My college days are filled with such great memories because of the good friends that I was surrounded with. Throughout my four years at college, I had many friends, but there were three that were closest to me. We all roomed together at one point, and my best friend and I were roommates for three of our four years at school. She was even willing to stay on campus with me when my finances made it more cost-effective to stay on campus rather than go off campus in an apartment. We didn't really know each other until college; we met because of a mutual friend and found comfort in sort of knowing someone in the competitive world of music. We lived near each other in the suburbs of Detroit which meant that in the summer we could hang out with each other when we weren't working (although one summer we even had a job together planting flowers which gave us plenty of time to talk while we worked). She knew me inside and out, and I knew her. There were times when she would say something that only I seemed to understand and there were things I expressed that only she would understand. It really was a beautiful friendship. My husband of almost 20 years knows me in the same way (in fact, he had to put up with me and my friends all through college).
I say all that to lay down a foundation of the type of relationship God wants us to have with Him. Jesus expresses this to both the religious teachers and to His disciples. Please use the link and read Matthew 16:1-12. In the first scene, we find the Pharisees and Sadducees demanding that Jesus show them a sign that He was truly from heaven. Now, the interesting thing about this demand was that they had already seen so many signs from Him. But Jesus wouldn't show them a sign and instead pointed out to them that they were able to recognize signs of the weather better than they were able to interpret the signs of the times. He mentioned that the only sign they would receive was the sign of Jonah (He was referring to Jonah being in the whale for three days and then being spit out - He would die and be gone for three days and rise again).
Later, He found Himself with the disciples who were concerned that they didn't have any bread with them. Jesus' only response was to warn them of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees. The disciples not understanding Jesus began to fight about the bread. Only after they were rebuked by Jesus did they understand that He was referring to the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees and not the bread. The thing I find interesting is that it was Jesus pointing out their lack of faith after they had been with Him while He fed 5,000 and then 4,000 that helped them understand what He was talking about.
I mentioned in an earlier post that the theme that Jesus seemed to be pounding into His disciples was faith. Faith. Jesus didn't rebuke them for a lack of knowledge, He rebuked them for a lack of faith. You see, their worries and concerns over the bread blinded them from what Jesus wanted them to learn. He wanted them to set those worries aside and have faith. Notice that once they were reminded that they were with the one who would provide for them, they were able to learn what Jesus wanted to teach them. It makes me think that when we have faith struggles, we have learning struggles. Our ability to understand what God is telling us is directly linked to our faith in Him. That must be why Jesus kept stressing the importance of faith with His disciples.
Do you believe God? How is your faith helping you to understand?
This post is linked with Soli Deo Gloria.