What makes someone sigh deeply? Usually it is one of two feelings, either satisfaction or frustration.
As I read Mark 8:1-21, I see my Savior responding to the Pharisees by “sighing deeply” in response to their questions and attempt to test Him in verse 12. It is not my opinion that this is a sigh of satisfaction, but one of frustration. This in turn makes me wonder what led to this response by Jesus? Why would the Son of God feel frustrated? CAN He feel frustrated?
I look closely at what preceded this sigh and I am struck by the request of the Pharisees. In their attempt to test Jesus to prove His power and authority to them, they ask him to perform a miraculous sign. This seems ridulous because their request comes on the heels of several miracles already displayed readily to thousands. He had healed the diseased, the disabled, the demon-possessed and the dead! He had calmed the storm, walked on water, and fed the crowd of thousands (twice!). Therefore, their request seems incredulous. What more did they need to see or hear before they believed ?!
The next scene does not seek to improve the situation because the disciples don’t seem to be “getting it” either. After they left the Pharisees, they had forgotten to bring enough bread with them for the journey (which should not have been a concern for them since they had just witnessed Him feeding the crowds a second time) and, at the same time, Jesus was warning them about the “yeast of Pharisees” (hardened hearts) in verse 15.
Instead of remembering what Jesus had already proven about Himself to them, they feared His remarks were a rebuke about their lack of planning and provision. Now the real rebuke came as He chastised them for having eyes but failing to see and ears but failing to hear.
Seeing is not believing, to some. The Pharisees and the disciples saw much, but it was still not enough to understand.
Now back to my question. What frustrated Jesus? Unbelief. It is tempting to leave the lesson there with the Pharisees and the disciples but the Holy Spirit, as He is prone to do, thankfully drives home the follow up question, the personal application.
When am I seeing, but not perceiving? Hearing, but not understanding? When am I not remembering what He has already done, already proven to me plainly, that I can readily apply to my current fear or doubt?
Now my haughty attitude toward the Pharisees/disciples fades quickly into conviction. I remember yesterday how discouraged I became with my own doubt over a current situation in my life where I need to see His mighty hand work on my behalf. I remember thinking the incredulous words of my own , “What’s the point?” This thought in my mind, as I got ready for work, were words of resignation and discouragement.
I have seen for myself His power and authority so why am I not applying what I already know ? I am reminded of the psalmist in Psalm 42: 5-6. “Why are you downcast , O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember You……”
So that is what I do.
And say Amen!