As we journey together through Lent, Christians throughout Columbia will be sharing their own beautifully written personal meditations. Each will be accompanied by a corresponding scripture reading, and be linked to that passage in the Holy Bible. If you would like to join us on Columbia’s Lenten journey, please submit your personal meditation by email. Especially meaningful submissions will be printed. Let us continue our Lenten journey, day by day, to its glorious culmination on Easter Sunday.
Scripture reading: Mark 8:11-21
Jesus has just fed 4,000 people with seven loaves of bread and a few small fish, and this passage finds Him traveling by boat with His disciples to Dalmanutha. Upon His arrival, Jesus is approached by the Pharisees who are seeking to test Him, and they ask Jesus to give them a sign from heaven. We can gather that Jesus is growing weary with their unbelief, as the passage tells us that He, ‘sighed deeply in His spirit’ and wonders why this generation us so focused on receiving a sign.
After telling them that they will not receive a sign, Jesus returns to the boats and sets out again with His disciples. While in the boat, the disciples discover that they don’t have enough bread for their journey. Jesus warns them saying, “Take heed: beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.” Appearing to ignore His warning, the disciples discuss which of them is to blame for not bringing more bread. Hearing this discussion, Jesus rebukes them in verses 17 through 21. Had they so soon forgotten His feeding of the 5,000 and the 4,000? He accuses them of having eyes but not seeing and ears but not listening, and asks if their hearts are hardened. With Jesus at their side, why were the disciples worried about not having enough bread? If Jesus could feed 4,000 from a few loaves of bread, could He not provide for 12?
Jesus’ concern was that the disciples were distracted from the advancement of God’s kingdom and, like the Pharisees, were succumbing to greed, power and earthly matters that had the potential to grow quickly like yeast and harden their hearts. The Pharisees were more focused on challenging Jesus’ authority by asking for a sign from heaven than hearing His message. Had the disciples now forgotten and lost focus?
God provides for us in so many ways, and yet we continue to question Him and the direction He is leading us. We all have earthly distractions that consume our hearts and pull us away from our path with the Lord. The challenge, though, is for us to keep out focus on God and the advancement of His kingdom, and not allow the yeast of the Pharisees to grow in our hearts.
As we are reminded in Proverbs, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Our relationship with God is a heart issue. What consumes your heart?
Columbia, South Carolina
You might also like to read:
- Bible Verse of the Day
- Daily Bible Guide
- Growing in Christ
- Bible Study Tools Online
- The Jesus Walk Bible Study Series
A discussion of today’s Lenten meditation is encouraged. If you would like to participate, please feel free to write a comment in the space below. There are many different outlooks and interpretations of scripture passages and, the more we share, the more we learn.
Sharon is a member of the Community Church of the Midlands that meets at Seven Oaks Community Center at 200 Leisure Lane in Columbia and is a frequent participant, with her husband Douglas, at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral located at 1100 Sumter Street in Columbia.
If you enjoyed this article, you can find more at Sharon's Columbia Biblical Studies Examiner homepage.