Mark 8

The bounty of Christ is inexhaustible and He will supply the needs of the body if with it we glorify Him. It is provoking to Him when we are overwhelmed with present distrust, because we so soon forget what we have seen of His goodness in supplying our needs in days past.

1 In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them,

2 I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat:

3 And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far.

4 And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness?

5 And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven.

6 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.

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

8 So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets.

9 And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away.

10 ¶ And straightway he entered into a ship with his disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha.

11 And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him.

12 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.

13 And he left them, and entering into the ship again departed to the other side.

14 ¶ Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf.

15 And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.

16 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have no bread.

17 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?

18 Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?

19 When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? They say unto him, Twelve.

20 And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? And they said, Seven.

21 And he said unto them, How is it that ye do not understand?

22 ¶ And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him.

23 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.

24 And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking.

25 After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.

26 And he sent him away to his house, saying, Neither go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town.

27 ¶ 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?

28 And they answered, John the Baptist: but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets.

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

30 And he charged them that they should tell no man of him.

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.

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

33 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.

34 ¶ 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.

35 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.

36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

38 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.

Mark 8:1-21 – The Demand for Signs Rebuked

   Notice the Master’s tender considerateness, Mark 8:1-9. He would not have the people faint on their way home. There are distinct differences between this miracle and the feeding of the five thousand. Most of these are evident to the English reader, but that between the baskets used for the fragments is clear only from the original—those used in the case of the five thousand being quite different from the large ones used here, Mark 8:20; Matthew 15:37. Our Lord never repeats His work.
   The Savior sighed in the previous chapter over physical need; here He sighs over moral obtuseness, Mark 8:10-21. The language is very strong, and gives a glimpse into the Redeemer’s heart. Had the Pharisees been as willing to discern the signs of the age as to read the weather, they must have been able to recognize Him and His claims; but their foolish heart was darkened. Having sighed over the hard-heartedness of the Pharisees, might He not equally have done so over the obtuseness of the Twelve? They thought that He was referring to their carelessness in omitting to take bread. How little they realized that the cause lay far deeper! Let us be quick to read the divine intention in very simple incidents, and to learn that all God’s past dealings contain lessons for the present! —Through the Bible Day by Day

Mark 8:12—He sighed deeply in his spirit.

   This Evangelist twice over calls attention to the Lord’s sighs—in Mark 7:34, and here. A sigh is one of the most touching and significant tokens of excessive grief! When Nature is too deeply overwrought to remember her necessary inspirations, and has to compensate for their omission by one deep-drawn breath, we sigh, we sigh deeply in our spirit.
   Looking up to heaven, He sighed.—As the deaf table stood before Him—an image of all the closed hearts around Him; of all the inarticulate unexpressed desires; of all the sin and sorrow of mankind—the sensitive heart of Jesus responded with a deep-drawn sigh. But there was simultaneously a heavenward look, which mingled infinite hope in it. If the sigh spoke of his tender sympathy, the look declared his close union with God, by virtue, of which He was competent to meet the direst need. Whenever you sigh, look up to heaven. Heaven’s light turns tears to jewels!
   He sighed deeply.—The obdurate and impenetrable hardness of the Pharisees; their willful misinterpretation of his words and mission; their pride and bigotry—wrung the Lord’s heart with bitterness. He turned sorrowfully away. There was no possibility of furnishing help, since on their side there was no desire for it, or belief in Him. Perhaps such sighs still break from his heart, as He views mankind; but through them He is doing his best to bring about the time when all sorrow and sighing shall flee away for ever.
   The Son of God, in doing good, would look to heaven and sigh; but his sighs were followed by the touch and word of power. Let us not be content with the sigh of sympathy and regret. —Our Daily Homily

Mark 8:22-38; 9:1 – The Cost of following Jesus

   Our attention has been drawn to the Master’s sighs; here, however, was another characteristic act. He spat on the eyes of the blind man, perhaps to excite his expectation and faith. Repulsive as ophthalmia is in the East, it did not repel Him nor staunch the flow of His pity.
   We do not at once see everything clearly, but step by step we come unto perfect vision. Here we see through a glass darkly, there face to face. There was a great price to be paid; it was only through suffering and death that Jesus could do His greatest work, in redeeming and cleansing the children of men. He might have been the miracle-worker apart from Calvary; but to be the Savior, He must not spare Himself but be willing to pour out His soul even unto death. It was hard for the Apostles to learn this lesson; they wanted the Master to spare Himself. Peter, especially, sought to dissuade Him; but the Lord knew better the desperate need of men and how it must be met. There are three conditions to be fulfilled by those who have resolved to follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. 1. We must deny self; 2. Each must take up his cross; 3. We must think more of others than of ourselves. If these are realized, the soul is following Christ and making progress, even though it deems itself stagnant or drifting back. —Through the Bible Day by Day

“Christ Healing the Blind Man”

Mark 8:24
“And he looked up and said, ‘I see men like trees, walking.'”

Was Jesus Sending Us a Special Message?

When Jesus healed people, they were usually immediately and completely healed. In several instances, He wasn’t even in the presence of the person He healed. Then we come to a curious instance of a healing in the Gospel of Mark. Mark 8:22-25 tells us that Jesus was asked to heal a blind man in Bethsaida. After spitting on His hands and touching the man’s eyes, He asked the blind man if he could see anything. The man announced that people looked like trees. After Jesus touched his eyes again, the man could see clearly.

Why couldn’t Jesus, Who created everything in six days, Who could raise the dead, heal this man instantly and completely? Of course, He could have done that. But He seemingly chose not to. Perhaps He wanted to send a special message to people today. First-century medicine knew of no way to restore sight to those born blind, but modern medicine can sometimes restore the sight of those born blind. On receiving their sight, such people usually suffer from a condition known as agnosia. They can see, but their brains have not yet developed the connections necessary to interpret what they are seeing. Such people often say, when seeing for the first time, that people appear upside down and look like trees. Over time, the connections form between perception and reality.

So the healing of the man born blind was really two miracles. Perhaps Jesus wanted those of us who live in a time when such knowledge is available to recognize that these stories of miracles are not just simplistic stories. They are medically accurate.

Notes: Creation, 9/11/99, pp. 54 55, “Walking Trees.” Painting by Andrey Mironov (2009). (CC-BY-SA 4.0). Creation Moments, Inc., P.O. Box 839, Foley, MN 56329

Mark 8:34 – Men will wrangle for religion, write for it, fight for it, die for it; anything but – live for it. (Colton)

Mark 8:36 – As you love your soul, beware of the world; it has slain its thousands and ten thousands. What ruined Lot’s wife? The world. What ruined Judas? The world. What ruined Simon Magus? The world. And “what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”