Questions about Markan texts


#1

The Disciples and the Sabbath Mk 2:23-28

  1. Why were the disciples picking grains during the Sabbath?
  2. What does the Old Testament say about the sabbath and how is it consistent with Jesus’s words in this part of the gospel?
  3. What does Jesus mean by “Son of Man”?

Mustard Seed Mk 4:30-34

  1. What do the birds symbolize?
  2. Verse 32 says something about the birth of an heir. Please elaborate.
  3. What did Jesus intend in only explaining the parables to His disciples in private?

Also, I know this is about the humble beginnings of the Kingdom of God. What does this refer to? Heaven? Jesus’s ministry? etc.

Thank you.


#2

You should get a hold of an Ignatius Study Bible. It would answer a lot of your questions. The New Testament is complete, although the Old Testament is still in progress.

There is an excellent sub-article in there about the title “Son of Man.” It is first of all a common reference in the OT, meaning for example “Son of Adam” or just a human. But there is another more important reference to “the Son of Man” in Daniel’s prophecies. That is the “Son of Man” that Jesus identifies with.

As you might suppose, the Apostles were kept very busy by Jesus, who was constantly moving around, going from town to town proclaiming the Gospel. They were often without any bread or food (as we see when Jesus feeds the multitude.) So it is easy to see why the Apostles were plucking grain on the Sabbath.

The Scribes and Pharisees were constantly on the lookout for faults that they could accuse Jesus and His Apostles of. They were hypocrites in this regard, and knew well they were splitting hairs, because Jesus (in their minds) was supposedly so perfect, and yet he was constantly guilty of these little solecisms that they identified.

So Jesus answers your question right in those passages.


#3

The OT who did not know Jesus as Lord celebrated it on the Sabbath but because it was the work of the Lord and was in honoring God so Jesus affirmed it was okay especially as Jesus Is the Lord of the Sabbath. Jesus who teaches us about God, taught that the Sabbath day was created by God as a day of rest for man to worship God. Now God is not a liar and Jesus words are true. Jesus taught that the Sabbath was made for man so after Jesus resurrection humans began to celebrate the Sabbath on Sunday and called it the Lords Day in remembrance of Jesus who is ‘Lord of the Sabbath’ because that is the most important day to a Christian.

Jesus was fully human ‘Son of Man’ and fully divine ‘Son of God’. Son of Man refers to Jesus being fully human in every way except sin. Jesus has always had His divine nature as being the only begotten Son of God.

Your other questions.

[quote=] Mustard Seed Mk 4:30-34

  1. What do the birds symbolize?
  2. Verse 32 says something about the birth of an heir. Please elaborate.
  3. What did Jesus intend in only explaining the parables to His disciples in private?

Also, I know this is about the humble beginnings of the Kingdom of God. What does this refer to? Heaven? Jesus’s ministry? etc…
[/quote]

The birds and mustard bushes are a parable relating to how the Kingdom of heaven would grow. Multitudes of people would grow into a great Kingdom from Jesus and a little group of disciples. The Mustard seed bushes actually were the biggest most plentiful bushes around during that time when Jesus said it so Jesus was giving the disciples a visual of what it would be like in the future.

I don’t believe that Mark 4:32 mentions an heir, but to that point Jesus is heir to the Father and we are made co-heirs with Jesus through our Baptism making us brothers and sisters of Jesus with God as Our Father in Heaven. So Baptism makes us children and co-heirs of God. Romans 8:17

Jesus explained to the disciples, the first leaders/Priests of the Church) in private because His time had not yet come (John 2:4) and didn’t want to be martyred yet because His work unfinished though later Jesus commanded His disciples to teach others what He had taught them. So though Jesus taught them in private He intended His teachings to be shared with the followers in the Church for eternity. That goes back to why Jesus taught in parables, so they would be easily remembered. It refers to the Kingdom of God in heaven as it states, which is eternity in God where Jesus is King, sitting on the Throne of God…

This is how I understand it though as the previous poster said a good Catholic Bible study class is helpful because scripture study can delve into the topic much more deeply… Karen


#4

30 And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? 31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; 32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.” (Mark 4:30-32)

I have heard some non-Catholics who believe there was a great apostasy in Christ’s Church suggest that the birds in this parable represent Satan or his agents, as they do in the parable of the Sower (Mark 4:4,15), and understand this parable of the mustard seed as a prophecy that Satan or his agents would take over Christ’s Church, especially its hierarchy, i.e., the Catholic Church started out as the Christ’s Church but is now Satan’s Church, headed by the Antichrist. However, I don’t think the nesting birds in this parable mean anything special. I think they are included just to give us some indication of how large a full-grown mustard plant is.


#5

Read Ezekiel 17:23
It refers to Israel and it being the roots of our faith and upon the root of Jessie sprung up a shoot(Jesus) who began the Church which furthermore has grown into an unimaginable size. A great new nation under God. So the birds are the people of the Church protected in the branches of the tree. Jesus being the tree of life. IMHO This scripture is also reflective about us not worrying about anything because God our Father in heaven takes care of the birds and will take care of us. Here again the birds are symbolic of the people of God.


#6

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