Monday 14 February 2011

Bible Book:

"Why does generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation." (v. 12)

Mark 8:11-13 Monday 14 February 2011


The Pharisees feature regularly in Mark's Gospel as theopposition to Jesus. Historically they were an influential group ofreligious teachers who sought to reform the Jewish people by strictcompliance with the law of Moses and their interpretations of itsmeaning. And at many points Jesus differed from them.

Here they are presented as demanding a 'sign' from heaven (that is,from God), some miraculous event which would authenticate Jesus andso induce them to accept his teaching as God-given. There are manyexamples in the Old Testament of such signs. For readers of thisGospel there is a particular irony in the request, because in theimmediately preceding passage (verses1-10) Jesus has miraculously fed a crowd of 4,000. But there isno indication that we are to imagine the Pharisees having beenpresent.

The Pharisees do not stand alone, however. They are typical of"this generation" in looking for proof before committingthemselves. But proof is not to be given. As the readings fromMark's Gospel throughout this week illustrate, what is called foris faith based on insight, and the courage to commit ourselves. Thebasic failure of the Pharisees is that they are not willing to takethat step. They do not expect a sign. Their question is merely to'test' Jesus, that is, to expose him as a fraud for not producingwhat they demand. As we sometimes say, 'there is none so blind asthose who won't see'.

To Ponder

In what ways today do we look for proof tobolster our faith?

If there are no proofs for what we believe, towhat extent does that mean that faith is irrational?

This week's theme is 'The Light of Glory'. Canglory be seen in things that are not obviously glorious? Whatexamples of this come to mind?

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