Mark 8:14-21: Small group discussions.
“14 The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. 15 ‘Be careful,’ Jesus warned them. ‘Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.’ 16 They discussed this with one another and said, ‘It is because we have no bread.’ 17 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: ‘Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?’ ‘Twelve,’ they replied. 20 ‘And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?’ They answered, ‘Seven.’ 21 He said to them, ‘Do you still not understand?’ “NIV UK
Some people think small groups are the answer to the church’s problems. Well, there is no doubt at all that much good can be done in a small group, if well-led. But I do wonder if some of our discussions in small groups might run into the dangers of (16): ‘’They discussed this with one another and said…’’ Are we just talking to ourselves, or will we let the Lord in on the discussion? If we want to understand what Jesus has said, let’s ask Him. We need to ensure that we involve ourselves in prayer-filled discussions. Okay, it’s interesting to know what you think about what Jesus said, but what does He think about what He said? What does He have to say about it? Prayer-less discussions do not edify. In fact, they can be like those smoke machines, creating a veritable fog on the stage.
I wonder if Jesus, aware of our discussions (17a) is sometimes saying: ‘’Why are you talking about..? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember?’’ (17b, 18).
Yes, another problem we face is having a short term memory. Not only do we suffer from ignorance, but also from a lack of remembrance.
May God have mercy on us. We think we know so much, when in fact we still have lots to learn. Thankfully, Jesus is willing to teach us – more willing to instruct than we are to be educated by Him.
PRAYER: Lord forgive us for any proud discussions and debates we have about your Word, without consulting the One who gave us that Word in the first place.