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THE GOSPEL OF MARK
CHRIST FEEDS 4000, WARNS OF LEAVEN,
AND HEALS BLIND
Matthew 15:32-39: For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on Matthew.
During those days a large crowd of people gathered again and had nothing to eat,159
and so Jesus said to his disciples:
Had nothing to eat: It is possible Jesus provides an object lesson in what follows to demonstrate to the disciples about their overly
materialistic concerns. [NJB ftn]
MK8:2“I feel deep pity for the crowd as they have now been with me for three days.160
Been with me for three days: Imagine a group of Christians willing to assemble three days with little or no food to hear the teachings
MK8:3 But if I send them away to their homes so hungry they may give out on the road, for many have come some distance.”MK8:4
So his disciples answered him: “How could anyone here in this isolated place find enough food to feed them all?”
Jesus asked them:
“How many loaves of bread do you have?”
And they said, “Seven.”
So Jesus commanded the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves, gave thanks, and broke the bread and continued giving it to his disciples to set before the people.
Now they also had a few small fish, and he blessed these, and commanded these also to be put before the people.
So all the people ate and were satisfied, and afterward they picked up seven baskets of leftovers.
Now all those who had eaten numbered about four thousand, and then Jesus sent them home.
Matthew 16:1-4: For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on Matthew.
Then right away Jesus boarded the fishing boat with his disciples and went to the region of Dalamutha.162
Dalamutha: Matthew calls it Magadan and some texts use such a word. It is possible it is an unknown Aramaic designation for an area
And the Pharisees approached to test Jesus, and so they began to question him, seeking some kind of sign from heaven.
Now Jesus groaned deeply within himself,163
and then said:
“Why does this generation seek a sign? I tell you this truth: No sign will be given to this generation.”164
Groaned deeply within himself: Or, in his spirit.
No sign will be given to this generation: Matthew adds the matter about the sign of Jonah. It is possible, since Mark writes to Romans that he found it an unnecessary confusion to mention it.
After that Jesus left them and boarded the fishing boat again, departing to the other side.
Matthew 16:5-12: For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on Matthew.
Now the disciples had forgotten to bring enough bread and only had one loaf with them in the boat.166
Only had one loaf with them in the boat: Again the apostles worry about what they will eat in the future after they have eaten the
It was then Jesus warned them, saying:
“Keep looking and be on guard against the leaven of the Pharisees,167
as well as the leaven of Herod.”168
Leaven of the Pharisees: Elsewhere Jesus explains this to be the “teachings” or “doctrine” of the Pharisees.
Some of these same doctrines are found in modern churches and sects, indicating that not all have listened to this warning. For details see Pharisees or leaven in the footnote commentary on Matthew. Religious doctrine.
Leaven of Herod: Compare notes on Matthew 16:6 and Luke 12:1. Political doctrine.
So they reasoned among themselves: “Does he say this because we did not bring bread?”
Jesus was aware of this, so he said to them:
“Why do you discuss this among yourselves? Do you not see or understand? Are you so dull of understanding?169
Dull of understanding: Jesus is not easy on his apostles and speaks his mind whether this hurts their feelings or not.
MK8:18‘Eyes you have but do not see, ears and do not hear?’170
Do not hear: Jesus references Jeremiah 5:21. Compare also Isaiah 44:18 and Ezekiel 12:2. Jesus plies a powerful text to his own apostles.
MK8:19When I continued to break the five loaves among the five thousand, how many baskets of leftovers did you gather?”
They said: “Twelve.”
MK8:20“And also with the seven loaves among the four thousand, how many baskets of leftovers did you gather?”
And they responded: “Seven.”
MK8:21“Why do you still not understand?”171
Still not understand: In modern times millions of materialistic Christians have never learned this lesson stated at Matthew 6:29-34. The Church has become one of the most materialistic bodies
Mark 8:22-26 – A Blind Man in Bethsaida
Then Jesus arrived at Bethsaida and the people brought to him a blind man,172
and they begged Jesus to touch him.
People brought to him a blind man: A story unique to Mark.
So Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him out of town, and after he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands upon him, Jesus asked him if he could see.
Then the blind man looked around and said: “I see trees walking about like people.”
So Jesus put his hands upon the man’s eyes again173
and caused him to see clearly, restoring his sight.
Again: If Jesus were God Himself it would seem unlikely that he would have to try again to bring the cure to perfection.
Then Jesus sent him back to his home, telling him:
“Do not go into the village [[nor tell anyone in the town]].”174
Bracketed words are recognized as not adequately supported.
Matthew 16:13-20: For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on Matthew.
MK8:27 Now Jesus left with his disciples into the towns of Caesarea Philippi. And along the way he asked his disciples:
“Who are people saying I am?”MK8:28 They answered: “John the Baptist.” But others said, “Elijah.” [Malachi 4:1] Still others: “One of the prophets.”
Then Jesus asked them:
“But, who do you say I am?”
And Peter responded: “You are the
Christ!” [Daniel 9:25-27]
Now Jesus gave them strict orders176
not to tell any one about him.
Strict orders: Or, charged, admonished, warned. Jesus does not give them a polite suggestion. The Greek is EPETIMESEN [Strong’s
Exhaustive Concordance #2008, ax upon, censure, rebuke] and usually means a “rebuke” just as Peter does in verse 32.
So Jesus began to teach them that the
Son of Humankind
[Daniel 7:13] must
suffer many things
[Isaiah 53:2, 3] and then be
[Psalm 118:22] by the [Jewish] elders, the chief priests, and the Bible Copyists. Finally, he would be
killed, [Psalm 22:15] but after three days be resurrected.
And Jesus spoke plainly to them.177
But Peter took him aside and began to rebuke178
Jesus spoke plainly to them: In his language Jesus references several phrases from the Hebrew Bible.
Rebuke: Some men with too much pride, when rebuked, attempt to do the same thing to the one who has rebuked them. Who does Peter think he is? He reveals a depth of arrogance that will one day be humiliated out of him.
Then Jesus turned around and looking at his disciples179
he said to Peter:
“Get behind me, Satan! For you are not thinking God’s thoughts but those of men!”
at his disciples: This is not private as Peter’s wrong rebuke, but in front of all of them.
Matthew 16:24-28: For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on Matthew.
Now after he assembled the crowd, as well as his disciples, he said to them all:
“Whoever wants to follow me must first renounce self,181 and then
shouldering a stake,182 follow me.
First renounce self: Or, KJV: deny himself; WMS: say ‘No’ to self; PME: give up all right to himself.
Stake: Or, cross. See notes elsewhere on STAUROO.
For whoever tries to preserve the soul will lose it. But, whoever loses the soul in my behalf and the Good News, the same person will preserve it.MK8:36 For what does it profit a person if the whole world is gained but the soul lost?MK8:37 Or, what would a person evergive in exchange for the soul?183
Give in exchange for the soul: Possibly an echo of Psalm 49:8.
MK8:38 So then, whoever is ashamed of me and my teachings among this adulterous and sinful generation theSon of Humankind
[Daniel 7:13] will be ashamed when hereturns in the glory of his Father184
with the holy angels.”185
When he ‘returns in the glory of his Father’: Or, comes, arrives. The Greek ELTHE means arrive and may
imply “return.” The same word appears in the 3rd Century BC Jewish Greek version of Daniel 7:22 which foretells the advent of Messiah in his Parousia as his Father’s representative.
With the holy angels: Possibly an echo of Zechariah 14:5.
Review Questions on Chapter Eight
What miracle did Jesus duplicate?
What warning did Jesus give regarding the Pharisees?
Who did Jesus heal in Bethsaida?
What was the reaction of Peter to Jesus’ words about his death?