In this section, we get a glimpse of the human side of Jesus; he's a very frustrated teacher, not only with the masses, but also with his disciples. They all want to question his teachings, question his performance of miracles, and he keeps asking, "How is it that you don't understand yet?!" Jesus begins to discuss with his disciples, "Who is it that you think I am?" And when they reply, "Christ," he insists that they tell no one. Why would that be? Perhaps he still felt that he had much teaching/work/leading by example to do before he was put to death; if people realized that he was Christ, they may have only hung onto his every word rather than try to be good and have complete faith.
A while back, I (Molly) experienced some minor health problems. Not being able to get clear answers from doctors and other physical remedies/solutions, I turned to the idea of mind over body. That it was my own stress, frustration, and doubt that was causing these problems. It took a great deal of sorting through the "trash" in my life to get rid of the problems, but in the end, my faith healed me. I took no medication, I didn't change my diet, I didn't receive any form of herbal healing or the like; I only changed my way of thinking and I became better (nearly instantly, too).
Christ continually shows us that it is our doubt that keeps us from "becoming whole." In this reading there was one story of a boy with an unclean spirit who was not able to be healed by the disciples, even though they had been charged by Jesus to be able to cast out this young boy's demons. When he talked to the parents, he understood that they didn't truly believe that their son could be healed (they stated that they didn't know how). While this was going on, the boy shouted out, "I believe!" The boy then died as Jesus cast the demon out of the boy, but then Jesus brought him back to life. Jesus then explains that we must be like children--they are innocent and they believe!
There are several times in this section that Jesus mentions that he is going to have to die and then rise on the third day...it then states that the disciples didn't understand why this must happen but were afraid to ask, showing a tremendous amount of doubt in spite of the fact that they knew he was Christ.
*A point of interest in this portion of reading: Chapter 6:3 there is a very brief mention of Jesus' brothers and sisters (mentioned by name). Interesting...we'd like to know more about this if anyone knows anything more on the subject. Yet another potential glimpse at the "human" aspect of Jesus.
*Also interesting: Herod thinks that Jesus is John the Baptist risen from the dead (who was beheaded by an executioner sent by Herod)...not much of an end to this story, but it reinforces the idea that people didn't really understand who Jesus was. It also made Herod feel a little uneasy thinking that he was being haunted for wrongfully killing John the Baptist.
Not a lot of answers tonight...there wasn't a lot of closure to this section. The gospels seem to unfold event after event after event without much transitioning! A lot happened in a very short amount of time at the end of Jesus' life :)
Have a little faith!
Molly and Mike