Hunkered Down Devotion

Mark 8:11-12; 22- 26 (Voice)
11 they were met by Pharisees—ready with their questions and tests—seeking some sign from heaven that His teaching was from God.  
Jesus (sighing with disappointment): 12 Why does this generation ask for a sign before they will believe? Believe Me when I say that you will not see one……………..
22 When they came into Bethsaida, a group brought a blind man to Jesus, and they begged Him to touch the man and heal him. 23 So Jesus guided the man out of the village, away from the crowd; and He spat on the man’s eyes and touched them.
Jesus: What do you see?
Blind Man (opening his eyes): 24 I see people, but they look like trees—walking trees. 25 Jesus touched his eyes again; and when the man looked up, he could see everything clearly.26  Jesus sent him away to his house.  
Jesus (to the healed man): Don’t go into town yet. [And don’t tell anybody in town what happened here.]

In the eighth chapter of the gospel of Mark there is an interesting dynamic going on.  The chapter begins with Jesus and the disciples being met by a crowd, including a large group of Pharisees.  Lots of the crowd is there, quite literally to see a show.  They have heard about this Jesus and they want to see what he can do, they are hoping to see a miracle: a healing or some water into wine or some multiplying of loaves and fishes or, you know… something.

The Pharisees are there to check Jesus out too, but they aren’t there for entertainment.  They are there to test and to judge Jesus.  They want to question him, they want to see if they can figure out if he is what he says he is, or if he is just then latest in a long line of hucksters and charlatans seeking to take advantage of the desperate people.  

To both these groups of people, Jesus has the exact same response: thanks but no thanks. Look somewhere else for your entertainment.  I am not here to entertain you or to give you a sign.  Essentially, believe or not – it’s up to you.  Jesus, who can’t seem to go 10 minutes, or one page of the gospel without performing a miracle, tells them he has nothing for them.  But, then just a few verses later, a blind man seeking healing and wholeness – not entertainment or to test him – comes before Jesus and immediately Jesus springs into action again.

So, the obvious question for us, is what changed.  Why is Jesus so unwilling to give a sign, perform a miracle, or ‘put on a show’ in the beginning of chapter eight, but then quickly heals the blind man, not once but twice later in the chapter?  Part of the answer, of course, is what those coming to Jesus are looking for – a show, a test, healing and wholeness.  

But more than that, what we are seeking from Jesus shines light on the condition of our hearts.  For the crowd and, especially for the Pharisee’s, their hearts are closed.  They have already determined who Jesus is, what box he belongs in: for the crowd he was entertainment and distraction, for the Pharisee’s he was trouble and a threat.  

For the blind man, he came to Jesus with his heart open, he was prepared to receive whatever Jesus had to offer him.  He didn’t know what Jesus was going to give him.  He didn’t know if Jesus could or would heal him, but yet he came.  And an open heart and an open mind is all that Jesus requires.  

Sharing God’s Love

Prayer:  Lord, open our hearts and minds so that we might know your love and might be touched by your healing hand.  Amen.

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