Mark 8: 11-26

11The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. 12He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to it.”13Then he left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other side. 14The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. 15“Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.” 16They discussed this with one another and said, “It is because we have no bread.”17Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened?18Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember?19When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?” “Twelve,” they replied. 20“And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?” They answered, “Seven.” 21He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

 Comments

What grabs you in the text today?  Often what stands out to you is the Holy Spirit’s way of drawing your attention to something important God wants to talk with you about.  For me, it is the deep sigh of Jesus.  That sigh likely reflects Jesus’ deep disappointment in the absence of faith the Pharisees display.  He had already healed, fed 5,000 people starting with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish, and 4,000 more with seven loaves of bread.  How could they have seen his power and graceful abundance and not been moved to faith?

Next, Jesus warns the disciples not to lack faith like the religious leaders, but the warning already seems too late!  The disciples are already concerned about their next meal!  No wonder Jesus inhales deeply and lets out a great sigh!  I wonder if he is thinking, “Saving these people is going to be harder than I thought.”

So what about our faith today?  What worries and concerns do we carry with us that may be laid down at the foot of the cross in exchange for faith in our resurrected Lord?  Is there anything too great for our God who overcame death, Hell, and our sin to handle?  Can anything separate us from his love?  Paul in Romans 8 reminds us that the answer is “No!  In all things we are more than conquerors.”

I’m one who believes that we should feel an appropriate concern over important responsibilities God has given us for his mission, but too often I find that I cross some line from there into worry, fear, and exhaustion.  “I’ve got too much to do.  How is it ever going to get done?”  Today, I imagine Jesus heaving a deep sigh and thinking, “Really, dude?  I’m the King of the Universe, the resurrected Lord, the one who walks on water and can make enough bread out of thin air to feed 5,000. Don’t you think I can handle it?  Why not trust me to handle it with you?”

It’s not that God takes away all of our responsibilities.  It’s more true that God gives us his grace and presence to do all that God calls us to do well.  We are yoked with him, as a big ox is yoked with a little ox in the plowing of a field.  We are not to worry or fret.  The big ox is more than capable of doing what we cannot, yet expects us to use the gifts he has given us to do our part.  May God give us the grace to trust him by faith the Jesus is more than enough.