Sometimes, I’m just a slow learner. Even Pavlov’s dogs learned to associate the ringing of a bell with food coming, but I sometimes miss the connection between things even though I see the same pattern played out in my life over and over again.
The disciples seem to have had that problem too.
The crowd hungered for Jesus’ teaching and his healing enough to stay with him for three days and had nothing to eat. They knew what Jesus knew – man doesn’t live by bread alone. Jesus provided for all their needs, though – he taught, he healed, and he fed as well – from seven loaves and a few small fish he provided enough food to feed four thousand men, plus all the women and children. With leftovers.
Just as when Jesus fed the five thousand, the disciples didn’t think they had what they needed; but they had Jesus.
They still didn’t understand after the feeding of the four thousand, either. In the boat, with one loaf of bread, they still didn’t get that Jesus can provide everything they need, with plenty to spare.
In Bethsaida, a blind man got to “see” what lengths Jesus will go to. When his friends brought him to Jesus and begged Jesus to touch him and heal him, Jesus did so. He didn’t walk away at that point though – he asked the man whether he could then see. The man had definitely improved, but wasn’t yet seeing clearly – he saw people, but they “looked like trees walking around”. Jesus touched him again, and then he could see everything clearly.
Lord, you’ve shown me time and time again the depths of your love and compassion. You’ve provided what I need most – forgiveness, salvation, reconciliation, spiritual healing, your word, your teaching, your love, and so much more. You’ve gone beyond those needs, though, and provided everything else. You’ve blessed me by providing for physical needs; you’ve blessed me with material things. You go even further, giving graciously far more than I need.
As with the blind man, you come again and again and provide your healing touch.
Yet how many times do I fail to understand what you’re capable of, and how far you will go? How often do I fail to trust you completely? How often do I show fear and worry and doubt, when you’ve proved it is unnecessary? That it is truly foolish?
Lord, please help me to see clearly. Continue to provide your healing touch, till my eyes are fully open.
The stories in Mark 8 about the Pharisees asking for a sign, and about Jesus warning about the “yeast” of the Pharisees and Sadducees are also told by Matthew, and are covered in depth in the post From Rock to Stumbling Block (Matthew 16).