Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Wednesday – Mark 8 – Winning & Losing

ESUS certainly knew how to turn a bad situation into a good one. Having already read of the feeding of the 5000, it is no surprise to us to discover here that in another situation Jesus fed 4000. Jesus, His disciples and the commoners in the multitude were surely winners on that day. But not everyone won that day. There were Pharisees who sought for a sign (or a vindicating miracle) from Christ immediately after He had fed the 4000. Was that not a sign enough for them? What losers! They should have believed, but they didn't. They doubted and denied.

But, before we get all high and mighty in self-righteous disdain for the Pharisees, notice Jesus' strong words against the disciples in this same context. He rebuked them rather soundly for worrying about material things right after they had seen what He could do to provide for the physical needs of His followers. It would indeed be hard to give these guys ribbons or trophies for that day’s deeds.

Sometimes winning requires patience. In fact, starting this paragraph with the word "sometimes" is probably not appropriate. When are winners declared? Winners win in the end of a game or a fight, not at the beginning or in the middle. In Mark 8 we read where Jesus healed a blind man... but at first the success was only partial. The blind man was able to see, but not clearly. So, Jesus repeated the process, this time with complete success. The man could see clearly. It is instructive that neither Christ nor the blind man were in despair after the first step. Christ continued.  The blind man also continued. This is part of winning. The adage is a good one, "Winners never quit, and quitters never win."

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