It was only a small part of the sentence, but it hit me like an express train!
Yes, the story may only have been a few verses in length yet, it contained so many emotions. There was hurt, frustration and rejection. Mark, in his Gospel, says that the Pharisees came to question and test Jesus.
There are times, as a Minister, when you meet people who are, let’s say, a little challenging! Perhaps you have encountered them too. They are the ones who have “on a mission” written all over their face. They are the sort that you have to “fix the smile” as they test, question and examine you as they speak.
I wonder, if Jesus did the same?
Did He fix the smile?
Did His heart turn somersaults too?
Did He think “why don’t you ever listen? Haven’t you got it yet?”
Mark gives us a clue as to what Jesus felt in that small part of the sentence;
He sighed deeply in his Spirit (Mark 8 vs. 12 – NRSV)
The problem with testing is that we expect a right or wrong answer. That is what the Pharisees were looking for. I think our society has conditioned us to the same type of thinking.
Right or Wrong
Pass or Fail
Righteous or sinner
Sound or unsound
I think Jesus sighed deeply in his spirit because, the Pharisees could quote chapter and verse of the rule book but, what they had not grasped was, the intention behind the rule book. Much less did they understand the Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom is not about right or wrong. Who is in and who is out. The Kingdom is about The Grace of God reaching out to all humanity in its mess, chaos and brokenness.
Each of us is a work in progress, therefore, we cannot fail we just need a little more work.
I came across this image, which really spoke to me of what God’s kingdom is about.
There are many authors who, the original of this quotation is attributed too, but as I spent some time reflecting on Mark 8 today, I wrote these words
Christianity is one beggar telling another where to find bread
The Kingdom comes
when this beggar takes the bread he has found and shares it with another