that no matter what He teaches them, it will not make any sense until after His death and resurrection. He is simply trying to prepare everyone for the message of the Gospel.

We can learn a LOT from this. First, we can learn to minister to people -- meet their needs where they are. It's almost become a cliche, but it's true -- people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. We tend to forget this. I think some of the greatest outreach opportunities that we have are lost because we don't meet people's needs. We focus primarilly on the spiritual need -- which IS the most important, ultimately, but it's not the most important TO THEM. Meet physical needs, show people that you care about them -- and all the while, preach the Word to them, letting them know that God cares about them.


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