Mark Chapter 8

In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them, I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat: And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far.

And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness? And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven.

And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people.

And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them.

So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets. And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away.

And straightway he entered into a ship with his disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha. And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation. And he left them, and entering into the ship again departed to the other side.

Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf. And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod. And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have no bread.

And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened? Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember? When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? They say unto him, Twelve. And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? And they said, Seven. And he said unto them, How is it that ye do not understand?

And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought. And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly. And he sent him away to his house, saying, Neither go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town.

And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am? And they answered, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets.

And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ.

And he charged them that they should tell no man of him.  And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.

But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.

And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

In this chapter of Mark we have Jesus feeding the four thousand and immediately after, they depart for a place called Dalmanutha.  It’s not sure exactly where that was, but some scholars believe it was near Magdala on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee.   It’s interesting that the first people they seem to meet there are pharisees, and of course, they’re questioning Jesus and wanting a sign from heaven as if the sign from heaven at His baptism and the miracles and teaching Jesus has been doing all along isn’t enough for them.

Jesus instead of calling them out, seems sad as He sighs yet denies their demands, and again leaves the area.  And here we come to Bethesda, and again to a mention of Jesus using saliva to heal- this time, on a blind man, whom Jesus leads out of town before healing him.  What is it about the spit?
I’ve been really curious.  Not that I need any kind of sign or confirmation that Jesus heals, but just that in a few instances He does it so oddly.

The man’s friends seem to have faith that just one touch of the Lord’s hand will be enough to cure the blindness- but nothing is said of the Blind man and whether he had faith to believe he could be healed.  Maybe Jesus using spit is a sign of a physical healing remedy and yet the cure here, is done gradually.  Jesus asks the man after applying the salve if he can see. And for the benefit of those around, the man says he can, but just some glimmerings of shapes and light, but could not discern the form thereof…  Jesus  puts His hands on the mans eyes again, and then he is cured.   Maybe that Jesus deals with individuals in different ways, never using the same healing or help, because everyone is different, and everyone has different levels of faith when they come to Him.

The man seemed to not have the faith of his friends, and yet Jesus didn’t rebuke him as he had some others before healing him.  The spit, though, is something that is a part of Jesus’s earthly body, just as His blood, which was also offered for the healing of the estrangement between the world and God.  That Jesus would use his own saliva to heal in an uncommon way isn’t really surprising since He offered His body and blood for all of us.

This kind of also reminds me of what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:12, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”   The blind man in all of us only see shapes, and the temporal things until Jesus works in our lives, to have eyes to see, and eventually His completed work will allow us to see Him face to face in the eternal.

Again, Jesus instructs the man not to go into the town  or tell any of the towns folk of his healing.  If the people couldn’t care enough to follow them out of town to witness it, there’s no reason to go back and show them.

We come to the place where Jesus asks the disciples “who do people say that I am?”  It’s not as if Jesus doesn’t know- plenty of speculation were swirling around giving thought to all sorts of rumors. Remember in chapter 6 when Herod believed Jesus was John come back?  Others knew Him yet denied He was anything but a carpenter’s son, the adopted son...  Others while believing there was definitely something special about Him, either ascribed demon possession or some other logical explanation.

Jesus knew full well, but He wanted the disciples to think it over, to learn from each other on Who He is.

But whom say ye that I am?

It’s here that the Holy Spirit gives Peter the knowledge and he answers, Thou art the Christ.

In this part we see a difference between Matthew’s account and Marks, only in that Matthew’s account Simon receives his new name from Jesus- Peter, from the Greek petros meaning stone, and the establishment of Christ’s church.  In Mark’s account, Jesus begins to teach them in earnest, warning of the things to come, which He is going to suffer.

Christ is the title, Anointed one, and the disciples realize Jesus is Messiah, therefore they need to know and understand- to have ears to hear, what Jesus is going to do to accomplish His Father’s will.

Messiah to them still meant however, coming in all His kingly might and glory immediately.  None of them could perceive  of any other way of saving the people, other than with might and power.  And suffering what Jesus was telling them about, at the hands of the leaders, the elders, the Jews… was unthinkable.

Peter displays his honesty a little too harshly here, and Jesus rebukes him. Not out of anger, but out of eternal welfare and love.  Jesus checks his attitude of worldliness and comfort, knowing that the enemy’s use of complacency and comfort cools the heart more than anything towards eternal salvation and victory over death.

Jesus needed them to understand that victory over death and sin could only come about in one way, through His perfect sacrifice and if they didn’t understand that, how would they understand their own need to pick up their cross and follow?

Whosoever will save his life, by denying and ignoring the gift of Christ, and refusing to come to him, or by disowning and denying him after professing a belief in Jesus, will lose it all! Eventually lose the comfort of this natural life, peace and blessed assurance of the spiritual life, and all hopes of eternal life.

Those who are ashamed of, or ignore Jesus in this life, He will deny in the next.  It can’t be emphasized too much that Jesus is a gentleman and will never force Himself on anyone.  But those who deny Him now, those who would not share the temporary pain and hatred will be denied of Him in eternity when we who do trust and follow Him, will share in His glory and inheritance.

One day every tongue will confess You are God
One day every knee will bow
Still the greatest treasure remains for those
Who gladly choose You now

Have a blessed Wednesday all!

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