… Jesus said to them, ‘Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes, and fail to see? Do you have ears, and fail to hear? And do you not remember?’ (Mark 8:17-18)
Jesus was exasperated with the disciples in today’s scripture. While they were crossing the Sea of Galilee, they became worried that they would soon get hungry because they didn’t bring any bread for the journey.
Jesus sees their fretfulness and can’t believe they had already forgotten how He had recently fed thousands with almost nothing. He wonders how they could be so obtuse and how their faith can have no memory.
I find the disciples’ obtuseness, forgetfulness, and fretfulness to be comforting because I know all of the same emotions. Just as Jesus asked them, “Do you still not understand?” so He asks us.
Do we still not understand how much we’re loved? How much His grace can forgive? How much of His strength is available? How He’s always with us? How we’re never so lost that He can’t find us? How we don’t need to prove ourselves to Him? How does He have a meaning and purpose for our lives? Do we still not understand?
I know that I often still don’t. I also know that even if the disciples sometimes tried Jesus’ patience, He never gave up on them. Even though the disciples didn’t fully understand who Jesus was or what He came to do, Jesus always understood who He was and always accepted His mission to reconcile us to the Father.
Although I can imagine that we sometimes try Jesus’ patience, I encourage us to trust that He will never give up on us. And although we don’t always understand who Jesus is and how He blesses us, He will never forget who we are and what He came to do for us. Jesus stayed with the disciples until they eventually did understand. Jesus will do the same for us.
- Are there times and occasions when you don’t perceive, understand, or remember who Jesus is and what He has done for you?
- Do you find the disciples’ obtuseness, forgetfulness, and fretfulness comforting or confusing? If you were there with them, would you have acted differently? Do you act differently now?
- Even if you—like the disciples—sometimes try Jesus’ patience, do you trust that He will never give up on you?