November 5th, 2006
How could you prove the existence of God? Perhaps you could ask him to demonstrate his existence by making it rain. But if it does rain, maybe it was just a coincidence, and if it doesn’t rain does that really disprove the existence of God? Anything that appears miraculous can be explained away anyway, and if you were God would you be happy to perform a series of tricks like a dog obeying its master’s commands, just to show people that you exist? Maybe instead you would leave clues in the heavens and in the DNA of living creatures, and people could come to believe in you not through miraculous signs but through a personal relationship.
Mark’s Account of the Good News — Chapter 8
8:1 One day at around that time, when there was a very large crowd who had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples and said, 8:2 “I feel sorry for the crowd because they have stayed with me for three days and have nothing to eat. 8:3 If I send them home hungry they will faint on the way, because some of them have come a long way.”
8:4 His disciples answered, “Where could anyone get enough bread to feed all these people here in the wilderness?” 8:5 He asked, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.”
8:6 He instructed the crowd to sit on the ground, and he took the seven loaves. He gave thanks, broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to distribute, and they distributed them to the crowd. 8:7 He also blessed a few small fish that they had and told them to serve these also. 8:8 The people ate until they were full. They took up seven baskets of leftovers. 8:9 About four thousand had eaten. Then he sent them away.
8:10 Straight away he got into a boat with his disciples, and went to the district of Dalmanutha. 8:11 Pharisees came out to question him, testing him and asking him to provide a sign from heaven. 8:12 He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation want to see a miracle? Let me tell you that this generation will not get to see a miracle.”
8:13 He left them, climbed back into the boat, and returned to the other side. 8:14 They forgot to take bread; they only had one loaf in the boat with them. 8:15 He warned them, “Watch out. Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.” 8:16 They discussed this amongst themselves: “It’s because we have no bread.” 8:17 Reading their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you think I’m talking about the forgotten bread? Can’t you yet realize or understand? Is your heart still unreceptive? 8:18 Do you have unseeing eyes and unhearing ears? Remember, 8:19 when the five loaves were distributed among the five thousand, how many baskets full of leftovers did you collect?” They replied, “Twelve.” 8:20 “When the seven loaves fed the four thousand, how many baskets full of leftovers did you collect?” They answered, “Seven.” 8:21 He asked, “Do you still not understand?”
8:22 He arrived at Bethsaida. A blind man was brought to him, and begged Jesus to touch him. 8:23 He led the blind man by the hand out of the village. He spat on his eyes and placed his hands on him, then asked him, “Can you see anything?” 8:24 He looked around and said, “I see people who look like trees walking.” 8:25 Then again Jesus placed his hands on his eyes. The man’s eyesight was restored and he could see everything clearly. 8:26 Jesus sent him home, saying, “Don’t go into the village.”
8:27 Jesus and his disciples went to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” 8:28 They said, “John the Baptist, and others say Elijah, and others say one of the prophets.” 8:29 He asked, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ.”
8:30 He instructed them to tell no one about him. 8:31 He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly, and be rejected by the elders, the senior priests and the religious lawyers, and be executed, and after three days rise again. 8:32 He spoke to them openly, and Peter took him aside, and remonstrated with him. 8:33 But Jesus turned to face his disciples and rebuked Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You’re thinking in human terms, not in God’s terms.”
8:34 He called the crowd and his disciples, and said, “If you want to come after me you must deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me. 8:35 If you want to save your life you will lose it, but if you lose your life for my sake and the sake of the good news you will save it. 8:36 How do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your life? 8:37 What will you give in exchange for your life? 8:38 If you are ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of you, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
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