Damariscotta Baptist Church
Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Growing personal relationships with God and community

02/08/15 Sermon - Remember

REMEMBER

Mark 8:1-21

 

Our Scripture reading today in Mark 8, sounds vaguely familiar. Didn’t Jesus already perform a miracle like this before where He fed a crowd with bread and fish?

 

Yes, He did.

 

 And if we remember correctly, the first time He did so, there were about 5,000 men present, this time there are around 4,000 men. Notice they aren’t counting the women and children, who also needed to eat. But that is another story.

 

So why would Mark be recording the same type of miracle, twice, you might ask?

 

That is a good question if you are focusing on the fact that Jesus is able to produce miracles. The fact that Jesus feeds thousands of people from just a few fish and loaves of bread is impressive but there must be more to it than just performing miracles.

 

Well, there is.

The Scripture Val read today, in Chapter 8, which begins with the feeding the multitude, and then the crossing of the sea, landing somewhere different, having a conflict with the Pharisees, then having a conversation about bread, and if we add next week’s scripture which contains a healing and a confession of faith that exact sequence of events has already occurred.

If you remember, we had the same exact sequence from Chapter 6 through Chapter 7.

 

Stop and think about it for one minute.

 

If Jesus felt the need to repeat the very same sequence of events, there must be a reason.

 

For example, I can come up with a few reasons, because I find myself repeating things quite often.

If you were at the Harris household you would hear me repeat things because someone didn’t hear them the first time. I mean literally, I foolishly will say things to people when they are doing something else, in another room or I forget they have earbuds in their ears and they are listening to something else. But this wasn’t the case, because in each of the situations described in this sequence of events, we read that the people Jesus was talking to, actually responded to his questions and were actively involved.

 

Let’s go back to the Harris household.

 

If you were around you would discover there would be times you would hear me repeat myself, because I thought that whatever I was saying needed repeating and the person I was speaking to, should understand its importance.

 

Often times I not only do I repeat myself, I change the inflection in my voice to make sure the person understands the importance.

 

 

I had a professor in college who would repeatedly state, “If I have bothered to say something twice, it would be a good idea for you to write it down.” In other words, “you might want to make sure you understand this part, because I am going to be testing you to see if you remember”.

 

When I read the conversation Jesus had with his disciples when He multiplied the bread and the fish, again, I thought, Jesus wasn’t only demonstrating compassion on the people, He was also demonstrating compassion on the disciples. Didn’t Jesus just perform this miracle, but a short time ago? The disciples couldn’t possibly have that short a memory?

 

And then you read how Jesus sighed deeply when he was confronted by the Pharisees, who were testing him again, asking for a sign, for proof. And again, Jesus refused to stoop so low as to succumb to their tricks.

 

But then Jesus was in the boat with His disciples, the men who had been following Him and learning from Him, and even they didn’t seem to be getting it. It’s like Jesus was beside Himself with frustration.

Everyone around Him was focusing on the literal, the circumstances that were right in front of them, instead of the big picture. Jesus was trying to go deeper, to prepare His disciples for what was to come. Jesus was talking about yeast, which was symbolic for the bad influence of the Pharisees and Herod and the significance of their lack of faith, and all the disciples could do was argue with each other and blame each other because no one would admit they had failed to bring more than one loaf of bread on the trip.

 

The human side of me can almost see Jesus exasperated enough to yell out, “Enough already about the bread! Don’t you get it! I am the bread! I am the life! How thick headed are you? Don’t you remember anything?

 

Not only has Jesus been performing miracles, He has deliberately been repeating them, and all the disciples have been doing is focusing on the miracle, not on the meaning of the miracle. 

 

 

 

Jesus wasn’t performing miracles to show off, to be popular. This wasn’t an ego trip, where He was the miracle worker and the twelve men following Him were groupies that were “in” and on the winning side.

 

In fact, if you remember, up to this point, Jesus keeps telling people NOT to say anything to anyone. And if you remember the time He was in the desert, with Satan, Jesus refused to make bread, or call on God’s angels to rescue him from the cross. Jesus has been using miracles to help others, this is true, but I think we should read between the lines and listen to Jesus’ heart and look for a deeper meaning.

 

When we look at the miracles Jesus performed, at face value, they helped others and they taught spiritual truths, but the main purpose has been to demonstrate that Jesus was indeed, the Messiah. 

 

Remember back in Mark 1, verse 15, “The time has come, the Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”

 

The good news was the Messiah had arrived.

 

In all of the miracles Jesus performed the physical action coincides with a spiritual purpose.

 

Jesus healed the deaf, and He spoke about hearing God’s Word and believing it.

 

Jesus healed the blind, and He spoke about seeing the truth of God’s revelation, in Him being the Messiah.

 

He rose people from the dead, and spoke of his own resurrection and the resurrection to come.

 

Unfortunately, I don’t think we are much different today. We come to church, we read our Bible, we think we understand, but then, something difficult occurs and our focus remains on the circumstances, and we forget the Spiritual truths we’ve learned. We focus on the loaf of bread and not on the fact that Jesus, the Messiah, is also in our boat.

 

It’s one thing to sit here and shake your head and agree with what read and hear from God’s Word, it’s entirely another  thing to put it into practice Mon-Sat. out there!

 

If only we could “remember”!

 

You’re not alone, I am right in this boat with you, and you would think since I am the pastor, that, of course, I remember. I’d like to think I do, but the truth is, life takes over for me, just like it does for you.

 

To which I would like to refer you to the Prayer focus for the week and encourage you to memorize, Psalm 103:8, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” AMEN.

 

Each of us is different, and we each have different ways to help us remember and to learn. I thought today, instead of listening to me, we would listen to each other.

 

I have placed some reflection questions on the table. I am going to ask that we take those questions and discuss them with the others at your table. After ___________minutes, I will bring us back together. 

 

 

 

We don’t always remember that Jesus left His Holy Spirit, to help us get through the times we would find ourselves with only one loaf of bread in our boat, or when we would need healing, or when we are out of hope. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. This week, let’s remember exactly who Jesus is, where He is and that the time has come, the Kingdom of God is HERE!


 

The second feeding of the thousands does teach us many of the things we learned from the first feeding, do you remember?

 

  • God has compassion on all people
  •  When God asks you to do something, you can do it
  •  In fact, you can do anything, with God
  •  God has no limits
  •  God is not confined by our lack of resources



REFLECT:

           

1.                  What sign would help you take Christ more seriously?

 

2.                  Of the people in this story, whom are you most like –

 

a.       The People

b.      The Disciples

c.       The Pharisees

d.      Jesus?

 

And why?

 

3.                  Of all the miracles Jesus ever did, which one do you like the best? Why?

 

4.                  What miracle (big or small) did you see this week?