Forgetting God’s Wonders (Mark Sermon 36)
December 18, 2022 | Andy Davis
Fullness in Christ, Israel's Rejection of Jesus, Sufficiency of Scripture
The amazing deliverances and miracles worked by God registered in Scripture are reminders against faithless forgetfulness.
- SERMON TRANSCRIPT -
I. Two Different Cases of Forgetfulness
Turn in your Bibles to Mark 8, the passage that we're going to walk through it today. This morning, we have a layered story, I think, of forgetfulness. That's the unifying theme, of individuals that in some different ways forgot the mighty works and wonders of God and of Christ, and each of them will be instructive for us. Here are two different cases of forgetfulness. Right away in verse 14, we have the disciples having forgotten to bring bread, so we have the issue of their forgetfulness except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. This is a big deal. After all, Jesus and His disciples are moving around from place to place. They are always moving often in remote places where there was no one, there was no place for them to find provision, so it must have been someone's job to get the bread, and they blew it. They didn't bring the bread. We'll talk about that, there's that forgetfulness.
But we also have this sinful forgetfulness before that of the Pharisees. Look at verses 11-13, "The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test Him, they asked for a sign from heaven. He sighed deeply and said, 'Why does this generation ask for miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it.' Then he left them and got back into the boat and crossed to the other side." This constant demand for new signs, not the desire for the signs they had already had. It was as if the signs Jesus had done up to that moment meant nothing. Jesus' enemies dismissed all the prior evidence of His wonder working power, and they stood there again demanding a new sign from Him.
This is unfolded in detail in John 6, the day after the feeding of the 5,000. Now, this account is after the feeding of 4,000. But then in John 6, after the feeding the 5,000 earlier [ John 6:28-30,] the crowd came the next day, as we've mentioned, looking for breakfast, looking for another meal, and Jesus challenges them. “Then they asked Him, ‘What must we do to work the works of God?’ Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent.’ So they asked Him, ‘What miraculous sign, then, will You give it that we may see it and believe You? What will you do? Our forefathers ate the man in the desert, as it is written. He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
That's stunning. The very next day after the feeding of the 5,000, they're asking for another sign, "What sign will You do?" It seems that they wanted a continual river of signs, day after day after day, like Moses did, the manna down day after day, miracles every day, and they sinfully forgot the works of Christ as if they were instantly forgettable. We have stories of forgetfulness, that's what I want to draw out today.
II. The Indispensable Role of Christ’s Miracles
In order for this, we need to understand the indispensable role of Jesus' miracles, of the signs and wonders that Jesus did. The miracles are the fundamental proof of the deity of Christ. They were then, they are now. For example, in John 4, a royal official whose son lay dying came and asked Jesus to heal him. Jesus said in John 4:48, "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you'll never believe." In John 5, the next chapter, Jesus gave layers of testimonies of proof of His personhood, of His deity. He talked about the ministry of John the Baptist and his testimony of Jesus, and then He spoke of His works, His miracles. John 5:36, “'I have testimony,’" Jesus said, “'weightier than that of John. For the very work the Father has given Me to do, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me.'"
Later in John's Gospel to His own disciples, He openly says that the miracles are valid basis of faith in Him. John 14:11, "Believe Me when I say that the Father is in Me and I am in the Father. Or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves." John 14:11, valid basis of faith. Without the miracles, we would have no reason to believe in Jesus. The primary, the central miracle of Jesus' whole ministry is His bodily resurrection from the dead. Romans 10:9 says, "If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." And so, we have to believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the grave in order to be saved.
In John 20, doubting Thomas represents the unbelieving world, needing evidence. Jesus had come the week before and given physical evidence of His bodily resurrection from the dead, but Thomas hadn't been there. "Thomas was not with them," it says in John 20:24, "when the disciples came. So the other disciples told him, 'We have seen the Lord.' But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were and put my hand in the side, I will not believe it.’"
A week later, as disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them, though the doors were locked, “Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then He said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here. See my hands. Reach out your hand, put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’ Thomas said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Because you have seen me you have believed. Blessed are they who have not seen and yet have believed.’"
On what basis are we going to not see and yet believe that Jesus is God, that He rose from the dead? On the basis of this alone: scripture's testimony to the miracles of Jesus. On the basis of this alone will you be saved. You have to believe the miracles that are written in this book. Remember them and believe them. In the very next couple of verses it says, "Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not recorded in this book," [Gospel of John] "But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. And by believing, you may have life in His name. These are written that you may believe." That's the basis. You read it, believe that it's true, and you have life in His name.
"That's the basis. You read it, believe that it's true, and you have life in His name."
III. Israel’s Tragic History of Forgetfulness
Similarly, we see in the Old Testament the same issue. The miracles that God did for Israel were the basis of their whole faith in Him, the signs and wonders. He showed Himself to them in Egypt and then in the desert, and He proved His wonder working power that would be the basis of their faith in Him. But they had a tragic history of forgetfulness. These Pharisees here in Mark 8 stand in the place of their ancestors, standing right there in the place of their ancestors with the same attitude of forgetful unbelief. We saw this during the exodus itself. Remember at the Red Sea, after the 10 plagues? Ten plagues, that's a lot of evidence, a lot of miracles.
Now the Israelites have made the exodus, and they're there at the Red Sea. They suddenly look up and see Pharaoh in his army ready to exterminate them, filled with rage, drawing near to slaughter them. They cry out in faithless forgetfulness, faithless forgetfulness of all of God's wonder working power. Exodus 14, "They said to Moses, 'Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us out here in the desert to die? What have you done to us bringing us out of Egypt? Didn't we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone. Let us serve the Egyptians.”'? It would've been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die here in the desert.'" Faithless forgetfulness of God's wonder working power. How could they forget so soon? So God dealt strongly with Moses and with Israel.
Exodus 14:15-17, "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff, stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them.’” With that new miracle, the most spectacular of them all, with the water walling up to the right and to the left, God proved His power again. On the other side of the Red Sea, Israel celebrated and worshiped, but their habit of forgetting God's wonder working power is just getting going. They go out in the desert and need food, and they start complaining about the food. They need water, and they start complaining about the lack of water. So with no food, they cry out against God and against Moses as if nothing had happened up to that point. Exodus 16, "The Israelites said to them, 'If only we had died by the Lord's hand in Egypt. There in the good old days, we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted.'" Just let me stop there. Do you remember the account that way? Is that how it was for them? I remember something about task masters and bitter life and all that. But anyway, I return. "'We just sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.' Then the Lord said to Moses, 'I will reign down bread from heaven for you.'"
Shortly thereafter, in the next chapter, there's no water. Exodus 17:3, "The people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, 'Why did you bring us out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?'" We're not going to starve to death, but we're going to die of a lack of water. That's what's going to get us. "The Lord answered Moses, 'Walk on ahead of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel, and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile.'" What's that? A reminder of the previous miracles. "'Take that staff and go. I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.' So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. He called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, 'Is the Lord among us or not?'"
Then again, on the brink of the promised land, after Sinai, after all of these wonders, after many meals, miraculous meals of manna, water from the rock, they come to the brink of the promised land. They send out twelve spies, they come back, and ten of them spoke terrible words of unbelief concerning God. They turned the hearts of the people away from God despite all that God had done for them up to that point. Moses pleaded with them, but God judged them. Moses rehearsed this whole thing in Deuteronomy 1. "Moses said, 'Then I said to you, 'Do not be terrified. Do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God who is going before you will fight for you as He did for you in Egypt before your very eyes. And in the desert, there you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.'"
Remember how faithful God was to you. Remember the wonders He did on your behalf, but “in spite of this, you did not trust the Lord your God, who went ahead of you on your journey in fire by night and the cloud by day to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go. When the Lord heard what you said, He was angry and solemnly swore, 'Not a man of this evil generation shall see the good land I swore to give to your forefathers.'" Why? Because they forgot God's wonder working power on their behalf. He judged them, they would not be permitted to enter the promised land.
Eventually they did go in and conquer the promised land. The walls of Jericho fell, an amazing miracle. Then just incredible provision, all the military conquest, they took over most of the promised land. Amazing things. But then you get the Book of Judges. What a wretched book that is. In Judges 2 it says, "After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up who neither knew the Lord nor what He had done for Israel." How did that happen? I'm going to tell you: bad parenting. They didn't know anything about it, never heard of it, never heard about the wonders God had done. They didn't know anything about it. No baby is born knowing the wonders of God. They have to be taught. They didn't teach them.
Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. Psalm 78 gives a summary of all this, the very kind of history I've been walking through with you, Psalm 78. It says this, "What we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us, we will not hide them from their children. We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power and the wonders He has done. He decrees statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which He commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them." To know what? The wonders, the miracles God has done. The next generation would know the miracles, the wonders God has done. "And even the children yet to be born. And they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget His deeds but keep His commands."
A few verses later, "The men of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned back on the day of battle. They did not keep God's covenant. They refused to live by His law. They forgot what He had done, the wonders He had shown them. He did miracles in the sight of the fathers in the land of Egypt, in the region of Zoan. He divided the sea and led them through. He made the water stand firm like a wall. He guided them with the cloud by day and with light of fire by night." The psalm is just recording that same dreadful history I just did, God's miracles for Israel and their wicked pattern of forgetting those miracles and sinning against God.
Psalm 78:32-33, is a kind of a summation, "In spite of all this, they kept on sinning. In spite of His wonders, they did not believe." In spite of His wonders, they did not believe. "So He ended their days in futility and their years in terror." The rest of the psalm just continues to recount the same tragic pattern: God's amazing power unleashed for Israel and then their sinful habit of forgetting that power soon afterward and lurching again into sinful idolatrous rebellion.
IV. Jesus Judges the Unbelievers’ Forgetfulness
Now back to Mark 8, these Pharisees stand in a long tradition, in the place of their ancestors, of forgetting the mighty wonders of God which they had just seen done. Look at verse 11, "The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test Him, they asked Him for a sign from heaven." Jesus judges the unbelievers' forgetfulness here. They're here to test Him. This was exactly the same motive, don't you remember, of Israel at Massah and Meribah: testing to see if God was real? Exodus 17:7, "He called that place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled because they tested the Lord saying, 'Listen, is the Lord among us or not?' So it is with these Pharisees, putting Jesus to the test, ‘Is the Lord among us or not? Is God with us?’"
Do you know what the word for “God with us" is? Emmanuel. Is God with us or not? He is. Jesus is Emmanuel. He is God with us. They're doing the same thing, testing, saying, "Is God with us or not?" They've already made up their minds that He's not. They've made up their minds that Jesus did his miracles by the power of Beelzebub. Remember that? That's earlier in Mark's gospel. They've already made up their minds, so Jesus sighs. It's a sigh of judgment and exasperation. They have tested the patience of God. "He sighed deeply and said, 'Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it.' Then He left them, got back into the boat, and crossed to the other side." Judgment. No more signs.
The sigh here is radically different than the sigh at the end of Mark 7, which He used to heal the deaf mute man. Remember how He gently put His fingers in the man's ears and spit and touched his tongue and then sighed deeply? That was a sigh of healing like the breath of air, the breath of the Spirit moving. This, though, is a sigh of exasperation and of sorrow over their unbelief. He takes no pleasure in the death of His enemies. If their wicked, testing, unbelieving hearts are not converted, those unbelieving hearts will lead them to hell. He knows that better than they do, better than anyone does, and so He sighed, but He also refuses to give them any sign at all.
Actually, in Matthew's Gospel He does say, "Except." There's additional information. It's always interesting as you compare the accounts, Matthew and Mark. Whenever there's additional information, you know it's true. Mark for his own wise purposes under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit truncated the answer, “No sign will be given.” Period. But Matthew said a little more, Matthew 12:38-41, "Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Him, 'Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from You.' He answered, 'A wicked and adulterous generation asked for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of the Prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah. And now, one, someone greater than Jonah is here.'"
What is the sign of Jonah? It's a resurrection. On the third day, He would come out of the grave, but they wouldn't see Him. What they would get is the same thing the men of Nineveh got: preaching. They get preaching. They get representatives of the resurrected Lord who would stand in downtown Jerusalem and proclaim that Christ has risen. That's the sign they're going to get. They'll believe or they won't based on the preaching. But we know, the great tragedy is this, even this, the greatest sign there has ever been in history, the empty tomb, still wasn't enough. They still didn't believe.
V. Jesus Heals the Believers’ Forgetfulness
Now let's talk about Jesus's disciples, that forgetful bunch. You're like, "Are they forgetting too?" They are, but Jesus decides to heal them from their forgetfulness, not to judge them. Aren't you glad? It's like, "Well, actually, pastor, I don't need that, I don't forget God's mighty wonders and His works in my life." Yes, you do. We all do. But isn't it wonderful how patient Christ is with us and how He is willing to train us and to deal with us. He heals us as He healed the believers.
Look at verses 14-21, "The disciples had forgotten to bring bread except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. 'Be careful,' Jesus warned them, 'watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.' They discussed it with one another and said, 'It's because we have no bread.' Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them, 'Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? You have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear. Don't you remember?'" I circled that in my manuscript. Do you see that? Don't you remember? "'When I broke the five loaves with the 5,000, how many baskets full of pieces did you pick up?' 'Twelve,' they replied. 'And when I broke the seven loads of the 4,000, how many baskets full of pieces did you pick up?' They answered, 'Seven.' He said to them, 'Do you still not understand?'"
First, let's talk about the smaller issue, they forgot to bring bread. Whose job was that? I mean I think they must have been on a rotating schedule kind of thing. "It was your turn." "No, I had last week." "No, it was your turn." They're going back and forth. It's interesting how Jesus didn't know what they're arguing about. They're doing it off to the side, they don't want Jesus to know about this discussion. I know it says discussion, we don't know they're arguing, but come on, what do you think? So they're going back and forth, they're talking about forgetting to bring bread.
Now, I want to stop and apply this. Isn't it wonderful that God has our back even when we are stupid and forget things that we should take care of? I mean this is a takeaway. You're going to make mistakes in life. You're going to forget. You're going to mess up. God has your back, don't sweat it. I'm not saying be irresponsible. I'm not saying go to the airport and forget your passport. What I am saying is God has your back, He'll take care of you, because we do forget.
The topic here Jesus wants them to focus on is some special instruction and teaching and training He's doing for the apostolic ministry. He wanted to warn them about the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod. They're thinking bread. He's not talking bread, He's using an analogy. In case we don't really know what He's talking about, Matthew elucidates, makes it very plain. Matthew 16:12, "Then they understood that He was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees." Mark mentions Herod. I think all three were discussed. You always combine them. He's warning about the yeast, the teaching of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herod, or Herodians.
Yeast is bad teaching. Why is it called yeast? Because it spreads through the whole lump. It permeates. It poisons. Paul uses a disease analogy about bad teaching spreading like gangrene, but it's the same idea. In the passage on church discipline, 1 Corinthian 5, he talks about getting rid of a sexually immoral member of their church and says, "A little yeast leavens the whole lump." If you don't get rid of that person, the sin's going to spread. You got to get rid of it. So that's the yeast analogy here. What is He specifically warning about? The teaching of the Pharisees and the Sadducees and Herod. What is it? We don't have anything elucidated here, but we know from other places. The Pharisees were self-righteous legalists who were whitewashed tombs. They look good on the outside, but inside they're corrupt. They thought by their law-keeping they were good enough for heaven, and they weren't. They were merciless toward others. They tied up heavy loads and crushed people with them, but didn't lift a finger to help them.Matthew 23 goes through the sins of the Pharisees and what they're like. We also find out that they had a taste for widows' homes. They were worldly and wealthy and wicked Pharisees.
Then the Sadducees, these are the ones that deny that there is a resurrection of the dead. “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die and there's nothing beyond the grave.” That's the Sadducees, that's a bad way to live. This world is all there is, that was the Sadducees. They also denied that there is a spirit world with angels and demons. They denied the teaching of the Word. They were ignorant because they don't know the scriptures are the power of God. Then the Herodians. Herod was a wicked, worldly, pleasure-loving, birthday-feast-celebrating guy who collaborated with the Romans and did whatever he needed to do to keep power. He saw his brother's wife, wanted her, and she divorced her husband and married him and all that. John the Baptist warned him plainly, and he killed him. That's Herod. The Herodians were those kinds of people who celebrated Herod's power. That's what they taught.
Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herod. The disciples didn't understand that. They thought He was talking about literal bread. They should have been [Matthew 6] seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness and letting God take care of their empty stomachs. It's not about what you're going to chew and swallow today. We've got a higher calling here than feeding your bellies. He has to address their hardened hearts again. You remember back in Mark 6 when Jesus walked on water and then the storm instantly stopped when He got in the boat? Do you remember the editorial comment that Mark gave? Mark 6:51-52,"They were completely amazed for they had not understood about the loaves. Their hearts were hard."
The lesson of the loaves is that Jesus can do anything, that they shouldn't live for physical bread, that Jesus is God. The lesson of the loaves is belief in Jesus and then seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness, not worrying about earthly things. The lesson of the loaves, who Jesus is, how they should live, that's the lesson of the loaves. They didn't understand. Now with the second feeding, they still don't understand the lesson of the loaves, so He has to address their hardened hearts. Jesus can care for their physical needs, and they should trust Him for it. Listen again to Jesus's rebuke, verse 17-21, "'Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? You have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear. Don't you remember, when I broke the five loads to the 5,000, how many baskets full of pieces did you pick up?' 'Twelve,' they applied. 'And when I broke the seven loaves to the 4,000, how many baskets full of pieces did you pick up?' They answered, 'Seven.' He said to them, 'Do you still not understand?'"
In Matthew’s Gospel, He's very clear, He's zeroing in on their unbelief. He's zeroing in on they're having little faith. Not no faith, they believe, but their faith isn't strong enough like it should be. This is a very important theological principle, I want to give this to you, something that I hadn't known for many years but God showed it to me in this direct account. That is, yes, faith comes by hearing the Word [Romans 10:17]. Faith comes by hearing the Word, but faith also comes by experience. By living through certain things, you should learn some lessons that will stand you in good stead for the future. Isn't that the basic principle here? You remember what we walked through, you remember that? You should know the lesson. Then we lived through that. You remember we walked through that? You were there, your own hands picked up the baskets. Did you learn nothing?
Faith comes from a combination of the ministry of the Word and life in God's world. They go together. There's this beautiful system, this symbiotic relationship between ongoing teaching of the Word and the lessons you learn in life. Together they get you ready for the next challenges. The idea is, the next time you're hungry, don't faithlessly think you're going to starve to death, trust God to meet your needs. The next time you have a financial crisis, remember how faithful God was the last time. The next time you have a medical crisis, receive the faithfulness of God all of the ways He has dealt with you. Faith comes by experience as well as by the ministry of the Word. They go together. That's a fundamental concept here.
Paul says he said he learned the secret of Christian contentment, Philippians 4. He said, "I've learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I've learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well-fed or hungry, living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who strengthens me." How did he learn the secret of Christian contentment? By living through it and seeing God's faithfulness.
Also, maturity comes by suffering. You have to live through suffering to become mature. Paul talks about it in 2 Corinthians 1:8-10, "We do not want you to be unformed brothers about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death, but this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God who raises the dead." Do you hear that? We went through this suffering to strip us of self-reliance.
Self-reliance is the number one idol that God wants to kill in saving us through faith in Christ, that you would not think you can save yourself, that your righteousness is enough, you can do these things by yourself. "We," Paul says, "had to go through this immense trial in Asia to teach us to not rely on ourselves but on God who raises the dead." Why do you think he adds that extra phrase, "God who raises the dead."? Because that's the finish line of your salvation, when you have been raised from the dead, you'll be done being saved. What's coming in the future, that's the big test. Your death, your burial, and then what? Let me just ask you, you self-reliant folks, what are your plans for raising yourself from the grave? What's your strategy? That's a big one. What are you going to do to raise yourself from the grave? You can do nothing. Therefore, learn to trust the God who raises the dead. For lesser things, be stripped of self-reliance and learn to rely on God. That's the lesson of life, the lesson of suffering.
"Self-reliance is the number one idol that God wants to kill in saving us through faith in Christ."
Are there some other lessons to learn? Yes, there are. What about our forgetfulness? Do you have any forgetfulness? I just said that we all do. How are we living out a faithless forgetfulness of God's amazing works in the past? Ask God to show you, "How am I forgetting your kindness to me, God?" How do our anxieties and fears with new trials show that we haven't learned the lesson of the loaves yet? We still need to trust Him. How does our murmuring and complaining against God when we're in trial show that our hearts are hard like the Israelites at Massah and Meribah? How are we murmuring against God? Just ask God to show you.
Secondly, be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Go back over the scriptures regularly, read about the miracles. These miracles are for us. The beauty is, even though God won't necessarily do the same miracles in your life that He did then, He's the same God now that He was then. He's the same yesterday, today, and forever, so trust in Him. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Go through the Word of God and remember, study the miracles of Israel. Study the 10 plagues. Study the Red Sea crossing. Study the manna and the water flowing through the rock and say, "God is able to provide for me." But even more, I would say, even better, study the miracles of Jesus. I just love walking through this, the effortless healings, effortless, and creative healings, and the fact that He's going to do that to our dead bodies, instantly fixing every system of your body so that it will never experience death, mourning, crying, or pain again. He will do that, that’s the power of Jesus.
Thirdly, I'm advocating good parenting. Teach your children the mighty works of God so that they will not be faithless and forget about God. Psalm 78, "What we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us, we will not hide them from our children. We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders He has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which He commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then, they would put their trust in God and would not forget His deeds but would keep His commands. They would not be like their forefathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation whose hearts were not loyal to God and whose spirits were not faithful to Him."
So look at the lessons we Christian parents should be teaching to our children daily. The praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power, the wonders He has done. Start with creation. Start with the astonishing universe God created by the word of His power. By the breath of His mouth were the heavens made. Then teach them the history of God's wise dealings with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and with the Jewish nation in all of their history. Walk your children through the history of God's workings with Israel. Keep going and show them Israel's sins, but also their righteous acts and their times of trusting in God. Especially, saturate your kids in the life of Jesus, in His amazing miracles, all of the things that He did. Let them know the miracles from Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Don't spare them, but pour them out on your children and teach them so that they would know how great Christ is, the magnitude of His person, the greatness of His work, especially His bloody death on the cross and His mighty resurrection victory. Saturate your kids in the greatness of God. The reason Psalm 78 gives for this parent-child instruction is, "So that they will put their trust in God, would not forget His deeds, and show their faith by their obedience to His commands." That's just good parenting. Let's do it.
Finally, my lost friends who came here this morning, who walked in here this morning not yet saved, not yet forgiven, do you realize all of the miracles of Jesus that are written in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are written for sinners like you and me, so that we would find forgiveness of our sins? I'm pleading with you, look to Christ, trust in Him. All you need to do is repent of your sins and call on the name of the Lord. Believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, and you will be saved.
Close with me in prayer. Father, thank You for the lessons that we've had from this sad story of forgetfulness, the unbelieving and wicked forgetfulness of the Pharisees who tested Jesus asking for a sign, but then the weakness of the faith and the weak forgetfulness of the disciples who needed to be strengthened and who needed to understand the lessons and to take them to heart so that their faith would develop. O God, work with us, heal us. Help us to not be without understanding, but that we would see the significance of these gospel accounts and trust in Jesus for the salvation of our souls. In Jesus' name. Amen.