A Deafening Silence
Father, You are the God of my times, my years, my days. I’m grateful that my times are in Your hands.
Read MARK 8:1-13
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
How can we combat spiritual blindness in ourselves? So often, we’re not aware of it! Make a list of steps you might take. How do you feel about it?
There’s a silence all through this story about the reactions and thoughts of the disciples. Once again, Jesus thrusts them into the front line, to organize the crowd and, then, set out to feed them with woefully inadequate supplies. Imagine approaching a crowd of 200 adults with a single chunk of bread, trusting that something will happen to make sense of the situation! They can manage obedience alright, as when they went out on their mission (6:7-13), but will they understand about the loaves this time (6:52), or will their hearts remain hardened?
The Pharisees illustrate blindness (11,12). At least the disciples have seen the sign—they were in the middle of it—but the Pharisees demand a sign immediately after Jesus has performed this amazing feeding, as well as many other miracles. It’s true they would have had to believe the testimony of others, but it seems that when Jesus says that no sign will be given to this generation (12), he means no sign ‘can’ be given to this generation. They are simply incapable of seeing a sign because something within them resists the sight. They demand one, but can’t receive one. No wonder Jesus “sighed deeply” (12).
The disciples have seen the sign, but have they understood it? That’s the vital question (6:52). Put yourself in their shoes, and ask yourself the same question. What does this feeding signify? How do you understand it? Make a list of possible meanings. If you can, compare notes with a friend who also reads Encounter with God. Did you make the same list? What motivated you as you chose different meanings for the sign? How can you know whether they are right or not? How can we be saved from our blindness, from our incapacity to see Jesus clearly?
We end today with uncertainty because that’s where this passage ends. What does that feel like? How can you be saved from spiritual blindness?
Father, at times I am a slow learner. I long for a hunger to learn from You, and to see Your truth made real in my life.
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