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  • Writer's picturePastor Hans Fiene

Matins Devotion: March 10, 2023

Mark 8:1-21

In our reading from Mark this morning, the Pharisees are once again following the foolish liturgy of sign-seeking that they’ve invented where they ask Jesus for signs that He’s the Christ but then act like they never meet the standard of proof.. So here, Jesus again miraculously feeds a large crowd, stretching seven loaves of bread and a few fish well beyond their limits. Through this miracle, Jesus shows that He is the Christ, the one anointed with the task of being the world’s savior. But, so very strangely, the Pharisees respond by asking for another sign. In all of this, they’re essentially saying to Jesus, “No, see, when you did that miracle, it became a miracle you did. We don’t want a miracle you’ve done. We need a miracle you haven’t done to believe..” So Jesus needs to give them a sign that He’s the Christ. But as soon as He gives them a sign, well, then it’s no longer a sign. And golly gee, they need that sign. That’s the liturgy of their unbelief. Equal parts clever and stupid.

Don’t follow their example. Don’t tell yourself that you need a sign beyond the Scriptures that God wants you to turn from your sin. Because, even if God split the heavens and commanded you to repent with a voice from heaven, you’d tell yourself it thundered and then climb right back into the pit of condemnation. Don’t tell yourself that you need a custom-designed miracle to kill your pesky doubt. Jesus could appear before your eyes and your unbelieving heart would, like Ebeneezer Scrooge, call it a figment of your imagination brought on by a bad piece of cheese. “If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.”

Christ has given you His word, the word of the Scriptures that shows Him to be the Christ, the word that shows Him casting out demons, healing, the sick, and raising the dead. And those same Scriptures show you the greatest miracle of all. They show how Jesus Christ carried your sins to Calvary and destroyed them all. They show how Jesus took the finite amount of His flesh, how he took the seven loaves and few fish of His body and blood, stretched them beyond their limits and gave them to the entire world, feeding and filling your soul in the process. They show how Christ laid down His life and picked it back up again so that you could live forever with Him in His kingdom. What greater sign could you possibly need than God doing this for you and proclaiming it to you?

Don’t doubt the evidence. Don’t demand something other than the revelation of God’s love. The word is the sign. Believe it.

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