questioning Jesus’ Mark 8a deep sighs

15 Aug

There will be two shares on Mark chapter 8, today 15 August and tomorrow 16 August in our questioning Jesus series.

Today’s share, this day’s thoughts, will be on the two ‘why’ questions Jesus poses in this chapter.

‘Why’s’ are by their nature the deepest of questions, and Jesus asks both his disciples, the ‘insiders’ the Pharisees, the outsiders, whys. The first why comes to the Pharisees after the miraculous feeding of the four thousand. He then follows up this first ‘ why’ with a second one asking his disciples a ‘why’ after they misunderstand his teaching and warning.

We open with Jesus seeing the crowd, and he feels their hungers. They have been following and listening to his teachings,

6 “He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people, and they did so. 7 They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them. 8 The people ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 9 About four thousand were present. After he had sent them away, 10 he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the region of Dalmanutha.

11 The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. 12 He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to it.” 13 Then he left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other side.”

Pharisees ask for a sign, and Jesus’ deeply sighs in an answer. Jesus takes a breathe. He pauses and then creates this why, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to it.”

Jesus’ “why” here teaches. The Pharisees must have heard of the four thousand’s feeding. Now, they are hungry. They hunger not for food, but for clarity, a clear sign, or signs. ( would one sign be enough? I don’t think so. )

Pharisees need signs for a reinforcement of their own understanding. Jesus is bringing new teachings, deeper understanding. He brings truth. He brings himself, whom they cannot ‘see.’ Jesus is the, their sign, their sigh.

Nothing else is needed.

Jesus second ‘why’ has to be an even deeper sigh than his first. It is with his disciples,

14 “The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. 15 “Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”

16 They discussed this with one another and said, “It is because we have no bread.”

17 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened?18 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”

Twelve,” they replied.

20 “And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”

They answered, “Seven.”

21 He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

Jesus asks his disciples to understand; to see the facts of his feeding the hungry. He needs them to think, to understand, to live deeply with him, and with others.

He wants his disciples to see that the seeds, the yeast of Herod’s and Pharisees teachings, is not bread they forgot to bring on the boat, on their travels.

He is their seed; their saviour; their sign.

His deep whys, deep SF Ugg’s, are to soften hardened hearts; to open closed, judgemental minds.

Jesus wants them to live and walk; to eat and question, to sigh with him.

He wants us to sigh with him. And in our sigh, keep asking questions, ‘whys’ so all, can, will, understand.

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