Below is the daily Bible reading I am doing for the West Side Church. Please feel free to follow along.
It took Jesus disciples a long time to understand who he was. In fact it was not until he conquered the grave, ascended into Heaven, and poured out the Holy Spirit that they finally understood all he had taught. They had spent a considerable amount of time with Jesus but still did not understand his true identity and purpose because they were looking for the same political Messiah that everyone else was. Today’s reading (Mark 8) reminds us of that fact.
The disciples have witnessed Jesus feed 5,000 with five loaves of bread and two fish and feed 4,000 with 7 loaves of bread and a few fish, but now they are a in a boat with only one loaf and are worried about their next meal. Jesus begins to talk to them about keeping away from the yeast of the Pharisees and the disciples immediately think he is talking about physical food and physical yeast. Jesus then looks at his disciples, probably shaking his head at their complete and total misunderstanding.
I think we receive stories like this one to help us when we are trying to spread the message of Christ. If the disciples, men who had been living with Jesus for a little over two years … who have heard him preach, heard him teach, saw him turn water into wine, heal the multitudes of their diseases and afflictions, and cast out demons … if these men do not understand who Jesus is right away, how can we expect someone we are witnessing to understand their need for grace right away?
We must remember to be patient with those who do not understand and even scoff at the thought of salvation. We must continue like Jesus did to share and teach, to shape and to mold, as they learn about the wonderful grace of Jesus. So, how is your patience when sharing the message of the cross? Do you get frustrated when people do not get it right away, or are you prepared to take the long road so that your family member, your friend, your co-worker has the same grace and salvation you have?