Friday, April 1, 2011

Lent Day 20 - Mark 8:1-21

"Do you not yet understand?" Have you ever tried to teach and the class failed to grasp what you were trying to impart? Or has the fear of that kept you from teaching? Take heart: Jesus too had this problem. Following another miraculous feeding story (only a mere 4,000 this time) there is farther misunderstanding by the Pharisees and Jesus' own Disciples. Ironically, Mark puts the Pharisees request for sign following the feeding story to help us see how it was actually a test and not an honest inquiry. Then the disciples misunderstood Jesus' teaching about the "leaven" of the Pharisees and Herodians. Jesus quotes to the Jeremiah 5:21 in exasperation. That is to say what was happening in Jeremiah's day is happening again. Instead of following God, they are following the whims of political pressure and selfish concerns.
What similarities and differences do you see between this miraculous feeding story and the feeding of the 5,000 in Mark 6? One similarity is how Jesus includes the disciples. What might that say about discipleship? How might Jesus' compassion for the crowds (v. 2) be a part of that as well?
What signs have you demanded in the past as a prerequisite for belief? How is this testing God?
Why do you think Jesus warns the disciples of the Pharisees' "leaven"?
What do you think would make Jesus quote Jeremiah 5:21 to us today? During this time of Lent is a great time to examine our lives in light of this question.

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