Can We Really Know?

Service originally recorded on 1/24/2021

Message Title: Can We Really Know?
Theme: Flopped Inventions & New Discoveries
Season: Epiphany
Main Text: Mark 1:14-20
Scripture Reading: Psalm 62:5-12
RCL Scripture: Jonah 3:1-5, 10; Psalm 62:5-12; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31; Mark 1:14-20
Focus: Mark depicts Jesus calling his first disciples different from John’s Gospel.
Function: To find peace in the exploration of scripture by acknowledging our questions and considering different angles of a passage to enable God to speak to our hearts.
Other Notes:

SCRIPTURE READING: Psalm 62:5-12 5Oh, I must find rest in God only, because my hope comes from him! 6Only God is my rock and my salvation—my stronghold!—I will not be shaken. 7My deliverance and glory depend on God. God is my strong rock. My refuge is in God. 8All you people: Trust in him at all times! Pour out your hearts before him! God is our refuge! Selah 9Human beings are nothing but a breath. Human beings are nothing but lies. They don’t even register on a scale; taken all together they are lighter than a breath! 10Don’t trust in violence; don’t set false hopes in robbery. When wealth bears fruit, don’t set your heart on it. 11God has spoken one thing—make it two things—that I myself have heard: that strength belongs to God, 12 and faithful love comes from you, my Lord—and that you will repay everyone according to their deeds.

INVENTION: The first automotive–Elwood Haynes vs Ford

As someone who did not grow up a Hoosier, it came to a surprise to me to learn that Kokomo claims to be the place where the first car was invented. One of the first things I learned about after moving to Indiana was that Kokomo was considered the city of firsts.

“On July 4, 1894, “The “Pioneer,” as he called it, was ready for its first test run. The car was towed by a horse and buggy (to avoid frightening horses on the busy Kokomo streets) out into the countryside on the Pumpkinvine Pike. With Haynes at the controls, the car traveled about six miles at a speed approaching six or seven miles per hour – becoming one of the first cars in the country to achieve such a feat.”

Henry Ford’s first automobile, the “Quadricycle” was test driven on June 4th; 1986.

Haynes’ design was not the first gas powered automobile, there were German designs that predated his. Pioneer was one of the first automobile built intending to be automatic instead of pulled by horses.  The official title of “first car” was not given to Haynes because of “Pioneeer” but the design Haynes created with the Apperson brothers. Elwood Haynes along with Elmer & Edgar Apperson were credited with building the first commercial American car.



TRANSITION: Much like the lightbulb, the automobile’s timeline is quite fuzzy. I don’t know if I would have ever heard of Haynes or the Apperson brothers if I had not moved to Indiana.

Our scripture for today has a similar confusion when compared to last week’s text.

SCRIPTURE: Mark 1:14-20 14After John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee announcing God’s good news, 15saying, “Now is the time! Here comes God’s kingdom! Change your hearts and lives, and trust this good news!” 16As Jesus passed alongside the Galilee Sea, he saw two brothers, Simon and Andrew, throwing fishing nets into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17“Come, follow me,” he said, “and I’ll show you how to fish for people.” 18Right away, they left their nets and followed him. 19After going a little farther, he saw James and John, Zebedee’s sons, in their boat repairing the fishing nets. 20At that very moment he called them. They followed him, leaving their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired workers.

EXPLAINATION: Mark depicts Jesus calling his first disciples different from John’s Gospel.

  1. We’re in the Gospel of Mark, not John today! Let’s compare the calling of Jesus’ disciples in Mark with John. In Mark’s Gospel, after John baptized Jesus and Jesus went into the wilderness, he returned and gathered disciples.
    1. By this time, King Herod had already arrested John the Baptist. Some other Gospels place John’s arrest (and execution) at a later date.
    2. Mark says that Jesus’ ministry started AFTER John’s arrest.
  2. Jesus calls Andrew and Simon together.
    1. Anyone remember last week? How did Andrew & Simon come into the picture? Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist and then got his brother Simon to check out the messiah.

INTERPRETATION: Mark depicts Jesus calling his first disciples different from John’s Gospel.

  1. Can I share with you my thoughts? I like the idea that Jesus may have asked Andrew and Simon more than once. Perhaps it took a bit of building trust before they were willing to leave behind their successful & family-owned fishing business.
    1. In some circumstances, maybe the historians wrote down different details of one event. For example, the description of Jesus’ baptism is different in each of the Gospels. Who was there? Who spoke from the clouds? Who heard the voice? Did the dove come or was it a symbol?
    2. In other circumstances, I like the idea of the Gospels stacking up. Maybe Jesus didn’t just feed one group of 5000 people? Maybe he did that multiple times and that’s why the ‘who, what, where’ are different?
    3. It would have been logical for a traveling rabbi to repeat his lessons in each town. Perhaps the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ and the ‘Sermon on the Plains’ are actually examples of Jesus preaching the same words to different people?
  2. It’s easy to get zoomed in on one topic and miss the rest of the details. Sure, there is a question of the order of invitation or exactly how Jesus first invited Andrew and Simon. But I wonder if we miss the point when we splice hairs over that debate?

APPLICATION: To find peace in the exploration of scripture by acknowledging our questions and considering different angles of a passage to enable God to speak to our hearts.

  1. As we consider this passage today, we aren’t going to consider the spiritual implications of how John and Mark record this story differently. Instead, I want us to consider how we approach scripture. This will give you a little taste of what comes from Wednesday Night Bible Study.
    1. Bible Study: February 3rd, we will be starting our Bible Study for 2021. Last year we went through a handful of amazing different topics. This year we are starting out the season with a study equipping you to study scripture yourself!
      1. Can you build questions and do research?
      2. Do you know how to find reputable sources, as opposed to someone’s opinion?
      3. AND How do you dwell in the beauty of scripture without approaching it like a task to accomplish?
      4. Please note: this group is used to asking questions, sometimes it can make people uncomfortable. Our goal is to open up to what God can say to our questions, not shame people for asking or wondering.
  2. To get you started:
    1. Finding the translation for you– each bible translation has a goal in mind with their version of scripture. Some want to contemporize the words (MSG, NLT, CEB), some want you focusing on the themes (MSG, Living, Paraphrased, etc), some want to be the most literal translation of words (KJV, NASB, etc). Depending on what you want to do, it may be beneficial to have a few different Bible translations.
      1. Bible apps are a great & affordable way to have many translations at your fingertips.
      2. If you would like to look at my collection of translations and get a feel for a physical copy, come up front after service or send me a message online.
    2. Different approaches– There are tons of different ways to engage with scripture. Some develop our spirit, some develop our mind, others will do both. Depending on the moment, each type can serve its purpose.
      1. Influential book for Spiritual Disciplines and developing your faith
        1. Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun
      2. Bible memorization- A classic but doesn’t always work for every brain or moment in our lives.
      3. Lectio Divina–where prayer meets study. Repetitive reading and meditation. Listening for what stands out.
      4. Journaling Scripture– reflecting and writing your thoughts down. I think this is great for reflecting on how the passage affects your daily actions and words.
      5. Manuscript– coloring scripture, my favorite, is to print off passages and look for themes.
    3. Hear other voices: It’s great to find other voices speaking on scripture to help you see another angle of the passage you’re investigating.
      1. The Bible Project– Website & Youtube
      2. My podcasts: Strangely Warmed, Pulpit Fiction, Working Preacher
      3. Great books on Scripture
        1. Reading the Bible from the Margins by Miguel A De la Torre
        2. The Bible Tells Me So by Peter Enns
        3. How the Bible Actually Works by Peter Enns
        4. Inspired by Rachel Held Evans
        5. What Does the Bible Say About Suffering by Brian Han Gregg
        6. God Behaving Badly by David T. Lamb

CONCLUSION:  Perhaps you enjoy going down the rabbit hole of car history. You may discover a new inventor that impacted the vehicles on the road today! Imagine having a passion for scripture as we do our particular hobbies! We can investigate scripture from both a spiritual and academic angle that enables us to grow as believers.

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