From Pastor Perry

Mark 8:14–21 (ESV)
The Leaven of the Pharisees and Herod
14 Now they had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. 15 And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” 16 And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. 17 And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” 20 “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” And they said to him, “Seven.” 21 And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?”

It is no secret that I love to cook.  I enjoy making my own spaghetti from scratch.  Spaghetti from the store is very low cost, but I love the freshness of making it fresh from scratch.  All I need is four eggs and four cups of flour.  I pour the flour on the counter top and make a hole in the center.  It looks like a big pile of flour in the shape of a donut.  Break the eggs and place them inside the hole.  Take a fork and start beating and whipping the eggs, but keep bringing in some flour from the pile until later on... all the flour is mixed in.  Then you roll it, re-roll it, and keep running it between the rollers in a pasta machine until it is the proper thickness.  Then you run it through the cutter that creates the spaghetti.  This is fresh spaghetti and cooks in about 1 - 2 minutes.  No if I added leaven (or yeast) then this whole process is not going to work.  The leaven has worked it’s way through the flour and it will dough to rise.  You have to start over.  So what does this have to do with today’s reading?  Beware of the Pharisee’s teaching which is the leaven.  Jesus is the Bread of Life.  Leaven brings in false teachings and ruins the truth.

I pray: O Lord, help me to read and to know the truth, and to not let your truth be corrupted.  You alone are the Bread of Life and you provide for all my needs.  Help me to trust in you alone.  Amen.

Mark 8:11-13
The Pharisees Demand a Sign
11 The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. 12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” 13 And he left them, got into the boat again, and went to the other side.

Just one more!  Just one more!  Just one more!  All we need is just one more!  The Pharisees kept wanting Jesus to prove who he was.  If Jesus gave them one more miracle that they asked for... they still would not have believed.  Their minds were turned against Jesus.

People today still ask God for one more miracle!  I guess Jesus coming back to life is simply not enough.  I pray: O Lord, another miracle will not make a difference.  I have never seen your miracles, but yet I still believe.  Amen.

Mark 8:1–10 (ESV)
Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand
8 In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, he called his disciples to him and said to them, 2 “I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. 3 And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.” 4 And his disciples answered him, “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?” 5 And he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.” 6 And he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd. 7 And they had a few small fish. And having blessed them, he said that these also should be set before them. 8 And they ate and were satisfied. And they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. 9 And there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away. 10 And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha.

I have heard people say the Bible is full of contradictions.  I disagree.  I will admit that sometimes you have to look at the issue from a different perspective, but I don’t see contridictions.  I hear people use for example, did Jesus feed 5,000 people or 4,000 people... because the Bible say 5,000 in one place and 4,000 in another.  I agree that it seems confusing when 5,000 is listed in one place and 4,000 is listed in another, however they are both correct.  They are two separate feedings.  In fact, the Book of Mark lists both.  The feeding of 5,000 happens in chapter 6 and the feeding of 4,000 happens in chapter 8 of the Book of Mark.  

There are some small differences between the two, but they are different feeding.  Both show a miracle that is impossible to pull off.  It is a big event today for a caterer to feed 4,000-5,000 people.  A lot of planning, organizing, logistics... must be arranged.  I cannot go to Kroger and buy that much meat without notice.  It would take a couple of weeks for a short notice, to contact all of the suppliers, to make certain you have enough kitchen and storage space, and to have enough people to pull it off.  To call a seasoned caterer and to need it within the hour... you would be laughed at!  Jesus pulls both of these feedings without any hitches and has food left over... and that was 2,000 years ago!  Impossible? Yes... for man, but “no” for God!

I pray: O Lord, your miracles show that you are the Messiah, the Christ... the Son of God. Your message however is even more important.  You may feed people physical food and fill their bellies for a day, but you Word is Spiritual food that brings eternal life!  Help me to share your love and grace to our surrounding community.  Amen.

Mark 7:31–37 (ESV)
Jesus Heals a Deaf Man
31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32 And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33 And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. 34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36 And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

If I were going to loose any of my senses, I think I would want to loose smell.  But if you narrow it down to being blind or deaf, I would definitely take deaf.  Could you imagine never knowing where you are.  I’m not claustrophobic, but I would feel trapped not being able to see my way around.  Deaf, I could deal with.  However... I wouldn’t want to be deaf either.  They brought a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment.  Whether the speed impediment was due to his deafness, I don’t know.  They begged Jesus to heal him.  Jesus healed him.  Both deafness and speech impediment were gone.  I know there was a time that I had lost about 45% of my hearing due to fluid build up.  They doctors put tubes in my ears and drained them.  My hearing was restored immediately.  I was so happy to hear.  I went out to my car and started it.  The radio was so loud that I jumped and turned it down immediately.  Wow, I really had lost a lot of hearing, but not any more.

I pray: O Lord, you are the great physician, the creator of all things.  You have power to heal and the power to take life.  You really are the Son of God.  Amen. 

Mark 7:24–30 (ESV)
The Syrophoenician Woman’s Faith
24 And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden. 25 But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. 26 Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 28 But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 29 And he said to her, “For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.” 30 And she went home and found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.

Today’s reading is kind of cryptic.  To build on the basics, Jesus came first to save the Jews.  At this point, his ministry is still focused on the Jews.  This lady is not a Jew, but a Gentile.  When She begs Jesus to heal her daughter, but Jesus responds in an odd way.  He says “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”  The children are the Jews... and well, the dogs are the gentiles.  So... is Jesus calling this lady a dog?  Well, yes, but it doesn’t trip of this lady.  She responds “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”  There is a lot to her statement.  She is basically saying take care of the Jews, and she will be happy to receive the unwanted crumbs.  The unwanted crumbs that they brush off the table or maybe sweep off their clothes.  They still get what they wanted without her taking anything away from them... she will be satisfied with the unwanted crumbs.  Jesus responds back, “For this statement you may go your way; the demons has left your daughter.  Jesus extended his grace and mercy to a gentile.

I pray: O Lord, I feel doubly blessed to receive your grace and mercy.  You came for the Jews, but extended your grace and mercy to the gentiles.  Your forgiveness is for all people, and I give thanks.  I repent of my sins and want to do better.  Amen.

Latest comments

05.03 | 22:15

Pastor. since I did not get to attend church today, I read your blog and found it
to be so informative for Ash Wednesday. Thanks for your comments.

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25.12 | 07:53

Amen+

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28.11 | 13:00

Happy Thanksgiving

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03.11 | 01:46

A-Men!!!

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