This forms part of the creation story. God saw that everything was very good (1.31), but the couple looked first with eyes greedy to grasp everything for themselves (3.6), and then with eyes open to shameful self-loathing (3.7). God took a man’s rib and made him a companion (2.21-22), but they took what was not theirs, making fig leaves a ridiculous pretence of self-contained respectability. This inaugurates a hierarchy of looking down for others to blame. The serpent is a fellow creature exalting itself as an attractive alternative to the creator’s commands.
2 Corinthians 4:13 – 5:1
Paul is under pressure to defend his ministry. At Corinth other missionaries have turned up with more impressive credentials. There has been a groundswell of criticism against Paul and, as usually happens, people seem to have accumulated as much dirt as possible, including allegations that Paul collected money only to benefit himself and that when he changed his travel plans he showed himself a scatterbrain rather than a spiritual person guided by God. Worse still, he did not have an impressive presence and was no match for his rivals as far as miracles, powerful speech, and high connections were concerned. Some saw him as a rather weak pathetic figure. Paul refuses to play the game the way he sees his rivals playing a game. He is clearly annoyed by the distraction which the manoeuvrings of the rival ministers have created. Paul's way around it is not to play the game, but to assert the heart and focus of his faith. His hope rests not on outward rewards but something invisible. Ultimately by this he means: God.
Jesus, popular with the crowds but opposed by the authorities, has moved from attending the synagogue on the sabbath to daily teaching on the highways. On a mountain of divine disclosure (Exodus 19.9-25), he appoints twelve apostles (3.13-19), renewing the call of Israel’s twelve tribes (Numbers 1.4-16). Now he is home in Capernaum, in the sort of house where Mark’s readers themselves worshipped, with his new community called by God’s will, whom he calls ‘my brother and sister and mother’ (vv.31-35). The scribes from Jerusalem dismiss this movement as demonically irreligious. But the members of Jesus’ household are not seeking to divide, but to reach out to all who press at the door.