Spiritual Dullness

“They had not had the sense to learn the lesson of the loaves. Even that miracle had not opened their eyes to see who he was."—Mark 6:52 (PHILLIPS)

I’m always impressed when I meet people who have the ability and passion to teach children. Those who specialize in teaching kids in a way they can grasp and apply it are to be commended. I respect these educators because I could never do it. Even sometimes when I’m teaching my son how to do something, and he doesn’t get it, I sit there puzzled . . . How does he not get it? I made it so clear. He should get it!

I imagine this is how Jesus must have felt in today’s verse. Coming off the heels of the miraculous feeding of the 5,000, Jesus’ disciples found themselves on the boat (Mark 6:45–48; John 6:14–18) without Him. “Soon a gale swept down upon them, and the sea grew very rough,” (John 6:18 NLT) and “He saw that they were in serious trouble, rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves” (Mark 6:48 NLT). And what did Jesus do? He walked on the water towards them, to which they “cried out in terror.” And when He got into the boat, everything calmed.

Amazing, right? The elements bend to His command. But instead of being moved to deeper faith, it says they were shocked and astounded, because even the feeding of 5,000+ people with five loaves and two fish “had not opened their eyes to see who he was.”

The word for hardened in the Greek here is pepōrōmenē, which according to Strong’s Concordance means, “to indurate (render stupid or callous), blind, harden.” Essentially, their minds were too dull to understand. As I read it, I think to myself, How did they not get it? He made it so clear. They should get it! This doesn’t mean they were opposed to Jesus—they hadn’t hardened their hearts towards Him. It simply means they were slow to understand His power. Charles Ellicott wrote, “They had not drawn from the miracle of the loaves the conclusion . . . that all natural forces were subject to their Master’s sovereignty.”

Why am I telling you all this? Because sometimes—all the time if we’re being honest—we are just like the disciples. God is always working in and through our lives, but so often we’re too dull to perceive it. My prayer for us today is that we would be more attuned to the Spirit—which the disciples didn’t yet have—to see His sovereignty at work in our lives, and that it would bring us calm even in the midst of rough waters.

DIG: Read Mark 6 and John 6.

DISCOVER: What leads to spiritual dullness? Why do we often miss and astound at God’s work in our lives and the lives of others? What are we looking at that we don’t see it?

DISPLAY: Open your eyes today as you go about your day. Listen to the Spirit, look for God’s work, see His sovereignty in your life and the lives of others. Hear people’s stories; consider what’s going on in your life. His hand is there, His Spirit is at work.

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.