Monday, January 12, 2015
the unbelief of seeking signs
And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.”
Mark places this episode with the Pharisees in the context of a mighty miracle. Jesus has just provided food for four thousand people. Using seven loaves of bread and a few small fish, miraculous provision comes at His hands. It seems these demanding Pharisees were part of that crowd. With bread crumbs on their hands, they demand something "miraculous" in order for Jesus to prove His claims! They had the unbelieving gall to ask for this sign.
Then, immediately after this confrontation with the Pharisees, the text recalls a later episode where the disciples argued over a lack of food, forgetting Jesus' past miraculous intervention. And Jesus calls their self-absorbed lack of faith "the leaven of the Pharisees". Needing a sign from God is absolute unbelief. It is not in keeping with the life of a disciple. This chapter in Mark makes that absolutely and undeniably clear.
Due to a large extent to the past 100 years of American Pentecostalism, most Christians today are saturated with this awful, sinful, unbelieving leaven of the Pharisees. Most everyone seems to want a personal "word from God" as if scripture is insufficient, and signs and wonders are demanded. Christians believe the rambling story of a 4 year old boy about heaven, more than Jesus' own promises -- the One Who died, rose again, and ascended into heaven to make us a dwelling place there! We are fouled with the leaven of faithlessness as we revel in and drool over false "signs and wonders".
Is there faith to be found yet on earth when You return? Purge Your church of this idolatrous love of the leaven of the Pharisees. Keep our eyes on You alone as we read the gospels, obey the scripture, and may we stop testing Your patience with our awful unbelief! May we look only for the signs of Your return.