Speaker: Rev. Dr. Mark Crumpler
Date: March 12, 2017
Text: Red Letter Jesus: Do You Still Not Understand?
14 Now they had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. 15 And he cautioned them, saying, "Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod." 16 And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. 17 And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, "Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 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 did you take up?" They said to him, "Twelve." 20 "And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?" And they said to him, "Seven." 21 And he said to them, "Do you not yet understand?"
1. Read Mark 8:11-13. Immediately prior to this episode, the Pharisees had demanded a sign from Jesus in an attempt to test him. How does Jesus respond? What does this suggest about Jesus' ministry and about his miracles?
2. The feeding of the four thousand takes places just a few verses prior to this event-probably earlier the same day. Mark connects the two episodes by reminding us that, "they had forgotten to bring bread" (v. 14). The disciples then get into a discussion about the fact that they have but one loaf between them. What does this suggest about their powers of observation and the nature of their faith in Christ?
3. Jesus issues a warning to his disciples: "Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod" (15). Reread 8:11-13 and also Luke 23:6-12. What is Jesus referring to? What is the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod?
4. Hearing them disciples discussing their shortage of food, Jesus proceeds to ask them eight questions. What are they? What point is Jesus trying to make?
4.1. Question 1:
4.2. Question 2:
4.3. Question 3:
4.4. Question 4:
4.5. Question 5:
4.6. Question 6:
4.7. Question 7:
4.8. Question 8:
5. In response to Jesus' final question, the disciples respond correctly-"seven" (v. 20). How does Jesus respond to this correct answer? What does this suggest about the disciples' understanding of the identity and ministry of Jesus?
6. Have there been times in your life when despite the fact that Jesus is present, you are unsure of what he is actually doing? Why? How has God used those times to deepen and grow your faith?
So often we see but do not understand. Indeed, we cannot understand and receive your grace unless you first draw us to yourself and give us new life. Turn our hearts back to you. Open our minds and our hearts to understand your purposes both in our lives and in the world. Help us to follow you faithfully, even as our faith matures.