November 14, 2008
I was discussing with a friend the other day all of Danni’s medical situations when it dawned on me how fragile is her condition. As I thought about this I realized that every day she lives is a miracle! We are seeing miracle after miracle day after day as the Lord gives us fresh mercy. Just one more day with Danni.
Matt led our family to Mark 8 last Sunday. As we read verse by verse stopping at each one that spoke something to us I realized that my focus had been on the miracle instead of the Miracle Maker. I had to repent and get my eyes focused in Jesus’ direction again.
Mark 8 begins with Jesus feeding the four thousand…I love what the Lord says in verses 2-3 he was so concerned about the basic needs of the people. He has compassion when he looks at them and doesn’t want them to collapse.
I thought about the long journey we have been on with Jesus and how he brought this word with compassion to us to help us understand so that we didn’t collapse. Jesus used miracles as a teaching tool to reveal more of who he was to the people.
When Jesus feeds you there is a lot to go around. He fed me, so I will break this bread and fish with you. May it be multiplied to feed multitudes in Jesus Name Amen!
Verse 11 of Mark 8 reads as follows…when he landed on the shore... “the Pharisees came out and began to dispute with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, testing him.”
They wanted a miraculous sign and in verse 12 Jesus tells them they won’t receive a sign. Seeing their hearts he recognized that they just wanted him to prove himself to them and he didn’t see the need, he didn’t answer to them.
He gets back into the boat (vs. 13) and begins to teach his disciples about the attitude they had just encountered in the Pharisees only his disciples have bread on the brain! I laughed out loud at their response and then realized many times it’s my response! Many times I don’t understand what Jesus is saying.
In verses 17-21, Jesus is saying, don’t you get it? It’s about attitudes not bread! If we need more bread I can handle that didn’t I prove that to you? It’s about the attitude that says prove who you are Jesus but the Pharisees wouldn’t have believed even if they would have had a sign. The need for a miraculous sign is a distraction; they didn’t want to know who Jesus was they just wanted proof. God isn’t one to do things because little humans demand.
I used to think that this chain of events was not related but the flow here is beautiful. Next, a blind man is brought to Jesus for him to heal (notice what Jesus says to the disciples in verses 17-18). Jesus first addresses the physical with spitting on the man’s eyes and then asks him if he can see. The man says he sees people and they look like trees.
The disciples and Pharisees were blind as we are many times.
Here is one of the few times when Jesus heals someone that it happens progressively and not immediately. Jesus then lays his hands on him again (vs. 25) and tells him to look up! (NKJ Version) How profound! Look to Jesus! And then the man saw everyone clearly and is told not to tell anyone.
It doesn’t say this but is it possible that the man saw Jesus for who he was (Messiah) as healing was brought to his eyes the second time? Did Jesus heal his physical eyes and then the eyes of his spirit? This is good prayer food!
In verses 27-30 Jesus asked his disciples “Who do men say that I am?” and Peter is divinely given the right answer to the question, “You are the Christ”. Then Jesus tells the disciples not to tell anyone just like he did the blind man. I found this interesting. Perhaps the blind man did receive the revelation of Jesus the Christ.
Jesus does these awesome miracles because he has compassion on the people. He also wants to teach his disciples something about himself. He wants to reveal himself to them so that they would find out more about him. It isn’t so much about the miracle as it is that we get to know him in a deeper way and see him for who he really is…our savior.
I had to think of my motives for asking for a miracle. Motives are important when we are in prayer about anything. (James 4:3) Weren’t my motives to make everything like it was before? End the suffering?
But Jesus looks at me and says, “Who do you say I am?” (Mark 8 27-30) He wants deeper relationship. He wants to reveal himself in a more profound way. He wants us all to know him in a way we never have known. I had to repent of my shallow, selfish thinking.
Whether or not a miracle happens is none of my business. He just wants me to know him more so I asked God to put in me a deep desire to know him more and I will leave all miracles to him.
The scripture goes on in verse 34-38. Here I had to switch to the Message version to understand what Jesus was conveying. It reads like this, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering, embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you?...”
In seeking the miracle, I wanted to run from the suffering but this trial must work its deeper work in me that in some way I turn to Jesus and say help me understand, help me to know you and how you work in a deeper way. Let these circumstances bring me into a greater intimacy with you.
This should be my focus, Jesus, and not what he may or may not do for me.
November 14, 2008