Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Lent Devotional April 2, 2014

Scripture

Mark 8:11-26

11 The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, asking him for a sign from heaven, to test him. 12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, "Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation." 13 And he left them, and getting into the boat again, he went across to the other side.

14 Now the disciples had forgotten to bring any bread; and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. 15 And he cautioned them, saying, "Watch out - beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod." 16 They said to one another, "It is because we have no bread." 17 And becoming aware of it, Jesus said to them, "Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Do you have eyes, and fail to see? Do you have ears, and fail to hear? And do you not remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?" They said to him, "Twelve." 20 "And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?" And they said to him, "Seven." 21 Then he said to them, "Do you not yet understand?"

22 They came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village; and when he had put saliva on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, "Can you see anything?" 24 And the man looked up and said, "I can see people, but they look like trees, walking." 25 Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he looked intently and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. 26 Then he sent him away to his home, saying, "Do not even go into the village."

Devotional

As we return to Mark today, the religious authorities continue to test Jesus. They ask for a sign, much as we saw this past Sunday.

Thus far, Jesus has cured paralytics, healed the sick, fed the hungrycast out demons, calmed storms, walked on water, and even raised the dead. Then they ask for a sign. Jesus' response is perfect. “No sign will be given to this generation.” Just a few short verses later he restores sight to a blind man. 

This is quite a humorous juxtaposition. If they can’t see the cured, the healed, the fed, the raised, then they won’t get a sign. A sign isn’t much good if you don’t see it.

Yet, the man who asks to see has his sight restored.

The authorities don’t ask to see, they ask for a sign. They (like us) overestimate their own abilities to see. 

Message provided by the Miller Summer Youth Institute.