Mark 8:11-13 Give Us a Sign

Is this the sign they wanted?

Is this the sign they wanted?

Today Jesus goes through a “face palm” encounter if I ever saw one. We join Him in the district of Dalmanutha on the Sea of Galilee. Surprise! Pharisees are there to question and argue with Him. Today it is: Give us a sign from Heaven so we will KNOW that You are who You say You are.

Seriously? Have they not witnessed the blind seeing? Have they not heard the demons cry out in fear AND call Him the Son of God? Have they not witnessed the lame walking? Have they not seen the dead raised, or at least heard the stories about it? Have they not listened to His teaching?

He teaches with such authority that He must be getting His information first hand. I’m pretty sure some of the Pharisees were present when He fed the 5,000. They seemed to be everywhere He was. So how was that bread anyway? I’m sure it was the best they ever ate, before or since.

I’m sure they have seen the change in His disciples. These crusty fishermen, now proclaiming the Kingdom of God and doing miracles in His name. What more do they want! Fire from Heaven like Elijah brought down? But their group didn’t even believe Elijah when he was alive either.

This group reminds me of my granddaughter. When I tell her it is time to stop swimming, she says, “five more minutes.” When that five is up, she asks for another five. We would be adding “five more minutes” until Christmas if she had her way. This is the Pharisees. “Just one more sign.” “No, one impossible to mistake sign.” The man who was blind from birth sure fit that description.

When I think of Jesus’ answer to the Pharisees, I see it with a little attitude. “He sighed deeply in His spirit” (verse 12). This can be taken in a couple of different ways. A sigh of frustration, a sign of sorrow, or a sigh of finality.

Frustration is what I started out with; “Seriously?” Did Jesus feel frustration over their constant deliberate ignorance? The Pharisees had so many opportunities to believe. They knew the scriptures better than anyone. They should have recognized the signs popping up right in front of them, yet they chose to ignore them. “Fine! If you don’t want to look, I won’t show you anything more. Figure it out for yourselves.”

The thing is, for God’s plan to work they had to act this way. Just like Pharaoh though, they weren’t being told or encouraged to do anything they weren’t already choosing to do. God knew their hearts and their actions before they even contemplated them themselves. God planned accordingly. He used their natural reactions to further His agenda.

The sigh of sorrow sounds a lot like Jesus. He truly wants everyone to be set free. The Pharisees choice to remain ignorant meant they were left in bondage. Seeing people hurt, hurts His heart. Was Jesus mourning their final destination? His harsh words on many other occasions leads me to believe that this was not really the reason behind His sigh.

The sigh of finality to me means that He was giving His last word on this subject. Kind of like, “talk to the hand.” He had no more to offer them on this subject and He wasn’t going to discuss it with them anymore. They refused to listen so why should He bother beating His head against the wall? This might have been part of His sigh, but He engages the Pharisees right up until He is taken away to the cross. Maybe He wished it would be the last time.

Jesus’ curt answer and quick departure probably spoke as much to the Pharisees as His words. Too bad this didn’t sink in either. I wonder if this encounter colored how He spoke to His disciples a little while later. His comments to them seem a bit stern. We will look at them tomorrow.

Lord Jesus, thank You for plainly showing Yourself to ANY who would listen. You performed so many miracles that it would take a library just to put them all down. You taught with authority and understanding beyond anything available here on earth. You fulfilled every prophecy ever written about You. You clearly demonstrated who You were, are, and always will be.

Would I have been convinced before the cross? I believe with the miracles I would have. I’m a skeptic and often reserve judgement for quite a while. I’m also very trusting of people. I have been told I’m sometimes too trusting, but I would rather give people the opportunity to prove my trust well founded than to deny them access to my heart. So I would probably have trusted You. Thanks for reminding me of those qualities You placed in me.

Thank You too though that I don’t have to make those choices. Thank You that I am on this side of the promise. Thank You that I can take advantage of 20/20 hindsight. Thank You that I recognize the truth in Your word. I really don’t understand how anyone could miss it. Probably the same way those in Your days missed the truth too. Please Lord, help my family see before it is too late. Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. Why not do it now willingly instead of doing it later with mountains of regret?

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