Review of Mark 8

by Victor Fawole

Welcome to Mark 8. In this chapter, we will be exploring, in quick succession, seven “sub-divisions” that call for our attention as we flipped through the pages of the Scriptures.

1. The COMPASSION of Jesus
Mark 8:1-2 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:

Remember the feeding of the 5000? Yes. Some people confuse them together, but it’ll be good for us to check out five similarities and differences each (although there are more).

FEEDING THE MULTITUDES: Mark 6:30-44 vs. Mark 8:1-10

a) Both miracles had a hungry crowd in a desolate place, and a compassionate Jesus.
b) Jesus used a small amount of bread and fish to feed a lot of people
c) The disciples, who doubted the Lord’s ability to provide, distributed the food
d) In both miracles, Jesus took the little they had, “gave thanks”, and multiplied it
e) The people ate and were completely satisfied, and a large amount of food was left over

a) The people in the first miracle were 5,000; but here, they were 4,000
b) 5 loaves were multiplied in the first; but here, 7 loaves were multiplied
c) There were 12 “small” baskets (Greek: “kophinos”) of leftovers in the first; but here, they had 7 large baskets (Greek: “spuris”) of leftovers
d) The first miracle came after 1 day of teaching; but this one is after 3 days of teaching
e) The first miracle took place among the Jews; this one happened among the Gentiles (Decapolis)

When Jesus told His disciples that “he had compassion” for the hungry crowd (a similar line He used earlier), one would think that His disciples would bring out their talking drums and start singing and dancing, “He has done it before, he will do it again…” Hmmmmn… These guys had forgotten! They could not recall the goodness of the Lord, so they recoiled and had the “impossible” mentality.

But, thanks to Jesus, Whose compassion is greater than our fears, Whose compassion is bigger a motivation than our doubts. He had compassion and would not “send them away fasting to their own houses!” The compassionate Jesus cared so much about them — their hunger, their exhaustion, and the long distances to their homes! He would not “send them away fasting…” Hmmmmn…

Repeat after me: My Compassionate Jesus does not need me hungry to make me happy.

Dear Gogolights, Jesus cares so much about you too! He sees your needs. He sees everything. Cast your cares upon Him, for He cares for you!

2. The AGGRESSION of the Pharisees
Mark 8:11-12
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.

As usual, these Pharisees did not come to learn, but to argue. They were seeking a “sign from heaven”. Flashback to Mark 1:9-11

And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

This was already a sign from heaven! Let us even assume that they were not physically present there, they must have heard about it. Even Nicodemus, the Pharisee that came to Jesus by night, said: “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” (John 3:2)

They asked… to test Him… Evil hearts with corrupt motives — a terrible combination! Their attack and unbelief caused Jesus to “sigh deeply”. What audacity! Jesus refused them because His miracles are an expression of his mercy, not an intention to convince hardened hearts. He had already performed a variety of signs; yet these guys remained antagonistic, and even, at some point, accused Him of working for the Devil.

3. The CONFUSION of the Disciples
Mark 8:15-16
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.

Jesus was basically saying: “Do not be influenced by the evil ways the Pharisees and Herod think…” The Pharisees were legalistic, while the Herodians were political. None of them submitted to the Messiah. The disciples of Jesus didn’t catch the spiritual insight in what Jesus said. Their minds drifted back to food. Like seriously? (They definitely must be good feasters… Lol)

I’m pretty sure that Jesus had to revisit a course He had taught them earlier. He rolled out some questions, to show their “dullness” of heart. They were enjoying Jesus but focused on the physical, not paying attention to the spiritual realities. They were engrossed with the temporalities of this world. This happens with many believers today. They sing songs that are rich with our spiritual realities, but they commonize these songs for earthly benefits. Thanks to our pastors in GOG, we have reoriented ourselves with regards to some songs.

4. The VISION-MISSION of Jesus
Mark 8:22
And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him.

All through the Old Testament, there was no record of anyone being healed of blindness. In fact, healing of blindness is one of the signs of the Messiah.

Isaiah 35:5 Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.

Healing the blind is a sign that the Messiah has come. It was a vision-mission. Jesus Himself made it clear that healing the blind proved Him to be the Messiah. When John the Baptist sent people to Him for clarity, He pointed them to this sign.

Luke 7:22 And He answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have the gospel preached to them.

Before moving on, I’ll like to draw our attention to the gradual method with which Jesus healed this blind man…

Mark 8:23-25 Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village. Then, spitting on the man’s eyes, he laid his hands on him and asked, “Can you see anything now?” The man looked around. “Yes,” he said, “I see people, but I can’t see them very clearly. They look like trees walking around.” Then Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes again, and his eyes were opened. His sight was completely restored, and he could see everything clearly.

This reveals two truths. One, healings do not always have to be instant. God can choose to heal a person gradually. Two, spiritual blindness can also be healed gradually. Spiritual progress is not about seeing new truths. It is about seeing the established truths more clearly. It is the same Christ, but we grow in knowledge of Him. It is the same Cross, but we understand it more distinctly.

5. The PROFESSION of Peter
Mark 8:27-30 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.

One can take this to be a class test from Jesus to His disciples. How do people view Jesus? Do the disciples also view Him the same way? Peter responded with the truth – the only answer that determines man’s eternity. “You are the Christ!” “You are the Messiah!”

6. The PASSION of Jesus
Mark 8:31 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.

Notice the paradox: A Martyr Messiah / Suffering Saviour / Dying Deliverer. Inconceivable! In the mind of a Jew, a Messiah is a strong conqueror, not a weak man. Jesus had taught His disciples many things, but this “new teaching” was shocking! The agony of the cross came as a bomb to them. The very ones who should recognize the Messiah will reject Him. The gospel that the disciples will preach must emphasize His suffering, death, and resurrection. None of these three is an accident. They are part of the divine plan of salvation.

7. The DIGRESSION of Peter
Mark 8:32-33 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.

Jesus prophesied His suffering and death so openly and plainly, that Peter “rebuked” Him. Peter was like: “I know You are the Messiah, and when I professed it, You agreed with me – You even said that it was God that inspired me. These stuff don’t happen to a Messiah. Jesus, You are probably wrong here. Check your notes properly.”

Peter’s intent was love for Jesus, but he was unknowingly being used by Satan. Peter’s way of thinking was satanic. It was not that Peter rejected God and accepted Satan. It was that he let his mind settle on “the things of men” instead of “the things of God”, and Satan took advantage of it. He had been influenced by “the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod”. A sincere heart mixed with natural man’s thinking can lead to error.

All thanks to God. The “lugubrious” Peter was also the one who later said: “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.” (Acts 2:23-24) He later came to the understanding of the death and resurrection of Jesus. The suffering, death, and resurrection were all God’s plan, actually. Hallelujah!

Dear Gogolights, let us, with all diligence, guard our hearts from the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod. Let us not preoccupy our minds with legalism, hypocrisy, ideologies, materialism, immorality, or worldliness. Remember: Choose the Abrahamic righteousness, not the Lotic righteousness. (Care to know more about these? Listen to The Attention of the Gospel).

Grace to you. Amen.

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