Ladies and gentlemen, consider if you will Mark 8:14-21 —
They had forgotten to take bread and had only one loaf with them in the boat.Now, reflect:
15 Then he commanded them: "Watch out! Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod."
16 They were discussing among themselves that they did not have any bread.
17 Aware of this, He said to them, "Why are you discussing that you do not have any bread? Do you not yet understand or comprehend? Is your heart hardened? 18 Do you have eyes, and not see, and do you have ears, and not hear? And do you not remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the 5,000, how many baskets full of pieces of bread did you collect?"
"Twelve," they told Him.
20 "When I broke the seven loaves for the 4,000, how many large baskets full of pieces of bread did you collect?"
"Seven," they said.
21 And He said to them, "Don't you understand yet?"
First, did they lack information? No; the disciples had all the facts they needed to have both understanding and faith.
Second, what was the problem? The problem was that they did not remember nor reflect on the facts in evidence, the information they all possessed.
Third, what was the result? The result of the disciples' failure to make use of the information they had was that they had neither understanding nor faith. In fact, they were about as dim as one of Mr. Edison's original bulbs would be, today.
Fourth, what do we learn of Jesus? A couple of things. For one, in dealing with them, Jesus did not give up on them. They were dim, dense, and dumb; but they had not rebelled and rejected. They were still enrolled; and He still taught.
But also note: Jesus did not spoon-feed them. He did not baby them, nor coddle them. Rather, He challenged them. He poked them. He jabbed at their thinking, by a series of brief, terse, pointed, rather confrontive questions.
He was not the feminized Jesus of popular, religious sentiment. He did not say in effect, "Oh, my precious 'iddle oojie-goojies! Is 'ums puzzled? Aww, let Uncle Jesus make it better!" Far from it. He did not hand them the answer. He forced them to bring out the facts and do something with them; He rebuked them; and He left them with a challenge.
Our Lord's attitude would be better captured by "Boys — you've got to grow up!" (We'll later see the same reflected in Apoll... er, the author of Hebrews, 5:11-14.)
Now, ask yourself this:
- Might this cast any light on how Jesus has dealt with you, in your Christian walk?
- Does it give any instruction for how we should deal with ourselves, as we strive to grow in Christ?
- Does it give any instruction as to how we might deal with others whom we disciple?