Scripture: Mark 8:1-26
Observation: Jesus performs another miracle, feeding 4,000 people from seven loaves of bread and a few fish. The Pharisees press Jesus to perform a miracle and prove his authority, which he refuses to do. Jesus tries again to get his disciples to understand his true authority, and the chapter ends with him healing a blind man.
Application: In school, I was exceptionally good at grammar. Words came naturally to me, and I knew every simple spelling and grammatical rule without skipping a beat. Some of my favorites included:
- “I” before “E” except after “C” and with the “Ch” sound.
- You place a comma before a conjunction -- but only if what follows the conjunction is a full sentence.
- The Oxford comma is a real thing! “He eats, shoots, and leaves” is VERY different than “He eats shoots and leaves.” The Oxford comma saves lives, people. USE IT.
The rules go on and on and on. Often, I was the resident proofreader for my friends before they handed their papers in, and I’d often get frustrated at their lack of grammatical knowledge, small things we’d gone over thousands of times. They’d put commas in random places or forget commas altogether; they’d string run-on sentences together like it ain’t no thang. (And they’d use phrases like “it ain’t no thang” in an English Lit paper.) I’d constantly say, “We just talked about this! How do you not get it?!”
(Side note: The tables were turned when it came to math – I’d often hear them say to me, “We just talked about this! How do you not get it?!” What comes around goes around, I guess.)
When I imagine Jesus in the boat with his disciples who are starting to worry that they didn’t bring enough food with them, I hear him say: “We just talked about this! How do you not get it?!”
Here’s what worries me: The disciples had a front-row seat to Jesus’ miracles. They saw him feed 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish. Then they saw him feed 4,000 people with seven loaves of bread and a few fish. They picked up leftovers. Yet, they still sat on the boat arguing with each other because they hadn’t brought any bread – as though Jesus himself, the one who multiplied something out of virtually nothing, couldn’t provide for and sustain them. They didn’t get it.
Do we see Jesus in small, everyday miracles like answered prayers and restored relationships? Do we see Jesus in the big miracles, the ones where our friends are healed of their addictions and our family members are healed of disease? Do we attribute any part of our life simply to coincidence, to modern medicine, to good counselors, to luck? Or do we see Jesus in all of it and believe that he can do it over and over and over again?
If a miracle happened in our lives today, would we even see it?
Or would Jesus be there asking us, “Don’t you understand yet?” (verse 21)
Let’s vow to see Jesus in everything. Let’s see him in restored relationships and answered prayers and addictions that have no hold on us. Let’s see him in the highlight reel of our lives and the small, silent moments that no one else sees. Let’s see him when he feels close to us and let’s see him when he doesn’t feel close to us – but we know he is anyways. Let’s see him in the big and the small and the in between. Let’s open our eyes. Let’s understand.
Prayer: God, I pray my eyes would be opened and my heart softened to you today. I pray I can see you in the big and the small and the in between. I pray I’d look for you and trust in you and know you’re close to me, even when it doesn’t feel like you are. Amen.