Between the Stories

June 3, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

We have been studying the book of Mark as a church. And I’ve really been enjoying it. It has been amazing to walk with Jesus– to see the things he did and hear the things he said. To see how others reacted and responded (or didn’t react and respond). To allow the Holy Spirit to teach us as we follow Jesus. And Mark is a great book to study because he is a writer of action– he uses the word immediately more than 40 times. Things really clip along at an incredible pace.

But I realized something this morning. I realized that there is a lot of time between the storieswhere Jesus and his disciples are just hanging out. They are eating or walking or resting or washing their clothes. Mark doesn’t write about this, but we can connect the dots. For example, in Mark 1:21 we read,”and they went to Capernaum…” He does some incredible things there and then in Mark 1:39 it says, “And he [Jesus– and we know his disciples were with him] went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues.”  Well, I checked a map. Galilee is approximately 40 miles long and 30 miles wide. That’s almost twice as big as Virginia Beach (now understand, I was measuring with my finger and stuff so these figures are really just estimates).

Let me ask you something. How much time do you think it took Jesus and his crew to go “throughout all Galilee”? And keep in mind, they didn’t hop on a bus, grab a cab, or jump in a Honda (old joke: “What Kind of car did Jesus drive?… The Bible says, Jesus and the disciples were in one accord”). No. You know what they did? They walked. And that took time. Think about it: No agenda; no deadlines; no distractions; no interruptions. Just the disciples and Jesus.NON-walking_thru_desert

And what do you think they were doing while they walked? They talked. They walked and talked. The disciples probably whined a bit (“How much further?!?”), argued a bit (“Thaddaeus keeps burping in my face and it smells like the cabbage we had for lunch!”, and laughed a lot. Come to think of it, they were probably a lot like my family on long car drives.

But something else happens during these times, doesn’t it? You actually have the time to think and reflect on things– and process these thoughts with others. It can be a great time to teach, to learn, to question, and to understand. In other words, there is a ton of time that is not recorded in the gospel where the disciples just get to be with Jesus. And I imagine that they had some great conversations. Many probably began with a disciple saying, “Jesus, why do you…” or “Hey Jesus, what do you think about…” or “Jesus, how come we don’t…” And then Jesus answered.

And even more incredibly, I imagine that many of the conversations began with Jesus asking something ultra- spiritual like, “Everyone give an answer to the question: what’s you favorite food?”

What’s the point of all this? Well, I really believe that the love the disciples had for Jesus was forged as much between the stories as it was in the words of scripture. As they processed their experiences with Jesus and each other, their relationship with Jesus and each other grew.

In John17 Jesus prays that his disciples “may be one”. I have an idea that this happens most often in those precious times of just hanging out and being together. So maybe you and I need to focus more on enjoying the time between the stories with Jesus and each other. After all, God is the one putting the stories together, he won’t forget to get you there in time to do what he wants you to do.

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