Tuesday, May 1st. Mark 8:11-21

The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, asking him for a sign from heaven, to test him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, ‘Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation.’ And he left them, and getting into the boat again, he went across to the other side.


Now the disciples had forgotten to bring any bread; and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. And he cautioned them, saying, ‘Watch out—beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.’ They said to one another, ‘It is because we have no bread.’ And becoming aware of it, 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? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?’ They said to him, ‘Twelve.’ ‘And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?’ And they said to him, ‘Seven.’ Then he said to them, ‘Do you not yet understand?’  Mark 8:11-21


I have a horrible time with basic math.  Complicated math?  Weird words like calculus?  I have no idea what that even means.  I have never been good at math and it seems highly unlikely that I ever will be any good at math.  Even the easy stuff.


For example, this week I will be writing my pastor’s report for April.  I know that our average worship attendance last year was 241.  This year it is more like 255.  I would love to be able to tell you what percentage increase that change represents but I’m clueless how to figure that out on my own.  In the old days I would ask for help.  Now, in the Internet age, I google “how do I calculate percentage increase?” and I click on the Wiki-answer.  Then I use the calculator on my telephone to divide whatever it is I need to divide by whatever I need to divide it and then I will get an answer.


I won’t trust the answer.  It won’t look right.  But I’ll write it down anyway and hope for the best.


When it comes to math, I have a black hole in my brain and it just doesn’t compute.


When it came to Jesus, it seems like he was surrounded by people who had similar kinds of black holes in their brains.  They just didn’t get it.  From the Pharisees seeking magic parlor tricks to the disciples who can’t seem to make the connection between Jesus’ words and actions, many people around Jesus appear absolutely stymied. 


Simple math isn’t going to get them to understand Jesus.  He couldn’t possibly do enough miracles so that their sum total would equal “Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, in the flesh, for the salvation of the whole world.”


In the same way, although agnostics and atheists will do the best they can, they can’t add up all the negative stuff in life or in history and say that equals “there is no God.”


It isn’t about math.  Never will be.  The math of the Kingdom of God will never add up.  It is about love.  Always has been and always will be.  You can’t “count” love – but you can always count on it.


Let us pray:  Dear Lord, yes, we are slow to understand.  We are slow to get it.  We need to learn the same lessons over and over again.  Thank you for your patience with us.  Thank you for your kindness, your provision, your presence.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


2 Responses to “Tuesday, May 1st. Mark 8:11-21”

  1. Mary G Says:

    Math class rejects unite! But faith, even sometimes as small as a mustard seed (that’s itty bitty for our math flunky friends), is what makes us Christians.

  2. Dean B Says:

    What a sense of humor our Jesus has! Mark spends line after line, page after page describing the impact Jesus has on the Jews and Gentiles. Then in the eighth chapter, after Jesus fleas the crowds, he and the disciples are approached by the Pharisees “seeking from him a sign”! Where have the disciples been? Why can’t they answer this simple question? So Jesus replies, “Signs, signs everywhere there are. signs.”
    Sigh -The Pharisees and Herod’s dislike will increase like bread dough, kept warm will increase the dough. “Take Heed!”
    The disciples reply comes, “Let’s eat!” “But there is not enough for us to eat! Again Jesus replies, “Signs, signs everywhere there are signs!” “Five loaves fed five thousand, so why not one loaf feed us!”
    May we all have the humor and patience to follow Jesus. In the now and the times to come.

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