Read Mark 8:14-21
Ever had a conversation with someone and halfway through realized you were talking about two completely different things? This has happened to me a lot, but more importantly it also happened to Jesus and the disciples.
See the disciples and Jesus were in a boat crossing to the other side of the lake just after Jesus had been confronted by the Pharisees asking for a sign. The disciples are distracted by their own thoughts remembering that they had forgotten to bring any bread with them in the boat when Jesus warns them against the Pharisees. Jesus uses an interesting metaphor of yeast. If you have ever done any experiments with yeast you would know that it only takes a tiny amount of yeast to cause bread to rise. Jesus was warning his disciples about the danger of asking for a sign, warning them against the disbelief of the Pharisees which had the threat of being contagious and leading others into disbelief.
Yet, the disciples are distracted, the mention of yeast causes them to think that Jesus must be talking about the bread that they had forgotten. I don’t think they quite understand what Jesus is saying but they turn to each other and ask, “Is it because we have no bread?”. Jesus overhears them; here he is trying to teach them about the danger of disbelief, the danger of the yeast of the Pharisees and Herod, and yet all they could talk about was bread.
Forgetting bread is not that big a deal. Weren’t they there when Jesus fed five thousand? They only had five loaves yet over five thousand were fed that day. Or what about the feeding of the four thousand, this time they had seven loaves and over four thousand people were fed. The disciples really needed to stop stressing about something so trivial as whether they had enough food – there will be enough because Jesus is with them. Instead of focusing on the material things, on the small things, Jesus wants them to learn from his teaching. I believe Jesus’ great desire if for the disciples to learn, and grow in their faith, to trust God for all their needs and to step out in faith.
And I believe Jesus’ desire is the same for us, for us to spend less time worrying over whether we have enough food or money or whatever else we think we need and a little more time learning from him and spending out time in relationship with him.
- What stood out for you in today’s story? Do you have any questions?
- What are some of the things that can distract you from learning more about Jesus?
- Some people find it helpful when praying to have a small notebook next to them, so that when distractions come up they can write them down to deal with later, and then go back to focussing on speaking to God. Do you think this could be helpful for you?
- How have you taken time this week to try and hear what Jesus might be trying to teach you?
- What do you think Jesus is trying to teach you at the moment? It might be something from these devotions, or from sermons or kids biz materials, or just something from your day to day life?
- How have you stopped this week to recover physically, emotionally and spiritually?