Throughout the Gospels, the writers give us clues about Jesus’ nature, miracles, birth, and death—even when they’re not writing explicitly about Jesus. Mark lets us know this story will reveal something about Jesus’ nature or foreshadow something in Jesus’ life by mentioning him while introducing Herod’s relationship with John the Baptist.
The story begins by denying specific rumors regarding Jesus’ identity: He is not John the Baptist raised from the dead, through this primes us to think Jesus might rise from the dead. Jesus is not Elijah—who did not die but went up to heaven—though this plants the seed that Jesus might ascend directly to heaven. Jesus is not a prophet like the prophets of old, but he could be a different kind of prophet, the promised one who offers redemption and brings us closer to God.
Herod’s words again foreshadow Jesus’ resurrection as the narrative of John’s death opens. Then, as the scene closes, Mark draws us back to his ongoing Jesus narrative with another clue about Jesus’ death. The disciples take John’s body and lay it in a tomb as Joseph will lay Jesus’ body in a tomb.
Mark surrounds Herod’s memory of John’s death with details of Jesus’ identity, death, and resurrection to prepare us to remember better Jesus’ story when we finally hear it. We believe that God has destined us to be God’s people. When we look back on earlier stages in life—even before we knew Christ—we can often see evidence of God’s role in situations that eventually led us to accept Christ or to deepen our relationship with God. God’s perhaps unseen presence in our lives prepares us to know God and to see or remember God’s role in our lives when we finally reconnect through Christ.

God, help me remember your presence in my past as I seek to reconnect with you. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Mark 6:14-29

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Lectionary Week
July 9–15, 2018
Scripture Overview

Two readings this week focus on welcoming God’s presence. David does this by bringing the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem. As the ark arrives, David dances with all his might, worshiping God with reckless abandon. In Psalm 24, the author poetically calls a city to open its gates and welcome the great king. These passages invite us to consider how willingly we receive God into our lives. The reading from Ephesians speaks of God’s eternal plan. While circumstances may seem chaotic from our perspective, God holds an eternal perspective and has sealed us with the Holy Spirit. Mark tells us the sad story of the execution of John the Baptist, yet another example of a righteous person experiencing persecution.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read 2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19. How do you bless others in your daily life?
• Read Psalm 24. How do you evidence your willingness to be a steward of God’s creation?
• Read Ephesians 1:3-14. When have you experienced a “hiccup” on your journey and found God ready and willing to assist? How did that help come?
• Read Mark 6:14-29. When have you experienced a guilty conscience? What triggered it?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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