Study from God’s Word… Readings selected by Dr. Smith revealing Jesus teaching his Disciples about the inability to see Jesus’ kingdom teachings clearly ... from Mark, Chapter 8 and Matthew, Chapter 15 … Passage for Reflection: Mark 8: 17 - 18 … NIV Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear?
My Journal for Today: When a modern-day Christian reads and grasps what Jesus was saying to His inner twelve in today’s passage, we can feel the very human - and possibly divine - frustration of the Messiah Rabbi who had just fed thousands with a few loaves and fishes; and yet when he was trying to illustrate the spiritual poison His followers needed to avoid from the teachings of the Pharisees, Jesus’ buddies just couldn’t get it. Hence, we read Jesus’ tone of challenge to the twelve in today’s highlight passage.
And you know it’s pretty easy for me to sit here, believing as I do and having all of Scripture - Old and New Testaments - to pass judgment on Jesus’ Disciples. My wife has a saying when she encounters ignorance and stupidity of the highest order. She will say in those instances, “You just can’t deal with dumb!” And maybe that was a little bit of the attitude we read into Jesus’ retort to His disciples in the text for today’s study.
BUT - and it’s another big “BUT” - who am I to pass judgment on a Peter or a John or a James ... or even a Judas, for that matter, when there are just way many things about the kingdom of God which I’m sure I can’t perceive everyday? How many truths about what is going on in the world do I miss because of my own lack of discernment? I could just imagine God, the Holy Spirit, whose ministry it is to teach me Christ’s kingdom truths, thinking, “Bill, don’t you get it!” Or maybe even God is saying about Bill Berry, “Oh, by even My grace, how do I deal with such dumb!”
But no, that’s not how God deals with Bill Berry, nor was it how Jesus dealt - even though frustrated - with the twelve men God, the Father, had sent to The Messiah Rabbi to teach them. No, ... God patiently - and with infinite compassion and patience - deals with dumb disciples like yours truly. And as Jesus continued on with His disciples, teaching and giving these recruits more examples, more teaching, and more opportunities to see with their eyes and hear with their ears about the reality of Jesus, The Messiah, and Christ, their Lord.
Today Dr. Smith, my devotional shepherd during my 2010 trek through God’s word asks a probing (and for me, convicting) question, writing, ”For all that I think I know about the kingdom of God, what profound truths am I still missing?” And I can just imagine Jesus looking me in the eyes and asking much the same questions of me that He asked of his twelve disciples back there in Galilee.
But fortunately, I know that God, the Holy Spirit, will be patient with me; and as long as I doggedly pursue knowing His mind and His ways, He will be there, shining a light on my path and showing me His truths through His word. That is the promise of Proverbs 3: 5,6 as well as all of Psalm 119, so though I may be one of those “dumb” ones my God is teaching, I know He’ll keep showing me His mind as I pursue knowing it (check out the promise of James 1: 5,6 [linked here] in this regard).
My Prayer for Today: Lord, show me THE way - Your way. Shine Your light on Your truth so that I can see it clearly and follow You doggedly. Amen