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Forgetfulness – Lent Day 17

Monday, March 5


Chad Vitarelli

Day 17—Read Mark 8

Many of us would characterize ourselves as forgetful people, and I’m certainly no exception. I’ve forgotten to stop my car’s engine before leaving the car….while remembering, of course, to lock the car doors. I regularly forget to bring my lunch to work, even right after making it.

We can chalk up these kinds of occurrences to harmless absentmindedness (or old age?). But forgetfulness in Scripture is a much bigger deal, and in Mark 8, we find Jesus confronting His disciples about their own.

For the second time, Jesus had just fed a crowd of thousands with a few bread-loaves and fishes, demonstrating His sufficiency and authority as the Messiah. True to form, the Pharisees immediately showed their lack of faith by demanding yet another miracle from Jesus. In doing so, they rejected Him as the way, the truth and the life.

So when He and His disciples got in the boat for Bethsaida, Jesus issued a warning to them, using a bread metaphor: “beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.” He was cautioning them not to fall into the same the trap as the Pharisees did. They had seen the work of God right in front of them, and yet didn’t recognize Jesus for Who He was.

What Jesus had meant to be metaphorical, though, the disciples took as entirely literal. They had missed the significance of the miracles too.

Jesus rebuked them, using words from Isaiah 6:9-10: “Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened?” Throughout the Old Testament, forgetfulness is a symptom of and leads to idolatry. When the people of God no longer actively remember Who their God is and how He has provided, they turn to other gods. Here, the disciples’ failure to remember and rightly appropriate what they have witnessed God do through Christ has made them look much more like Jesus’s enemies than His friends.

May we not fall into the same trap of forgetfulness. Jesus is the Bread of Life, all-sufficient and all-powerful. He alone can be trusted, and He is enough. Don’t forget.

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