Today’s FDR (Sa 05/11/2016) passages are Zechariah 2 and Mark 8: 14 -21 .
These short 13 verses provide us with two significant pictures.
The first four verses provide us with a view through Zechariah’s eyes and as a result of his own actions with the messenger that the city need not be measured as it is so full of people and animals. But this city has no walls for another reason.
God speaks through the last messenger in verse 5 and puts in place the wall ‘of flames’ that protect the inhabitants and His glory is found in the midst of this city. Here there is a symbolic contrast between an unwalled city so huge as to need and be protected by God personally in the biblical form of fire.
God speaks again in verse 6 through the messenger to direct those who are dispersed across the earth to flee to Jerusalem. Here some urgency is imposed on the task of returning to the rightful place of those who were scattered by the repeated invitation “come, come” and the direction “flee”.
Zechariah, now takes on the role of messenger, and picks up this urgency and the earlier command, from chapter 1, to direct his people to flee to Zion (vv7-9). He then has a second imperative command or call to his people to rejoice and join with all peoples. Here the imperative is enforced by Zechariah’s claim that the people will then know that the Lord has sent him (v12).
Finally, Zechariah finishes with a third imperative that we should stand still as the waiting is over. While the last verse suggests that the Lord has roused Himself and it projects the Lord as being in His temple. In this instance this verse serves too as a preliminary predictor of serious action to follow and tomorrow’s reading will show you what that is.
Sometimes by the time our service is finished I’m so in need of coffee nothing else registers. The greetings with my church friends and colleagues become a bit facile and some of my more astute, and less subtle friends make comments about how I’ll enjoy a cup of coffee. Without thinking I agree and wander off in a fog towards the coffee machine, to get a coffee and plonk myself down somewhere.
So too the disciples in this passage.
Before we reached this reading today there are a number of examples of the Lord’s disciples not getting the bigger picture. There have been two bread miracles recorded by Mark. In each, the food available is multiplied many times by our Lord to feed all the people present with plenty left over. The words of Mark 6:52, after one of the bread miracles and the stilling of the waters make it clear the disciples are missing the spiritual picture. How often do we act like this about things of God?
But our Lord, in this passage starts in quite a different place. Warning the disciples about the yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod (see v11 & 12 and v16 -17a) while the disciples can only see one loaf of bread in the boat between them all. Standing chronologically where the disciples and Jesus are in their time and ministry together Jesus is concerned that the disciples are missing the developing spiritual aspect.
The disciples response in v 16 displays their off-target thinking!
Jesus resorts to rhetorically questioning each bread miracle and gets only a bread response to each question. In each miracle Jesus has amply demonstrated that the disciples do not need to worry about their food when they are with him. Yet their mind is on the single loaf in the boat. Back as far as Mark 6:52 there was no confusion between bread and stilling of the waters. Both demonstrated clearly they were in the company of the Messiah. Yet even here, under Jesus’ questioning an after other examples they were walking with the Messiah, they miss the gravity of what is before their own eyes and hearts.
This passage, or short scene, ends with v21 and Jesus showing his concern that they still do not understand!
Sometimes we see blindly and sometimes the things we see are not seen by others. Rather than fall short of what we are meant to know we need to be actively seeking the Lord’s clarity of the message He has for us and what His scripture tells us.
Can I encourage you to continue to read and study the scriptures and to use regular and active prayer as a tool to grow in understanding of our Lord Jesus and His will for us. This is extremely important in these confusing and challenging times when many false teachers will seek to discredit and bring into doubt the things we know and believe by faith and scripture.
Each time you open the Bible pray for knowledge and understanding and the active opening of your mind and eyes by the Holy Spirit.
I pray that you will learn and grow in faith and commitment each time you read more of Mark’s account of the Messiah, our Lord Jesus.