Journal Mk 8 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “Now they (the disciples) had forgotten to bring bread and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. And he (Jesus) cautioned them, saying: “Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”
And they (the disciples) began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing with one another the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember?
When I broke the five loaves for the 5,000, how many baskets of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” “And the seven (loaves) for the 4,000? How many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” “Seven (baskets).”
And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?” Mark 8:14-21
Observation: Every so often I run into a passage that makes me go, “Huh?” This is one of them…
Analysis: I am so simple-minded at times. “Please Lord: make the complex straight and simple. What do you want me to see out of this?” Did the Disciples just now hang their collective heads and say to themselves, “What am I missing? Am I dumber than a box of rocks?”
For me, I tend to take passages like the above and think, “Huh. That is somewhat interesting” and skip to the next passage(s) to find something that is a little more straightforward. If it doesn’t “speak to me”, why spend any time on it?
Sometimes I chalk it up to “It is a mystery… (Deut 29:29)” and deal with it that way. Other times (and maybe the most appropriate response) is the understanding of “I need a little more seasoning through the Scriptures to understand what the Holy Spirit is trying to say.” That is not to say studying what leaven is; how are the Pharisees and Herodians the same and different from what Jesus teaches; look up all the references to bread and leaven in the Bible, etc.
[One thing that the Holy Spirit just brought to mind is that leaven makes bread have pockets of air and hot air at that. Are Pharisees full of hot air? When I am full of hot air, am I acting just like a Pharisee? That is going to stick in my mind for a while…]
Point of this posting: Journaling is valuable in keeping thoughts fresh and referenceable. A year from now I may pull up this same journal post and wonder again what Jesus is challenging the disciples about.
He is challenging me, too. “Do you still not understand?”
Prayer: Father, every day is to approach you in a fresh manner. Just like Jeremiah wrote in Lamentations: “Your mercy is new every day” (Lam 3:20 something), and so You are. I don’t get to approach you for something that was done in the past, but for the Grace available today.