Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Do you not yet understand?

Text: Mark 8:14-21

It is too easy, way too easy for me to again berate the disciples for not getting it. What are we going to eat? There are twelve of us, but only one loaf. How are we going to divide this up so that we are all able to eat? Did anyone bring a bread knife? This might take some precision if this is going to work. When you read this you want to scream, “really? Come on guys! Really?”

Jesus does the "screaming" in a much more gracious way. He asks them about their previous experience with a bread shortage. What happened then? Jesus recalls for them how much bread they had and how many had to be fed. He asks them one question, how many leftovers were there? They were able to recall in both situations the exact number of baskets left over, twelve and seven to be exact. Those two situations had an impact on their life, they remembered. Then Jesus asks them the pointed question, do you not understand? Do you not understand that I can provide for you even with one loaf?

I was reminded this morning, that these were just fisherman and tax collectors by previous occupation. They were just ordinary people. Maybe these passages of their ignorance and stupidity are examples for us to contrast with the great work each of them did in spreading the Gospel in the book of Acts. When you get to the end of Acts 1, you see the disciples huddled around after just losing their Master. Very soon after the Holy Spirit is bestowed on everyone at Pentecost and the amazing spread of the gospel begins.

I fall into the trap of saying, wow look at these disciples now! Such bumbling idiots turned into preachers, teachers and evangelists. How amazing, what a transformation they accomplished! Studying through the book of Acts you understand that all the great work was only possible if they followed the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit in their life. They were so in tune with the Holy Spirit that as He guided, they went, and were blessed and blessed many.

I believe this text in Mark is supposed to point out to us the frailty of the disciples, supposed to give us a contrast for the work done in the book of Acts. We read two thousand years later not wondering what the full history is, what ever happened to this bumbling bunch? They don't change, they are still bumbling, but there is a big difference, the Holy Spirit. It's like the Word of God through the book of Acts is saying, do you not yet understand? The things that you do, the things that you think of as amazing, it's not of you. It's all of the Spirit of God working in you! A perfect illustration seen in the disciples.

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