Summary: Some people are hardhearted, and some are thickheaded when it comes to spiritual matters. In Sunday’s text, Mark 8:10-21, we see both types of people.
# 34 The Hardhearted and the Thickheaded
November 8, 2020
TEXT: Please turn in your Bibles to Mark 8:10-21 – “And straightway he entered into a ship with his disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha. 11 And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him. 12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation. 13 And he left them, and entering into the ship again departed to the other side. 14 Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf. 15 And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod. 16 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have no bread. 17 And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened? 18 Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember? 19 When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? They say unto him, Twelve. 20 And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? And they said, Seven. 21 And he said unto them, How is it that ye do not understand?”
Illus. – A businessman was late to an important meeting and couldn’t find a parking space. As he frantically circled the block, the man got so desperate that he decided to pray. Looking up toward heaven, he said, “Lord, take pity on me. If you find me a parking space, I’ll go to church every Sunday for the rest of my life, and not only that, I’ll give up drinking.” Miraculously, a parking space suddenly appeared. The guy looked up again and said, “Never mind, Lord, I found one.”
Some people are looking for a sign, but it doesn’t mean anything to them even if God gives them one because their hearts have become hardened.
Also, some people are actually “thickheaded.” A recent study has found that women who carry a little extra weight live longer than the men who mention it. Men, if you haven’t learned to bite your tongue on things like that, you’re thickheaded!
Jesus speaks to both hardhearted sign-seekers and thickheaded disciple in today’s text. Let’s jump into our text to see what I’m talking about.
I. FIRST, NOTE ANTAGONISTS TOO HARDHEARTED TO SEE IN VERSES 10-13 – “And immediately he got into a boat with his disciples, and came to the region of Dalmanutha. 11 And the Pharisees came and began to question with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven, testing him. 12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and said, ‘Why does this generation seek after a sign? Truly I say to you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation.’ 13 And he left them, and getting into the boat again, departed to the other side.”
After the feeding of the 4,000 in verses 1-9, Jesus and His disciples got into a boat and went to the region of Dalmanutha. As we’ve seen, in the Gospels seemingly unimportant details we tend to gloss over actually help us understand parts the stories better. Such is the case when we’re told in verses 10 that Jesus and the disciples went to Dalmanutha, which was on the far western shore of the Sea of Galilee. The significance of this detail is that having spent a significant amount of time in largely Gentile territories, Jesus and His disciples now arrive back in Galilee, which is in Jewish territory.
And guess who was there in short order to greet Him?—The Pharisees, the implacable foes of Jesus! And this legalistic religious gang came ready to fight!
According to commentator James R. Edwards, our English versions do not quite capture the antagonistic nature of the words used in the Greek.
• Mark tells us the Pharisees came—a Greek word Edwards says the Greek verb used means they came out “as if in military rank.”
• They came out to “question with Him,” which according to the Greek word used means to “dispute,” or “oppose” Him.
• Where it says they were “seeking from him a sign from heaven” the Greek word for seeking means “to attempt to gain control over someone.”
• Finally, the word for test “does not mean an objective test to discover the merit of something, but an obstacle or stumbling block to discredit.”