Posts Tagged ‘Mark’

Bread in the Wilderness

In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them, I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat: And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far.  And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness.

Mark 8:1-4

As Jesus was teaching the multitude in the wilderness, He had compassion on their physical needs and could see that they had nothing to eat.  His disciples answered Him with a question: “From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness?”

The disciples could see the situation and asked a perfectly legitimate question.  They did not see how a man could feed these other men bread in the wilderness.  The one thing they forgot was that they were not dealing with a mere man.  They were dealing with Jesus Christ, God in the flesh.  He controlled nature and the elements because He created them.

That is something that I fear we often forget.  We see people “hungry in the wilderness.”  We might even find ourselves “hungry in the wilderness” at some point.  So often our first reaction is the same as the disciples: “whence can a man satisfy these men…?”  We don’t see an answer, and usually, humanly, there is no answer.  But we forget that we are dealing with God Himself.

God can provide bread in the wilderness.  He can even “satisfy with bread” in the wilderness.  When we find ourselves needing something that seems impossible, we must remember with Whom we are dealing and we need to remember that He can do anything, even things that are impossible for a mere man to accomplish.

Doing All Things Well

And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.

Mark 7:37

As Jesus went around during His earthly ministry, healing and helping, he astonished many people with the miracles He performed.  But something that people said about Him in this verse stuck out to me: “He hath done all things well…”

What a testimony!  Now, since they were speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ, it is obviously an understatement that “He hath done all things well.”  Everything He did was absolutely perfect.  Still, what a wonderful thing to have said about you.  As He is in everything, Jesus is our perfect example and we should be following Him and striving to emulate Him.  Could that be said about us today?  Could those around us say “He (or she) that done all things well?”

I doubt that any of us would say that yes, we have done all things well.  There are always things that we could be doing or not doing and there are always things that we could be doing better.  As long as we live in these bodies of flesh, there are going to be things on which we can improve.

Wouldn’t that be a powerful testimony to the Lord if we could even come close to that ideal: “He hath done all things well?”  Doing things well certainly honours the Lord, and that should be the main goal of our lives as Christians.  “Ecclesiastes 9:10a tells us “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.”  We are supposed to be following the example of Jesus Christ and doing our best at everything we do.

Are we “doing all things well” or do we have some work to do to get to that level?  That is a worthy goal for us to strive for: “He hath done all things well.”

Commandments and Traditions

He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.  Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.  For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.  And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

Mark 7:6-9

The scribes and Pharisees had a problem with the disciples eating bread without first washing their hands.  While the disciples maybe should have been washing their hands before eating, it wasn’t something that the Pharisees should have been finding fault with.

Jesus could see their hearts and, after calling them hypocrites, gave them these scathing assessments: “This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me,”  “…laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men…”  and “Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep you own tradition.”

The scribes and Pharisees had become so wrapped up in their traditions, opinions and habits that they had gone so far as to reject the commandments of the Lord.  They probably hadn’t consciously rejected His commandments, but had just brushed them aside over the years in favor of their own traditions.

This is something that we need to be watching in our own lives.  If we have been Christians for several years, sometimes the line between things that are actually in the Bible and things that we just like or get used to starts to become blurred.  As that line becomes blurred, we start valuing our own opinion over God’s Word.  Then we are in the dangerous position that these hypocrites were in.  We are in danger of outward worship with no heart, and that is a place none of us want to be.

Finding Fault

Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem.  And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault.  For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.

Mark 7:1-3

Is there anything wrong with washing your hands?  I really don’t think that there is anything wrong with washing your hands.  In fact, I would probably say that washing your hands is a good thing.  I would recommend it, especially before eating.  I don’t think that the issue in these verses was hand washing.  It was the scribes and Pharisees doing anything they could to find any fault they could with Jesus and His disciples.

I heard it once said that there are some things we should be willing to die for, some things we should be willing to fight for, some things we should be willing to debate about, and some things that are just our opinions.  It is important for us to figure out which things fall into which category.

The Pharisees and scribes were fighting about things that should have been in the opinion category.  Washing your hands is a good idea.  But it’s not an important enough issue to “find fault” with someone over.  It’s not an important enough issue to condemn the Lord and His disciples over.

We need to be careful when we start “finding fault” with others.  There are some legitimate things with which we should “find fault.”  There are some things that we simply should not tolerate.  But we need to be very careful to separate the serious moral and doctrinal issues from the things that are simply our opinions and traditions.

In the Midst of Miracles

And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore.  And when they were come out of the ship, straightway they knew him, And ran through that whole region round about, and began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was.  And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole.

Mark 6:53-56

As soon as Jesus got off the boat, the people recognized Him and “ran through that whole region round about, and began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was.”  The people heard He was coming and ran around bringing Him every sick person that they knew.  They were desperate to get their friends and loved ones to Jesus, knowing that simply touching the hem of His garment would make them whole.

Everywhere He went, the sick were laid in the streets to try to get one touch of His garment.  Their faith was rewarded, for we are told that “as many as touched him were made whole.”  Imagine the sight of sick people lining the streets where Jesus walked.  Imagine these sick people touching his garment and being made whole.  Imagine the excitement of not only those healed, but of their friends and families as well.  It must have been a wonderful atmosphere, but one that, sadly, would not last.

These would be some of the same people who would later cry “crucify Him!, Crucify Him!”  One would think that all of these people who were healed would have formed a mighty army of followers and disciples.  But, as is the case with many Christians, their thankfulness likely waned and grew weaker.  Even being a part of the miracles did make them immune from unthankfulness and hard hearts.  Let us be ever thankful and keep in remembrance the miracle He has wrought in us!

Hard Hearts Lead to Forgetfulness

But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out: For they all saw him, and were troubled.  And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.  And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.  For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.

Mark 6:49-52

This must have been an amazing sight.  The disciples were in the ship in the midst of the sea in the middle of a storm.  All of a sudden, they saw Jesus walking on the water.  Of course, they didn’t recognize Him, they thought He was some kind of a spirit and were understandably afraid.  He then talked to them and told them to “Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.”  As He got into the boat, the wind ceased, which was one of the many times He showed His control over nature and the elements.

The disciples were “sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.”  They were, quite simply, shocked.  They shouldn’t have been shocked.  They had been with Jesus for a while at that point and had seen Him do many miracles and mighty works.  They had seen Him heal people, they had seen Him cast the devils out of the maniac of Gadara, and they had seen Him feed the multitude of people with the few loaves of bread.  Why were they shocked at His walking on the water and calming the wind?

Very simple: “…they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.”  The condition of their heart effected their memory.  When our hearts get hard, it makes us forget the miracles that we have seen.  We start His doubt Him when our hearts get hard.  The disciples were no different – they were not immune to hard hearts and neither are we.

Sometimes We Need A Break

And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught.  And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while; for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.  And they departed into a desert place by ship privately.

Mark 6:30-32

The disciples had been hard at work, helping people and teaching people.  In fact, the Bible tells us that they were so busy with people “coming and going” that “they had no leisure so much as to eat.”  They were so busy that they didn’t even have time to stop and eat.  Have you ever been there?  I think we’ve all been there at one point or another.

Jesus handled this situation by telling them to “Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while.”  Jesus told them to stop, to get away from everything and to get some rest.

God Himself rested on the seventh day of creation.  I don’t think that God actually “needed” to rest, as He is all-powerful.  But I do think that He was establishing an example for us to follow.  We can and should work hard at whatever we have been given to do.  “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.”  (Ecclesiastes 9:10)  We should never be lazy or shirk our duty.

But we also need rest.  Sometimes, we need to “come apart” and take a rest.  These disciples were doing a good work; they weren’t out wasting their time.  But they still needed to rest.  We hear much about working for the Lord (as well we should), but we also need to, as the disciples did, rest a while every now and then.  Sometimes we need a bit of a break or we will start to crack!

Where Did It Come From?

And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him.  And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things?  and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?

Mark 6:1-2

Everywhere Jesus went, it seems that people were amazed by Him and His wisdom, knowledge, power and authority.  It was no different in these verses, in which He came “into his own country.”

His own people heard Him teaching and asked “From whence hath this man these things?  and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought in his hands?”  They wanted to know where He got the wisdom that He had.  How did He teach with that kind of authority?  The simple answer to that is that His wisdom, authority and power came from the same place we get our wisdom, power and authority: God and His Word.

Of course, Jesus was “the Word.”  He was the Word incarnate.  We are never going to know the Word like He did because He was the Word, but we can read and study the Word and we can know a whole lot more about it than we do right now.

We are never going to have the authority that Jesus had simply because He was God in the flesh.  We are not.  But we can have a little of that authority when we speak His Word.  Again, His Word gives us what little authority we have.

We rea never going to do the mighty works that He did because, again, He was God in the flesh.  But we can allow Him to do some mighty work through us, if we would step out by faith and be willing to allow Him to use us.

He taught with wisdom and power, and we have that same wisdom and power available to us.  Are we using it?

Faith In Jesus

And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,  When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.  For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.  And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.

And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

Mark 5:25-29, 34

This woman had a physical problem that she could not get rid of.  She had tried everything she knew to try, and she had spent all of her money on doctors and “cures,” but nothing worked.  Then she heard that Jesus was going to passing by and she thought “If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.”  She had so much faith the in the healing power of Jesus that she was confident that if she could but touch His clothes, she would be healed.  She knew that getting to Jesus could (and would) make her whole.

She was right.

She touched Jesus’ garment, and “she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.”  All she needed to do was to get to Jesus and she was healed.  But it wasn’t anything necessarily special about the garment of Jesus that healed her.  It wasn’t magic clothing that, when touched, imparted healing.  Jesus Himself, a few verses later, told her why she was healed: “Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole…”

It was not the garment that healed this lady, but faith in the Son of God (who happened to be wearing the garment at the time).  That is the same thing that heals us – faith in the Lord Jesus.

The Power of a Testimony

And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him.  Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.  And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.

Mark 5:18-20

After he had been healed and helped by the Lord Jesus, the “maniac of Gadara” wanted to go with Jesus as He left.  But Jesus did not allow him to do that, telling him instead to stay there and tell everyone he knew about what had happened.  He was simply supposed to go around to his friends and give his testimony about the Lord helping him and having compassion on him.

He did just this and here are the results: “…all men did marvel.”  He went out and told people about what Jesus had done for him and to him and the people marvelled at his testimony.

We can (and should) do the same exact thing.  One of the most powerful things that we have when it comes to witnessing to others is our testimony.  Simply telling people what the Lord Jesus has done for us is a powerful witness for Him.  We may not have as “extreme” of a testimony as this man had.  We might not have literally run around among the tombs, cutting ourselves and crying out as we were possessed by devils.  But we were “darkness, but now are ye light.”  (Ephesians 5:8)  We were “abiding in death” and now we have eternal life.  We were slaves to sin, but now we have the Holy Spirit within us, helping us and guiding us.

We all have a testimony and we should all be using that testimony to bring people to Him.