Blind Unbelief is Sure to Miss God

Mark 8:1-21

During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.”

His disciples answered, “But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?”

“How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked.

“Seven,” they replied.

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. They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them. The people ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 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.

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?”

 

A repeat miracle. This is amazing.

This is taken advantage of. This is wasted on the many. By that I mean that God will not become visible all of the time. We will be required to adjust to Him.

 

If you fold this story into the account that follows the feeding of the 5,000 in John you see that Jesus’ miraculous feeding of the multitudes does not cause them to believe in Who He is. They do not follow. The miracles do not work.

 

  1. Jesus Feeds the Multitude

 

  1. Truth rather than food

        Spiritual issues prioritized over physical issues. The Spiritual        impacts the physical!

He feeds them so that they might learn about the kingdom         of God.

They need to learn because they do not know what God is      doing.

And their leadership is wrong! They are in staunch opposition to the message of Jesus.

Think especially about Jesus’ teaching on the temple: It will be destroyed. Abomination of desolation, flee to the mountains. Don’t get caught. What happened to those who did not flee to the mountains? What is the implication of the temple being destroyed? Exile. The end of the ability to sacrifice. They can’t keep the law.

 

  1. Historical food disasters

        In the Exodus, the greatest need of the people is that they would follow the covenant. Food was important, and it was a sign that God was caring for them. But manna did not cause them to follow!

I Corinthians 10:

For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.” We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test Christ, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.

11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

When you read the Old Testament, do you read about a nation of people who love and serve God whole heartedly? Or do you see a people who seek to get God to do what they want? Consider the Exodus:

They are fed manna in the wilderness every day. Do they follow the instructions? Or do they test God to see what He will do?

Are they satisfied with God’s provision or do they complain about what God provides for them?

Do they complain that they had it better in Egypt? Why would they do that?

During the time of the Judges, From Joshua to King Saul, how do they do?

During the time of the monarchy, how do they do?

And now, here at the coming of Jesus, how are they doing?

 

  1. Selfish requests

The woman at the well:

John 4: 13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

15 The woman said to him, Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

John 6: 32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”

35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Physical vs Spiritual

My will vs God’s will

Control vs Submission

 

  1. The Yeast of the Pharisees

        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?”

How can you possibly be concerned about bread when Jesus multiplies it?

 

  1. Yeast and sin

Unleavened bread is important in Jewish culture. Associated with         Passover/Exodus.

Yeast is a clear metaphor related to sin. Yeast is inside of the       dough. Yeast is transferrable. (Remember the issue of    uncleanness.) Any yeast at all is too much yeast. In order to get       rid of the yeast, you have to get rid of all of the dough that has         yeast in it. New wine, new wineskins.

You must purposefully work to get rid of the yeast.

Yeast causes the dough to change.

 

  1. What is driving the Pharisees?

        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.

 

  1. Pride of place
  2. A mistaken notion of the kingdom of God.

A mistaken notion of how Jesus would fit into their vision for the         exaltation of the Nation of Israel. David is the paradigm. Jesus is very much like David. But their ideas are selective. Their ultimate        goal is to win what they want to win.

Imagine an army where Jesus is acting on your behalf. Logistics   are a huge issue with armies. 80% of the army of the US is involved in support of the 20% that fight. How do you feed the   troops if Jesus is with you? He makes food. How do you manage the sick and injured if Jesus is with you? He can take care of      that!

Give me an example of Jesus demonstrating even one time         that He is interested in overthrowing Roman rule! Rather,   this is what He says: John 18:

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it    were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the       Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

In my mind it is always a mistake for us to think that God needs us to fight people for Him. This makes God much too small. There is a battle in our time where God fights people. Consider Revelation 19:

11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.”[a] He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:

king of kings and lord of lords.

17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, 18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and the mighty, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, great and small.”

19 Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army. 20 But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. 21 The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.

  1. Nation over God
  2. A demand for God to serve us

        Do you still not understand?

        This is where the mistakes lead! We determine what God is doing.

God is going to bless us. And we decide if we are being blessed.

We give God tests to decide whether or not we will get with the   program. There is a demand for a sign.

We make demands of God.

The sign of the prophet Jonah Matthew 12:

        38 Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.”

39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here.

John 7: 40 On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.”

41 Others said, “He is the Messiah.”

Still others asked, “How can the Messiah come from Galilee? 42 Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David’s descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?” 43 Thus the people were divided because of Jesus.

45 Finally the temple guards went back to the chief priests and the Pharisees, who asked them, “Why didn’t you bring him in?”

46 “No one ever spoke the way this man does,” the guards replied.

47 “You mean he has deceived you also?” the Pharisees retorted. 48 “Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in him? 49 No! But this mob that knows nothing of the law—there is a curse on them.”

50 Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked, 51 “Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing?”

52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee.”

Hebrews 12:

11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

III. The Warning is for All

Do you still not understand?  

  1. Signs point to Jesus

God does things in our lives, our response is to see Jesus as the         source of God’s grace in our lives.

 

 

  1. We are called to follow Jesus

He calls us to hard things at times: Deny self, take up cross and follow.

Blessed are the persecuted for righteousness sake.

Do not be surprised at the fiery trial.

I Peter 4: 12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.

 

  1. God will not change for us

Many fall away.

The Temple will be destroyed.

Jesus will institute a New Covenant

The Old Covenant will be fulfilled

The Kingdom of God will start small and become large

Our definition of winning will have to move away from how we     ourselves are doing.

God’s people will have to trust in Him and go!

I Corinthians 10: Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.