Year 2 Day 338
Read - Mark 8:4-7
Message - Alan Burke
Let’s be honest, there are times that we are all a bit slow on the uptake. We can all likely remember many days in school when something was taught to us by our teacher and we had to put our hand up and admit it. These disciples are no different, they were just like us and time and time again I at least am reassured by their portrayal in the gospels. For they are not super spiritual followers who get everything and get it right all the time instead they are just like us. It’s now been a while since these disciples were called to be with Jesus, they had seen some amazing things, they had witnessed first hand the miracles of Jesus, they were there when Jesus had fed the five thousand and they still can only see and state the obvious. Look there in v4 “But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?”
Remember back in Chapter 6, how they were there with Jesus as he preformed this miracle before them? They shouldn’t even have had to think twice, they should have known but at the same time they were fallen, sinful people just like us who can all be slow on the uptake. Well here just like before they were in the situation they faced they didn’t understand who they were with, not really.
The reason that the disciples don’t understand, they don’t shout out with their Sunday school answer “Jesus, the answer is Jesus” (because in Sunday school at least for me the answer nearly always was Jesus). Is because they haven’t yet perceived and don’t yet understand that Jesus is the answer, because witnessing a miracle isn’t enough. It is what we have seen in the gospels, people see the most astounding things but they do not believe.
We might suppose that that’s what we need, we need signs and miracles, wonders today but the heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim his handiwork (Ps 19:1), God’s invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made, so that are without excuse (Rom 1:20). We see every day, but we do not understand until the Spirit works in us. These disciples had seen so much, they had seen Jesus heal the sick, calm the storm, feed the five thousand, but they simply do not yet understand who Jesus was and is. Yet Jesus once more teaches them, look what He asks in v5, simply how many loaves do you have, and a few small fish. These things may seem insignificant especially with the crowd before Jesus but again thanking God in communion with the Father, Jesus breaks these loaves given them to the disciples. Another object lesson for these disciples of who they were with, an object lesson in trust, in the need of prayer, in the need to stop looking to themselves but to look to Jesus.
What I want to leave you with is this. There are times that I am slow to learn, there are probably more times that I am slow to learn than learn and we are all the same. Yet we can look back years later and see how God has been at work in us. We should thank God for his compassion and his patients with us how God has been teaching us and transforming us in the midst of it all. In the future these disciples would be able to look back and understand, the object lesson they had that day, to trust, to pray, to stop looking to themselves and look to Jesus.
Q92 What is a sacrament?
A sacrament is an holy ordinance instituted by Christ, wherein, by sensible signs, Christ, and the benefits of the new covenant, are represented, sealed, and applied to believers. (Gen. 17:7,10, Exod. 12, 1 Cor. 11:23,26)