mark 8:11-26

The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, asking him for a sign from heaven, to test him.  And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation.”  And he left them, and getting into the boat again, he went across to the other side. Now the disciples had forgotten to bring any bread; and they had only one loaf with them in the boat.  And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out—beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.” They said to one another, “It is because we have no bread.”  And becoming aware of it, Jesus said to them, “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes, and fail to see? Do you have ears, and fail to hear? And do you not remember?  When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?” They said to him, “Twelve.”  “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?” And they said to him, “Seven.” Then he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?” They came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village; and when he had put saliva on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Can you see anything?” And the man looked up and said, “I can see people, but they look like trees, walking.” Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he looked intently and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Then he sent him away to his home, saying, “Do not even go into the village.” (NRSV)

These are some of my favorite stories of Jesus from the Scriptures because these are clear examples where Jesus would probably have been a bit frustrated. We’ve all been there. Frustrated because those around us just don’t understand, or frustrated because they aren’t paying attention, or they want to test you, or frustrated at ourselves for not doing it right the first time.

This passage is rampant with frustration, among other things. If Jesus were a Southerner he might throw up his hands with resignation and tell everyone to “Bless their hearts.” With all of these frustrations in this story, Jesus doesn’t let these frustrations bog him down. As he goes to heal the blind man, instead of getting frustrated after taking his hands off of the man’s eyes too quickly, he places them back on. He finishes the job. He doesn’t let the frustration from others get him down. He takes more time to completely restore the sight of the man instead of becoming frustrated at not getting it right the first time. He pushes past the things that might bog him down to still do his duties as the miracle worker.

Miracle worker God, we thank you that when we frustrate you, you do not let it get you down. Like Jesus, you don’t give up no matter how much we test you, or how many times we fail to pay attention and trust you. Give us the strength to keep moving past our frustrations to live into being the people that you call us to be.  Amen.

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