Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Some Things Never Change

Miracles and "No Insight Gained"

In chapel this morning, we briefly looked into the Gospel of Mark, chapter six. This chapter has been preached on frequently, and is familiar to most committed believers. But one passage in particular caught my eye today—the aftermath of Jesus walking on the Sea of Galilee during a windy evening. He was walking on the water from the shore toward the boat that contained the disciples. Their reaction is interesting:

But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and they cried out; for they all saw Him and were terrified. But immediately, He spoke with them and said to them, "Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid." Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped; and they were utterly astonished, for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened. (Mark 6:49-52).

Hardened hearts. No insight gained. These disciples had already witnessed some amazing events with the Lord Jesus. He had earlier fed a crowd of 5,000 with five loaves of bread and two fish. Now, He walked on water in the midst of a gale and calmly got into the boat.

One can understand the fear and astonishment. But the fact that they had not gained any insight at all from the previous wondrous events, and then had HARDENED HEARTS on top of it is breathtaking to me.

I suppose it shouldn't be. The disciples were simply following the same sinful, unbelieving nature on display since Eve took the first bite of fruit thousands of years earlier. The same unbelief that caused Israel to wander in the wilderness for 40 years. The same unbelief that would end with Jesus' crucifixion later on.

After His glorious resurrection and ascension, thankfully a few hardened hearts were softened and eyes opened. But we still have a whole lot of people—some even in the church—with closed eyes and hardened hearts. In the last days before He returns, when deception runs rampant, we will see even more closed eyes and hardened hearts. Even worse, there will be a man who arises to lead the world—a man who has a slick tongue and the seeming miraculous ability to amaze. The unbelieving world will swoon and gush over him, but ignore the One who really matters, to their own eternal destruction (John 5:43).

Sometimes I think that is at least one of the ultimate lessons God wants to drive home to us. Human beings never change because the sin nature still exists. The Gospel of Jesus Christ leading to the new birth is the only thing that will change the human heart and subdue the old, evil nature. By God's grace, some of us find it. But the vast majority will reject it and shake their fists in God's face. And in the end, they will be judged.

Some things never change, but thankfully, someday there will be an end to sin.

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