Mark 8:14-21 The Leaven of the Pharisees

Devotional—Mark 8:14–21 The Leaven of the Pharisees

 

As soon as Jesus and the Twelve began sailing for Bethsaida, they realized they had brought only one loaf of bread with them. Immediately the Twelve began worrying about their lack of food. This was a ten-mile trip as the crow flies, so I would assume it was around twenty miles sailing, which would have taken most of the day.

The first concern of the Twelve was food. “We have no bread.” This was their reaction to Jesus’s words concerning the Pharisees and Herodians. “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”

The Pharisees were righteous, honorable men who were serious about observing the Ten Commandments. These men were respected and honored by the populace. The Herodians, in contrast, were powerful rulers who cared nothing for anyone other than themselves. Herod the Great, along with his sons and grandsons, were ruthless men of power, and they were hated by the people.

What Jesus meant by the “leaven of the Pharisees” was that these men had become self-righteous and self-important. In turn the Herodians had always been greedy for power and wealth. Jesus was simply warning the Twelve that they were in a privileged position being his chosen disciples, and that they should be aware of the tendency to become self-important and power-seeking. All the Twelve could think of in response was that they did not have enough bread!

I feel comfortable around the Twelve. Mark’s depiction of them is sobering. I have lived all of my life in the presence of the Resurrection, and yet I am quite dense in the head regarding my estimation of its importance. All of my sins are forgiven when I confess them, so I do not have to carry a heavy load of guilt around with me. Nor do I have to fear death. Just imagine the freedom that gives to me in regards to living out my life.

Jesus tells us: “Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear?” And do we not consider the great, good news—the Gospel—of what Jesus has accomplished for us: freedom from sin and freedom to live fully? We need to consciously think about this enormous gift and it ramifications!

Prayer: Lord, help us to see and hear your good news. Amen.

 

 

Mark 8:11-13 A Sign!

Devotional—Mark 8:11–13 A Sign!

 

As soon as Jesus and the Twelve landed in the district of Dalmanutha, the Pharisees came to dispute with him. It seems they were constantly challenging him. He had quickly become popular, and the Pharisees were either threatened by him or they were genuinely concerned that his teaching be in accordance with the Biblical authority. Their concern could very well have been legitimate. It was the responsibility of the religious authorities, especially of the scribes who were the theologians, to test the spirit of new teachers. Remember Paul that admonished the Christians to do the same when new teachers came to proclaim their versions of who Christ was and what his good news was.

The Pharisees sought a sign from heaven that would prove that Jesus was the Messiah. This was not a request. The Pharisees demanded that Jesus prove who he was. If he was going to be considered the Messiah, then he should be able to prove it to them. They most likely reasoned that if God’s Messiah had finally come to free them, he surely could give them divine proof of his authenticity.

Mark wrote that Jesus “sighed deeply.” The Greek says that he “groaned aloud.” He seemed to be exhausted from the constant haranguing of the religious authorities. Exasperated, he asked: “Why does this generation seek a sign?” The people were being abused by the Romans. They were impoverished. The people were longing for the Messiah to come and help them by relieving some of their pain, and all the Pharisees could do was attempt to destroy him. In frustration Jesus told them that they would get no sign from him now or in the future.

The teacher had just fed four thousand people with a small amount of food, and yet the Pharisees demanded a sign. What else could he do? Seemingly nothing would satisfy them.

With that Jesus left Dalmanutha. He and the Twelve got into their boat and sailed for Bethsaida, which was on the northeast side of the Sea of Galilee.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, give us the wisdom to accept you as the Christ and quit asking you to prove that you are him. Amen.

Note: A copy of the book, The Inside of the Cup by Jeb Monge, is available on Amazon.com.

Mark 8:1-10 A Second Feeding

Devotional—Mark 8:1–10 A Second Feeding

 

Another crowd came together to witness Jesus’s teaching and healing ministry. The crowd had been with Jesus for three days. They must have been mesmerized, like hypnotized sheep. If they had brought any food to eat, it surely was gone by now. And, of course, when they went out to hear this evangelist who was himself the good news, they could not have imagined that the event would turn into three days.

They must have been sprawled over the desert like the crowd at Woodstock some years ago. Listening, talking, sleeping, and eating. Jesus has four thousand people crowded around him. I have only talked to groups of five hundred. To think that this group was eight times larger is hard to imagine. How could he speak loud enough for everyone to hear?

Jesus realized how desperate the people were and had compassion on them. He could have dismissed them for being irresponsible, but instead he sympathized with them and decided to help.

When I was in college I worked for the Plymouth Christian Youth Center in Minneapolis. The center had camps in the northwoods of Minnesota on and near the Canadian border. On the canoe trips we studied Paul’s Letter to the Romans and I Corinthians. At the end of the summer, we were musing that we young Christians were “Fools for Christ.” In Greek “fool” means “no mind.” I wonder if that was what had happened to the crowd. Had they lost their minds listening to Jesus and forgotten the most practical of things: food?

Over and again Jesus has compassion on us. Whether or not we have gotten lost in following him, he has compassion on us. That means that he suffers with us. We are therefore not alone in our suffering, and that is a powerful form of good news.

In this life we are always like this crowd in the desert. Living in this world involves suffering, and the risen Lord is always with us. Some of my worst suffering has come from being abandoned by my family and friends. They simply were afraid and did not know how to respond to a person with depression. Consequently they disappeared. All of us are uncomfortable around suffering. We do not even realize that what the sufferer needs more than anything is to have somebody be with them. Well, in my case, Jesus was the only one who visited. He sat beside me in my hell, and as a result I was able to live through those periods.

As we continue with the story, the Twelve disciples continue to be practical—not realistic, but practical. Obviously they are not able to gather any food in the desert. But they should have learned by now that Jesus was more than able to feed the masses regardless of what the situation was. He had already fed a huge crowd with very little food. He had quieted the violent storm that threatened all of their lives. He had been healing the sick all along. So why would it be unrealistic for him to take care of his followers in this situation?

It appears that the Twelve were as dense in the head as we are. We live in the post-Resurrection period, and yet we—at least I—fret [CS1] over so many insignificant problems. So often our reaction to God’s promises is the same as the Twelve: “Lord, how…?”

Jesus repeated the ceremony of feeding the multitude, and Mark writes that every person ate until he/she was full.

As soon as the meal was completed, Jesus and the Twelve got into their boat and sailed for Dalmanutha. We don’t know where the town is, but the best guess is that it was on the west side of the Sea of Galilee, somewhere around Magdala, where Mary Magdalene came from. There Jesus will be confronted by more attempts to get him to prove that he is the Son of God.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to open our minds and hearts to your continual working within each of us. Amen.

Note:  A copy of this book, The Inside of the Cup, by Jeb Monge, can be purchased on Amazon.com.

 


 [CS1]Note that with the dash again, there is no spacing between it and the words adjacent.

Mark 7:31-37 Healing the Deaf Man

Devotional—Mark 7:31–37 Healing the deaf man

 

Jesus took the Twelve disciples back home to the Sea of Galilee. For some reason, Mark mentions the route they took. The Thirteen (Jesus and the Twelve) walked from Tyre, which is a port on the Mediterranean Sea and went north to Sidon instead of southeast to Galilee. The trip to Sidon was approximately fifty miles and took them three days. Then Jesus led them back down toward Tyre and again, instead of walking southeast, they journeyed a couple hundred miles to the east and finally turned south down into the Decapolis, which was a large region with ten cities (deca means “ten” and polis means “city”). Eventually, possibly two weeks later, they arrived back in Galilee.

Why the long walking tour? Could it have been a wilderness experience for the Twelve? Jesus had already had his forty days in the wilderness. Did he mean to test the Twelve in the same way he had been tested? There were no cities or towns on this route, so they must have run short of food and even water. They definitely were tested. Instead of a fifty-mile journey home, Jesus had taken them on a four- to five-hundred-mile journey.

As soon as they arrived in Galilee, a group brought a deaf-mute [CS1] man to Jesus. They knew what they wanted. They placed a problem, the deaf-mute man, in front of Jesus, and they wanted Jesus to lay his hands on the man and heal him. Mark says nothing of a desire for a religious or spiritual experience. The group simply wanted this man to be able to hear and speak once again.

At times I behave the same way with Jesus. I mouth a few pious phrases and then quickly ask God to make me healthy, to forgive my sins, to bless those people I love, etc. Suffering from a chronic illness can easily lead to this kind of selfish prayer.

I wonder if the masses left Jesus when he was arrested because they were like this group. Fulfill our desires—that is all we want. Is that all we want from you, Lord. Does our gratitude have the same lack of depth as the group’s desire to have this man healed?

Jesus did heal the man. He took him away from the multitude, placed his fingers in the man’s ears, spat on his fingers, and touched [CS2] the man’s tongue. Jesus then looked up into heaven and sighed. Why a sigh? A few verses later, Jesus sighs again. The Pharisees were arguing with Jesus, and they wanted Jesus to give them a sign to prove who he was. If he was the Messiah, then he should be able to prove it. At that point, Mark writes that Jesus “sighed deeply in his spirit.” Jesus was frustrated with the Pharisees’ attempt to get him to give proof of who he was. In the case of the deaf-mute man, Jesus [CS3] may have been frustrated that he seemingly was being exploited. They did not seem to want to hear his teaching or have a desire to follow Jesus. Just heal their friend. Jesus sighed and then he said: “Be opened,” in Aramaic, and the man was immediately able to hear and speak normally.

Jesus then does command the group. “Do not say anything to anyone about what you just observed.” Of course, they disobeyed. How could they remain silent? They had just witnessed a miracle. The group was overwhelmed. In their astonishment they said: “He has done all things well; he even makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.”

I am sad when I study this story. How much am I like this group? Heal me; heal my friends! Then possibly a momentary thank you. Instead of keeping the miracle quiet, I “share” the good news with other people. I wonder if we should keep quiet about the way God continually blesses us. Possibly I should “go sell what I have and give it to the poor.” Forget the blabbing and express my gratitude to God by helping others in the same way he helps me.

I don’t know. The deaf-mute man was healed. Jesus had the power to do anything he wanted, and he chose to use his power to heal the sick. Thank you, Lord, for being our Messiah.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for caring about us even though we might not be gracious in receiving the gift. Amen.

NOTE: The Inside of the Cup, a 300 page daily devotional, can be purchased on amazon.com.  Check ‘Jeb Monge’ for list of his books.


 [CS1]According to the spelling in Merriam-Webster’s, deaf-mute is hyphenated.

 [CS2]Note that I’ve inserted commas here to establish a parallel series of phrases.

 [CS3]This comma has been inserted following an introductory phrase.

Mark 7: 24-30 Even the Dogs

 

Devotional—Mark 7:24–30 Even the Dogs

 

Tyre and Sidon are cities northwest of Galilee. They are seaports on the Mediterranean Sea. Jesus left Galilee and took his twelve disciples on a seventy-mile walk to Tyre which would have taken three days.

Why did he travel to a foreign land? My guess is so that he and his disciples could take a much needed break. In Galilee they had no privacy. There was a constant demand for healing and teaching, and they needed retreat time.

Mark writes that as soon as they arrived in Tyre, Jesus immediately entered a house and adds that Jesus was not able to hide. I get the idea that his celebrity preceded him to Tyre by other travelers along the way. People tried to travel in groups for safety, because like in the Good Samaritan story, if you traveled alone, you were threatened by the presence of robbers.

As soon as they arrived at the house, a woman fell at Jesus’s feet. This was not a polite kneeling. The Greek text states that the woman literally fell at his feet. It was an act of total subjection. For the sake of her daughter, the woman set aside her own ego needs and completely submitted to Jesus. Her daughter was desperately ill, and the woman knew that Jesus was the only hope she had. We don’t know how old the girl was. Mark simply writes “daughter.”

The woman was not a Jew, and that made a significant difference. Only the Jews were waiting for the Messiah to come. Plus the woman was an alien, a Syrophoenician. In those days people dealt only with people of their own country.

This was true except for the Galileans. Caravans from the east (Babylon), north (Anatolia, Greece, and Rome) and south (Egypt) all traveled through Galilee. This is one reason the Jews in the southern Holy Land, where Jerusalem was, considered [CS1] the Galileans unclean. They were constantly in contact with foreigners: particularly trading with them. As a result, the Galileans were not able to offer sacrifices in the Jerusalem Temple until they went through a special cleansing ritual.

But the fact remains. Jesus came to be Messiah to God’s people, and the woman was not a child of God, as the Jews understood the concept. She nevertheless turned to Jesus and pleaded with him to heal her child.

Jesus properly responded by telling her that he would not help her. He had come to God’s children, and he would first feed them. He said: “It is not right to take their food and give it to the dogs.” This may sound horrible to us, but back then that was what people from one nation thought of people from other nations. Foreigners had no more worth than a common animal. Besides this, how could this non-Jew (gentile) appreciate who Jesus was and what he was doing? She knew nothing of Jewish history.

The woman responded in a surprising way. She treated Jesus like an equal. She had just prostrated herself on the ground at Jesus’s feet, and now she was bold enough to argue with him. “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” In the quotation, “Lord” is capitalized, but in the Greek “lord” is not. With a lower case “l,” “lord” only meant that she considered Jesus to be an important person. She accepted the rejection by Jesus, but reason prevailed.

Jesus respected how the woman stood up to him and forced him to be reasonable. Jesus granted the woman’s request and healed her daughter. He told her to go home, and there she would find her daughter’s health returned. “For this saying you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.”

As I read the Psalms and the book of Job[CS2] , I see this same manner of talking with God. When I was growing up, I was taught to pray to God like I was having a cup of coffee with him—to use informal language, lik[CS3] e two friends talking together. I never forgot who God was, but our conversations were truly dialogues. I did hear God responding to me in my mind. It was not like talking to an inanimate object. It was similar to talking with my parents.

The Syrophoenecian woman may not have had the faith that Jesus was the Messiah. She did believe that he was able to help her daughter, and the only question was: Did Jesus want to heal her child? This is similar to the leper who confronted Jesus: “If you choose, you can make me clean.”

In responding to Jesus with such authenticity as the woman displayed, I begin to realize that Jesus himself does not have the ego needs that I have. He is free to come down to my level and deal with me one-on-one, in person, and he will be as genuine with me as I with him. What a tremendous gift he gives to us!

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for loving us on whatever plane we are, for descending to us and becoming incarnate. Amen.

Note: The book, The Inside of the Cup, can be found in either paperback or Kindle ebook in amazon.com under Jeb Monge.  Paperback is $11.66 and ebook is $3.95.

Mark 7:14-23 The Battle of the Heart

Devotional—Mark 7:14–23 The battle of the heart

 

After Jesus’s confrontation with the Pharisees and Jerusalem scribes, he calls the crowd together to teach about where our struggles are based—in our hearts, which are the centers of our thoughts and feelings. Jesus instructs the crowd to listen carefully, so they will understand.

Jesus teaches the crowd that the struggle each person has is on the inside. Obviously he did not know about germs. That theory has ancient roots, but it wasn’t until the sixteenth century that the theory began to develop. But Jesus did know of what we call psychosomatic illness, which has a profound effect on all of us. When our psyches are sick, when there are disturbances within our souls, the resultant illnesses are expressed in our somas, that is, our bodies. Our bodies become “defiled” is the way the Bible talks about this process.

To defile means “to make common” that which is holy. As creatures of God and particularly children of God, we are holy, which means that we are whole or healthy in body and mind. The Fall of Adam and Eve tells us that the breaking of our hearts or souls occurred right at the beginning of our existence.

To understand this concept we have to focus on the story of the first man and the first woman. In the beginning when we became conscious, we were aware of God’s presence. We enjoyed the riches of creation. It was Eden to us, which is a word in Hebrew that means pleasure and delight. But the moment we did not sense God’s presence, fear entered our lives, and the subsequent anxiety caused us to become greedy for whatever was immediately present, and this desire conquered us. It broke our hearts.

All that Satan did when this occurred was sow the germ of doubt. He asked: “Did God say…?” A simple, innocuous question. Seemingly harmless. The answer from Adam and Eve was: “Yes, God said,” and they added: “He said not even to touch the fruit of this tree.” An exaggeration that was innocent enough, but the idea of God trying to limit them escalated into a defiant, rebellious response.

At that point Adam and Eve changed their focus from God to creation, from God to themselves, and this only created more anxiety, which intensified exponentially into outright rebellion against their Creator. The focus, instead of being on God their Creator, was on the gifts God had given them, and the gulf between them and God became insurmountable.

The break in their relationship is what culminated in the discussion Jesus was having with the crowd today, that it is not so much the pesky germs that make us sick, but the inner battle that each one of us is constantly struggling with. Evil thoughts, adultery, stealing, and murder are all the consequence of our break with God. Consider any of commandments four through ten.

Sin is anything that causes us to feel separated from God. Guilt causes this feeling of separation, a feeling that we do not deserve God’s presence in our lives. The Adam and Eve story says that God drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden. I wonder if it was as much a feeling of being unworthy on the part of Adam and Eve that drove them out of God’s presence. Is this not the problem that many of the religious leaders of Jesus’s day had, which led them to attempt to snuff out the Light of the World? They could not tolerate the truth of their situation.

Jesus concludes this teaching session with: “All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” The battleground of who we are and what will control us is the battle Jesus is still fighting for us. He has already won the battle, but we are yet in the middle of the struggle.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, please do not forget us who are yet in the battle.

NOTE:  the book, The Inside of the Cup, can be purchased on amazon.com.  Check Jeb Monge for the listing of the paperback or the Kindle version.

Mark 7:9-13 Commandments or Traditions

 

Devotional—Mark 7:9–13 Commandments or Traditions

 

The Pharisees and scribes who had come from Jerusalem were criticizing Jesus, even condemning him, for allowing his disciples to eat without ceremoniously washing their hands. The disciples may have washed their hands, but according to tradition they were to follow a prescribed procedure.

Jesus wasted no time in retaliating, and I would think that he was angry with these fastidious religious leaders for acting this way. Jesus condemned them for replacing God’s commandments with their own traditions, such as the Corban tradition. The temple treasury was called Corban. If a son did not wish to support his elderly parents, he would simply declare all or part of his estate as being Corban, that is, dedicated to God or the temple treasury. This was not a formal agreement like a capital trust. It was convenient for the sons to sidestep their responsibility to honor their parents in their older ages when they were in need of help. If the sons chose, they would not later be obligated to submit this sum to the temple treasury when their parents died.

The religious leaders, however, did [CS1] not consider this practice deceitful and profoundly obnoxious. The Law stated that children were to honor their parents, to value them, and to care for them. The tradition gave them a way to evade this loving responsibility. The Corban practice may have placated their guilt momentarily, but, as Jesus will discuss in the next devotional, we are not able to deceive our hearts. We know when we have done wrong, and we will be punished for it. In fact, we will punish ourselves for all infractions.

Jesus reprimanded the religious leaders for convincing the people that the traditions the elders had devised throughout the centuries are more important than the Ten Commandments God gave to us in order to help us remain healthy. We are never able to improve on the two great commandments: love God above everything and love our neighbors as God loves us.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to focus on you. Amen.

Note:  The 300 page daily devotional, The Inside of the Cup, can be found on amazon.com.  Check “Jeb Monge” for the listings both in paperback and ebook.

 


 [CS1]The counterintuitive part of the sentence needs emphasis.

Mark 7:1-8 Hypocrites

 

Devotional—Mark 7:1–8 Hypocrites

 

The Jewish religious leaders were becoming serious about what to do with this new teacher from Nazareth. The Pharisees got together and now brought in scribes (scholars) from Jerusalem. These men were the best in Judaism. I wonder if any of them remembered Jesus’s impressive conversation with them when he was twelve, some eighteen years before this.

The religious leaders saw that some of Jesus’s disciples ate with their hands not properly washed. The priests in ancient Judaism were in charge of the health of the populace. They were the educated people who had had training in maintaining health. Throughout the centuries, they observed people who came to sacrifice and who came for ritual cleansing. They had learned that various foods such as pork made people ill and that not washing the foods before eating them made people sick. So rules were established. A person must wash from the tip of his fingers up to the elbow before he ate. Also, pots, pans, and cups were washed before use. It took over a thousand years before surgeons realized that they needed to wash properly before conducting an operation.

At times these human laws became more important to the people and their leaders than following God’s commandments. In this case these leaders interrogated Jesus like he had broken one of the Ten Commandments. The word for “ask” in this situation meant that they aggressively accosted and interrogated Jesus, treating him like he was a criminal. These leaders had power, a lot of it. They were from the Sanhedrin, the governing council in Jerusalem, the council which eventually condemned Jesus and had the Romans execute him.

In spite of their power and influence, Jesus did not back away from them. His response was to quote a passage from the prophet Isaiah, which called men like them hypocrites. Isaiah, and Jesus by quoting the prophet, condemned these religious leaders, saying they paid homage to God with their words while their hearts were far from worshiping God and living according to His values. These men were rightly convicted of placing more importance on their man-made traditions than on God’s commandments. What gave the people life were the Ten Commandments.

Jesus did not stand down to these men because they were wrong, and he was by no means intimidated by them.

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, help us focus on you and your love for us, on that which gives us life now and eternally. Amen.

Note: The Inside of the Cup is a 300 page daily devotional which is available on amazon.com.  Check “Jeb Monge” for the title in either paperback or Kindle.

Mark 6:53-56 Jesus: a popular healer

Devotional—Mark 6:53–56 Jesus: a popular healer

 

When Jesus and the Twelve got to the west northwestern side of the Sea of Galilee, they moored at Gennesaret. We are not able to find any trace of this village today, and all we know is that the area is beautiful and fertile.

As soon as they disembarked from the boat, the people recognized who they were and began going through the neighborhoods and villages gathering the sick and bringing them to Jesus. Anywhere he traveled, the sick were brought to him. The people believed that they would be made healthy if only they touched the tassels on his robe. The tassels, which were twisted wool and placed at the four corners of his robe, were reminders that Jesus observed the Law of Moses.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to believe in your promises, that you are always with us and that you care about us. We may not be cured like the people who were in your presence that day, but you still care about us and are with us. Amen.

Note: This is part of a 300 page daily devotional which is available on amazon.com.  Ebook: $3.95 and paperback $11.66.

 

 

 

Mark 6:45-52 Jesus Walks on Water

Devotional—Mark 6:45–52 Jesus Walks on Water

 

After having fed the masses, Jesus forced his disciples to sail to Bethsaida ahead of him. While they began sailing, Jesus let the crowd return home. After they had gone, Jesus went into the hills for privacy and prayer. Without him aboard the boat, the crowd did not follow it, which allowed the Twelve to have time alone. Imagine how much they and Jesus needed rest. For Jesus, prayer meant being nurtured by his Father in heaven.

After a long time, when the sun had set, Jesus was finally alone. The Twelve had been sailing for several hours and were rowing straight into a powerful wind. They were exhausted and not getting very far. This was a time of testing for the Twelve. The wind was showing them what their character was.

At about four in the morning, Jesus came walking on the water. His intention was to walk by them, but they did see him and screamed. Jesus appeared to be a ghost, and these brave adult men were terrified. They believed the figure was a ghost because they knew that humans do not walk on water.

Immediately Jesus assured them that it was he, a human. “Be of good courage, men. ‘I am I’” is the phrase he used, which in Greek means that he emphatically assured them that it was he, their master and teacher. “It is not a ghost. It is I: Jesus of Nazareth.” Then he encouraged them again: “Do not be afraid.”

In our period of history, we [CS1] tend not to fear God or ghosts or any unexplained phenomenon. This attitude leads us to consider Jesus to be a friend, and we have difficulty believing that he is the LORD Jesus Christ. The Twelve were terrified. Not one of them suggested that the figure was their Master. Every one of them was convinced they had seen a real live ghost.

In spite of our bewilderment and inability to understand the things of God, Jesus still comes to us with the same message: “Friends, it is okay. Do not be afraid. I am with you—always with you—even to the end of the world.”

At that time, Jesus stepped into the boat, and the wind ceased. It wore itself out. The Twelve were again speechless. The Greek text says that they had been driven out of their minds. It may have dawned on them, either at the time or in the future, that at that moment they were like the demoniac at Gerasa.

Mark writes that they were not able to understand what had happened because they did not comprehend the feeding of the five thousand people with virtually no food. These words make it clear that Jesus multiplied the small amount of food that was found. An interpretation of the feeding of the crowd has been offered that suggests that Jesus’s acceptance of the five loaves and two fish inspired the rest of the people to share the little that they had brought along. The way Mark describes the situation, it is clear that he meant that Jesus multiplied the loaves and fish. The argument for this interpretation is that Jesus was in the beginning and was involved in creating the universe. He, being that powerful, could walk on the water that he himself created.

The Twelve cannot be criticized for not understanding all of these happenings. Imagine the struggle they had when their Master had been raised from the dead. Nothing like this had ever been done before. The message to us is that we need not fear anything in this life, not even death. A friend recently said: “Not even death is fatal.”

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for giving us the assurance that even when we are afraid and not able to understand, that you, the Risen Lord and Savior, are with us. Amen.

Note: The 300 page daily devotional, The Inside of the Cup, is available at amazon.com.  The ebook is $3.95 and the paperback is $11.66.


 [CS1]Note the comma use here for an introductory phrase.