Thursday 10 November 2011

Bible Book:
Matthew

"You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times." (v. 3)

Matthew 16:1-12 Thursday 10 November 2011

Background

The Pharisees ask for a sign - but no sign is given to thisgeneration. Christian witness would be made so much easier if asign could be given to this generation. Interestingly the Phariseesask this question immediately after the feeding of the 4,000 (Matthew15:32-39) - surely, a sign if ever there was one!

But then the disciples panic - and they have witnessed much more.They are worrying because someone forgot to pack the picnic! So,after Jesus has had an altercation with the Pharisees about signsand after he has presided over the feeding of 4,000 people - thedisciples wonder where the next meal is coming from.

And Jesus points out to them that not only have 9,000 people beenfed over two events, but that there was more to hear and see ifonly they inhabit the right story, or know of a greaternarrative.

Weren't there 12 baskets left after the feeding of the 5,000?

Weren't there 7 baskets left after the feeding of the 4,000?

This suggests that there was an abundance, and that within theactivity of Christ there is an extravagance, a generosity that hasno comparison. But the disciples are still worried aboutlunch.

Doesn't it suggest that the impossible became possible? Thatmiracle, however you want to define it, is not an illusion but aplace where the unreal becomes real. Can the disciples not realisea better, alternative future?

Furthermore isn't there something wonderful about the numbers 7(the perfect number, the days of creation and rest) and 12 (thetribes and the disciples)? Can the disciples not see that theybelong to a much greater story?

To Ponder

What do you worry about?

What have you witnessed God doing in the worldand in your life that might offer some hope at times ofanxiety?

How might you gain a greater, deeper appreciationof the epic story of God and God's own people?

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