The heart behind these posts is to explore the bible together, and to try and apply what it says to our lives, to genuinely let the Word of God affect us on a Monday as well as a Sunday.
For the next sixteen weeks we will be looking each week at a chapter of Mark. I would encourage you to read through the whole chapter at least once as well as the specific chunks we’ll be focusing on.
Mark is the shortest of the four gospels that show the life of Jesus. It is the action film, it is fast and punchy.
When I first read Mark 8, there was so much I could write about, yet I didn’t know where I could begin. When I read it again, I saw something I hadn’t seen initially. I came across a point that really challenged me as I began writing this; something that I think many of us have been guilty of doing.
In Mark 8:15 Jesus mentions ‘the yeast of Pharisses and that of Herod’. I’m not a bread maker, I never have been, so inevitably, I was puzzled as to why there was a reference to yeast, am I missing something? Turns out, that only a little bit of yeast is needed to make dough rise. What Jesus is saying to the disciples here is: don’t let the leaders of this world make you believe things that would turn the people against Jesus.
Although, this is being spoken over an entirely different society, this is so relevant to life now. There have been so many times in my teenage years where people, who aren’t necessarily of significant power, have swayed my decisions about small things like, what to do with my weekend. At the time, I didn’t think about how these ‘small’ decisions would ever affect my walk with Christ. It wasn’t until I got a bit older, where I looked back and thought to myself ‘hang on, how did I get here?’ The small things to you, may not be making the decision about what you are going to do for the coming weekend; they may be that you’ve made the decision to listen to what other people think of you, how you’ve chosen to talk to people, what you prioritise, things like that.
To some, this could sound pessimistic and slightly scary, like I’m saying ‘watch out guys, the tiny decisions are going to end in disaster, hide yourself from the world, quick’. However, if you look at it from a different angle, this strengthens my faith in God. If you look at verses like John 16:33, 1 Corinthians 15:57 and 1 John 5:4 (just to name a few), they are all about Christ overcoming the world. It’s as simply as that, Christ has overcome, Christ has already won. I don’t know about you but the world seems bigger to me that a bit of yeast, if God has overcome the world that means he has well and truly overcome the small things.
Yes, Jesus is warning the disciples about the small things, and ‘warning’ is quite an intense word, but Jesus shows through his conversation with Peter in Mark 8:33 that he knows life isn’t going to be a breeze. However, sometimes we forget God is already walking alongside you and only ever wants the best for you. But, it is up to you to make the decision to bring everything whether it is big or small and ask for guidance.
Sam said in his post about Mark 4 about reading the bible and how important it is. My challenge for you is do you read the bible when you make ‘small’ decisions as well as the ‘big’ ones?
So, after being warned about the ‘yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod’, the disciples said ‘It is because we have no bread.’ They don’t literally mean physical bread. What they’re saying is they haven’t seen enough of Jesus’ miracles.
Hang on, turn back to verse 1-8 and you can read about how Jesus fed four thousand with seven loaves and a few small fish and there was still some left.
This bit is vital and it challenges me a lot. I will put my hands up and confess that I have had times where I’ve been like: ‘there’s no way God can get me through this’, and I forget about all the times where he’d already pull me out of the darkest points in my life. For you, you could have seen some much of God’s presence in church services, festivals, youth groups, wherever, yet feel like you know nothing about him. No matter who we are, what background we come from, if we open our eyes that little bit wider will be able to see where God has been more apparent in our lives. It might be that you don’t forget what God’s done for you, but you find it hard to believe that he can do it again. We have seen, heard and experienced so much about a God that overcame the world, yet at times we struggle to believe that that God actually exists and is doing just as he promised and will continue to do so.
But He does exist, and He has overcome. God wins.
This post was written by Shona Hunter-Singh, an intern at Gold Hill and one of the leaders in our youth ministry. If you want to read more Deeper posts, they are all here.
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