Don’t Miss the Obvious
One common theme in the Gospel of Mark is the secrecy of Jesus’ identity as the Messiah. He performed miracles and healings, frequently followed up with an entreaty to remain silent about them. This was undoubtedly difficult for those whom Jesus healed, and many clearly failed to keep quiet.
The emotional urgency of being healed must have been significant and difficult to process. The disciples, however, were in a far more difficult position. They witnessed miracle after miracle. It wasn’t just difficult to explain away—it was impossible! The power of God was being released upon his people time and time again. How could the disciples account for this? Who was this man Jesus, through whom so much power flowed?
It may be easy for us to look back with the benefit of hindsight and see what the disciples missed. We know that Jesus was God incarnate standing in their midst. But what the disciples experienced was unprecedented. No wonder it took them so long to work it out!
Looking around at the crowd of thousands, they wondered, “How are we supposed to find enough food to feed them out here in the wilderness?” (Mark 8:4). How could they have forgotten so quickly? Jesus had just fed 5,000 people (6:41-44).
While in the boat without sufficient food, they worried about their stomachs. “Don’t you understand yet?” Jesus had to ask (8:21).
When Jesus asked, “Who do people say I am?” The disciples reported John the Baptist, Elijah, or another prophet. This was merely a prelude for the important question: “But who do you say I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Messiah” (8:27-29; see also Matt 16:16).
It took time for the disciples to grasp that he was God’s Son. Regardless of how long it takes us, what matters is that we recognize Jesus for who he is. As evidenced by the disciples, it can have less to do with proximity and experience than it does with having hearts that understand our Savior and what he has done for us (Eph 1:18). And as we spend time getting to know our Lord, we also come to see other people through his eyes.
God, open our eyes to who you are and what you are doing in our lives in this difficult time. Help me to see others through your eyes!