Was Jesus Insulting Us?

Now they had forgotten to bring bread; and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. And [Jesus] cautioned them, saying, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” And they discussed it with one another, saying, “We have no bread.” And being aware of it, Jesus said to them, “Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand…” [Mark 8:14-19]

To the modern mind, it makes little sense to tie together hardness of heart (the spirit, so to speak) with perceptual and intellectual incompetence, perhaps willful intellectual incompetence. Certainly, Jesus wasn’t making an attack upon those with congenital problems in these areas, those born blind or those born with severe mental disabilities.

The Lord was ever striving to raise His disciples to a higher level of life, of awareness, so that they could perceive the world and their Lord more clearly and think more clearly about what God has done in Creation. But they always sank down to a more passive state than Jesus wished for them, a more passive state than will be possible in the world of the resurrected. We’re just like those disciples.

The disciples were dense because they were not paying proper attention. We’re no different than they were. We would just as soon be entertained and not be bothered by most aspects of reality unless our safety or comfort is threatened. Even when we’re under threat, we’d as soon delay our response until it’s truly forced from us.

After all, life can be tough and it was more so for our ancestors. Even during ages of prosperity, healthy men and women would be worn down by the physical labor and the occasional shortages of food and the medical and dental problems. Like most living creatures on earth, human beings have learned to relax whenever life allows. We’ve gained enough control of our lives, through machinery and social organization, that we have gained the power to dull ourselves with a constant flow of pleasures supplied by others, to sit and wait for something entertaining to happen before we pay attention.

Don’t be frantic and always busy. Relax and enjoy yourself in the proper measure, but be alert and be always pondering in your heart what God is doing in His world, maybe right in front of you.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Bible meditations, Biblical interpretation, Christian spirituality, Christianity, Spiritual formation

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