The Compassionate Provision of Christ: Part 2

Mark: Life Imitates Theology  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  50:09
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Title: The Compassionate Provision of Christ: Part 2
And the Pharisees came out and began to argue with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, testing Him.
(Mark 8:11 LSB)
And sighing deeply in His spirit, He said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.”
(Mark 8:12 LSB)
And leaving them, He again embarked and went away to the other side.
(Mark 8:13 LSB)
And they had forgotten to take bread, and did not have more than one loaf in the boat with them.
(Mark 8:14 LSB)
And He was giving orders to them, saying, “Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”
(Mark 8:15 LSB)
And they began to discuss with one another the fact that they had no bread.
(Mark 8:16 LSB)
And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Do you have a hardened heart?”
(Mark 8:17 LSB)
(Mark 8:18 LSB)
“when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces you picked up?” They said to Him, “Twelve.”
(Mark 8:19 LSB)
“When I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of broken pieces did you pick up?” And they said to Him, “Seven.”
(Mark 8:20 LSB)
And He was saying to them, “Do you not yet understand?”
(Mark 8:21 LSB)
Last week we saw that if we are Christ’s disciples, He gives us what we need to serve others, but it is meaningless if we do not have the compassion Christ also has for those who are lost.
Along with Christ’s compassion, we see in our text today we must have His focus.
Thesis: If we are Christ’s disciples we must have the focus of Christ, if we are to have the compassion of Christ.
Intro: We continue through the Gospel of Mark and this “series within a series” concerning the Compassionate Provision of Christ. We will close this short series out in part 3 next week, but as for now we look at this week’s text.
This is a portion of Scripture that easily can be taken and twisted, meant to mean something that it does not mean.
It might make for a better speech, but it would be a flawed sermon, full of prooftexts and eisegesis and if you don’t know those terms ask someone who was coming to class this past Spring on Wednesdays.
If we aren’t careful, as we navigate our way through it, we may lose our focus - like the disciples - and become concerned with what doesn’t matter over what should.
And this is something we must constantly keep in check, as we follow Christ, ensuring we keep our eyes on Him, our focus on Him, as we follow after Him.
Let’s just dive into the the message this morning
To begin in our text we see that our focus must be on who Christ is, not what we want Him to be.
And the Pharisees came out and began to argue with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, testing Him.
(Mark 8:11 LSB)
The Pharisees must have been waiting on Jesus. If you recall, He only just got back to town, and they come swaggering up ready for a rematch.
Last time Jesus interacted with them, Jesus obliterated their legalism around the washing of hands - back in chapter 7 (Mark 7:1-13) - and likely humiliated them somewhat in the process. Their oral traditions were no match for His knowledge of the Law.
So now the come up for another round of debate.
But they don’t want to debate logic, philosophy, or the Law. They come to Jesus much in the same way the devil did. In fact, the word Mark uses for “testing” here, he has only reserved for the Pharisees and for Satan himself, when he tempted Jesus in Mark 1:13.
It’s testing, or tempting, in order to trap. That’s what the original Greek word peirazo (πειράζω) means, and that’s their intention here.
So they demand a sign, and not just any sign, they’re demanding a sign from heaven.
This means they want to see something performed either from Heaven or to Heaven. From God, or to God. It will, once and for all, confirm Jesus’ claims such as being Lord of the Sabbath, or His treatment of the Law, it will explain where His power comes from.
If you recall, in chapter 3, the Pharisees accused him of getting his power from the devil (Mark 3:22), so they’re coming to Him here, basically saying, “Fine, if you really are who you say, then show us a sign, do this or that, prove it.”
Who does that sound like?
And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” (Luke 4:3 LSB) So we see why Mark chooses his wording so carefully.
Many Jewish people were looking for God’s intervention in history - if you recall, the Pharisees believed they could bring God along to their cause if they just followed all the Law, and followed it perfectly.
So it is likely, and Second Temple period literature confirms, that they believed when the Messiah would finally come, He would confirm Himself with some miraculous, heavenly sign.
Some show of power that confirmed God was on the side of the Jewish people, acting powerfully, as He had when He rescued them from Egypt.
Well, in Jesus’ life where do we see such heavenly signs?
As He is being mocked by the Scribes and the chief priests, the day He was crucified, Mark tells us they get their sign: “And when the sixth hour came, darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour.” (Mark 15:33 LSB)
By the way this darkness is recorded all over the world - there are some historical records from as far East as Japan and as far West as Greece - all cultures with a written language of that time seem to have some record of it.
And it was during Passover, a time where there would be a full moon - so it’s not an Eclipse, it’s a heavenly miracle.
The Pharisees will have their sign, but it will be much later than their demand for one this day.
Lest we forget, their demand is not one of a sincere heart, anyway. They are only asking in order to trap Him, were there some sort of sign at this time, it would not be something that would lead them to worship, but only to further harden their hearts against Him.
Jesus knows this, that’s why He replies like He does.
And sighing deeply in His spirit, He said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.”
(Mark 8:12 LSB)
We have to remember, in the flow of this story, asking for a sign is kind of what the disciples were doing last week when we saw Jesus feed the 4,000.
If you recall, Jesus implied the disciples should begin feeding the crowd, and their response was, in a sense, “Why don’t you do it? Will you feed the Gentiles as you fed the Jews?”
Because you if you remember Isaiah’s promise about the suffering servant, if you recall anything about the Old Testament prophecies about the Christ, or the “root of Jesse” who is also an offspring of Jesse’s household...
Then it will be in that day, That the nations will seek the root of Jesse, Who will stand as a standard for the peoples; And His resting place will be glorious.” (Isaiah 11:10 LSB)
Or later in Isaiah when he writes: “Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul is well-pleased. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations.”(Isaiah 42:1 LSB)
We can understand Jesus’ frustration with the disciples that we’ll see in this text - they should have gotten this before anyone. Yet they were still wanting confirmation - just like the Pharisees.
This is why He sighs deeply, the Greek is anastenazas (αναστεναξας), and again it’s a groan of weariness and despair, not of frustration or anger.
The disciples had hard hearts, and this caused them to be unable to focus on Christ as He was, as they should see Him.
The Pharisees didn’t have a bad focus, they had a spiritual blindness. They’d seen Jesus heal diseases, cast out demons, even raise the dead, but they were convinced He did it all with the help of the devil.
They’d seen enough they should have reached the only possible conclusion - He was the Messiah - but they refused to believe it.
So Jesus refuses their request. To do anything else would be to contradict Himself, as He had already warned His disciples about such things.
Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”(Matthew 7:6 LSB)
Jesus isn’t going to waste another moment with these Pharisees. He’s not giving a sign to them - or to anyone. He says “Truly I say to you” and this alone is a shortened Greek form of the Hebrew phrases, “If I do such a thing may I die.”
In other words, in the harshest way He can, Jesus is telling these guys He isn’t going to do what they want Him to do.
They’ve seen enough, and the ultimate sign He will give them will be His broken body on the cross, and they’ll still deny Him, they’ll still mock Him.
This is what people do - we’ve seen this story so many times within Scripture we may lose count. We see it in human history. God does something miraculous, so we want to see Him top it as if He is some sort of magician for our entertainment.
We try to recreate it.
Someone once said it’s a good thing Balaam’s donkey didn’t happen in the 20th century or we’d all have a donkey on the church platform, and, frankly some churches do but we won’t go there today...
If we aren’t careful we miss something Mark is painting for us here. The testing of Jesus is no different than the testing of God Israel has done previously. Specifically at Massa and Meriba in Exodus 17.
We should also be aware of that story’s retelling in Psalm 95, but just keep that tucked away for a moment and let’s revisit that story.
The people have just left Egypt - they’d just witnessed miracle after miracle, plague after plague, and the Red Sea has parted - a whole Sea, and they walked across on dry land. God’s clearly in control of water...
Yet the nation of Israel makes camp and there’s no water for the people to drink. “Therefore the people contended with Moses and said, “Give us water that we may drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you contend with me? Why do you test Yahweh?” (Exodus 17:2 LSB)
And Moses goes on to pray and says “God they’re going to kill me if You don’t do something"(Ex. 17:4), and the truth if you study that event throughout Scripture - Moses will refer to it agin later in Deuteronomy a few times - the only reason they were going to stone Moses is because they couldn’t get their hands on God, Himself.
They’d stone God by killing His proxy - by stoning His prophet.
What do you think the Pharisees will soon try to do? They’ll try to stone Jesus - the'll want tostone THE Prophet, to stone God. It will happen soon in the timeline of Christ where the Pharisees will have enough of His claims. You can read about it John 8:58-59.
Jesus says He won’t give these people a sign, because He knows what they’re truly doing. And He says, “no sign will be given to this generation.
Remember, Psalm 95, what I said? It reads, beginning in verse 8: “Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, As in the day of Massah in the wilderness, When your fathers tried Me, They tested Me, though they had seen My work. For forty years I loathed that generation...”(Psalm 95:8-10a LSB)
Do you see? They demand a sign, and Jesus says, “No, we’ve played this game before, and I refuse to do it again.”
So He gets in the boat and leaves again.
And leaving them, He again embarked and went away to the other side.
(Mark 8:13 LSB)
Matthew’s account is a little different - before heading to the other side of the sea, He records Jesus rebuking the Pharisees.
He says to them - in a sense - "You can look at the sky and discern the weather, but when He’s healing blind people right in front of them, they can’t tell what’s going on?” Matthew 16:2-3.
An evil and adulterous generation eagerly seeks for a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” And He left them and went away.”(Matthew 16:4 LSB)
Of course, the “sign of Jonah” is a reference to His being in the grave 3 days. But then Matthew has Jesus leaving, too.
But, before we move on we have to see Jesus is not being petty or “taking His ball and going home.” He’s showing great wisdom here. This was a lose-lose situation the Pharisees put Him in.
If He goes ahead and whips up the type of miracle they’re demanding, it’ll be something huge. Something apocalyptic, something that’ll show God’s power and Jesus’ own rise as a powerful King… the exact opposite of what He has taught so far about the Kingdom.
Thus painting Him as a liar, a hypocrite, something God is not. It would make Him appear, in their eyes, as being not on the side of God but on the side of the devil.
Which, again, is what they’ve been saying for some time, if you remember: “He is possessed by Beelzebul, and He casts out demons by the ruler of demons.” (Mark 3:22)
To do some great powerful sign like they want - well that’s not something He’s been preaching, so you’re a liar, and clearly - by your own words Jesus, you’re a son of Satan because he’s the father of lies…
If He doesn’t do the miracle, well clearly He isn’t who He says He is, all he’s good for is a few healings and some snarky debate.
In their core, their demand of a sign came from a different vision for the kingdom. The signs He has given should be enough, so it tells us their vision of what the coming Messiah would do and what He’d be like are vastly different from the reality.
So Jesus says, “I know what you’re doing, and I know why you’re doing it, and I won’t fall into that trap.” He leaves, and the Pharisees likely high-five each other, thinking they got Him.
While spiritually, they rot further from the inside out. Their blindness keeping them on the shore, while God incarnate sales away.
Their vision was blurred, their focus blinded. That’s what kept them Pharisees and not disciples of Christ. Jesus was not who they wanted Him to be, and they wouldn’t follow who He was.
A true disciple of Christ wants their vision, their focus the same as His - not bending His will to ours, but our will, our vision for our lives, our focus, to His will, His vision, His focus.
Or we won’t understand His compassion when He provides it. And we certainly won’t participate in it when it is poured out.
The Next thing we should see is that our main focus should be on Christ, not what we don’t have.
And they had forgotten to take bread, and did not have more than one loaf in the boat with them. And He was giving orders to them, saying, “Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”
(Mark 8:14-15 LSB)
If you recall, they had 7 big baskets full of bread and fish left over after feeding the 4,000 - so they’ve either eaten much of it over the past few days, or they’ve given it away to feed others.
Or a little bit of both.
Now, though, they’re down to one loaf that’s left in the boat. Now, it could be they had unloaded those 7 baskets full of food and in their rush to leave the Pharisees behind, they’d forgotten to put them back on the boat.
These are the fun things Commentators like to get hung up on and they matter very little to the story or its application.
However, some suggest that the one loaf is symbolic, that the one loaf truly is a reference to Jesus - that while they may have had one loaf of bread in the boat, they had the Bread of Life with them, too, and that was sufficient.
Last week I mentioned this verse from John 6, but it’s worth reading again in context as the crowd - from the feeding of the 5,000 - has gathered around Jesus and wanted more food, and Jesus tells them they’re seeking Him not because they saw the signs, but because they wanted more bread… (John 6:26-27).
And the crowd asks if Jesus will give them manna from Heaven like Moses did, and Jesus replies saying, He is the manna from Heaven!
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me will never hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” (John 6:35 LSB)
And the disciples may have one soggy loaf of bread in the boat, but most importantly they have the Bread of LIFE with them!
And this is why Jesus begins to caution them concerning leaven of Pharisees and Herod.
Leaven, or Yeast, is almost always a symbol of evil in Scripture - only a small amount is necessary to make a loaf of bread, so a bad leaven, a bad yeast, would have a strong influence over the rest of the loaf.
Paul uses this illustration as well, in 1 Corinthians 5:6-8Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, also was sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
And again in Galatians 5:9 when he repeats: “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.
The leaven of the Pharisees clearly refers to their desire for a sign from God to validate Christ’s actions, but Matthew also clarifies that it is their teaching: “Then they understood that He did not say to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” (Matthew 16:12 LSB)
Not just their teaching but their hypocrisy as well. Jesus has called them out for this before, too. In Luke 12, ... He began saying to His disciples first, “Be on your guard for the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” (Luke 12:1 LSB)
and Herod would also desire a sign, if you recall.
In Luke 23:8, “Now when Herod saw Jesus, he rejoiced greatly; for he had wanted to see Him for a long time, because he had been hearing about Him and was hoping to see some sign performed by Him.
But Herod hasn’t requested that yet, so Jesus may be referring to something else - something Herod was also known for - wanting the praise of man, wanting to satisfy people rather than satisfying God.
He was known to use religion to bolster his power over others - something we also see in the Pharisees.
Of course, as a hypocrite himself, Herod had no real qualms setting that religion aside when John the Baptist questioned his ethics back in chapter 6.
Unless we forget, the Herodians and the Pharisees had become allies - naturally. Back in Mark 3:6And the Pharisees went out and immediately began taking counsel together with the Herodians against Him, as to how they might destroy Him.
So Jesus is warning the disciples of hypocrisy, He’s warning them about corruption, immoral conduct, bad teaching which infests a believer and is so hard to uproot once it has taken hold.
Even a little of that leaven ruins the whole lump of bread.
But the disciples misunderstand this. Their focus is once again on what they don’t have, not on Who they do have.
And they began to discuss with one another the fact that they had no bread.
(Mark 8:16 LSB)
The word for “discuss” here is where we get our English word “Dialogue”. It’s the Greek dielogizonto (διελογιζοντο), and it’s an interesting word that sort of escalates itself - it means they thought about the bread, then they wondered about the bread, then they began to talk or discuss the bread, until eventually they’re arguing about the bread.
We see how much of their time, their focus has been on their lack of bread.
We can easily understand why Jesus may be getting a little irritated about it in our next passage, but the point is their focus has been shaken.
Maybe they thought they could hold out until they got to the other side of the Lake and get more bread without Jesus noticing - but no, now he’s talking about leaven and that probably means He knows, which means He’s mad at us.
“Who was in charge of getting the bread, Thaddeus? Was that you? Thomas? Philip? Well it sure wasn’t me, I was in charge of making sure the boat was ready...”
Remember the Family Circus comic strip? It wasn’t much of a strip, just a circle with the family’s little funny sayings. In it there used to be two ghosts who did all the stuff the kids would deny - and their names were “Ida Know” and “Not Me”.
The disciples might be trying to find their own “Ida Know” here.
Seriously, think for a moment as if you’re in that boat. Jesus just got done verbally duking it out with the Pharisees, He is clearly frustrated with them, that’s why we’re in the boat to begin with.
Now he’s talking about leaven, about yeast, which goes in bread, the one thing we realized we don’t have much of.
You don’t think they’d have a guilty conscience? The problem is this is what happens when our focus is inward. On ourselves. On the world around us and what we are lacking verses Who is in the boat with us.
They’re on the Lake or Sea of Galilee, where storms could rise up and rage at a moment’s notice - we’ve seen them experience this very thing a couple of times in Mark’s Gospel, haven’t we? Jesus calms the storm, and when He walks on water?
Yet they’re concerned with bread.
We’ve seen Jesus feed thousands of people with very little, people who barely knew Jesus in fact, but they’re His disciples, do they really think He’ll let them starve?
Has He not told them, “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”(Matthew 6:31-33 LSB)
The problem is the disciples aren’t seeking that first, their focus is off. Their hearts are hardened. They’ve been so close to Jesus now for 8 months, travelling through Gentile territory, just time alone with Him, and somehow they’ve still missed it.
We must be careful or we will miss it, too. Our focus can become blurry, we can lose sight of Him if we are not vigilante.
We will lose our focus, if our focus is not on Him. If we do not remain disciples, the learning believers and believing learners we’re called to be.
If our focus is not on Him, we’ll become so enamored with so many other things, we’ll never act in the compassion of Christ.
And finally, we must keep our eyes fixed on Christ if we are to know Christ’s Compassionate Provision.
And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Do you have a hardened heart?”
(Mark 8:17 LSB)
Jesus begins His rebuke of the disciples here - and if you notice it all comes by asking questions. He never outright condemns them or even makes a statement - his questions are meant to expose what is in their heart.
Not to expose it to everyone around them, but each man to Himself.
Each one of them is going to feel the weight of conviction, and it is from here they will begin to regain their focus on Christ, and Who He is.
The first thing He asks them is “Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread?” and again, this was an escalation from their minds, their hearts, to their mouths.
Jesus is not condemning their talk, but the intentions of their hearts here. He is condemning their own spiritual blindness, their own lack of understanding.
He’s asked them similar questions before - back in chapter 4, when He asked, if they didn’t understand the parables (Mark 4:13), and later in the middle of the storm, He asked if they still lacked faith (Mark 4:40).
Next He asks if they still do not perceive or understand. These are two Greek words that have similar meanings: For perceive Mark uses noeite (νοειτε), which means to see with insight, or to reflect upon a truth. Could possibly mean “do you not yet observe the truth”.
The next word Mark uses is suniete (συνιετε) which simply means to realize what is happening.
These would have been sharp words, almost hurtful words to a disciple - yet words they must hear! I said this last week, but we often don’t like to hear words of rebuke or condemnation, but this is what it means to put yourself under someone else’s authority.
To be subject to their correction when it’s needed. Paul tells Timothy, “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:2 LSB)
It’s not fun receiving a rebuke, I promise it’s not fun giving it. But there is a time and a place for it. When you’re coming from a place of authority, we are to do it with great patience and teaching, Paul says.
I don’t believe Jesus had any pleasure in this discussion, He may have even been asking with tears in His eyes, but He has to make sure these disciples get this point.
They must focus on Him, trust Him, understand who He is if they’re to carry on His ministry once He has ascended to the Father.
And that clock is now ticking in the Gospel of Mark.
His words must have stung, and they seem to keep getting harsher, cracking like a whip against the disciples’ hearts.
“Do you have a hardened heart?” He asks. And the unspoken answer is, “Yes.” But it shouldn’t be.
We, as the readers of Mark, have known for some time that their hearts are hardened. Mark told us as much back in chapter 6.
for they had not gained any insight about the loaves, but their heart was hardened.”(Mark 6:52 LSB) and here, the loaves again point to the hardness of their hearts.
Hardness of heart is more than just thickness of head, lest we forget. It refers to their inability to understand due to a rebellious attitude. Being obstinate, like the Pharisees, and unresponsive to the truth.
We see this in Hebrews 3:8, “DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME, AS IN THE DAY OF TRIAL IN THE WILDERNESS,” which again points back to the waters of Meribah.
Jesus is warning them not to let the leaven of the Pharisees contaminate them, only now they are seeing that it already has.
So He continues...
“HAVING EYES, DO YOU NOT SEE? AND HAVING EARS, DO YOU NOT HEAR? And do you not remember, when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces you picked up?” They said to Him, “Twelve.” “When I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of broken pieces did you pick up?” And they said to Him, “Seven.”
(Mark 8:18-20 LSB)
Jesus quotes from the Old Testament, making this an even stronger rebuke, and man it might hurt if the disciples catch the references:
Jeremiah 5:21 is a rebuke not only of those with hard hearts, but simple minds, and it reads: ‘Now hear this, O people who are simpleminded fools and without a heart of wisdom, Who have eyes but do not see, Who have ears but do not hear.
If they believe Jesus is referencing Ezekiel 12:2 they might think He’s about to kick them out because it was referencing the exile: “Son of man, you live in the midst of the rebellious house, who have eyes to see but do not see, ears to hear but do not hear; for they are a rebellious house.
Neither one would be a disciples first choice of rebuke - either I’m simple minded or He’s about to boot me out of the group, right?
Jesus is not playing around here. But He pumps the brakes a little, and He says, “You remember the bread for the 5,000, how many baskets did you have left?
And they tell Him, “Five.”
Okay, “When I fed the 4,000, how many LARGE baskets did you have left?”
And they tell Him, “Seven.”
The implication from this line of thinking is, “Do you really think I’m worried about bread? Do you really think I was concerned about food? I’m concerned about your hearts!”
He’s designated them as apostles, if you recall, back in chapter 3 (v. 14), but do they still have the heart of a disciple? Do they still learn?
Do they get what He is truly concerned about? Is their focus the same as His? Because if it isn’t, their compassion will not be the same as His, their mission won’t be the same as His, their teaching, their preaching, it won’t be His.
They’d no longer be a disciple following Jesus, they’d become something else - something contaminated by the leaven of the Pharisee, or of Herod. That’s not what He wants for them.
That’s why He asks them this last question:
And He was saying to them, “Do you not yet understand?”
(Mark 8:21 LSB)
Jesus is, in a sense, repeating the question He asked back in verse 17.
The haunting fact is we’re not given an answer. The disciples sit in silence, because they still did not understand.
In the entire Gospel of Mark this is the harshest rebuke, the most severe Christ becomes with the disciples. He almost relentlessly hits them with question after jarring question - and the truth is, they still don’t get it.
But the hope is, and the truth is, they will.
It wasn’t all that long ago, the disciples asked one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?Mark 4:41
“Who is this guy?” I imagine in the boat, again, they’re asking that question of themselves.
But soon they’ll have an answer - and it will take the healing of a blind man for their focus to be adjusted.
As He again demonstrations His compassionate provision, and they begin to truly understand Who He is, and What He has been trying to teach them.
The question becomes - and I’ll close with this - do we get it? Is our focus on Him? Or are we looking at the one loaf of bread?
Are we looking at the storm, rather than Who we have in our boat?
Are we looking at the wind and the waves, or are we focused on the One who controls them?
Are we looking at the crowd, and asking how we can possibly feed them?
Are we looking at the lame, the sick, the deaf, the blind, and asking if He’s still the same God who heals them?
Some churches try so many things to reach people - so many different methods, different ways to accommodate the world that they too easily become the world, infected by its leaven.
That’s not what disciples do - it’s not what the church does.
I love the way Martyn Lloyd-Jones worded it, of course he was talking specifically about preaching, when he said, “God has not changed, man has not changed, therefore, the method should not change.”
Focus on Christ. Share His compassion with the world around us. Talk about Him, share Him - that’s the greatest act of compassion we can display.
We overcomplicate far too often.
Your life imitates your theology - what you believe about Jesus will show in the rest of your life - we see it in the disciples in our text. If they understood who they had in their boat, they certainly wouldn’t have worried about one loaf of bread.
We shouldn’t either.
Stand with me as we pray
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