Eternal Priorities

What really matters for those of us who have chosen to be Biblical Followers of Christ? If you have yet to become a Biblical Follower of Christ, what really matters to you? They say you can determine what really matters to someone by three key things: What they do with their time, what they do with their financial resources and what they do with others. [Shared Life]

At this point in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus has been training the Disciples for 2 yrs! Giving them principals & application of those principals. Some lessons are repeated. Repetition in Scripture…Important things are purposely repeated for OUR benefit. Why does the same sort of thing happen over and over again in Scripture? The disciples have been with Jesus for a while now but He has to repeat lessons for them…good thing that never happens with us!

All of these lesson are about what really matters: Right Relationship with God! Today in our text we see 3 key Principals of a Right / Biblical Relationship with God: We are to focus on Eternal things not Earthly things. We are to live by Faith that God is who He says He is and will do what He promises. We are to avoid any sort of entitlement and not demand anything from God.

Mark 8:1-21 [ESV]

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.”

  • Christ is on the southeast side of the sea of Galilee [Gentile Area]
  • People have traveled from the surrounding towns [Decapolis = 10 towns]
  • These people have discovered what really matters: The Messiah, God Himself
  • They have ‘been with Him’…once you have been with Him, you belong to Him
  • And He cares for them…they’ve come a long way spiritually [No OT Revelation]

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.”

  • The reply of the disciples is: “There is no way to not send them home hungry!”
  • So Jesus asks: “how much do you guys have for a personal supply?”
  • The question may seem familiar…

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.

  • No green grass this time, just find some ground..
  • 1st things 1st: GIVE THANKS!
  • Christ didn’t give directly to the crowd, He gave to the disciples for them to give
  • Teaching them & empowering them to give their lives [bread] away

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. [Magdala]

  • They were satisfied physically and spiritually
  • 7 loaves to start…7 ‘full baskets’ when all had been fed
  • The disciples now have more to eat than what they started with [IN their power]
  • 4000 people / men, they way they counted…all non jews!
  • I would say this was a more profound gathering than the 5000 Jews He fed
  • Once fed He sends them home: The miracle was to cement / validate teaching
  • Immediately Jesus ships out! Back to the land of The Jews…

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.

  • This an example of the ‘religious entitlement’ of the Religious leaders
  • ‘We deserve a sign’!
  • 6000 gentiles who sat under Jesus’ teaching for 3 days didn’t demand a sign
  • Like in the previous passage Jesus sighed deeply, this time in His spirit
  • Obviously God is totally grieved by this kind of attitude
  • Why do ‘you guys’ want a sign? No sign for you! Your sort [faithless] get zip!

Generation can mean; one’s own kind, race, descendants, an age or time period. Mark’s gospel uses the word 3 times: 8:12: ‘This generation’, 8:38: ‘This adulterous and sinful generation’, 9:19: ‘This unbelieving generation’.

  • Jesus drops the mic, walks out of the ambush and ships out again!
  • Back to the gentile, non-Jewish population

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.” [The Herodians]

  • So they leave ‘immediately’ and they only have one loaf of bread
  • As they discover their mistake [perhaps in haste] Jesus starts teaching
  • He sees their preoccupation with the earthly vs the eternal
  • It is a mini-parable:
  • Bread is the thing that gives life, it represents a relationship with God
  • The leaven is the thing that once introduced into the bread it infects it all
  • The leaven of the religious rulers is self-sufficient, entitlement
  • Self-sufficient, Entitled Religion = Zero seeking of God
  • It is a religion where I take care of all my needs and God is like a ‘Mascot’
  • I know how God works SO WELL… I know the way God works…

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?”

  • Watch out! Beware! Says Jesus…
  • To this warning the disciples are like; ‘Ok, great Jesus. Now, what shall we eat?
  • Here is the hardening of the heart again [Repetition! Mk. 6:52]
  • It is what He is warning them about, religious entitlement / self-sufficiency
  • THAT is the leaven of the current religious establishment [how about now?]
  • Jesus says: ‘I have given you the ability to see, hear and remember and yet…’
  • What have you seen Jesus do?
  • What have you heard Him say to you?
  • What can you remember about who Jesus is?

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?”

  • Ok guys I love you so let’s go over this again:
  • We start with 5 loaves; after thousands eat their fill we have more than 5 loaves
  • We start with 7 loaves; after thousands eat their fill we have more than 7 loaves
  • What they don’t understand and we don’t understand is ‘Christian Provision’
  • Provision Now and Provision Forever
  • Abundance! He came to bring abundance, not ‘Scarcity’

Pastoral Plea: Take Jesus’ warning seriously!

BIBLICAL PRINCIPLE: If Christ has chosen you to be His disciple, He will provide for your basic needs. If you focus on such things they will distract you from what really matters: your relationship with God.

GOD’S WORD: “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.” ~ Matthew 6:31-33 [NLT]

APPLICATION: What are the ‘Creature Comforts’ that dominate your thoughts? Fast from one or some of those things for a week and ask God to be your ‘Creator Comfort’.

BIBLICAL PRINCIPLE: It dishonors God when you demand He proves who He is in some way you desire. God has provided all the information [Scripture / Provision / Miracles] you need to surrender your life to Him for eternity and today.

GOD’S WORD: Without faith no one can please God. Anyone who comes to God must believe that he is real and that He rewards those who truly want to find Him. ~ Hebrews 11:4 [NCV]

APPLICATION: Take an hour and recount the times and things Jesus has done to prove He is the Christ. Use those things as reasons to seek God and surrender your life fully to Christ.

BIBLICAL PRINCIPLE: Christ directly warns His disciples to beware of expecting God to answer to you. This kind of ‘Spiritual Entitlement’ is an infection that works it’s way into every part of your life, it will come between you and a Biblical relationship with Christ.

GOD’S WORD: “Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign, but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah.” ~ Matthew 16:4

APPLICATION: Ask God to show you if there are ways you live like God owes you something. Once you find something, change that habit or practice [with Christ’s help].