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)
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