I say if I’d been there to see the miracle of Jesus feeding the 5,000 with five loaves of bread and two fish that I’d follow him faithfully and never doubt anything he said. I would surely never question his promises after seeing him feed another crowd of 4,000 with seven loaves and a few small fish.

But then I read Mark 8:14-21.

Jesus is warning his disciples to watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and Herod. Before Jesus explains, the disciples discuss among themselves that they brought only one loaf of bread on the boat and this must be why Jesus is talking about yeast.

Jesus asks, “Why are you talking about bread?”

That’s not the only question Jesus asks.

Do you not understand?

Are your hearts too hard to take it in?

Don’t you see? Can’t you hear?

Don’t you remember?

Remember how many leftovers were gathered after everyone ate at both crowd feeding miracles?

At first, I’m puzzled by the disciples’ bread discussion. Not only did they watch Jesus feed thousands with a few loaves and some fish, they saw Jesus calm a storm. They saw him walk on water and heal the lame and the leper. They saw him make the blind see and heal a synagogue ruler’s daughter.

So why this inability to see beyond bread?

They were captive to their limited frame of reference….even after all the miracles. Their frame at that moment was a boat and one loaf of bread. Unfortunately, like the disciples, I am slow to understand. There are times I can’t see beyond my circumstances and I forget the miracles. My vision is blurred and my hearing is selective.

When the disciples told him how many baskets of leftovers they picked up, Jesus asks one more question.

Do you still not understand? 

Jesus asks them hard questions but he isn’t harsh. He is patient and kind with their slow understanding. I am overwhelmingly thankful for his tenderness.

Because sometimes, like the disciples, I don’t see beyond the bread.

 

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