"And he sighed deeply in his spirit" - can you hear the groan? Jesus had just fed 4000 people with seven loaves and a few fish, and then gathered seven baskets of leftovers from this hillside picnic. Impressive to say the least! Yet, that's when the Pharisees said, "Yea but can't you show us a sign that you are from God?" How could you be much denser spiritually than those Pharisees that didn't recognize God's presence in the feeding of the 4,000?
"And he sighed deeply in his spirit" - once again, can you hear the groan? Jesus warned the disciples about the "yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod" but they totally missed what he was saying and thought he was upset with them because they hadn't brought enough bread for that night's meal. Obviously, there were times when the disciples were as spiritually dense as the Pharisees. Neither group recognized God's presence in the feeding of the 4,000.
Yet, before we are too hard on either group we must understand that there are few things in our Christian life that are harder to do than recognize and respond to God's presence. How many times in the last few days have we evoked this same divine groan, as once again we have stumbled over God's presence and then wondered why we tripped? This Sunday we will talk about this most rewarding, but also most difficult, spiritual discipline - recognizing and responding to God's presence in our circles of influence.