“Are You Just Looking For a Reason”
BIBLE READING: Matthew 16, Luke 9. 18-27, Mark 8
“They were just looking for a reason to leave.” That is a quote from a man I love and respect concerning people that leave the church because of something petty. It is his belief (and I cannot disagree with him), that people that stop coming to worship because of something other than a doctrinal reason, are just really looking for an excuse to stop coming. They give reasons such as personality conflicts, the minister/youth minister, or even the eldership for their lack of participation in church work. Even if those issues may be a problem or even a distraction, they are not the root cause of their unfaithfulness, but a symptom of their unfaithfulness. They were already looking for an excuse to not come! Jesus encounters a similar situation with the Pharisees in Mark 8. The Pharisees are demanding that Jesus produce some sort of sign that proves He has come from God. Now take note, that up until this point Jesus has already healed a deaf man, cast out an unclean spirit, healed the sick at Gennesaret, walked on water, fed the multitude, calmed the storm and cleansed the leper; not to mention the countless others that are recorded in Mark’s gospel alone. The reaction of Jesus is priceless “he sighed deeply” (Mark 8.12), as if to say, “You have got to be kidding Me, what do you think I have been doing?”. Maybe they really weren’t looking for a sign at all; maybe they were just ignoring His miracles because they had already had their mind made up. They were just looking for a reason to not believe. Jesus denies them the sign that they seek, because He knew that no matter what miracle He had produced, they had already decided to be against Him. Let’s make sure we keep an open mind to the conflicts we might face within the church, and stay involved so we don’t find ourselves looking for excuses to leave.