Maurycy Gottlieb: Christ Preaching at Capernaum (1878-9)
National Museum, Warsaw
(Please page down for the poem on the Markan text.)
On Second Thought
Some prohibitions may not harm,
But if another, not so armed
With knowledge, sees you flout some law,
And thus, from what is good is drawn
Away, then, in effect, you've caused
The harm they think is done. Thus, pause,
And always act for them with love,
Forgetting self, like God above.
Scott L. Barton
Now concerning food sacrificed to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge; but anyone who loves God is known by him.
Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “no idol in the world really exists,” and that “there is no God but one.” Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as in fact there are many gods and many lords— yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
It is not everyone, however, who has this knowledge. Since some have become so accustomed to idols until now, they still think of the food they eat as food offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. “Food will not bring us close to God.” We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if others see you, who possess knowledge, eating in the temple of an idol, might they not, since their conscience is weak, be encouraged to the point of eating food sacrificed to idols? So by your knowledge those weak believers for whom Christ died are destroyed. But when you thus sin against members of your family, and wound their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food is a cause of their falling, I will never eat meat, so that I may not cause one of them to fall.
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(Please page down, or click here https://lectionarypoems.blogspot.com/2018/01/hymn-for-january-28-2018-based-on-mark.html for the post of January 8, which has my hymn with these words, put to a well-known theme from a Mozart sonata.)
Jesus of Nazareth Went to Capernaum
Jesus of Naz’reth went to Capernaum,
To the synagogue to teach,
People, astounded, at his wisdom
Saw his power all to reach.
Jesus of Naz’reth, as we pray,
Please teach us, reach us, we beseech you;
Visit your people with your power;
With your life, our lives renew.
Into the room there came a man
Whose ranting, crying stole the show;
What would Jesus tell the madman,
All the people sought to know.
Jesus of Naz’reth, are you able
To cast out, blast out demons today?
Your love saves us in each hour;
Come to us without delay!
Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit
While the people were amazed;
“He commands, and they obey him!”
Thus his name to all was praised.
Jesus of Naz’reth, we are yours,
We follow and hallow your will for peace;
You have called us to your purpose,
So your love may here increase.
God has called us to be faithful
In an age of fear and strife;
War and greed are now our demons,
But in Christ we have new life;
Jesus of Naz’reth, we your people
Now go, to show your gift of grace;
Give us courage you to follow,
That your church may all embrace!
Scott L. Barton
They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.