Bible Reading: Mark 8:11-21
“And he said to them, “do you not yet understand?” (Mark 8:21)
After feeding the four thousand, Jesus hops on a boat to Dalmanutha. There, He meets with some Pharisees who seek to argue with Him. The Pharisees wanted a sign to know that Jesus was the Messiah. Jesus sighed deeply at the question because He knew what was in their hearts.
Jesus knew that they did not really want to know the truth. Rather, they wanted to uphold their pride as religious leaders and always be looked upon as ‘righteous’ people. Their hearts were not opened in humility to acknowledge their wrong and acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah from the clear signs He had already given. Rather, they asked for a sign to get approval and honour for their ‘righteousness’. Jesus said, “no sign will be given to this generation.” He knew their stubborn and selfish hearts and left them, returning on His boat.
On the journey back, he said to His disciples, “Beware of the Pharisees’ leaven and the leaven of Herod”. What Jesus meant was that the disciples should watch out for having hard hearts like the Pharisees who did not want to repent but instead asked for more signs. However, the disciples had no clue what Jesus meant. They started discussing the fact that they had no bread on the boat.
Jesus says to them, “Do you not perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear?”. The disciples could not comprehend the spiritual truths that Jesus was speaking of. Instead, they worried about the physical matters of bread. They had forgotten that just earlier, Jesus had fed four thousand with seven loaves of bread.
Observe how stubborn, foolish, and clueless humanity is. Like the Pharisees, we are stubborn to repent and have hardened hearts that reject the Messiah, unable to perceive who He truly is. On the other hand, even those who want to repent and follow Him like the disciples are dumbfounded and have no understanding of who Jesus really is and have no idea what it means to follow Him.
To such a sinful generation did Jesus come. Why should Jesus come for people so immersed in sin? Why should He descend to earth for people blinded and deafened by their rebellion against Him? Our sin has caused us to reject God. Our sin has caused us to be dead to spiritual matters, having no understanding of the life that Jesus offers.
Romans 3:10-12 says, “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
Yet, for this stubborn generation, Jesus came. For the worthless and unworthy, Jesus came. Those who would humbly repent, He came to heal and give life. As Jesus heals the blind man at Bethsaida, so in Mark 8:29, Jesus heals the eyes of Peter so that he may see and proclaim, “You are the Christ”.
Have our eyes been opened? Have our sinful and rebellious hearts been healed? Come to Him in repentance and humility because He has so loved the world to condescend to us, a stubborn generation.
Lord, You are Holy and perfect, yet You came to earth to give hope to us, stubborn people and do not understand Your ways. Please help us realise how sinful we are, and please help us realise how big Your love is. Give us humble hearts and teach us in Your ways. In Jesus' name, amen.