Some years ago Johnny Nash sang a song named, “I Can See Clearly Now.” The lyrics to the song are as follows,
“I can see clearly now the rain is gone. I can see all obstacles in my way. Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind. It’s gonna be a bright (bright) bright (bright) sunshinin’ day.”
At 2 points in human history great light shone in this world that has been darkened by sin. The first great light given to the world is the law of God, which has been accompanied by the prophets who scribed the totality of the Old Testament scriptures. The second great light that came into the world is the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit filled Apostles who explained it and gave us the New Testament. In the lives of the disciples of Christ one thing is clear, the lights definitely went on, but not all at once, and not without some serious blindness on their part.
Mark 8 begins with Jesus feeding four thousand people the same way he did in chapter 6 – out of nothing. Mark follows up that momentous occasion with an encounter with religious leaders who asked Jesus for a sign. Considering all the miracles that Jesus performed, no sign could have been great enough to appease those who hated Jesus and desired His death. Jesus said to them, “Why does this generation look for a sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to this generation.” (Mark 8:12) And Jesus said this sighing deeply in His Spirit, which was undoubtedly due to the dismal unbelief and combative opposition that He faced.
Following Jesus’ encounter with the religious leaders, Mark says, the disciples forgot to bring bread. At that time Jesus told them to watch out for the leaven of the leaders, which they confused for the leaven of bad bread and not bad teaching. Jesus response to their blunder is very revealing,
“Do you not yet see or understand? Do you have a hardened heart? 8:18 HAVING EYES, DO YOU NOT SEE? AND HAVING EARS, DO YOU NOT HEAR? And do you not remember, 8:19 when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces you picked up?" (Mark 8:17-19)
It is almost strange that our Lord points to the 2 miracles of feeding multitudes when His followers mistakenly thought he meant bread instead of teaching. And in that context He said to them, “Do you not yet see or understand?” He did not refer to their error as one of mistaking meaning but one that involved a total lack of understanding or as if to say, your minds are still closed off, you have yet to understand and come into the light. Why did Jesus say these things?
Through all the healings of Jesus, His casting out demons, calming the storm, walking on water, and feeding the multitudes His disciples received the light that Jesus was God in the flesh. He was the long awaited Messiah, but did Jesus match up to what His followers were expecting, desiring, and what they thought the Bible taught concerning Him? The answer is no, Jesus did not match up, and the confusion caused a lack of faith and understanding.
True disciples do not seek a sign as do lost religious leaders, but it is important that they properly understand the teachings of God’s word. After the resurrection of Christ the Holy Spirit illuminated the teaching of the Old Testament scriptures so that the Apostles could properly teach their meaning. Concerning Jesus, the scriptures actually taught that He had to first die for the sins of men, suffer to appease the Father’s wrath, satisfy His justice, and make ungodly men holy and acceptable to Him.
Understanding is not given through miracles, it is the result of the proper interpretation of Holy Scripture concerning the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. On the night that Jesus was betrayed He spoke these words to His disciples.
“"I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.” (John 16:12-14)
Luke made this statement about Jesus after the resurrection.
“Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” (Luke 24:27)
It is interesting that Luke includes in the context a miracle of Jesus healing a man blind in two stages. At first the man could but not clearly, but then afterwards he could see things as they truly were. So it is in the life of a true believer, at first his eyes are opened where before he was in complete darkness, then afterwards spiritual truth becomes ever more clear. Have you had your eyes opened to a spiritual world that is non existent to the average human being? Do you have an eternal view point, or are you still completely focused on the here and now to the exclusion of the life to come? Are the scriptures eye opening or completely confusing?