Week 9: When Jesus Refused a Miracle

Read: Mark 8:11-26

Reflect: Let’s inventory all the miracles we’ve seen Jesus perform as we go through Mark. Up to this point, we have seen paralyzed men walk; the sick are healed, storms calmed, demons cast out, the 5,000 have been fed, Jesus walked on water, deaf men hear, and just before this moment, 4,000 more people have been fed.

Jesus has performed miracle after miracle, wonder after wonder, and even then, here come the Pharisees. They approach Jesus with an extreme level of arrogance and audacity. “You’ve done a lot of small-time miracles; how about you really show us something!”

I can understand Jesus’ response! It says, “He sighed deeply in his spirit.” Whenever I tend to sigh, oftentimes, it is out of a sense of exasperation or frustration. Despite all he has done, he is still ruthlessly questioned by the Pharisees. A few verses later, even his own followers are unwilling to ask Jesus for help despite all they’ve witnessed him do!

Unlike the Pharisees and the disciples, we then see a group of people in Bethsaida beg Jesus to heal their friend. They don’t question Jesus’ credentials or qualifications, and they don’t argue and worry amongst themselves. They simply stand before Jesus and beg him.

Jesus performs miracles not as an attempt to convince hardened unbelievers but to demonstrate God’s power in the context of mercy. He does so out of his love for us.

In our world today, things aren’t much different. We have many people who still demand “proof” despite the facts we have about Jesus. There are believers who, despite the ways they’ve seen Jesus show up in their lives, try to go through life on their own strength, refusing to ask him for help. We also have people who, in moments of desperation, ignore any obstacles, stand before Jesus, and beg him for help.

Next Step: Ask yourself, which one of the groups are you in today? Are you still looking for proof, some miraculous sign? Are you a follower of Jesus, struggling to ask him for help? Are you past those things and actively begging him for help? No matter what category we find ourselves in, he engages us with love and care. Lean into and remember the faithfulness of God today.

Pray: God, I thank you for your unending faithfulness. I thank you for who you are. Despite the season I am in now, despite my questions and my doubts, I praise you, and I give thanks for your continued grace and love. You are faithful yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Amen.

Raymond Frank
Generations Teaching Director

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