Summary: When we can’t reflect the image and likeness of God, we try to make him in our image and likeness.
Scripture Reading: Mark 8:11-13
The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to it.” Then he left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other side.
Have you ever tried explaining things to people and realized that no matter how logical or persuasive your arguments, they just don't get it? If you ever have — and surely you have — then you can imagine what Jesus must have felt like throughout his ministry. It didn't matter how profound his words were; they fell on deaf ears. And it didn't seem to matter that he backed up his words with the most amazing signs people had ever seen; they still weren't prepared to listen.
Consider today's passage. Jesus had just multiplied seven loaves of bread and two fish to feed four thousand people. Just consider that for a moment. Word of the miracle spread and reached the ears of the Pharisees, who decided to "investigate." They came to Jesus and began to question him, asking him for a sign from heaven to prove who he was. Scripture says Jesus sighed deeply. One can picture Jesus shaking his head in sorrow because he knew they wouldn't believe, no matter what he did. They would find a way to "explain" the sign away as though he was a magician who had fooled them with a party trick.
For instance: "What actually happened," they might have said about the miraculous multiplication of fish and loaves, "was that somebody took out the little food that he had and shared it with those near him. Watching what he did, inspired others to do the same, and that is how everybody ate." Crazy, yes? But do you know what is really crazy? We can hear the same arguments spoken today, not just from unbelievers, but from those who call themselves Christians! Unable to reflect God's divine image and likeness, we try to make God in our human image and likeness.
This consequently reflects how we behave. When we are unforgiving and unmerciful toward others, we portray Jesus as an unforgiving and unmerciful God. We talk about the times he was harsh with people. We choose not to see that the people he was harsh towards were those who were unforgiving and unmerciful. He was nothing but kind and compassionate towards those in need of forgiveness and mercy. It is why he told the religious leaders of his time: The sinners are going to beat you into heaven, buddy (see Matthew 21:31).
But it doesn't have to be like that. Let us listen to the words of Jesus with an open heart so when he looks at us, he won't sigh deeply.
Today's devotional — In the Image of Man — is based on Mark 8:11-13, the gospel reading for the day. The reflection is by Aneel Aranha, founder of Holy Spirit Interactive (HSI). Follow him on Facebook: fb.com/aneelaranha