Mark 8:11-21 (NLT)
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had arrived, they came to argue with him. Testing him to see if he was from God, they demanded, “Give us a miraculous sign from heaven to prove yourself.” 12 When he heard this, he sighed deeply and said, “Why do you people keep demanding a miraculous sign? I assure you, I will not give this generation any such sign.” 13 So he got back into the boat and left them, and he crossed to the other side of the lake. 14 But the disciples discovered they had forgotten to bring any food, so there was only one loaf of bread with them in the boat. 15 As they were crossing the lake, Jesus warned them, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod.” 16 They decided he was saying this because they hadn’t brought any bread. 17 Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he said, “Why are you so worried about having no food? Won’t you ever learn or understand? Are your hearts too hard to take it in? 18 You have eyes–can’t you see? You have ears–can’t you hear? Don’t you remember anything at all? 19 What about the five thousand men I fed with five loaves of bread? How many baskets of leftovers did you pick up afterward?” “Twelve,” they said. 20 “And when I fed the four thousand with seven loaves, how many large baskets of leftovers did you pick up?” “Seven,” they said. 21 “Don’t you understand even yet?” he asked them.
Lead Pastor, Hills Vineyard Christian Fellowship
Today’s story helps bring into focus the essential place of trust in our relationship with God. Mark’s narrative gives us people who are struggling to trust in Jesus and to see how God is using Him to revive all of creation.
The Pharisees have conditional trust. If Jesus would just give them a sign, then they would trust in Him. But Jesus knows they would really be trusting in the sign, not Him. Trusting in signs from heaven only produces the need for more signs in order to believe.
The disciples have limited trust. They have experienced the miraculous feeding of four thousand yet they are worried about having enough bread. Jesus’ warning about the ‘leaven’ of the Pharisees rings out at this point. Are the disciples influenced by the conditional trust of the Pharisees and, therefore, is their trust in Jesus limited?
The Pharisees and the early disciples longed for revival. Their level of trust in Jesus didn’t limit God’s revival, but it did limit their ability to see and understand it. It was easier to trust in signs rather than trust in the One to whom the signs point, Jesus.
I long to see revival. Maybe you can relate to that longing. Sometimes we ask God for a sign of revival, like what He is doing in another part of the world, to help us believe. But our story calls us to not trust in signs of revival but to put our trust and hope in the One who is already reviving His creation and renewing His church. Like the early disciples, we need the eyes to see how He is already reviving our valley and world. Trust Jesus for the revival your heart longs for, and you will see – it is already at hand.
Lord, help me to trust You more so that I might see how you are reviving my life, my community, and my world.
Dialog discuss: What would a “Christian” really do? When a Christian sees someone who is physically hungry, a Christian feeds the hungry person. Why? Because hungry people can’t understand the plan of salvation? No. Simply because that person is hungry. That’s what Christians do. And if a person is spiritually hungry, a Christian becomes “one beggar telling another beggar where he or she found bread.” Why? Because that’s what Christians do. Steve Brown Professor, Reformed Theological Seminary