Mark 8:11-21, Hard Hearts Miss Out

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Jerry Simmons shared this Verse By Verse Bible study from Mark on Sunday, June 11, 2023 using the New Living Translation (NLT).

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As we look at Mark Chapter 8 this morning, I've titled The Message Hard Hearts Miss Out. Hard hearts miss out today. We look at this passage and we get to see two groups of people that had hard hearts. The Pharisees come to Jesus and they begin a kind of an intense discussion with him, and it was a result of their hard hearts that that discussion took place in the course of that conversation was directed by the hardness of the hearts of the religious leaders. But then Jesus gets into the boat. Of the disciples and we find. And that the disciples also had some hardness of heart going on, and not to the same degree as the religious leaders. Of course, the religious leaders completely rejected Jesus. The disciples were seeking to follow Jesus, and yet they were missing out on some things. Because of the condition of their heart, the status of their heart. And as I was praying over this passage this week, the Lord kind of highlighting these things, I I began to wonder, what am I missing out on? Are there perhaps some areas of hardness of heart that I need to allow the Lord? To work in. Because like the disciples, perhaps there are things. That I am. Missing out on now. I don't know if you have a fear of missing out. You know you might have a fear of missing out on a lot of things and and many of. Them are just things that you shouldn't really spend a lot of time or attention worrying about, right? But when it comes to the things of the Lord. And and the idea the understanding that there is things that God has for you, there is words that God wants to speak to you. There's works that God wants to accomplish in your life. There's miracles that God wants to perform. There's directions that God wants to send you in. There's there's things that God wants to do. That you potentially may never experience. If your heart is hard. And I do have a little bit of fear of missing out. That I would not be careless in my relationship with the Lord and careless in the care of my heart. That would cause me to miss out on some of the things that God wants to do in my life. James talking about prayer. So sometimes you have not because you don't ask. There, there's things that God may want to do in your life, but it requires for us a softness of heart. A willingness to receive from the Lord and to be instructed by the Lord and to be impacted by all that he has for us. And so we're going to look at the Pharisees. We're going to look at the disciples and prayerfully encourage ourselves. To not have hard hearts to change our heart and hearts and to be soft and moldable, and surrendered unto you the Lord. We're going to start in verses 11 through 13 for point #1. Looking at the Pharisees, here's point number one. Hard hearts, miss outs. On time with Jesus. Hard hearts miss out. There's some presence. There's some time with Jesus that could have been had in this situation but was missed because of the hardness of heart. Looking again at verse 11, it says when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had arrived, they came and started to. Argue with him, testing him. They demanded that he. Show them a. Miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority. When he heard this, he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, why do these people keep demanding A miraculous sign? I tell you the truth. I will not give this generation any such sign. So he got back into the boat. And left them. And he cross to the other side. Of the lake. Do you notice that in verse 13? So direct result of what's just been happening. So he got back into the boat and left them. Here are these religious leaders lost against the Lord's not right relationship with God, sins not forgiven. People who need to hear and receive and respond to the gospel, and Jesus left them. And it's important to note he had just arrived as you go back to the previous verse in verse 10, you see that he had just landed. Immediately after this he got into a boat with his disciples crossed over to the region of Dalmanutha. He gets out of the boat there there's the religious leaders, the Pharisees, that come in contact with Jesus and as a result of the interaction that happens. So he got back into the boat and left them. The religious leaders come. Testing Jesus, they come with demands. Requirements of the Lord. Requiring him to submit to them and perform the miracles and do the signs that they want him to do, they come to Jesus, not with hearts that are open and soft and willing to receive from Jesus. They didn't come to hear the teachings of Jesus. They didn't hear, come to learn from Jesus. To demand of Jesus, they came to test Jesus. And to try to get Jesus to submit to them, their religious leaders had hard hearts. We saw this of course a couple of weeks ago in Mark Chapter 3 when Jesus was in the synagogue and there was the man with the withered hand. And they were using that situation to try to trap Jesus. Jesus notes there. In verse five of Mark three, he looked around at them angrily. Deeply saddened by their hard hearts. And then Jesus goes ahead and heals the man. But then you see the response in verse six at once. The Pharisees went away and met with the supporters of Herod to plot how to kill Jesus. Very clearly they had hard hearts. It deeply saddened Jesus that their hearts were so hard and resistant. To the things of God. Even in that situation though, Mark Chapter 3, the man with the withered hand, he reached out his hand in response to Jesus, he was healed. And so it's not that the religious leaders have not seen any miracles of Jesus. It would be unreasonable for Jesus to show up and ask people to believe in him without any evidence of why they should believe in him. That wasn't the problem. It wasn't that Jesus had not declared himself to be the Messiah. It wasn't that Jesus hadn't supported his claims to be the Messiah. He was working miracle after Miracle that's recorded here in the chapters we've been reading of Mark. They had seen the miracles of Jesus first hand, not just heard about. Not just, you know, a cousin of Grandma told this other person. That and then I found out that you know, this miracle took place, but many of them were there in the synagogue when that man was healed. As Jesus was going from town to town, from place to place, the Pharisees of religious leaders were sending delegations. They were eyewitnesses to his works. It wasn't that there was no evidence. It wasn't that there was no miracles to support the claims of Jesus. The issue here was the religious leaders refuse. In spite of all of the evidence, they refused to acknowledge Jesus, and so they come testing him, it says. They come with a test. They come with a hey, you need to prove yourselves to us. They come with demands that says they demanded that he show them a miraculous sign. It seems that he is. They are not asking for a miraculous sign like healing a man with a withered hand or restoring the sight of the blind, or even raising someone from the dead. They they've seen all of this. But they want something different. They want a miraculous sign from heaven. It says in verse 11. Perhaps they have in mind the prophet Elijah. Remember when he called the prophets of? Baal to a challenge? Whichever God answered by fire, that would be the proof. That was God. And that's who we will worship and serve First Kings, chapter 18 and. The prophets have all tried but no fire from heaven came, but then Elijah prayed and fire came down from heaven, consumed the altar, proving. King of Kings and Lord of Lords, a creator of the heavens and the Earth elone is God, and but all is not God. Maybe they were thinking like. That later on in alleges Life Second Kings chapter one. King's searching for Elijah sends a delegation of troops to go pick up Elijah and. Bring him back and. They find him. They say, hey, man of God, come down, King says you. Gotta come now. And legend says if I am a man of God, me fire come down from heaven and consume this whole troop. Fire comes down from heaven. Maybe that's what the religious leaders had in mind, although maybe they didn't imagine themselves being consumed right. They weren't thinking that, but some kind of sign something. No, not not a healing, not some kind of, you know, physical miracle. You know, that's, I don't know. It's just not enough for us. They would say we need something dramatic, something more spectacular. That you are who you say you are. Commentator Daniel Aiken says their motive was to test him. Their goal is, again to discredit him before the people, not to test him with a view of authenticating his ministry. It is one thing to put the word to attest in faith it is another thing to test him in unbelief. Here's another idea. They weren't really expecting any kind of sign at all. Perhaps what they were hoping for was Jesus would try. Remember how the prophets of all in that scene and 1st, 1st Kings 18, they were cutting themselves making full of themselves trying to get fired to, you know, come down from heaven. Perhaps they were hoping Jesus would make a fool of himself and try to confirm his ministry, try to call down fire from heaven or something similar, and fail and be exposed as the fraud that they were hoping that he was. They were trying to discredit Jesus. They were testing him. Trying to get him to fall into their traps. They had hard hearts. And when Jesus hears this, he sighs deeply. Again in mark. It tells us he was. Deeply saddened that. This confrontation that Jesus has repeatedly with the religious leaders, it is not with the antagonistic heart on Jesus's part. He is saddened. He is grieved even when people choose to be his enemies. They never become his enemy. He's grieved. He's saddened. He wishes that their hearts were not hard. Why do these people keep demanding? A miraculous sign. Says I'm not going to give any such sign. Why wouldn't Jesus give a sign? Sometimes it seems so simple to us. God, you have power. Or at least you claim to. We want to see the power if we see the power, we will believe. Just show us the power. So that we can believe. We wonder why doesn't God Peek his head through the heavens? Why doesn't God reveal himself in such a way that there's no reason for faith? Why doesn't he just do? The demands that we have and respond in the way that we want seems so simple to us. God has power. At least he claims to. Be all powerful. We want to see the power if we see the power, we'll believe. So why not just show? Us the power. The problem with that is it's very bad logic and an incomplete understanding in the situation. Because the reality is. Even the greatest signs do not produce repentant hearts. The greatest signs that could ever be performed. Would not produce. Right relationship and a change of heart. This is consistently demonstrated throughout the whole scriptures. You go back to the Old Testament, the children of Israel coming out of the wilderness. I mean, they see great signs and 30 seconds later. They're not trusting God, they're against God. Jump to the end of the Book of Revelation. There's going to be some signs in the heavens and the earth like the world has never seen before. And all the while, there's going to be people who curse God and refused to repent. And even though they know. The Lord says it very clearly. They know these are judgments from God and they refuse to repent. It's a choice. And the greatest demonstration of power that could. Ever be imagined? Doesn't change our hearts. It doesn't change hard hearts. Jesus teaches about this in Luke Chapter 16 as he gives the account of the rich man and Lazarus. Looking at their scenarios after life, both the rich man and Lazarus have died at this point and they're in eternity, separated by a chasm. The rich man is in torment because he had a hard heart and he wasn't walking with God and didn't care for the things of God and Lazarus. The poor man had a hard life, but he had a right relationship with God and so he's with Abraham being comforted. The rich man is being tormented, but he sees Lazarus. He sees Abraham. Does Abraham please send Lazarus back? To my family. So that they are warned and that they don't come to this place, and Abraham tells them, hey, they have the scriptures. They have enough already. To make the right choices and to draw near to God. But the rich man, having the kind of mentality that we often have, he says. No, no, the the Scriptures are not enough. That's not a strong enough evidence. They're not going to respond to that. But if somebody would rise from the dead. That then they would believe. They would recognize the truth. But the Lord speaking the words of Abraham here in verse 31 of Luke 16. Says if they won't listen to Moses and the prophets, they won't be persuaded. Even if someone rises. From the dead. We don't always agree with Jesus about this, but when we disagree, we're wrong and he's right. Power demonstrated doesn't change hard hearts. There's already enough power that has been demonstrated. For these religious leaders. They had enough evidence already. They didn't need any further evidence. They had been demonstrated. And for those who are willing to believe today. Enough power has been demonstrated. Accounts that Matthew gives of this same situation, it's found in Matthew Chapter 16. There's a little added extra sentence Jesus says I won't give a miraculous sign, but the only sign I will give is the sign of the Prophet Jonah. Which seems to be a reference to the death, the burial and resurrection of Jesus that that is the greatest and ultimate sign. The life, the death, the resurrection of Jesus. For anyone who's willing to believe to believe. And anyone who's not willing to believe they're not going to believe because of that or because of any other miraculous sign. And so Jesus, it tells us in verse 13. So he got back into the boat and left them. This is a fruitless endeavor. There's no amount of arguing that's going to change these Pharisees. There's no miraculous sign that's going to be effective. Better to move on. To spend time with people. That are willing. To hear and receive what I have to give. Notice here that. Jesus is not just traveling across the water. He left them. It's not just that he got back in the boat and crossed over to the other side. He did cross over to the other side of the lake, but again, remember he. Had just arrived. Now we've seen this previously, right? When Jesus landed on the other side of the Sea of Galilee one time and he was met by the Demoniac. He only spent a short. Amount of time there on. That shore, as he delivered that man who is. But then the. Crowd, the people said. Please leave, don't stay. He went all the way across the Sea of Galilee. To just interact with that one man and then the people said leave and. So he left and he went back. Here's another occasion. He's back on the West side of the Sea of Galilee, and the religious leaders they come fighting with him. And Jesus says, hey, I don't have to stick around here. Where I'm not wanted. There's others who will listen. There's others who will receive. He's not just crossing the lake. But he's crossing the league. To leave them. They're heartened, hearts. Caused them to miss out on time with Jesus. There's an implication here we can read into this the idea that Jesus would have stayed. There would have been some more time there, perhaps if. They had a different approach, a. Different heart towards the Lord. Hard hearts miss out on time with Jesus. Are you missing out on times in the? Presence of the Lord. Is there times where the Lord saying, you know, I'm not going to argue this with you? I'm not going to. Keep fighting over this with you. I'm not going to reveal myself to you while you're in this condition. And so others perhaps. Have a soft heart and the Lord says yes. Let me show you glorious things. Me speak to you. Let me direct you and guide you and counsel you. Let me help you. Hard hearts miss out on time with Jesus. That doesn't describe your condition. Continuing on in verses 14 through 17, we get point #2 hard hearts miss out on truth. There's some truth here that the Lord wanted to reveal as now he's going to be spending some time with his disciples. And again, it's interesting to contrast these things because here you have the religious leaders. They were enemies of Jesus on their part. Not a surprise that their hearts were hard, but here as we spend time with the disciples. With Jesus in the boat. We find that there is. The potential the possibility also for them to have some hardness of heart that caused them to miss out on things even as they were in the boat with Jesus. Jesus didn't leave the disciples right. The boat with. Them, and yet even then. There's still some missing out that's going on, and I think as we look at these things, it's good for us to consider and be open and honest with ourselves enough to consider the reality that we might be missing out, even though we're in the boat with Jesus, you know, in church on a Sunday morning, we're. In the boat with Jesus. But is there some things that the Lord wants to reveal that we're just not getting? Because our hearts are hard. Verses 14 through 17 says, but the disciples had forgotten to bring any food. They had only one loaf of bread with them. In the boat. As they were crossing the Lake, Jesus warned them. Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod. And that this, they began to argue with each other because they hadn't brought any bread. Jesus knew what they were saying, so he said. Why are you arguing about having no bread? Don't you know or understand even yet? Are your hearts too hard? To take it in. Are your hearts too hard? To receive it, Jesus asks his disciples. As they work their way now across to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, the disciples begin to worry. They're a little bit stressed out here. It says they had forgotten to bring any food. And they only had one loaf of bread with them in the boat. Now when you read that, don't think about. A loaf like you would buy from the grocery store. You go in, you buy a loaf of. Wonder bread or oral wheat or whatever it is that you like to buy. I mean, you could have lots of peanut butter and Jelly sandwiches with one loaf of bread, right? You could feed 13 people in a boat with one loaf of bread, maybe a little bit of peanut butter and Jelly, right like that. That would be sufficient, but but this loaf of bread was not that kind of loaf of bread. It was a piece. Maybe we would refer to as pita bread. Or maybe it'd be easier for you to relate to if I said they had one tortilla. You're in a boat with 13 people and you got one tortilla. Would you be worried about what you're going to eat? We we understand why the disciples were worried here. They had forgotten to bring any food. And all they had was this one piece of bread. I think this is interesting to consider because as Jesus is going to remind them in a moment, by this time Jesus has worked miraculous multiplication of bread twice. He's fed the 5000 men, not even counting the women and children with five lives of. Bread and two fish. He fed the 4000 men, not counting women and children, with just 7 loaves of bread. And although those miracles had taken place. It's interesting for me to note miraculous bread multiplication. Wasn't the new normal. It wasn't that Jesus said OK for now on guys now you know. Well, I can do this, right? OK. So from now on, just bring like a. Little nugget of bread. Just, you know, lighten our load a bit. We don't have to carry. So much just bring a little tiny bit of bread and we'll just eat off that and we'll just multiply it every time we have a meal. We'll just work this miracle that that wasn't the new. Those were special occasions, and Jesus did those miracles, but the expectation going forward was. Just like everybody else, we're gonna go to the market. We're gonna spend money. We're gonna purchase the resources that we need to provide for ourselves. Like, that was the norm. That the disciples were to follow and was expected. But they hadn't done that. The disciples had forgotten to bring any food. What does that mean? They forgot to bring food. They were supposed to. Somebody was responsible for bringing food. You know, sometimes when you do a group activity, maybe over multiple days. You share the responsibility for the. I don't know what the plan is for. The upcoming camp out. Leave all that up to Roman and Jonathan and those guys, but very often it's like we'll share, OK, we're going to take care of the food today and then you're going to take care of the food tomorrow. And then this other person will take care. Of the food on. The third day and you kind. Of share that. Not hard to imagine that the disciples? Were on a rotation there. There was maybe someone who was designated always. They were the food person. They were always to be in charge of snacks and have snacks. With them wherever they went. But it doesn't seem to indicate it was just one person's responsibility. It seems to indicate it was a shared responsibility. And they had forgotten. To get food. They forgot it was on their To Do List. But they forgot to look at their. To Do List until they're in the boat. I was forgetting. What was I forgetting? Let me look at my list by now. They're off the shore, away from the market. Oh my goodness, I forgot the bread. I didn't get any food. I knew I was supposed to do something. And now they begin to worry. Well, that's happening in their minds. That's happening in their conversations with one another. But Jesus is not thinking that way. He's still thinking about. The situation with those religious leaders. And so he tells us in verse 15, as they were crossing. The lake Jesus. Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees. And of Herod. These are strong. Words of warning that Jesus is giving. Beware, there's there's a strong exhortation that Jesus wants to give here. And he's using the illustration of yeast. That little piece of the dough from the previous batch that they would hold onto to make the next batch so that it would continue. The fermentation process. The yeast would carry on from. Batch to batch to batch to batch. He uses this illustration. But he's not actually talking about yeast. It's an illustration. He wants to talk to them about the Pharisees. And Herod and his followers. What did he want to teach? The disciples about that. You know, we could speculate. We could throw out ideas, analyze the religious leaders, analyze Herod and his followers and. We could come up with some ideas and lots of people have lots of ideas about what Jesus was saying with this statement. I'd like to suggest to you this morning we don't really get to know what Jesus was trying to teach them. There's truth here that Jesus is about to reveal. Like, this is the first line. It's his introduction to this discourse, this teaching he's about to give. It's the introduction to his message that gets completely derailed. By the hardness of hearts of the disciples, he doesn't get to go on. And talk about. What he means? This is a teaching that we can only guess about now in Matthew Chapter 16 again where Matthew gives the account of this passage. Verse 12 tells us later on they understand he was teaching them about the deceptive teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. That's a general understanding of what Jesus was saying. But the specifics? Of what Jesus wanted to reveal the truth that he wanted to bring to them. At this point. They didn't get to hear cause in verse 16. It says at this they began to argue with each other because they hadn't brought any bread. And so at this point, I would just like to commend you guys and say good job everyone. We got into the introduction of the message today and you didn't start a big brawl amongst each other and. You're letting me continue on into the rest of the message? Good job, because here we find. The disciples at this. Watch out for the yeast I knew, see. They began to argue with each other because they hadn't brought any bread. And tells us Jesus knew what they were saying. So he said, why are you? Arguing about having no bread. Don't you know or understand even yet? Are your hearts too hard? To take it. In instead of the fuller teaching on the Levin that Jesus was about to give, he has to launch into a different direction, a different teaching. To bring his disciples face to face with the hardness of heart that is present within them. So he doesn't get to reveal the truth. Speak the truth. They they weren't ready to receive. When he started out to share with them. This is a reality hard hearts miss out on. Truth, when our hearts are hard. We don't hear the truth. That the Lord wants to reveal to us. The apostle Paul encountered this at the church in Corinth. First Corinthians chapter three, he tells us, dear brothers and sisters. When I was with you, I couldn't talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in Christ. I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food because you weren't ready for anything stronger. And you still aren't ready. The Corinthians, like the disciples, they they were disciples. There was some of the truth that they had received, but they weren't able to receive. All of the truth. That the Lord had desired to reveal to them. They weren't ready. They weren't receptive to what the Lord was saying. They weren't able to receive the truth because their hearts were hard. The author of Hebrews talks about this as well in Hebrews chapter 5. As he's teaching about the High priest Melchizedek. God designated him to be a high priest in. The order of Melchizedek. Talking about Jesus. As our high priest, completely different order than the Levitical order, he's delving into some important doctrine, but a little bit. Of depth to it. He says there's much more we'd like to say about this, but it's difficult to explain, especially since you're spiritually dull and don't seem to listen. There's truth there. But you're missing out on it. It's really hard to explain this to you because your hearts are hard. You're dull, you're you're not receptive. You're not receiving the truth that the Lord wants to bring forth. We also see Jesus referred to this in John Chapter 16. As he's talking with his disciples preparing to. Go to the cross and then be ascended to the father, he says there's much more I want to tell you, but you can't. Bear it now. When the spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own, but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by telling you you whatever he receives from me. You're not ready, Jesus says to his disciples. You need the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. To receive the spiritual truth that I am going to reveal, but. And then have to wait for that, wait for that indwelling of the Holy Spirit to be able to reveal to you the truth that I want to reveal to you. When our hearts are hard. And we're not receptive. To the Holy Spirit. When we're not receptive to the things of God, to the words of God. There's truth that we will miss out on. There's things that God wants to say. Things he wants to reveal. And we need to be careful. Not to miss out on those things. Well, camping out in the same portion here for point #3 versus 14 through 16 gives us this point. Hard hearts miss out on peace. It's not just the truth that they were going to be missing out on here at this time, but. But we can see that they were missing out on peace. Let's read these verses again, verse 14 says. But the disciples had forgotten to bring any food. They had only one loaf of bread with them. In the boat. As they were crossing Lake, Jesus warned them. Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and of Hera. At this, they began to argue with each other. Because they hadn't brought any bread. Here we can see the disciples lacking peace. Now piece, I think we could talk about it in a few different ways. And so I'm going to list it this way three ways. That they were missing peace. Three kinds of peace that the did not have. Because of the hardness of their hearts that Jesus is about to address. First of all, peace. As in freedom from a guilty conscience. They forgot to bring bread. Again, there was somebody's responsibility. Someone was charged with or all of them were collectively were charged with making sure that they had food for the journey. But they forgot. And so when Jesus uses the illustration of yeast. They feel a target right on their face. You ever feel a target on your face? Ohh my goodness, they know they're talking about me. You know, sometimes someone makes a comment, has nothing to do with you. But because of where you're at, your mindset, your heart, you're convinced. That was directed at me. They they were saying something against me. They had a comment, a thought they they were corrective towards me. The disciples are convinced. Jesus is angry with us. He's so upset with us. They're guilty, conscience. Caused not by their forgetfulness. But by their hardness of heart. As Jesus is about to walk them through the the understanding of of their situation. If their heart was soft, if they were able to receive and understand who it was that they were with and the works that he has done, if they were able. To be where God wanted them to be. They would have been able to hear the words of Jesus. Even though they had forgotten bread. And see beyond the obvious. Lack of bread that they were feeling so significantly. There are many times. Where we have a guilty conscience. When the Lord would say. That's not guilt from me. John talks about this. In his letter, first John, he says when when? Our hearts condemn us. Sometimes our hearts do condemn us. God is greater than our hearts, but we can only receive that if we are not hard hearted and sometimes in our hardness of heart we experience more guilt than is necessary. Guilt that is not accurate to reality. We have a guilty conscience where none is required. Because we have peace with God through Jesus Christ. No condemnation for those who are in. Even when you forget the bread. But that's hard. To understand, it's hard to believe when our hearts are hard. Another piece to consider is freedom from worry and anxiety. On the one hand, they are likely thinking Jesus is probably pretty upset with us. We I mean, he gave us one thing to do one thing and we failed to do that. Boy, he must be. Upset with us? On the other hand, what are? We going to eat? As Jesus talks through this with them, he's indicating it's not just that they're worried about Jesus being upset with them, they're actually worried about. We don't have any food. What are we?

Going to eat?

It's a several hour journey to the other side of the lake. What are we gonna do for several hours without food? The situation is terrible. You must have been hungry to start, right. You ever do that? Like you're hungry and then everything is dramatically much more intense. Feels like we're gonna die. We use the word. And we're never actually starving. But we can easily find ourselves there, worried about provision, anxious about how, how is this situation going to be resolved? And again, this was not caused. Because they forgot the bread. That was not the real issue here. If they did not have hard hearts. They wouldn't have been worried. They wouldn't have been anxious. They would have understood who they were with. They would have understood. God will continue to provide. They would have been able to trust God. But right now they're unable to. Another piece that they're missing out on is harmony. So they're feeling it internally. Perhaps guilt feeling like Jesus is upset with them. They see a scowl on his face when there is no scowl there. Anxious and concerned practically. What are we going to eat? How are we going to provide for ourselves? I was looking. Forward to a good meal. But this also. Well, they find themselves being. They're hungry, worried about food. And around other disciples who are hungry and worried about food. And they all begin to fight. The word argue. Could literally be. Translated intense discussion. You ever have intense discussions? You know where the passions are stirred up and the frustrations are great and blame there's fingers pointing everywhere. It's not just intense discussion, but, but it's a logical discussion. And you can kind of imagine, you know, Peter making his case. Well, I got the bread last time and so therefore, John, it was your turn to get the bread and you failed to get the bread, John. Therefore it was your turn, not my fault. And John saying. Nah, Peter, you're confused. I got the bread last time. It was 2 times ago that you got the bread, Andrew. It was your turn to get the bread. Why did you get the bread? Andrew, you're a moron. Disputes arguing amongst the disciples. Not because they forgot bread. Because their hearts were hard. The Lord wants to give us peace. Sometimes we miss out on that piece. Because our hearts are hard. Jesus said in John chapter 14. I'm leaving you with a. Gift Peace of Mind and heart and the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give, so don't be troubled or. Afraid in John Chapter 16 he says, look, I'm telling you all these things that you can have peace in me on Earth, you're going to have many trials, but you can have peace. You can take heart because I've overcome the world. Paul tells us in Philippians Chapter 4, don't worry, don't be anxious about not having bread. Instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need. Thank him for all he has done and then you'll experience God's peace which excels or exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds. As you live in Christ Jesus. Hard hearts miss out on peace, but God wants you to have. And I would suggest you can kind of flip this around. Use this as a little bit of an indicator for you to check your heart. When you're feeling that guilty conscience. When you're feeling that worry and anxiety when you're experiencing A disharmony with others. That's a good indicator. You might need to go. Back and check. Your heart before the Lord, because the issue may not be the thing that seems so obvious. But the issue might be the hardness. Of heart, Paul tells us that when. A man's weeds are. Pleasing the Lord, even his. Enemies are at peace with them. Actually, Paul doesn't say that. That's the proverb Paul says as much as it depends on you. Live peaceably with everyone. When our hearts. Are right before the Lord and we're receiving from the Lord. The potential for harmony, the potential for freedom from guilt, the potential for freedom from worry. Is there God wants to give us peace. He wants to deliver us from those things. And when we are experiencing those things. We need to consider we need to allow for the opportunity and the possibility. Perhaps my heart is hard. And I'm missing out on some of the things that God wants. To provide me. Versus 17 through 20 gives us point #4 hard hearts miss out on understanding. Verse 17 tells us Jesus knew what they were saying, so he said, why are you arguing about having no. Do you not know or understand even yet? Are your hearts too hard to take it in? You have eyes. Can't you see you have ears, can't you hear? Don't you remember anything at all? When I fed the 5000 with five loaves and bread. How many baskets of leftovers did you pick up afterward? 12 they said. And when I fed the 4000 with 7 loaves, how many large baskets of leftovers did you pick up? Seven, they said. Jesus now walks them through. What the real issue is here? Don't you know or understand yet? You're missing out on some understanding guys. Are your hearts too hard? To take it in. Haven't you been watching everything that's been going on? You've been walking with me for some time. You've been seeing the work of God. You've been hearing the. Word of God. Your eyes are seeing your ears are hearing. But are your hearts too hard to let that? Truth sink in and take hold. As you read these questions from the Lord. Try not to read the disappointed tone that you might be tempted to read into there. Try not to read into angry tone that you might be tempted to. Don't you remember anything at all? That's not what Jesus is saying. Someone gently leading a child through a series of questions. To help them understand and come to an awareness and an understanding. That, that gentle questioning. OK, let's ask this question. Let that process. A little bit. You have eyes. What have you been seeing? You have years. What have you been hearing? Can you remember anything? What do you remember? Let's call some things to mind. And and Jesus walks them through even some specific examples. I fed the 5000 at one time. Let's stop and consider the facts. How many baskets of leftovers did you pick up? Jesus says I want to help you understand. So go back and think about some of the actual things that happened. Let me give you a quantifiable thing to grab a hold of in your mind. How many baskets were left over? They could give a concrete answer they knew. That for sure, 12. And Jesus said you were there. You saw, you heard. What do you think that means? I fed 5000 people. Probably double that with five loaves of bread. Impossible, but how many baskets did you pick? Ohh we had. 12 baskets afterwards. And justice earlier in this chapter, Jesus said I Fed 4000 and how many people or how many baskets did you pick up afterwards? Ohh, it was 7. Large baskets afterwards, they were able to grasp all the these things and recount them. Jesus is helping them think through these things now. Because, well, their hearts were hard. And they hadn't really thought through. They hadn't really received. The understanding that they could have received. From those situations we find this. Told to us clearly in March Chapter 6, when Jesus is walking on the water and then gets in. The boat with them. They're freaked out. They're amazed he gets in the boat, the wind stops, the waves stop. They're totally amazed. It says in verse 51, and then explains why. Why are they so totally amazed that Jesus? Can walk on. Water for they still didn't understand the significance of the miracle of the loaves. Their hearts were too hard to take it in. Imagine that the disciples. Experienced and were part of the miraculous delivery of bread to this multitude. And although they were there and partook of it. And saw it first hand. Their hearts were too hard. To really take it in for it to really take root, they hadn't understood yet. They had a glimpse. They had grasped hold of Jesus to a point, to a degree. They were his disciples, but they didn't fully understand because their hearts were too hard. To take it in. The word understand. I like the way that spiral zodhiates defines it, he says. It's the comprehending activity of the mind. It entails the assembling of individual facts into an organized whole, as collecting the pieces of a puzzle and putting them all together. The hardness of heart work was leaving pieces off the table, so they had an incomplete picture of Jesus. They didn't quite get it yet. They didn't quite understand him. Yeah, but Jesus is saying let's let's recall to mind. Let's come back and think about. Don't you remember anything, remember. Let's revisit the loaves feeding the 5000 let's revisit the loaves feeding the 4000. Let's take those pieces, put them back on the table and see how they fit and see how they help instruct us in this situation. Jesus is going to help them remember so that they can understand, recount the facts, how many baskets guys. How many baskets? The next time, 7 baskets. Remember that now. OK, let's put those back on the table. Put all the pieces together. What it is? That Jesus is saying. When Wisby says God's people often have a tendency to forget his blessings, he meets our needs. But then when the next problem arises, we complain or become frightened. As long as we are with him, we can be sure he will take care of us. It would do us all good to pause. Occasionally and remind ourselves. Of his goodness. This is one of the reasons why the Lord established the feasts in the Old Testament. To help his people stop and recount. How do we get out of Egypt? Ohh yeah, the Passover. God provided for us. How did we survive in the wilderness? Oh, yeah, we, we we tabernacles, we have the Feast of Tabernacles to remind us of how we were there. And God provided wow bread for. Millions of people for 40 years, water for millions of people for 40 years in the wilderness. Let's put all the pieces back on the table and remember that God can provide for us and promises to take care of us. They didn't understand. The things that were going on. They had a hard time remembering. Because their hearts were hard and so commentator FB Meyer encourages us, he. Says let us. Be quick to read. Read the divine intention in very simple incidents. And to learn that all God's past dealings contain lessons for the present. Let's be quick to recognize the situation I'm facing today. Met my needs in similar situations in the past. He's taught me through those things. He he's prepared me for this situation. Put all the pieces on the table and understand what it is that the Lord is doing. In your life. Well, finally I want to finish off with this one in verse 21 point #5 hard hearts can be changed. Jesus concludes this portion, saying don't you understand yet? He asked the question. Don't you understand? Do you understand now? Do you get it? Giving the understanding giving the opportunity here. Having walked through some of these things, they have the opportunity to understand their their hard heartedness that prevented them from receiving those things. That wasn't the end of the story. It wasn't that they could never receive them. They had the opportunity. To receive them now. And be instructed by them now to be impacted by what the Lord was saying right now. They could have understood before. But no point in going back and beating ourselves up, or for all the things that we missed. Out on because our hearts were hard. What we can do now is start right now. To change our hard hearts. So that we can receive. From the Lord Hard Hearts can be changed. The Lord speaking to his people through Jeremiah said, plow up the hard ground of your hearts. Talking to very hard hearted people, there was still the opportunity to plow up those hard hearts to change those hard hearts. The Lord speaking through the Prophet Jose and Hosea, Chapter 10, says plow up the hard ground of your hearts. Plant good seeds. Plant righteousness and you'll reap a harvest of love. It's time to seek the Lord. It's not too late. You can't go back and change all the missed opportunities. But you can start right now to break up that hard ground in your hearts. To plow up the that soil in your heart so that you are willing and receptive and say yes, Lord, speak to me. Can help us to go from A hardness of heart. To a soft. Moldable, pliable heart. When commentator says spiritual blindness can be lifted and is lifted when people are willing to listen to the good news and when they allow God to convince them of the truth of the gospel. Blindness can be lifted, it is lifted. Sometimes, considering the hardness of our hearts, it could seem like an impossible situation, but it's not. Coming to God with the openness and a willingness for him to speak, to change, to transform. We have a new opportunity today. No matter how hard we've packed down the soil of our. Heart and the cool thing about. God is when we do that. When we soften our heart, he rushes to meet with us. I really like this portion in Isaiah Chapter 57, God says rebuild the road. Clear away the rocks and stones so my people can return from captivity. The high and lofty one who lives in eternity. The holy One says I live in the high. And holy place with those. Whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant. Clear the roads. God says I'm running to meet my people. Who have repentant hearts? We never move past the need for repentant hearts. We're always going to be. Brought to an awareness of some hardness in our hearts. That needs to be addressed. That needs to be turned over and surrendered to the Lord. It's going to be a lifelong series of. The Lord showing us our heart. And us turning from it and turning our hearts over to the Lord. And if we don't? We're going to start to miss out. We're going to miss out on all the things that God has for us and all the things that things that God wants to do with us, and so we need to understand. We need to experience that time with Jesus. We need to receive the truth that he says and have the peace. That he wants to provide for us. Let's change our hearts. Call out for God to change our hearts. Present ourselves as those who are willing. Those who are surrendered. The Prophet Jeremiah and Jeremiah Chapter 4 talking about plowing up the hard ground of your hearts. You said surrender your pride and your power. Your pride, your self-reliance, your strength. Surrender all of that to the Lord. And let the Lord instruct you and teach you and lead you. Soften your heart before him. The worship teams going to come up and close us and worship as we partake of communion together. And as they get ready, I want to ask you to consider this. Jesus asked his disciples how many baskets did you pick up after the feeding of the 5000 right. There's things in your life that you can go back and revisit and remember how many. How many times has God done something miraculous in your life? As we come to communion, where the Lord reminds us of the bread, he said it represents his body that was broken for us. The the cup that represents the blood that was shed on our behalf. Perhaps it would be appropriate for you this morning. To try to come up with a number, how many sins? Were you forgiven of this week? Can you count that? Can you quantify that? How many sins? Will you be forgiven of for this coming week? Maybe think about this one. How much access do you have to God? 100% no one I could tell you. 100% we could also give that same answer to how many sins have you been forgiven of 100%? The Lord gave us these elements to help us remember to put back in context, God loved me so much. Desired relationship with me so much. He sent his only begotten son. Jesus went to the cross. To forgive every sin so that even when I forgot the bread, he's not angry with me. I messed up. I failed on my responsibility. He he's not upset with me and done with me. He's still wanting to work in my life and teach me and lead me. I still have access to God by faith. In Jesus Christ. God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die, and since we've been made right in God's sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God's condemnation. For, since our friendship was God was restored by the death of his son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life. Of his son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God, because the Lord Jesus Christ has made us Friends of God. Listen, don't have a hard heart. And come to communion and feel like you're far from God and he's upset with you and you don't have peace with God. And he's frustrated by all of your failures. Have a soft heart. And let the Lord say no. No, really, I did. I forgive all. Of your sins, all of every one of them. And you stand before me by faith in Jesus as one who has never sinned ever before in your whole life. I can't believe you don't know what I've done. You don't know the depths of my sin. You don't know how many times I've done that same sin. How many sins are forgiven? Let's count them. Let's go back and understand. Have a soft heart. You have full fellowship with God. Wonderful new relationship with God. Jesus has made you friends of God. And so let's soften our hearts as they lead us in worship. They're going to pass out the bread and the cup, and you can partake between you and the Lord anytime during the worship song, and they'll give you opportunity at the end to partake. If you have it. Make sure that you take some time to remember to reflect, to recount some of those things that the Lord has done. How many sins he has forgiven, how much access he's given you to God, how pleased he is with you. And don't be hard hearted and resisted. Receive it, embrace it and walk in it. Let's worship the Lord and partake of communion together.