Open to Question
Healing and Sovereign God, overcome my dull, resistant ears so that I may hear Your transforming word. Draw me closer to You.
Read MARK 8:14-21
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.
The first “answer” to the problem of spiritual blindness is to be ready to be questioned deeply about our current understanding. But that can be very uncomfortable!
You have probably watched a news conference with the President. “Questions” and “answers” in this setting are often “attacks” and “counter-attacks”! The earth would truly quake if the President replied, “Hmm, that’s a good question. I must go away and think about that!” How would you feel, if someone questioned you as Jesus questions his disciples here? Would you jump to defend yourself?
The disciples are failing to “see” something, signaled by their anxiety that they don’t have enough bread. They’ve just seen Jesus multiply the stuff, but can they expect him to do that every day, and just for them, rather than for a huge crowd? So isn’t it reasonable to think that normal life has resumed? What are they failing to see and understand? Jesus warns them against the “yeast” of the Pharisees and Herod. The Pharisees are those who hear God’s word and make it void because their tradition is so strong (7:13). Herod is the one who hears God’s word and rejects it because he cares more for good public opinion (6:20,26). Both of them illustrate types of soil (4:14-19). How can the disciples be “good soil” now?
Look ahead to the next two stories. First, a two-stage healing of a blind man: Jesus restores first his sight (8:23, 24) and, then, his perception (8:25). What a wonderful picture of what needs to happen to the disciples! After that, Peter bears true witness: “You are the Messiah,” he says (8:29). The moment is short-lived because he doesn’t understand about the cross (8:31-33). We grow in understanding with difficulty, and by degrees. The key to it is absolute openness to change, and having our perceptions remodeled by the Master Sculptor!
Pray that the Lord will reshape your understanding however he wants, at whatever cost. Be open to his work.
Lord, I don’t want to be one who hears Your Word and doesn’t obey it. I want to be a person who has a life-long loyalty to You.