Lesson 203-January 5, 2020
Lesson: “Sometimes it Just Takes us a While to Get It”
Scripture: Primary Passage: Mark 8:14-21; Parallel Passage: Matthew 16:5-12
Lesson Goal: To better understand the lesson of the loaf and the leaven.
Introduction: Today the aroma of the Thanksgiving turkey is a fleeing and distant memory. Christmas decorations that were hung and placed with great excitement, joy, and merriment, now once again lie dormant in storage containers stacked five high in attics and basements. All of these testifying to the reality that another year has come and gone. Now the calendar reads 2020!
Before we move forward exploring the new opportunities that a new year brings, would you please take just a moment to pray and remember those of our church family whose lives were forever changed in 2019. For most 2019 will just simply slide into the rear view mirror of our memories. But for some of those that we love, 2019 will simply be remembered as the year! May we as followers of Jesus Christ always be sensitive to the needs of those around us. May our lives be reflections of Jesus’ love, compassion, and grace toward others. Look around you today and find someone that needs your touch of love. A most sobering thought even as I write this lesson is that some of us will in 361 days look back and remember 2020 as the year!
Today we being a new year in our Life Focus study of “The Life and Ministry of Jesus.” I am blessed, hon-ored, thankful, and humbled to continue as the writer of our Life Focus Lessons. One of the things I have truly looked forward to in retirement is the opportunity to spend more dedicated time and concerted effort in writing these lessons. I am very much still trying to figure this retirement thing out but one of my goals and earnest prayers is that as I partly lay aside the Shepherd’s robe that I will, with God’s help take a firm grip on the writer’s pen. It is my honest and sincere desire that in the coming lessons, you will be able to see God’s finger-print upon the writer’s hand in each and every lesson. May it truly be “The Best is Yet to Come!”
Background: Before we turn our attention to today’s Scripture passage, let’s first do a quick review.
Question: What does Jesus do in Matthew 14:13-21? What are some lessons we can learn from this passage?
Question: In Matthew 15:21 Jesus went to the region of Tyre and Sidon. What are some possible reasons for His going to this region?
Question: While in the region of Tyre and Ssidon, what were some things Jesus did?
Question: How does the feeding of the multitude in Matthew 15:32-38 differ from the feeding in Matthew 14?
Question: What is the significance in Matthew’s words concerning Jesus found in Matthew 16:4, “And He left them and departed?”
Mark 8:14-Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread and they did not have more than one loaf with them in the boat.
In this one verse there are some wonderful nuggets of truth. Let us dig for those nuggets asking God to give us knowledge, insight, and wisdom.
(v14a) Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread.
It seems that Jesus had left His confrontation with the religious leaders abruptly and quickly, His disciples quickly followed Him (v13). Somewhere along the journey the disciples become aware that they do not have enough bread for the journey.
(v14b) And they did not have more than one loaf with them in the boat.
Daniel Akin describes the scene, “They got in the boat with only ‘one loaf of bread.’ It is amazing that with seven large basketfuls, this is all they snagged. They began to discuss their predicament, perhaps even blam-ing one another. They failed to see the “irony” in the situation, and they forgot who was in the boat and what He could do!”
The gospel writers do not tell us what happened to the seven large baskets of leftovers that resulted from the feeding of the four thousand just a short time earlier.
Question: What are some life lessons that can be learned from verse 14? Please give prayerful thought to your answer.
(v15) Then He charged them, saying, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Her-od.”
Jesus once again uses the moment to teach the disciples an important truth.
(v16) And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have no bread.” The disciples discussed among themselves trying to understand what Jesus meant in verse 15. Jesus was teaching them a life lesson (v15) by warning them that they need to beware, be cautious, be on alert, be on guard, for the yeast of the Pharisees and Herod. Just as a little yeast can permeate a whole lot of bread dough, the disciples need to know and understand the dangers of the evils of the Pharisees and Herod. Matthew includes the Sadducees.
The Life Application Bible Commentary offers this insight, “Just as a small amount of yeast is needed to make a batch of bread rise, so the evil teachings and hypocrisy of the religious leaders and political leaders could permeate and contaminate the entire society. Jesus used yeast as an example of how a small amount of evil can affect a large group of people. Jesus warned His disciples to constantly watch our for the contaminating evil of the religious leaders.” See Galatians 5:9.
The disciples were not getting it! But let us (followers of Jesus) receive our own warning before we criticize and condemn the disciples for not getting it. How many times have we not gotten it? The disciples were learners in the classroom, so are we. They were taking steps in their journey of faith, although they were tak-ing small steps. Most of us, I hope, would concur that we are still taking baby steps. There may be some who study these simple lessons and fill they have arrived in knowledge and wisdom but most of us are still learners just like the disciples. Somedays we seem to get it and others we seem to have forgotten that which we thought we had gotten just a day earlier (sounds like a Yogism).
(vv17-18) But, Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Is your heart still hardened? Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember?
In these verses Jesus poses several questions in rebuke of the disciples understanding and regard for the truth. Jesus was preparing them for the future and He wanted them to get it. For on these guys would rest the responsibility to carry forth His message and ministry after He was gone.
(vv19-21) “When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments did you take up?” They said to Him, “Twelve.” “Also, when I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of fragments did you take up?” And they said, “Seven.” So He said to them, “How is it you do not understand?”
Jesus questions were asked to the disciples to instruct them in their correct understanding of the truth.
Question: For the disciples the truth of this lesson was not physical bread! What was the lesson?
Please read Matthew 6:25-34. Had the disciples heard these words? The deep truths of God are found in the basic truths of Jesus’ life, example, and teachings. Life is about taking His teachings and applying them in ones life. For most of us (including the twelve) it just takes us a while to get it!