Review and Reflect on Mark 8:11-13

Begin by reading Mark 8:11-13.

Jesus is met by this group of religious leaders when he arrives at his destination. They want him to perform a sign for them. Moses did this with his staff and Elijah did this by calling down fire onto an altar. But Jesus will have none of it. He is not going to perform for these people who are simply looking for another way to reject and accuse him. Verse 11 says their motivation was to test him, it was a request made of Jesus out of their rejection, not out of faith. Their motivation is simply to discredit Jesus. If there are genuine obstacles keeping a person from believing in Jesus, he will remove them. This is not the case in this story. They were not seeking understanding, they were testing him. It is this attitude he refers to when he speaks of “This Generation”. If they cannot accept what they have already seen and heard, there is no point in any further demonstration of his authority. There is a difference between this Generation and the disciples though. The disciples are on the inside of the Kingdom of God and those of this Generation that Jesus refers to are on the outside. These people, like the Pharisees, see Jesus doing miracles and they hear him teaching, but they refuse to believe they are the work of God. The disciples believe what they see and hear, they just don’t comprehend it. It doesn’t fit into their way of looking at reality or their understanding of religious things. Jesus rejects that Generation which opposes him, but he remains patient with his disciples. They fail to rise to the occasion when they question how he will feed the 4000, but he doesn’t leave them. In verse 13 he leaves the Pharisees. They have responded with accusation not belief and with rejection rather than repentance. He gets into his boat and sails off.

Don’t allow what you face in this life to cause you to reject God. Often people have bad things happen to them so they blame God and push him away. They use their trials and suffering as a “test” for God’s goodness, concluding that since something terrible has happened, God must also be terrible. There are no easy answers to suffering and trial. But, if we reject God because of them, we are still left with no answers and we remain in our suffering. Jesus came and suffered in ways similar to how we suffer. He did this willingly to demonstrate his great compassion and love for us, and his desire to have us with him. He calls us to love him through our suffering. He gives us hope in the resurrection which is never more important thaninsuffering. Don’t fall into the trap of the Pharisees. We are invited to come in faith and when we do so, he never rejects us, he never leaves us.

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