Monday, April 16, 2012

Mark 8:10-13 Despondency in Dalmanutha

10 And straightway he entered into a ship with his disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha.
11 And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him.
12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation.
13 And he left them, and entering into the ship again departed to the other side.

     We have the sad account in this section of Scripture where the Lord Jesus entered into parts of Dalmanutha (on west side of Lake Galilee).  There the Pharisees demanded from Him a sign that He was indeed the Messiah.  They were acting like the Devil himself, tempting Him for a sign.  Perhaps they were motivated by Satan.  At any rate they wanted a concrete sign from Him.  If they had known the Scriptures and believed in it they would have seen signs all around them.  The Lord’s birth alone fulfilled many of the Old Testament prophecies.  John the Baptist’s preaching would have been a sign.  The healing miracles that Christ performed were a sign.  How about the feeding of the five thousand, and then the four thousand?  That too was a sign.  There were signs everywhere.  But the Pharisees probably relying on their philosophy and beliefs were looking for their sign.  They wanted Christ to perform a “sign from Heaven.”  It wasn’t enough that the Old Testament Scriptures were fulfilled in front of their very eyes.  John’s thundering voice in the wilderness was ignored.  The miracles were counted as suspicious and from the Devil.  They wanted the Lord Jesus to perform for them on their terms.  But the Lord will have none of it.  God doesn’t come to us on our terms.  He is Creator and Savior.  He speaks through His Word.  If we don’t pay attention to His sign, then we are left with nothing, just like the Pharisees who tempted Him.  The Lord’s reaction is sad.  He, the Bible says, “sighed deeply,” that means his sadness came from the very depths of his heart.  It is astounding that unbelief breaks the heart of God.  He loves us so much, and wants us to take Him at His Word, to believe on Him as He teaches us in the Bible.  “There shall no sign be given unto this generation,” that is, none of their sign that they demanded will be given to them.  God doesn’t honor unbelief.  The only sign, that the cross references in the other Gospels mention, is that of the Resurrection.  But even the very act of the Lord’s Resurrection itself was of no use to their blinded hearts.  You would think that a Risen Savior and an empty tomb would have been good enough signs, but no.  Signs are only good when people take heed to them.  And in this case, because of their sin and pride, the Lord does not honor their superficial request for a sign.  One of the saddest verses in the Bible is verse 13, “and He left them.”  There were signs everywhere, but as the saying goes, there is none so blind as those who refuse to see.  And what a terrible thing it is for the Lord Jesus to have to leave them alone, and be broken hearted.  How many people today, just like the Pharisees, have such pride and sin and unbelief that even today, while His tomb is empty, are still looking for God on their own terms. 
     How many Christians today want a sign?  Did God preserve His Word?  Show us a sign! They say.  Which original language text is it in?  Which translation? Where is it exactly?  And what about other signs, Can we speak in tongues?  Can we gain more of the Holy Spirit?  Can He move this furniture and give us warm fuzzies? We demand a sign!  And God is not pleased.  He has given us His Word.  That is His sign to us.  May we open our eyes to His Word, read it, obey it, put it to the test, prove it and make it our own.  Let us trust in the sufficiency of His Word.

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