Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
Numbers 26-28; Mark 8
14 Jesus’ disciples had forgotten to bring any bread, so they had only one loaf with them in the boat. 15 He gave them strict orders: “Watch out and be on your guard for the yeast of the Pharisees as well as the yeast of Herod.”
16 The disciples discussed this among themselves, “He said this because we have no bread.”
17 Jesus knew what they were discussing and said, “Why are you talking about the fact that you don’t have any bread? Don’t you grasp what has happened? Don’t you understand? Are your hearts so resistant to what God is doing? 18 Don’t you have eyes? Why can’t you see? Don’t you have ears? Why can’t you hear? Don’t you remember? 19 When I broke five loaves of bread for those five thousand people, how many baskets full of leftovers did you gather?”
They answered, “Twelve.”
20 “And when I broke seven loaves of bread for those four thousand people, how many baskets full of leftovers did you gather?”
They answered, “Seven.”
21 Jesus said to them, “And you still don’t understand?” (Mark 8:14-21, Common English Bible)
I know many of you have heard the ongoing debate between my wife and me over the appropriate description for math in our lives. Cindy argues, “Math is your friend.”
My reply is very different from hers. I like to say, “Math was invented by demon possessed people who are out to drive us all nuts.”
What there is no argument about? I would never have survived college algebra without her tutoring me through. I struggled. I didn’t get it. I didn’t understand it. When the semester came to an end, finals were over and I had gotten my grades and there was a “C” next to College Algebra, there was a party at the Broyles house. I am not sure who was happier about my survival, me or Cindy.
When I started reading today’s reading from Mark’s Gospel, and I got to the last verse of the passage above, I thought I was hearing Cindy in my ear during one of those tutoring sessions again. She would sometimes spend hours trying to force something into my pea brain only for me to show, once again, I didn’t get it. Well, really it was more like showing, I still didn’t have a clue. In near exhaustion from this monumental task, Cindy would ask something like, “All this time and you still don’t understand?” The truth was, no I didn’t. I still don’t. I have no clue what that problem is I picked out for today’s post. It looks like Martian to me.
In some of the verses from Mark 8 that precede the Scripture reading for our post today, The Pharisees were challenging Jesus for a sign. They want to see a sign. For his part, Jesus tells them they won’t see a sign. Sometimes signs aren’t there. Sometimes we have to trust, we have to have faith. The writer of Hebrews says, “Faith is the reality of what we hope for, the proof of what we don’t see” (Hebrews 11:1, CEB). We sometimes must accept what we don’t see.
For the twelve, however, things were a bit different. They had seen signs. They were witnesses to the feeding of the five thousand that we read a few days ago. They were witnesses to the feeding of the four thousand that is also a part of today’s Journey Through Scripture readings. Jesus reminds them that, not only did they see him feed so many people from such a small amount, there was more left over than what there was when the meal first began, and that is just the leftovers! Further, Jesus didn’t just do it once with 12 baskets of leftovers, he did it a second time with seven baskets of leftovers.
As they cross the lake they lament their lack of bread, only one loaf. After telling them, in essence, the signs the twelve had already seen, Jesus closes our lesson by asking his question, “And you still don’t understand?”
Sometimes the things Jesus had to say were difficult to understand. It is obvious this was difficult for the twelve. And, I am not trying to claim some great insight that is superior to the twelve. That is far from the case. But, it seems to me that Jesus might be saying, “When God is with you, what you have will always be more than enough.” Well, at least that has been my experience.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
With Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved