Year 2 Day 343
Read - Mark 8:10-13
Message - Alan Burke
Normally I try to break the passage into sections so we can work our way though it, this week were going to do something different. We are going to look at these three verse and draw a few things out because these verses are all ‘A Sign Of Disbelief’. As we come to this passage think to where we were last week in Mark’s gospel, Jesus had fed the four thousand in the region of the Decapolis a Gentile region and in v10 we are told that he went to the region of Dalmanutha. We don’t know exactly were this place is, scholars have various theories but what matters is not specifically where it was but rather that it was a Jewish region and what took place there.
Jesus had just fed the four thousand, they were Gentiles in a Gentile region, they were outsiders who were being included in God’s redemptive plan. But here as Jesus returns to those who should be insiders, who are the people of God, those who should know God’s plans and purposes, well don’t get it. They might have eyes but they did not have sight to see them or the perception to understand who Jesus was and is.
We are told of the Pharisees coming to question Jesus, to test him, they ask for a sign from heaven (V11). Now were going to break down this verse, I’m going to draw a few things out of it to help us to really get the idea of what is going on here. Now I’m aware that some of you have the NIV before you, others will have the KJV others the ESV and remember these are but translations of the original Greek they all do a pretty good job, some better than others, and there are differences in how they translate this engagement with the Pharisees.
Firstly if you have an NIV or a KJV before you what we are told is that the Pharisees, well they began to question Jesus. The ESV on the other hand puts it slightly differently, or rather very differently, they began to argue with Jesus. Here the ESV gives us a better emphasis, but it’s still a little weak. For these Pharisees, well they came out and began to, well yes they were question and yes they were arguing, but it’s much much more forceful than that.
The greek uses two words about their coming to Jesus, ‘rule’ and the other is ‘dispute’. Rule gives us an idea of their attitude and the emphasis behind the word in greek that is to dispute is that of questioning. What we have here is these pharisees coming to Jesus, and yes they were coming to him but it wasn’t with a nice wee question, it wasn’t for a point of clarification, they were coming to Jesus not so much looking for an answer but to harangue him, to argue with him, this was one of those engagements that if you were to have seen it you would have thought this is about to kick off, if it happened out on the square, suddenly people would be scattering, or more probable today people would get their phones out and start filming it. You get the idea.
Well here that’s what we have as the Pharisees on what you could say is the war path, you know when you meet people and you just don’t get in their way. They are coming to harangue Jesus, to harass him, they are there to argue with him, there not there to engage with Jesus, even though it’s framed as a question its not really, not to discus and debate about matters, they are there full of hostility towards him. It wouldn’t have mattered what Jesus had done before them, their demand was a ‘A Sign Of Disbelief’. Some believe that the supernatural the extraordinary, the exciting, the experience is what will draw people to salvation but it didn’t work for the Pharisees and the scriptures teach that faith comes though hearing, we might want the experience, the wonderful story the miraculous even a sign from heaven but faith comes from hearing the word of Christ (Rom 10:17) and it is what we need, week in week out. What you need Christian is a solid diet of the word of God, it’s what I need and it’s what you need and by it God works by His Spirit, either drawing us to Himself or hardening our hearts.
Q96 What is the Lord’ s supper?
The Lord’ s supper is a sacrament, wherein, by giving and receiving bread and wine, according to Christ’ s appointment, his death is showed forth; and the worthy receivers are, not after a corporal and carnal manner, but by faith, made partakers of his body and blood, with all his benefits, to their spiritual nourishment, and growth in grace. (1 Cor. 11:23–26)