Friday, March 10, 2006

An Interesting Verse

As I was looking through the Book of Mark during my study times this week, I came upon something interesting. In Mark 8, Jesus feeds the multitudes, and there is food left over. It's a story that most of us are familiar with. Then, the Pharisees come to him and ask him for a sign from heaven. He says to them, "Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it." I've done some reading on what exactly that means, and have found some info, and wanted to see if any of you wanted to weigh in on the meaning of this passage. Here's what I've got:

Draper (1993) argues that the "sign" is not a miracle, but a banner, totem, or token of the Davidic messiah, associated in various ancient Jewish texts and the Old Testament with a holy war. "This study suggests that in an earlier stage of the tradition the 'sign from heaven' which Jesus consistently refused to give, despite repeated requests, was indeed the raising of the Messianic totem to signal the beginning of a holy war against the Romans."(p21)

G. Mark writes: "Some exegetes see 8:12 as evidence of later interpolation as it appears to contradict the miracle tradition in the Gospel, although its source seems to be Paul, and thus, in accord with the normal practices of the writer of Mark. There is no support for historicity anywhere in this pericope."

Christ cautions against the Pharisees and Herodians. Obstinate unbelief will have something to say, though ever so unreasonable. Christ refused to answer their demand. If they will not be convinced, they shall not. Alas! what cause we have to lament for those around us, who destroy themselves and others by their perverse and obstinate unbelief, and enmity to the gospel! When we forget the works of God, and distrust him, we should chide ourselves severely, as Christ here reproves his disciples. How is it that we so often mistake his meaning, disregard his warnings, and distrust his providence? (Mk 8:22-26)



frostburgpreacher said...

The ten million dollar question for all of us Christ followers, Bishop. But as in my current study of Ecclesiastes, "there is nothing new under the son." Look back to the Israelites of the OT. They have God there in their presence leading them every step of the way out of Egypt. The first time it gets hard or Moses leaves them for a little bit they start doing something stupid and forget about God. They complain about not having food and God sends mannah and then they complain about that...then God sends quail.

For some reason we figure out in our finite wisdom that what we want to do is infinitely better than what God would have us to do. I ran across the quote this week from Earnst Easly that says, "It doesn't matter who you please if you displease God and it doesn't matter who you displease if you please God!"

Oh that I could do a better job of doing that!!!!!!!

Good luck and Good night

Chris Walls (Dr. Kirkpatrick's Systematic Theology class Spring 1996...your back row buddy)

Billy V said...

In John's account of the feeding of the 5000 they ask for a sign as well but they connect to Moses feeding the Israelites in the wilderness for 40. I think what they are saying is, "That's a nice little trick you have there. When are you going to do something on a grand scale." They were looking at him to provide physical salvation from the Romans. Since he had performed this sign, he is giving us clues that he is the messiah. End the speculation, Jesus, give us the sign that we should believe that you are the one.
(Or some such...)

Scott Morikawa said...

It's also helpful to read a couple different versions of this passage to determine what was being discussed here in Mark 8. Last time I checked, Christ wasn't some random magician that did party tricks to entertain people or prove His power. Christ didn't entertain Satan with any random miracles when He was being tempted, so why would he do so for the Pharisees? Christ only performed (I don't like this word) miracles when it helped others because He loved them, not to prove Himself. Sad thing is, history continues to repeat itself and people still ask the same question...