Mark in his Gospel account records a few sighs of Jesus. One of the sighs we read of was at the time when the Pharisees asked Jesus to show them a sign from heaven. This sigh of our Lord expressed grief over the sin of hypocrisy and unbelief. We read about this in Mark 8:11-12:
Sun rise over the sea of galilee

Mark in his Gospel account records a few sighs of Jesus. One of the sighs we read of was at the time when the Pharisees asked Jesus to show them a sign from heaven. This sigh of our Lord expressed grief over the sin of hypocrisy and unbelief. We read about this in Mark 8:11-12:

“Then the Pharisees came out and began to dispute with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, testing Him. But He sighed deeply in His spirit, and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Assuredly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation.”

Matthew in his account (12:39) tells us “But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.”

It is in the same chapter 8 of Mark that we read later on:

“And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.” (Verse 31)

The evil intention behind seeking a sign was not to seek Christ but to tempt Him. Jesus showed his tender love and compassion to the multitudes while these Pharisees and critics wanted Jesus to show them a sign. There was no need left for them to ask such a thing because they had seen plenty of signs (i.e., miracles).  Even if Christ had not shown any miracle or sign, the most amazing truth was that the one who spoke and stood before them was the very sign Himself come down from Heaven – The Living Bread of Life! All they needed was to do one work (not works) and it was to repent of their sins and believe on Him whom the Father sent into this world,(John 6:28-29,34-35) Now Christ’s miracles were the signposts pointing sinners to the fact that Jesus is the Christ the eternal Son of God and that  believing in His Name they might have eternal life, (John 20:30-31)

Now we learn as Mark teaches us that after the great miracle of feeding four thousands, the disciples had forgotten to take bread with them into the boat. Christ warned his disciples at that point about the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod, (Mark 8:15). By leaven it is understood here in this context the leaven of unbelief.

What shocks us is that the disciples of Jesus were reasoning and arguing among themselves and the subject of their reasoning was bread. The disciples were so dull in their understanding of their Glorious Lord Jesus who was with them. They knew what Christ had done but they failed to see who He was and what He could do. Hence Christ opens their minds by asking them multiple questions about his two miracles of feeding the thousands. It is worth noting that in 5 verses (Mark 8:17-21) Christ asks at least nine questions.

The leaven of unbelief is so prevalent today. The teaching of the power of the Gospel (Romans 1:16) is so much twisted by present day false prophets and prosperity gospel preachers. The way leaven works is that it is so little but it influences the whole lump. They are spreading this leaven in its subtlety. They are stopping and robbing people to see the Glory of the Christ Crucified. The power of the Gospel does not lay in signs and wonders but in Christ and His Righteousness. Paul speaks of “this power” in Romans 1:17 and then expounds this in the rest of his epistle to the Romans. Man has broken and violated the Law of God. He is guilty before God and is under the wrath of God (Romans 1:18) The Gospel is the power of God because guilty sinners are and can only be reconciled to God on the basis of Christ and his perfect righteousness which is by faith alone. The well known words of the prophet Habakkuk are quoted in Romans 1:17, as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

We must pay heed to Christ’s warnings of “Beware! and the warnings of the Holy Bible. There are many warnings which start with the word “Beware!” and I mention just few references here for your study,(Matthew 7:15;10:17;16:12 Luke 12:1;20:46 Galatians 5:15 Philippians 3:2 Colossians 2:8)

What about you? Are you still seeking a sign like the enemies of Christ and his Gospel?  Dear reader, I ask you the same question which Jesus asked to his disciples, “…How is it that ye do not understand?” (Mark 8:21)

I shall close this note by turning you to the warnings found in the epistle to the Hebrews:

Hebrews 2:3 “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard [Him]”

Hebrews 4:1 “Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.”

Hebrews 9:27-28 “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”

Hebrews 12:28-29 “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.”


Note from Pastor E John dated 31 Oct 2011

Picture taken by H.Webb in October 2011, sunrising on the Sea of Galilee

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