Sunday Fun Day Family Run Day!!!
It was a beautiful day for a run (or two). We decided that today would be “Sunday Fun Day Family Run Day” at the High School track. Running at the track is not typically my favorite, mostly because I enjoy a change of scenery as I am running, but a family run at the track is super fun because everyone gets to join in on the fun. The kids can run at their own pace, or just play on the football field, while Jodi and I run at our own pace.
We live close enough to the track that something doesn’t feel quite right to me about driving there, so I ran to the track and met the family there.
It was a good run. I strapped on my Adidas Boston shoes and just ran by effort to get to the track. By the time that 1 mile clicked by, I thought to myself, “This feels like a good run!” I looked down at my Garmin watch and saw 6:36.
Not bad! But the next mile would be a lot of uphill. I tried to keep my effort high and looked down again as my watched clicked over another mile. 6:26. A little better. Let’s see if we can keep this up!
I made it to the track and finished up my third mile. 6:19. One tenth of a mile left! Run it out! I finished my last tenth of a mile at a 5:58 pace. My overall 3.1 took 19 minutes and 57 seconds, which was an average pace of 6:26 per mile.
Following my first 5k, I met up with Jodi on the track to run a 5k with her. Several other “5k Every Day in the Month of May” participants met us, as well! GROUP RUN!
We ran a great 5k together at an average pace of 9:47 per mile for a total run time of 30 minutes and 23 seconds.
Today’s Bible reading, Mark 12-14, was pretty intense. I love the Gospel of Mark. It moves quickly, but includes such great insight into the life and death of Jesus. There were two main things that stood out to me as I was reading today, both are found in Mark 12.
Here is the first passage:
And they sent to [Jesus] some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.” Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him. – Mark 12:13-17
I am amazed by this passage.
First, notice that “they” sent Pharisees and some of the Herodians… Who are the “they”? The answer is found back in Mark 11:27. The “they” of Mark 12:13 is the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. Here they are sending others to Jesus to do their dirty work. Their plan is “to trap him in his talk”.
Second, notice how they start: “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God.” Is there any truth in their minds to the words coming out of their mouths, or are they offering empty compliments to make Jesus think that they are on his side? At this point I am reminded of the wisdom of Proverbs 27:6.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend;
profuse are the kisses of an enemy. – Proverbs 27:6
Of course, Jesus didn’t fall for any of this, no matter how clever they thought themselves to be. He recognized their hypocrisy from a mile away.
The next passage that stood out to me was just a bit later in Mark 12:
And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions. – Mark 12:28-34
Notice the start to this conversation… one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, the scribe asked Jesus a question. I think there was a purity to the question. I don’t believe that this scribe wanted to trap Jesus. I believe that he humbly realized that Jesus was able to answer questions well, with wisdom and truth, so he took the opportunity in front of him.
Now notice how the conversation ends… after Jesus answers the question, the scribe’s response is to say, “You are right, Teacher…”
Jesus, in turn, assures the scribe, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
At this point I am unsure of what Jesus meant. I think there are at least two ways to understand what he is saying, here.
It is possible that Jesus is referring to himself when he says, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” Jesus is, in fact, the King. Therefore, the King was standing right next to the scribe and yet was unrecognized as such. I like this understanding.
I think it is also possible that Jesus is referring to the man standing in judgment of Jesus’ words. This understanding is a little tricky, and probably a little too convicting, but I think it is a likely understanding.
The scribe asked a question, and then stood in judgement of the answer Jesus gave. This is not the correct way to approach the King. All of his ways are right and true and good. His answers are right because he gave them -not because we agree with them. Our job is to work to understand them, to work to agree with them -even if that means that we need to be transformed in our thinking.
In fact, that is exactly what repentance is all about. Repentance is about changing the way that you think about things so that your thinking lines up with God’s. As a result, then, your actions should likewise line up with God’s will.
I think this is a better way of understanding what Jesus was saying to the scribe at the end of their conversation. The scribe was close, but he was still standing in the judgement seat.