Wednesday 15th November – Mark 8:1-13 ‘Groundhog Day?’

Mark 8:1-13

I don’t know if you’ve seen Bill Murray’s classic film, which is the title of today’s reflection.  It details the story of a chap whose life is on endless repeat. Whatever happens on any day, the next one begins exactly as before.  It’s very funny, and perhaps a bit unsettling, too.

With Jesus, of course, every day is different – but this passage has a ‘groundhog day’ feel about it.  It feels like we’ve seen both episodes (vv1-10, vv11-13) before.  First there’s the miracle – it reads very much like the feeding of the 5,000 a couple of chapters previously.  If so, why is it here?  The answer, I believe, is in verses 11-13.

This episode, too, is all too familiar – opposition and unbelief from the Pharisees.  It’s bizarre, isn’t it, how Jesus is asked for a sign just after he’s demonstrated one of the greatest ‘signs’ you could imagine – the miraculous feeding of thousands of people from practically nothing.  If that sign wasn’t enough, would anything be enough?

…which is the point, really.  The Pharisees were determined not to believe in Jesus because he threatened their privileged position.  It doesn’t matter that what he represented had been demonstrated time and again to be both true and real – Power loves to find a way to hold on to power, as is sadly only too evident in the world at present.

But it reminds us why Jesus appears to ‘repeat’ miracles.  We are slow learners!  I certainly am – and we’ll see tomorrow that the disciples were, too.  It’s the human condition.  Ultimately, though, I’m so grateful that we worship a patient Saviour.  Today’s miracle reassures me that Jesus is not just compassionate, but wonderfully patient with us. 

May that thought comfort our hearts today, and give us grace to pray with renewed hope in Jesus’ transforming love and wisdom, both in our lives and in the lives of those we pray for.