We have dueling themes or events this week as we celebrate Pentecost and the giving of the Holy Spirit in our reading from Acts 2 alongside our continuing journey in Mark 8:11-21; events dealing with the Pharisees and the current generation seeking a sign. A sign for proof of who is Jesus?
What do we do with the dueling themes, events, or agendas?
Do we pick one over another?
Or is there a connection that can be made between the two?
In answering the questions posed above I want us to focus our efforts first on Mark 8:11-21. Jesus after feeding the 5,000 and the 4,000 sighed deeply in response to the testing by the Pharisees (religious leaders) and then states that no sign will be given even though this generation seeks a sign. So, what are you hoping to find when you read scripture, pray, or come to worship?
In the gospel of Mark the miracles or signs of Jesus are given not as proof of Jesus’ credibility, but as a testament of His followers’ faith. Do the Pharisees, the current generation, or followers of Jesus trust in the teaching of Jesus … the Torah?
These are the questions that emerge in Mark 8:11-21. As these questions emerge let us turn to Acts 2. The coming of the Holy Spirit and the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise as the Spirit descends upon believers in a new and more powerful way signifying a new covenant age. How do you envision the new age?
Acts 2:21-28 provides the answer:
21″‘Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
22 “You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know— 23this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. 24But God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power. 25For David says concerning him,
“‘I saw the Lord always before me,
for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken;
26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
moreover my flesh will live in hope.
27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
or let your Holy One experience corruption.
28 You have made known to me the ways of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’
Looking for signs? Looking for a miracle? Looking for proof of an abundant life?
Look no further than our readings for today.
Yours in Christ,