Mark 8 (New Living Translation)
Jesus Feeds Four Thousand
1 About this time another large crowd had gathered, and the people ran out of food again. Jesus called his disciples and told them, 2 “I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. 3 If I send them home hungry, they will faint along the way. For some of them have come a long distance.”
4 His disciples replied, “How are we supposed to find enough food to feed them out here in the wilderness?”
(Jesus rolls his eyes. Didn’t we just go through this?)
5 Jesus asked, “How much bread do you have?”
“Seven loaves,” they replied.
6 So Jesus told all the people to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves, thanked God for them, and broke them into pieces. He gave them to his disciples, who distributed the bread to the crowd. 7 A few small fish were found, too, so Jesus also blessed these and told the disciples to distribute them.
(Jesus watches to see if it is dawning on them yet . . . )
8 They ate as much as they wanted. Afterward, the disciples picked up seven large baskets of leftover food. 9 There were about 4,000 people in the crowd that day, and Jesus sent them home after they had eaten.
from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael
Some hearts are often troubled by the fear of failing those who look to them for help. They realize their own lack of everything that is required, and sometimes become more than a little discouraged and fearful. “Sooner or later,” they feel, “someone will come to me for what I cannot give, and go away disappointed.”
There are words in the two stories of the feeding of the two multitudes which can help. From Mark 6: “Shall we go and buy?” “How many loaves have ye? Go and see.” And when He had taken the five loaves and two fishes, He looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to His disciples, and the two fishes He divided. And they did all eat, and were filled. And they took up twelve baskets full or the fragments, and of the fishes.
Then on the second occasion: “From whence can a man satisfy these men?” “How many loaves have ye?” And He took their seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave; and also a few small fishes. So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of . . . that which was left seven baskets.
Five loaves or seven, two fishes or a few, nothing was sufficient to meet the need. All was as little as this that we have to offer now. But if only we give all we have, just as it is in its littleness, into His hands to be dealt with as He will, it will be multiplied. It will be enough for all He wants to do with it, and more than enough.
Let us give all we have to give, to be blessed and broken in His hands.
10 Immediately after this, he got into a boat with his disciples and crossed over to the region of Dalmanutha.
Pharisees Demand a Miraculous Sign
11 When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had arrived, they came and started to argue with him. Testing him, they demanded that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority.
(Deep breath. These religious guys just don’t stop pestering and undermining him.)
12 When he heard this, he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why do these people keep demanding a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, I will not give this generation any such sign.” 13 So he got back into the boat and left them, and he crossed to the other side of the lake.
Yeast of the Pharisees and Herod
14 But the disciples had forgotten to bring any food. They had only one loaf of bread with them in the boat. 15 As they were crossing the lake, Jesus warned them, “Watch out! Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod.”
16 At this they began to argue with each other because they hadn’t brought any bread.
(SNAP! Could these disciples be Any. More. Dense!)
17 Jesus knew what they were saying, so he said, “Why are you arguing about having no bread? Don’t you know or understand even yet? Are your hearts too hard to take it in? 18 ‘You have eyes—can’t you see? You have ears—can’t you hear?’ Don’t you remember anything at all? 19 When I fed the 5,000 with five loaves of bread, how many baskets of leftovers did you pick up afterward?”
“Twelve,” they said.
20 “And when I fed the 4,000 with seven loaves, how many large baskets of leftovers did you pick up?”
“Seven,” they said.
21 “Don’t you understand yet?” he asked them.
(Jesus lies down in the back of the boat with a pillow over his head.)
Jesus Heals a Blind Man
22 When they arrived at Bethsaida, some people brought a blind man to Jesus, and they begged him to touch the man and heal him. 23 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?”
24 The man looked around. “Yes,” he said, “I see people, but I can’t see them very clearly. They look like trees walking around.”
25 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. 26 Jesus sent him away, saying, “Don’t go back into the village on your way home.”
(Between the disciples who do not understand and the religious leaders who do not understand, Jesus doesn’t need more people asking him questions!)
Peter’s Declaration about Jesus
27 Jesus and his disciples left Galilee and went up to the villages near Caesarea Philippi. As they were walking along, he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”
28 “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other prophets.”
29 Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”
Peter replied, “You are the Messiah.”
(At last! Somebody understands!)
30 But Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.
Jesus Predicts His Death
31 Then Jesus began to tell them that the Son of Man must suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but three days later he would rise from the dead. 32 As he talked about this openly with his disciples, Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things.
(Well, partially understands . . . )
33 Jesus turned around and looked at his disciples, then reprimanded Peter. “Get away from me, Satan!” he said. “You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”
34 Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.
“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”
–the opening line of The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
35 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. 36 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?
(During Mark, portions of this book will be presented to help us understand our faith more deeply than perhaps we have before. I hope you enjoy learning more about Jesus as a Jewish man — and through these passages, see and appreciate more clearly the Jewish roots of our Christian faith.)
Jesus knew that his calling was to serve God through the wandering life of a rabbi, walking from village to village to draw people into God’s kingdom. It was a difficult existence. Long days spent hiking up and down the hot, dusty hills of Galilee, preaching to whomever would listen, and depending on the hospitality of others for his most basic needs. Here’s how other rabbis describe this kind of life: “This is the path of Torah: a morsel with salt shall you eat, and you shall drink water by the measure, and sleep upon the ground, and live a life of painfulness, and in Torah shall you labor. If thou do this, happy shall you be and it shall be well with you.”
The disciples would have shared the difficult life of their rabbi. But they would also have experienced great joy in the midst of it. After all, they were the students of an extraordinary rabbi, learning from him about the deep things of God.
Modern Christians have sometimes been confused about what discipleship is, equating it with “discipline.” Of course discipline is vital to the spiritual life. Jesus himself said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34). But the overall goal of discipleship is not simply to grow in self-discipline, but to be transformed into the likeness of Christ . . .
Sometimes we hear the word “disciple” and conclude that it’s too hard to become one. But think about the alternative. To refuse to become Jesus’ disciple is to consign ourselves to perpetual childhood and condemn ourselves to a wasted, frustrating life. The more we enter into relationship with Rabbi Jesus, the more joy we will experience. To become more like Christ will deepen our relationships and allow us to live more authentically. It may not always be easy but it will certainly be good, and, as we follow him, we will find ourselves living with greater passion and purpose, experiencing a life of greater fulfillment.
37 Is anything worth more than your soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Gain the whole world and lose my soul? Oh, may it not be so! You can have all this world, but “Give Me Jesus.” Sung HERE by Fernando Ortega.
1 Jesus went on to say, “I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Kingdom of God arrive in great power!”
Jesus may be referring to his resurrection and ascension, or to the coming of the Holy Spirit, or, more immediately, to his transfiguration, which is the next portion of Mark.
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.