Thursday

And he left them … (v 13)

Mark 8:11-13 Thursday 22 November 2018

Psalm: Psalm 38:1-8

Background

It’s impossible to believe that the Pharisees had no clue about what Jesus had been up to. Their agitation was exactly because this travelling preacher had been healing, teaching and now feeding crowds of people.

They could not, of course, accept that God’s kingdom was impacting their territory without their knowledge … and possibly their approval. They knew from their study of the scriptures exactly how to earn blessings. This maverick was causing real problems because he wouldn’t fall in with what they saw as the right way to live.

After some kind of conference between themselves, they decide to dispute with Jesus and to demand a sign: as Mark puts it “to test him” (v 11).

Jesus could have redirected them to their own scriptures. Our Old Testament is full of God’s hope that his children would live lives of grace and open-handedness both to the poor in their own communities and to those who were outside the covenant.

Jesus could have sat down and debated with them, challenging the ways they acted as “blind guides” (Matthew 23:23-25).

Instead he left them.

What a dreadful place to be in, that the Lord of Heaven would leave. More than that, he “sighed deeply in his spirit”. The language is of a gut-wrenching disease with the Pharisees’ blindness and refusal to see what God is doing in their very community.

The Pharisees, of course, have no idea of the implications of Jesus walking away from them.

 

To Ponder:

  • What is there in the contemporary that makes Jesus sigh deeply?
  • What’s so wrong with asking Jesus for a sign anyway? If something similar happened today how many of us would be looking for proof?
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