I've said from the begining of this series that God called me to practice being a better teacher. That's the whole point of this devotional series--to practice (not a game, not a..book? PRACTICE).
So here goes nothing:
Faith is infectious. You see someone living out God's call on their life and something happens to you. You want what they have--you want to trust God more.
(Side note: are you living a life that makes people want to seek Jesus more?)
That's the thing that stood out to me in Mark Eight. How infectious faith is and how detrimental it can be if it is not embraced.
We're going to hop-ship to a different Gospel. Take a second and read Matthew 11:21-24.
This passage thought me two things:
1. The Bible doesn't cover every little thing that Jesus did. In fact, the majority of His miracles were done in Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum.
The Bible doesn't talk about any specific miracles in Chorazin--just that there were a lot of them.
AND the Bible only mentions two of the miracles done in/near Bethsaida.
This built up my faith bank. It encouraged me to know that Jesus did so much while on earth that we couldn't record it all--that He didn't want us to! What did He set in motion years and years ago that we may never even know about? How amazing He is!
2. The other thing I learned is that if only two miracles were recorded from Bethsaida you can bet that we should be learning something from them.
The two miracles performed were in Mark 6 and Mark 8.
Both of these miracles occur with Jesus outside the town of Bethsaida.
Jesus was praying near a mountain and sent His disciples ahead of Him--to Bethsaida. Do you remember what happened on the way? The weather got crazy and the disciples on the boat had little faith--Jesus walked on water and rescued them.
Interestingly enough, this is one of the few miracles recorded near Bethsaida but not in it. Faith. That's what we want to highlight right here, the disciples were lacking faith, but He responded anyway.
This is the other recorded miracle. What is the first thing that Jesus does? He listens to His people beg. I don't know why this reassures me, but it does. Jesus hears us ask and expect and beg and then He ACTS. HE. ACTS.
But how does Jesus act in this situation? His first step is to take this blind man away from Bethsaida. Why does He do this? Why does He leave town?
It might be the continuing of Jesus trying to keep His miracles quiet (until the right time), but there are some very smart people that think there is something more at work.
Warren W. Wiersbe's commentary says, "Probably because the city of Bethsaida had already been judged because of its unbelief. No more evidence would be given to them."
He compared Mark 8:18 and Matthew 11:21-24.
Simply said, Jesus had had enough with the entire town. Their unbelief shocked Him. How could He have done so many miracles in one place and still have many people plagued with unbelief?
Yes, we're talking about Jesus (all-powerful) so He could have performed the miracle right there in the middle of town. But He didn't want to. Jesus responds to faith and Bethsaida didn't have any.
You know who did? The friends who brought he blind man to the feet of Jesus. He wanted to respond to them.
This filled me with so much confidence in God's character. He responds to our faith. But, almost equally as comforting He can come through when we lack faith. Just like I said in the begining, other people respond to our faith. They want what faith brings us. Because do you know what faith brings? JESUS. Faith beseeches Jesus into action.
But He cares for you. God is love. So even when you doubt or lack faith He can still respond. Just like the disciples in the boat--Jesus still came.
Lord, I pray that you grow every single person who reads this. I pray that you give us a higher measure of faith. I pray that we get to know you in a deeper way. We can't trust someone that we don't know. Lord, be with us. Grow us. Change us. Amen.
Here at Desperately Dependent, I write about how I need God much more than He needs me. I write about how living the Spirit Filled Life is changing me and the people around me. And how so many 'failures' and awkward situations arise from being a Christian Twenty Something.