2021_05_24 Insight Post- Kim Feld
This week's reading- Mark 9-10
In Mark chapter 9:42-50, Jesus uses a figure of speech called hyperbole. Hyperbole is a vast overstatement used to make a point. Is Jesus really telling us to amputate our hand or foot or gouge out our eyes? No. His point is that we need to eliminate anything in our lives that damages our relationship with Him and leads us into sin. Then Jesus adds a reference to hell from Isaiah 66:24 that is actually the last verse in the book. But what does Jesus’ following statement in verse 49 mean? “Everyone will be salted with fire” (Mark 9:49).
Verse 50 is also found in the biographies of Matthew and Luke (see Matthew 5:13 and Luke 14:34), but Mark 9:49 stands out. There was a connection between salt and offerings, serving as a reminder of the covenant with God: 13 Season all your grain offerings with salt to remind you of God’s eternal covenant. Never forget to add salt to your grain offerings. Leviticus 2:13. But how are we to be “salted with fire”?
When I struggle with a passage, I find it helpful to look at it in different translations. The NLT says this: 49 “For everyone will be tested with fire.” That resonates with me. Especially in light of verses that talk of us being refined as silver in the fire: “For You have put us to the test, God; You have refined us as silver is refined” Psalm 66:10 NASB.
If we look at Mark as each chapter builds on itself, Jesus is making it clear that there is a cost associated with following Him. At the end of last week’s reading in chapter 8, verses 34-37, Jesus says that we have to deny ourselves and pick up our cross if we want to follow Him. Denying ourselves involves a process of surrendering and allowing Jesus to refine us, and that’s not easy. The cross was a symbol of suffering and shame, and to align with it means to die to ourselves to find life in Jesus. Look at this: 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? Mark 8:35-37 NIV
Will we have times of testing and refining? Yes. Refining literally means to free from impurities or unwanted materials (Merriam-Webster, n.d.). This process is not meant to break us; it’s meant to free us from the impurities and unwanted materials that keep us from being who we were created to be.
God sees us, and He knows us better than we know ourselves. He alone knows who we were meant to be.
Executive Director of Education and Outreach
Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Refine. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved May 21, 2021, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/refine