Today’s Bible readings can be found at this link: Genesis 40:1-23 and Mark 8:1-21.

Mark 8:21 “Jesus said to them, “Do you still not understand?” (NIV)

It took me years to understand that Jesus was guiding me throughout my wasted teenage years to a time and a place where I would give my life over to Him. Like the disciples in today’s Gospel story (Mark 8:14-21), I took Christ’s blessings for granted and didn’t pay attention to the source of guidance and goodness that He was giving me. It was only when I became a pastor that I truly understood what He was doing in what I call my ‘wilderness years’. Christ had a plan for me, but I didn’t know it way back then.

Jesus asks the question in today’s highlighted verse because the disciples thought He was referring to the amount of bread they had forgotten to take from the baskets of left-overs in the miraculous feeding of thousands of people. Jesus had warned them to beware of the yeast – fake news – that both the Pharisees and King Herod’s supporters were spreading among the people. Both groups were conspiring to oppose Christ’s ministry; Jesus wanted the Twelve to be fully informed and, therefore, fully armed against what the future would bring. Unfortunately, the disciples misunderstood and thought Jesus was rebuking them for leaving the baskets of bread behind. They took His miraculous blessings for granted and, albeit unintentionally, diminished His ministry.

I think we all take Jesus for granted in our lives because He gives us so much grace, forgiveness, and love. When we need help, we say a prayer and for guidance, but how thankful are we when He gives us what we need? When we look for His blessing over something new or something that’s important to us, how do we respond when his grace is given? And when we need Jesus to forgive us for our mistakes, how do we treat Him when He pardons us? Do we still misunderstand His ways, or are we ready to faithfully embrace His teaching and serve Him?

Point to ponder:

What do I personally owe to Jesus this week?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we daily seek to follow You and makes sense of our lives through Your many blessings. Help us to understand Your ways in the world and accept the lessons You would have us apply in our lives. In Your Holy Name, we gratefully pray. Amen.

Today’s drawing is one of John’s early Gospel drawings called ‘Emmaus Bread.’ If you would like to view a larger version, click here.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee