I follow legal proceedings with some interest since I’m closely connected to an officer of the law and an officer of the court. I listen to reports on some of the court cases that make the news and wonder about the accuracy of the testimony given, the verdict reached and the essence of our justice system. There are some attorneys I would not want to meet under cross examination.
In Mark 8:14-21, Jesus places His disciples under examination and cross-examination.
As they are crossing the Sea of Galilee in a boat, they realize that they have forgotten their own food supplies. All they have with them in one loaf of bread. I doubt it was wrapped, and among 13 hungry men, one loaf wouldn’t go very far. Jesus, assessing this situation, and using it for an instructive purpose, challenges them with a warning – “Be careful. Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”
By this time in their journey of following Jesus, the disciples knew statements could have ‘layers’ of meaning. Together they ponder Christ’s warning and reach their conclusion. They ‘connect the dots’ of His warning with their want. Surely Jesus has made this statement due to their inadequate supply.
As we learn through the gospels, Jesus knows their thoughts and interrupts their thought process with 8 questions, given rapid-fire with little room for a response until the cross-examination is complete.
#1 Why are you still talking about having no bread?
#2 Do you still not see or understand?
#3 Are your hearts hardened?
#4 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear?
#5 And don’t you remember?
#6 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketful a of pieces did you pick up?
At this juncture, they (with one voice) provide one simple answer – “Twelve.”
Two more questions follow.
#7 And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketful a of pieces did you pick up?
Another simple answer – “Seven.”
He said to them, #8 “Do you still not understand?”
Wow! What a time of interrogation! It left such an impact, and guided by the Holy Spirit, Mark preserves it in the pages of Holy Scripture. The core issues are – “What is the true condition of your heart? Are you learning what Christ is seeking to teach you?”
I ask myself the same questions – What is the true condition of my heart? What is Jesus Christ seeking to teach me in the challenge of daily living? Am I learning the life lessons or will He put me through intensive cross-examination until I admit MY NEED for HIS HELP?