The Demand for a Sign

Let’s continue with a short story in Mark 8:11-13.

So, Jesus just did some more food cloning, and the Pharisees popped out wanting a sign from heaven? What do you call the food cloning, guys?

Also, doesn’t it feel like in the story that Jesus specifically crossed the sea just to have this little encounter? Mark does this a lot. I think this is some form of consistency about Jesus’ travels. There were places where things occurred, and Mark is trying to make his point, but he doesn’t want to just say Jesus was here or there, so he says Jesus traveled or got in his boat, going all over the place.

It really does make you wonder what it would have taken to make the Jewish people believe that Jesus was more than a divine prophet. Currently, there are a lot of scholars who believe that the Jews believed Jesus was God after his resurrection, but if all that Jesus had done up to this point was all about proving he was the human Messiah, and all of his miracles did not establish him as more than that, what could he possibly do to show that he was divine?

I also feel it important to mention that Jesus says that no sign will be given “this generation”. So… we still have hope for one to be given to us? I Imagine that just about any of the miracles that Jesus performed could be performed for us, and we would believe he was God, so do we want to ask for a sign? Because I’m scared to find out what that might be. Such as, a mountain suddenly moving. Talk about an ecological disaster!

As for Mark’s purpose, it seems to surround Jesus’ response. Pharisees try to challenge Jesus’ authority, and Jesus’ just sighs and says no. Stop asking, it’s not gonna happen, just accept these changes that God is giving you. I know it’s scary, that it affects your lives, but it’s happening. Perhaps, rather than the miracles Jesus has already performed, they wanted something like Moses’ manna from heaven, or Joshua’s sun and moon standing still or calling down fire like Elijah. Something that was so far into the realm of God that there could be no doubt. Maybe they wanted to believe, maybe they just wanted to show he couldn’t do it.

The interesting part, and probably the reason for the sigh, and part of Mark’s putting this story here is that Mark has spent the last 7 chapters showing how much Jesus is like Moses and Elijah. Jesus is sighing because the poor Pharisees just don’t see it, don’t see the miracles as proof enough. I think he’s sad for them, has compassion for them, but knows that they have to come to the right conclusion themselves.

Grace and Peace to you all.


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