Monday, June 11, 2018

Mark 8:32b-33 - Peter Corrects Jesus

Mark 8:32b-33
32b And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. 33 But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and *said, “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” 

Message: Peter Corrects Jesus

Time: Mark's personal connection with Peter gave him the source material for this book. This book was composed probably between AD 57 and AD 59. It's a book that is on the move, leading to the cross. 39 times is the word 'immediately' used. Mark reveals Jesus as God's servant, reaching into the lives of people and effecting physical and circumstantial change.

What the Lord is Saying: 

Preface - Peter confesses Jesus as the Christ - the promised Messiah. He ordered the disciples to not tell anyone about it. Jesus provides more information about himself on the journey they are taking, remarking that he has a mission of suffering, rejecting, death, and resurrection. These things must happen in their time. Jesus has a greater purpose. In the meantime, keep listening to his message and seeing that he is different, radically different.After this is said, though, Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him. 

Peter rebukes Jesus, but Peter, in front of the disciples rebukes Peter and *said, “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” Thus, to resist Jesus' teaching is to act as a disciple of Satan, and this is true regardless of whether the person making the objection understands what he is saying. Peter was correct that Jesus was the Messiah, but wrong about what that would mean. Some say Jesus' response was harsh, but obviously Jesus thought it was necessary. And today, as people make errors and paint a Jesus that fits their ideals rather than the Jesus that is presented in the Bible, we should be just as harsh. 

I tend to not be harsh, only because maybe I don't understand it well and so as I see preachers harsh toward different sects of Christianity, I think it is sometimes too tough. But, maybe they see themselves acting in this same way as Jesus rebuking Peter. For example, we are not just justified by faith, but justified by faith alone. Jesus is of the same nature as the Father, not simply a similar nature. Sometimes we are a little careless with out use of words. I think we are lazy at times and don't make things a big deal. But, we do need to be precise. 

Summary - After Peter confesses Jesus as the Christ - the Jewish Messiah - Jesus states his mission of suffering, rejection, death, and resurrection. Peter rebukes Jesus over this, wanting to correct him. But Jesus sees that Peter misunderstands and exhibits tough love in rebuking Peter, calling him out as Satan because his words are motivated by man's interests instead of God's.   

Promise: We must be careful to be precise in our understanding of doctrine and capture all of the nuances of the Bible. If we don't know, it should not be a problem to state this.  

Prayer: Holy Spirit, as you confirm truth to me, I pray that I would accept that truth into my life. There are multiple views that I hear each day, but I want to be guided by Your Spirit so that you are defining my beliefs. Direct me on this path, so that I walk the straight and narrow, but also help me to know when I need to extend grace to people and when I need to be tough in upholding truth. I know you have given me a specific type of personality. May I continue to have wisdom in navigating all that is in this world today.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Mark 8:31-32b- Jesus Reveals His Purpose in Coming

Mark 8:31-32b
31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And He was stating the matter plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. 

Message: Jesus Reveals His Purpose in Coming

Time: Mark's personal connection with Peter gave him the source material for this book. This book was composed probably between AD 57 and AD 59. It's a book that is on the move, leading to the cross. 39 times is the word 'immediately' used. Mark reveals Jesus as God's servant, reaching into the lives of people and effecting physical and circumstantial change.

What the Lord is Saying: 

Preface: On their way to Caesarea Philippi Jesus questions the disciples on who others see that he is and who they believe he is. They get it right and He implores them to tell no one as his desire is to continue to be able to teach them about who He is. They are learning but have more to learn.

On the heals of Jesus telling them to not tell anyone about him and that He is the Christ, he then provides a little more information on this subject. It is not that he is saying he is not the Christ, but rather this is not the time to proclaim this. And He began to teach them. This is nice to read. Mark sometimes doesn't mention much about teaching but I also realized that the questions raised by the Pharisees and scribes has their basis in people desiring to continue to keep the law or a certain code of conduct in order to earn acceptance and Jesus is continuing trying to explain a different message of simply repenting and believing. Repentance is turning from sin, penance is doing a work to pay for your sin. We only need to repent.


Jesus speaks of the Son of Man, speaking of himself, so speaking in 3rd person. It seems here that he does this repeatedly to keep who he is a mystery. He is teaching, but who he is needs to remain a mystery somewhat. What we know for sure is he is different from the religion that has been at the core of thought prior.

The mission of the Son of Man, the eventual mission is to suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. So he is to suffer, be rejected, be killed and rise again. His mission is to suffer. Our mission many times is to suffer. We don't like it, but it is the truth. It is our intended path. But suffering comes first. 

And he is to be rejected by everyone that is of importance in the religious world of that time. Suffering and rejection are separate. And then he looks forward to death. Jesus predicts his fate here. It is an amazing thing. How is the resurrection valid? Well, Jesus taught it. That's pretty amazing. 

Although Peter had earlier acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah, the Christ. Here, Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. Peter doesn't understand the whole picture. And my guess is he responds like I would. I want to enjoy what I have with Jesus. I don't want him to die.   

The salvation message of the Father sending the Son, the Son dying for his people, and the Spirit applying the son's work to believers is still taking shape in the life of the disciples. 

Summary - Jesus provides more information about himself on the journey they are taking, remarking that he has a mission of suffering, rejecting, death, and resurrection. These things must happen in their time. Jesus has a greater purpose. In the meantime, keep listening to his message and seeing that he is different, radically different.

Promise: I am to read the entire story of the gospel. I'm seeing more and more that suffering and the message of grace is the picture that I need to see.

Prayer: Thank you Jesus for your mission and reminding me that suffering is not a curse. It is normal for things to not go my way. I thank you that right now the sufferings seem to be minimal in my life. I'm at an age that the kids are leaving and sure maybe their lives are tough and it's hard to watch, I still am thankful for the journey and the way you have taught me throughout that process. Thank you for that example that you are. Help me to keep carrying your message forward.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Mark 8:27-30 - Peter's Confession of Faith


Mark 8:27-30
27 Jesus went out, along with His disciples, to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way He questioned His disciples, saying to them, “Who do people say that I am?” 28 They told Him, saying, “John the Baptist; and others say Elijah; but others, one of the prophets.” 29 And He continued by questioning them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter *answered and *said to Him, “You are the Christ.” 30 And He warned them to tell no one about Him.

Message: Peter's Confession of Faith

Time: Mark's personal connection with Peter gave him the source material for this book. This book was composed probably between AD 57 and AD 59. It's a book that is on the move, leading to the cross. 39 times is the word 'immediately' used. Mark reveals Jesus as God's servant, reaching into the lives of people and effecting physical and circumstantial change.

What the Lord is Saying: 

Preface: Jesus is now in Bethsaida, a community believed to be north of the Sea of Galilee, perhaps near where the feeding of the 5,000 were. But a community not necessarily filled with a lot of belief but rather question. Jesus heals a blind man, outside the City, in a progressive manner, not all at once. He reminds me that his healing in his time, in his way.

From Bethsaida, Jesus now heads to Caesarea Philippi, a 32-mile round trip, so not a quick jaunt, but a long trip lasting multiple days. Others have said it is a 25-mile trip, climbing elevation. This text is about that journey and one of the things that was discussed on that journey.

Jesus asks 2 simple questions: Who do people say that I am? and Who do you say that I am? The response was that the first century Jews placed Jesus in the same class as the greatest prophets, John the Baptist and Elijah. 


And then the contrasting question is mentioned directly to the disciples and the response is was that Jesus was not merely a prophet, but the Christ, the Jewish Messiah. Earlier they had been questioned by Jesus for having a hardened heart, so their is a progression that has occurred in their understanding of Him as the Christ.

Early Rabbis recognized all of these passages as referring to the Messiah.
  • Messiah was to be born at Bethlehem: Micah 5:2 (Micah 5:1 in Hebrew Bible)
  • Messiah would be from the tribe of Judah: Genesis 49:10
  • Messiah would present himself by riding on an ass: Zechariah 9:9
  • Messiah would be tortured to death: Psalm 22:1-31
  • Messiah would arrive before the destruction of the Second Temple: Daniel 9:24-27
  • Messiah’s life would match a particular description, including suffering, silence at his arrest and trial, death and burial in a rich man’s tomb, and resurrection: Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Jesus response to the words of his disciples was consistent to his response at other times, and especially true based upon where they were headed - tell no one about Him. Let people figure out who I am, but he is on mission to preach to people but Jesus clearly does not want to stir the pot with those that do not accept Him. The disciples still had much to learn and Jesus wanted to teach them. Jesus knew his journey and there would be plenty of time for them to tell others, as he will commission them later to do this (Great Commission).

Summary: On their way to Caesarea Philippi Jesus questions the disciples on who others see that he is and who they believe he is. They get it right and He implores them to tell no one as his desire is to continue to be able to teach them about who He is. They are learning but have more to learn.

Promise: Jesus accepts the words from Peter, representing the group of the disciples, that He is the Jewish Messiah, the Christ.

Prayer: Lord, I believe in You. You are the Messiah. I look to You. I rest in who You are. Thank you for revealing yourself so clearly, to me.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Mark 8:22-26 - The Blind Man at Bethsaida

Mark 8:22-26 -
22 And they *came to Bethsaida. And they *brought a blind man to Jesus and *implored Him to touch him. 23 Taking the blind man by the hand, He brought him out of the village; and after spitting on his eyes and laying His hands on him, He asked him, “Do you see anything?” 24 And he looked up and said, “I see men, for I see them like trees, walking around.” 25 Then again He laid His hands on his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly. 26 And He sent him to his home, saying, “Do not even enter the village.”

Message: The Blind Man at Bethsaida

Time: Mark's personal connection with Peter gave him the source material for this book. This book was composed probably between AD 57 and AD 59. It's a book that is on the move, leading to the cross. 39 times is the word 'immediately' used. Mark reveals Jesus as God's servant, reaching into the lives of people and effecting physical and circumstantial change.

What the Lord is Saying: 

Preface: After feeding 4,000, the disciples still talk among themselves when they get in the boat and realize they have no food. Jesus simply wants them to look to Him. He is there provider. He continues to show them his hand of providence in all things, they still struggle with anxiety and worry.

Now they (Jesus and the disciples) are in Bethsaida. Jesus was in the district of Dalmanutha, near Magdallan, just west of the Sea of Galilee. Bethsaida is north. There is not much distance between the two places. The sea of Galilee is 8 miles wide. My guess is that it is about 8 miles between the cities, perhaps one could get there in 1 day.

As he arrives, a blind man is brought to Jesus and they implored Him to touch him. The blind man didn't come to Jesus on his own, but was brought to him. He brought him out of the village. It is thought that the healing occurred outside of the City because Jesus was concerned about the town's unbelief and he would refuse to perform miracles before those who continued to not believe or accept His teachings. Jesus is ready to answer questions of anyone that asks, and yet answering people's questions is not his mission. He is on the scene to change hearts and those people's hearts just want to question, not necessarily be changed.

There has been a remark here that this particular healing is unique because of the stages. One, Taking the blind man by the hand. Two, He brought him out of the village. Three, spitting on his eyes. Fourth, laying His hands on him. It isn't immediate, but progressive. In other instances, by now, the person would be completely restored and yet, here, the person is not. As after doing all of this the man's sight was not fixed: “I see men, for I see them like trees, walking around.” He has been spit on by Jesus and Jesus has laid his hands on him. Previously, a woman touching the cloak of Jesus brought about immediate healing. So Jesus does not embody a transformation. So, it isn't that all you have to do is touch him and you are saved, but Jesus has something to do with the healing, in his time.

There is a moment when Jesus decides to heal and sometimes he doesn't decide. Sometimes I wish the Gospel had a story about someone coming to Jesus and him not healing the person. Because it happens in life. Not everyone is healed. Some people implore him but are still not healed. And this is a hard thing at times to reconcile in our lives. And people not getting what they want, often results in no belief. People expect everyone to be viewed equally. But, in this lesson, perhaps is the reminder that Jesus makes the decision.

It states again He laid His hands on his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly. Why did this healing need two touches? It didn't, but it seems Jesus was communicating something more here, perhaps to this man, perhaps to us, perhaps even to the disciples.

Also, the faith of the blind man is never mentioned here. 

Summary: Jesus heals a blind man, outside of the City of Bethsaida, a place of unbelief, so he heals outside of those that would question him. He heals with progression, after placing his hand on the blind man two times. In the same way, we need to implore Jesus repeatedly.

Promise: God does not always do what we ask, when we ask; he has reasons. Healing can be a process. It can take time. It may not happen at all or in the manner we think it should.

Prayer: Lord, keep teaching me through these readings. As I read about the lessons you were teaching people at the time, you still can have a lesson for me today. I admit, at times, I do not understand the way you work, the suffering that people experience, the healing of some, but not of others. But, I am still a follower. My following isn't about you doing what I want, for you show me that I can trust You no matter what. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Mark 8:16-21 - The Disciples' Hardness

Mark 8:16-21
16 They began to discuss with one another the fact that they had no bread. 17 And Jesus, aware of this, *said to them, “Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet see or understand? Do you have a hardened heart? 18 Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember, 19 when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces you picked up?” They *said to Him, “Twelve.” 20 “When I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of broken pieces did you pick up?” And they *said to Him, “Seven.” 21 And He was saying to them, “Do you not yet understand?”

Message: The Disciples' Hardness

Time: Mark's personal connection with Peter gave him the source material for this book. This book was composed probably between AD 57 and AD 59. It's a book that is on the move, leading to the cross. 39 times is the word 'immediately' used. Mark reveals Jesus as God's servant, reaching into the lives of people and effecting physical and circumstantial change.

What the Lord is Saying:

Preface: Jesus continues his journey to preach the Gospel: Repent and Believe. Along the way I see 3 main ideas mentioned:
1. Healings that Jesus performs;
2. Lessons primarily to the disciples about the power of God.
3. Questions from the Pharisees about the validity of Jesus.
In the previous 2 verses, there was 1 verse from the disciples that there was no bread and Jesus responded by talking about the leaven of the Pharisees. I was a little bewildered with the leaven response after the exclamation from the disciples that they had no bread, but I suppose we are picking that up here now.

R.C. Sproul states, “We all need to examine ourselves in the light of God’s Word to be sure the deadly leaven of the Pharisees is not working in us, blinding us to the light and making us deaf to the life-giving Word.” Various places in the Bible it mentions that we need to guard our hearts. We need to not think that simply going to church every week or even reading our Bible regularly keeps us safe from temptations we have in our lives to have our light blinded. We always need to be on the alert.

Now I see the link between those words yesterday about the leaven and the disciples being more focused on the current condition of not having bread. The disciples are often staring at seemingly shortages in providence and assuming that their lack of something is a problem. Jesus clearly doesn't want them to worry about things. Instead of worrying God wants us to ask him for what we need. But their shortsightedness is frustrating to the Lord. He was saying to them, “Do you not yet understand?”

Do you have a hardened heart? - This seems like a strong statement by Jesus. I mean, a hardened heart because they are not trusting God for his providence but instead worried about their next meal? That's it. They are worried about their next meal. They are worried. And Jesus is like, "don't you get it. You can trust me."

But, I struggle with even this. I spend so much of my day worrying. I'm concerned about so many things. But, aren't these things to trust God on? Or are they? I think that is where I struggle. I mean, how far-reaching do I apply this? For instance, my son and his problem of not listening to us. The fact that he comes home late at night sometimes, after midnight, way past our curfew. He isn't out every night late, but sometimes, maybe once a week he will come home at 2am. Do I say anything? Sometimes I do. His behavior will change one evening and then he will be back at it. Do I say anything again? Where on this continuum with him do I simply say, "God I trust you." Or am I supposed to intercede as a parent? Lord, that's where I struggle. I read these words to trust you, but what does it mean? I struggle with being passive or active in my life. It is an either/or sort of thing for me. I don't know how to do both. We've set a priority of school and yet, it feels like the priority is only our priority and not his.

His heart is hard. That's clear. But, is mine hard too? I mean, is it hard because I'm not trusting you but instead relying on what I know? Here, Jesus, explains to them everything. when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces you picked up?” They *said to Him, “Twelve.” Here is the evidence guys. I took five loaves and I fed 5,000 and there were leftovers. Jesus is saying, "Guys, I took care of your need for food, for the meal, and for after that." When I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of broken pieces did you pick up?” And they *said to Him, “Seven.” Two times he does it. Two times. He provides.

Summary - The disciples don't get it. Jesus keeps taking care of their needs and yet, the disciples continue to not see it. They continue to be bothered and worried that they don't have what they need. Jesus calls out that they have a hardened heart. God is providing, but they are not trusting Him and at the next moment, they are worried about their next meal. Jesus reviews to them what he had done in feeding 5,000 and 4,000 and having food left over. They see it. But, do they understand?

Promise: Jesus teaches us continually. He continually shows us his ways. I do not have to worry. He will take care of my basic needs, not necessarily all of my needs but He is there. I can trust Him. I don't need to worry.


My Prayer: Lord, in these verses, you seem impatient with your disciples. It is like you are tired of them not believing in you, not trusting in you. You are with them through everything and you continue to provide. And they continue to not trust. Is this me Lord, as well? I feel like it is because I wallow back and forth between reading Your Word and even memorizing it, and then not trusting. I have this problem of wanting to be in control. And when I don't get my way, I get mad or sad. I've never noticed this before God, but my heart is hardened. I always thought a person with a hard heart was someone rejecting you. But, these disciples dropped everything to follow you and then struggled with faith in you at the given moments of their lives.
That's me.
That's me.
Lord, I take this moment, out of my day and for this moment, I see myself. I see that my heart is hardened. Lord, I don't know even know how to pray at this moment, what to pray for, so I will just rest in You. And trust that you will speak to me. 

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Mark 8:14-15 - The Leaven of the Pharisees and the Leaven of Herod


Mark 8:14-15
14 And they had forgotten to take bread, and did not have more than one loaf in the boat with them. 15 And He was giving orders to them, saying, “Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”

Message: The Leaven of the Pharisees and the Leaven of Herod

Time: Mark's personal connection with Peter gave him the source material for this book. This book was composed probably between AD 57 and AD 59. It's a book that is on the move, leading to the cross. 39 times is the word 'immediately' used. Mark reveals Jesus as God's servant, reaching into the lives of people and effecting physical and circumstantial change.

What the Lord is Saying: 

Preface: Jesus continues his journey to preach the Gospel: Repent and Believe. But not everyone believes. He sees in people differences of belief and unbelief. Along the way Jesus has a desire to meet people's needs as many have needs and have sacrificed much simply to come see and hear from Him. But the Pharisees are also questioning Him, seeing in Him something much different from the tradition of the time. Most recently, he has declared to the Pharisees that he isn't there to put on a magic show and show them a sign as he knows mere signs will not bring them to faith.

Those questions from the Pharisees in verses 11-13 were an interlude and now Jesus comes back to the disciples, who were with him, entering a boat, on their way to the district of Dalmanutha, the region of Galilee. After feeding the 4000, they ate and were satisfied; and they picked up seven large baskets full of what was left over of the broken pieces. Then Jesus entered the boat with His disciples. And now we read they had forgotten to take bread, and did not have more than one loaf in the boat with them. So after feeding 4,000 and having bread left over they got into the boat, but left the bread behind or maybe they had sent it with the 4,000 people who were returning their journey home. Either way, they did not have bread. 

But Jesus wants to teach them something through this process as he always does. It is like he can't seem to get through a message with the disciples. They continue to make their decisions about what they can see in front of them. Jesus is trying to have them look at life through His eyes and what God can provide. They are not to look at life just with one sense: their eyes. The message of the Gospel includes beholding the Power of God and believing in it. It is believing that God can change circumstances beyond what we can see or even according to our understanding (Prov. 3:5). It is trusting in the power of God. It is a sobering lesson and reminder to me as I navigate through life. Is my hope in life short-sighted? 

Jesus transitions to a statement on leaven. Leaven expands dough. Leaven or yeast ferments the starches in the dough and cause the dough to increase in size. Without it, the dough would just be flat and not rise. One does not need much leaven, but just a little is needed. Leaven is a common term used in the Bible and it generally is speaking of sin in a person. The little amount of sin, while seemingly insignificant has far-reaching outcomes. 


So, Jesus says Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” Look out, even the little amount of leaven that the Pharisees bring forward can transform what is good and useful into something bad and useless. It is unclear exactly what was being referred to that would taint things, but no matter, there is the warning that a little can change a lot in life. 

I notice this. In life we tend to call out the big sins: murder, corruption, embezzlement, adultery, alcoholic or other addictions - we call out the things that society might throw you in a jail cell or prison for a long time. Right now, in our country the issue is sexual harassment. And that itself is a good example, because that is something that may seem insignificant to one person, but to another person, the offending party, it materializes into something bigger. I notice in life then that what we often do is dance with danger. In a subtle manner, we allow things to come into our lives and view them as harmless and over time they take over. 

I continue to be amazed at American society and this age of entertainment in which we live in. All o life seems to center on this, to the point that we are now in a constant state of not simply rewriting our morals, but abandoning them. So, we must be careful, as Numbers points out, be careful in our lives of what we are allowing to effect it.  

Summary: Jesus continues to teach through all of life's circumstances. This is the amazing thing about Jesus is he takes any situation and teaches. Here the disciples have gotten on a boat without the food they had and Jesus startles them with the idea that they need to be aware of how they can in a subtle way be drawn away. He uses the bread to speak of the leaven. Don't get caught up in what you don't have.  

Promise: From Tabletalk - When we harden our hearts even just a little bit and refuse to obey God on what we might consider a minor matter, we introduce leaven in our lives that can spread to other areas. It is imperative, therefore, that we regularly repent of our disobedience and seek to obey the Lord in all of life. We should be striving for obedience in all matters, not just the really "big" ones.  

Prayer: Lord, help me to value all of life and to take seriously all my choices  of how I spend my time. I want to not only glorify you, but protect myself from the way I allow matter into my life that does not please you. Guard us Lord. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Mark 8:11-13 - A Generation that Sought a Sign

Mark 8:11-13
11 The Pharisees came out and began to argue with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, to test Him. 12 Sighing deeply in His spirit, He *said, “Why does this generation seek for a sign? Truly I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” 13 Leaving them, He again embarked and went away to the other side.

Message: A Generation that Sought a Sign

Time: Mark's personal connection with Peter gave him the source material for this book. This book was composed probably between AD 57 and AD 59. It's a book that is on the move, leading to the cross. 39 times is the word 'immediately' used. Mark reveals Jesus as God's servant, reaching into the lives of people and effecting physical and circumstantial change.

What the Lord is Saying: 

Preface: Jesus, after spending get-away time in Tyre and Sidon and Decapolis area also heals a demon possessed daughter and a blind man. Prior to this Jesus was emphasizing to his disciples and even the scribes the focus on the heart of man, as the Pharisees continued to emphasize the outward works. Jesus is really concerned about the heart. He spends time with many people, who have come from far away to see Him and then he takes care of their need to eat, using what has been provided, multiplying it for what everyone needs. He then leaves, with the disciples on a boat to the district of Dalmanutha.

I haven't done an entry in 2 weeks, simply allowing the other parts of life to fill up my time. We were on vacation for 6 days attending a wedding in Atlanta for my wife's nephew, but in general I have not been prioritizing time in the Word. Therefore, it is taking me a moment to get my mind wrapped around this text. In general, I think Jesus is trying to continue his message of repent and believe pronounced after his baptism. He is willing to teach many things along the way, often dispelling people's assumptions about Him or the way they have previously been trained to think of God.

After feeding the 4,000 he goes with the disciples to the town of Dalmanuthu or Magadan, in the region of Galilee. Mark mentions that as Jesus came into the City, The Pharisees came out and began to argue with Him. The Pharisees arguing with Jesus was not uncommon. Jesus continues to share with the Pharisees the idea of the inside, the inward, motivations rather than the outward. But, this goes against their thinking. And it goes against our thinking today. We still live most of our life and judge life based upon what we see.

Thus, they were seeking from Him a sign from heaven, to test Him. For them, having Jesus was not good enough. I often think today if people could just see Jesus then they would believe, but many would still not be changed. Here he was living and working in people's lives and yet, many were still not convinced. Here, they were somewhat demanding proof.

Jesus' response: Sighing deeply in His spirit. I think it is great how we consistently get to experience in the Gospels, the humanity of Jesus. Jesus was fully human and even though he was God he thought and expressed himself often as a human. And this is an example. Undoubtedly He was amazed that people who had already seen or heard directly from those that had seen Jesus remained unbelieving. He must have realized that nothing he says will be good enough. This is the tragedy in life often, that people are sometimes so set in their ways that change or seeing something differently is not possible. We become conditioned to think and believe a certain way. And so this is Jesus' response. There was a stark difference in people for the healing he had previously performed were coming from people that did believe in him. Where these Pharisees clearly did not believe.

Summary: Jesus, even after all he has done, still receives words of unbelief from so many. And this reminds us that some people have a stubborn spirit and will only change as the Lord softens their hearts. Jesus here is in the town of Dalmanuthu, in the area of Galilee and this reading has the Pharisees questioning him, again.

Promise: Nothing we can do or say can convince those that have hardened their hearts to believe in Christ. Only God can overcome it.

Prayer: Lord, soften hearts. My heart breaks for people to not be convinced of you. My heart breaks when people think their physical needs must be met first. Lord, you have healed us eternally and have saved us today, tomorrow, and for all time. Lord, for those that do not follow you, I pray that their hearts would be softened by You God. I continue to pray Ezekiel 36:26 for many - I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.