Mark 8:11-26 11 The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. 12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” 13 And he left them, got into the boat again, and went to the other side.
14 Now they had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. 15 And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” 16 And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. 17 And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” 20 “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” And they said to him, “Seven.” 21 And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?”
22 And they came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him. 23 And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” 24 And he looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking.” 25 Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. 26 And he sent him to his home, saying, “Do not even enter the village.”
We are all slow to understand spiritual things and the disciples were no different. At this point in Jesus’ public ministry He had performed an amazing miracle of feeding over 4,000 people similar to His earlier miracle where He fed the crowd of over 5,000. This miracle was to show that the Gospel was opened to the nations as the seven large leftover baskets represented the seventy known nations at that time. At the same time Jesus was more directly condemning the teaching of the Pharisees and the religious leaders. The Kingdom of God that Jesus was establishing would be very different than what the Jews had expected. No longer would one nation be considered above the rest but individuals from every nation would be brought into this Kingdom as a part of the Church. God still has a special place for the nation of Israel and there will be a great harvest of Jews who repent and believe that Jesus is the Christ before His second coming one day in the future but at this point in Jesus’ ministry He was teaching His disciples to let go of their false beliefs about who they thought He should be and to submit to God’s perfect plan of salvation. Jesus had just healed a deaf man and following this miracle He heals a blind man who at first sees blurry trees. The disciples were themselves struggling with their vision and hearing as what Jesus was teaching them was not what they wanted to hear and challenged a lot of their deep rooted beliefs as Jews.
Each and every one of us generally have deep rooted beliefs that are contrary to the Word of God and His plan of salvation. Often they come from those who are regarded as experts in society or within our own culture. It is easy for us to think that we aren’t that smart- that we don’t have the same education or knowledge that they have and yet unless they have been given their understanding from God it is likely to be flawed. Or perhaps we have been practicing and believing something for so long that we believe that it cannot be false. Or we may have been presented with a false view of Jesus Christ and the Gospel and we can’t see Him for who He really is because of past experiences and deep wounds that we have from someone who claimed to be a Christian but was in fact a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Or even in our own church or denomination we have been taught a certain set of beliefs and are conditioned that anything else must be wrong. But no matter who we are, if we are willing to humble ourselves and really examine the Scriptures for what they say we will see what before we could not see, we will hear what before we could not hear, and we will be amazed! We will see everything clearly!
Our ability to see clearly is not dependent upon our education or family or upbringing. It is dependent upon the Word of God and the Holy Spirit who will reveal this to us. All that Jesus was teaching His disciples only increased their reliance upon Him as the only true source of Truth. He alone was their guide. He alone as the Son of God had the authority to correct the previous errors that they had believed based upon the common teaching as given by the Pharisees and scribes who were supposed to be the experts in understanding the Old Testament Law. It is a wonderful characteristic to be willing to be challenged and to examine what you believe. For what you believe will determine who you are. Your views and understanding about God and Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit and salvation will determine how you live. While we must come to stand upon our convictions about what we believe if we are to be born again, we must at the same time be willing to re-examine everything continually. Not that we come to deny our relationship with God through Jesus Christ and deny the foundation of the faith as we ask questions and try to understand but that we recognize that:
Romans 11:33-34 33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?”
How much do you understand about the things of God? Have you been led to a place of true repentance and faith in Jesus Christ or are you still blurry to the very foundation of the faith? Have you been willing to let go of the false teachings that you once believed? Have you been willing to let go to the anger and the bitterness from the hurts and the wounds that you blame God for? Do you see Jesus Christ as your only guide or are you still relying upon the wisdom of man and the so-called experts who do not know Him? These experts, while they may be looked up to and honored among men, may be blind and deaf. Beware of eating the bread of their teaching. Do not fill yourself upon what they say and teach but upon the Words of Jesus Christ. He challenges the heart of every man, no matter who we are. He alone is God and He alone has all knowledge and He continues to speak to us through His Word as we read or listen to the Bible. He does not need to speak to us through an audible voice as He did in the Old Testament. He can speak directly to our spirit through the Word of God. He can speak to you in your inner man and give you a knowledge of Himself that will fill you with peace and love as you come to surrender to Him and to know Him. His message will challenge us as He challenged the disciples but we can come to a place of knowing that we understand; we believe!
Pastor Murray Hack