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Friday, January 12, 2018

2018.01.12 Hopewell @Home ▫ Mark 8:11-21

Questions for Littles: What are the Pharisees seeking from Jesus as they dispute with Him and test Him (v11)? How does Jesus respond even before He talks (12a)? What does He say after He sighs like this (12b)? Where does He go now? What had the disciples forgotten (v14)? How many loaves did they have with them? If five loaves fed five thousand families, how many could Jesus feed with one loaf? What does Jesus warn them to watch out for in v15? Why do the disciples think He said this (v16)? What does this show Jesus about their understanding and their hearts (v17-18)? What questions does He ask them, and how do they answer, in v19-20? What question does He leave them with in v21? 
In the Gospel reading this week, everyone is disappointing Jesus.

First, the Pharisees exasperate Him by asking for a sign. When someone says, “I don’t believe you. Prove it,” the problem isn’t necessarily that the one who isn’t believing doesn’t have enough evidence. Jesus had shown plenty signs.

We want to distance ourselves from the Pharisees, and say, “See! They hated Him so much that they still refused to believe in Him!” But does Jesus say that it was specifically the Pharisees who were asking for a sign?

Jesus says that this problem was one that belonged to their generation as a whole! And if it was a problem that was limited to the Pharisees, how would the warning in v15 make sense?

That brings us to His disappointment with the disciples. A parallel passage tells us at the end that they later understood that He was warning them about the teaching of Pharisees. The Holy Spirit has Mark leave that part out so that their lack of understanding will be front and center.

It’s kind of humiliating actually: “Do you mean you guys still can’t count to 12 or count to 7?” “Do you mean that you guys can’t remember all the way back to like… yesterday?”

But that’s just the point. No sign is necessary for the Pharisees or for the disciples or for Herod, because Jesus has given more than ample demonstration of Himself!

And this is true not only in Scripture but even in your own life, isn’t it dear Christian? How can you not count and recognize and remember how He continually spares you from the consequences of your sin, continually treats you according to His own love, based upon what His own righteousness deserves?
What might our hearts be secretly insisting that Jesus “would really do” if He is our Savior?
Suggested songs: ARP2 “Why Do Nations Rage?” or HB369 “How Firm a Foundation”

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