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Bible Commentaries

Brian Bell Commentary on the Bible
Mark 8

 

 


Verses 1-21
  1. Intro:
    1. Some people need some extra help...like the man who went into a bank and said he wanted some money. The teller asked them to make out a check. But the man would not do it. So the teller said, "If you won't sign the check, I can't give you any money."

      The man went across the street to another bank, where the same conversation took place.But after this exchange the teller reached across the counter, took him by the ears, and banged his head 3x’s on the counter. After which the man took out a pen calmly signed a check. The man then return to the first bank and said, “They give me money across the street.”"How did that happen?" Asked the teller. "They explained it to me!" Answered the man.
      1. Sometimes we need just a little more “splainin”. As the disciples needed here.
    2. Title & Outline: Feast; Policed; Yeast.
  2. FEAST (1-10)
    1. Isn’t the bible full of contradictions? - I thought it was a feeding of 5000 not 4000???
    2. These are simply 2 different events. I found 8 differences.
      1. Feeding 5000 took place on the Western shore of Galilee;
        Feeding 4000 on the Eastern shore.
      2. Feeding 5000 involved predominantly Jews;
        Feeding 4000 involved predominantly Gentiles.
      3. Feeding 5000 involved 5 loaves & 2 fish;
        Feeding 4000 involved 7 loaves & a few fish.
      4. Feeding 5000 the people had been w/Him 1 day;
        Feeding 4000 the people had been w/Him 3 days.
      5. Feeding 5000 had 12 little baskets of fragments left over; [kophinos; small wicker baskets]
        Feeding 4000 had 7 large baskets of fragments left over. [spuris; large hamper; Acts 9:25]
      6. Feeding 5000 Jesus prayed 1 time;
        Feeding 4000 Jesus prayed 2 times over the bread & fish.
      7. The amount of the 2 crowds were different (5000 & 4000)
      8. Lastly, Jesus says it was 2 different events!!! (vs.19,20)
    3. Jesus was quite the preacher to keep them listening for 3 days. (2)
    4. Why is He doing this miracle again? (4)
      1. A different crowd (Gentiles). Compassion on them.
      2. Also, Does yesterday’s miracle necessarily guarantee today’s faith? (no it doesn’t)
      3. And as they say, Repetition is the mother of all learning!
    5. So, Why is He doing this miracle again?
      1. He wants the disciples and you & I to understand...He is the Bread of Life.
        1. Jn.6:48-51 Yes, I am the bread of life! Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died. Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.”
        2. My credentials: My Father prophesied to Moses in Ex.16:4 Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you(manna/Jesus). I was born in the city of Bread (Bethlehem). It explains My person, I am the bread of life; It explains My power, the miraculous multiplication shouted omnipotence. It explains My suffering, the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.
      2. He wants the disciples and you & I to understand...He was not just the Bread for the Jews, but also for the Gentiles.
      3. He wants the disciples and you & I to understand...His supply always meets and exceeds the demand.
        1. Christ did not break the bread, so that suddenly there were huge piles of bread and fish. Rather, He kept breaking it & handing out what was needed bit by bit.
          1. We need to be constantly bringing our needs to Jesus, and He will constantly break the bread and give us what we need.
      4. Whatever God has given us, there is still far more for Him to give us.
        1. Our souls, so to speak, are elastic. The more we eat the more they expand. The more they expand, the more we are able to eat. (Kent Hughes, Mark, pg.188.) [stretchy pants - stretchy souls!]
        2. None of us have ever eaten as much as He wants to give us.
        3. We are meant to hunger, & to eat & eat & eat.
    6. (10) Dalmanutha – Exact location is unknown. Matthew places it near Magdala, on the Western shore of Galilee (Near Capernaum).
  3. POLICED (11,12)
    1. ​​​​​​​Here comes the spiritual coonhounds again. (Pharisees)
      1. They’d do anything to Tree the Savior. [eventually did on the cross]
      2. Chase & trap is what they do best. (or at least “try” to do)
        1. Sounds like a few churches I know. Sounds like a few Christians I know.
    2. A sign from heaven – This was simply another sign of their unbelieffaith doesn’t ask for signs.
      1. True faith takes God at His word. But they wanted a “authenticating miracle” to validate his ministry.
        1. But He had already done many miracles…would they have believed if he did 1 more?
      2. Still today we have a generation that is looking for the bizarre, the spectacular, & the out-of-the-ordinary. Thus they are more interested in the miracle, then the miracle worker.
      3. I’d rather have Jesus than any miracle He is able to do.
    3. What was Jesus reaction? – he sighed deeply. (single strong word in Greek; found only here in the NT)
      1. The willful unbelief of the religious leaders disturbed Christ to the depths of His spirit
      2. No sign – a Hebrew oath formula meaning, if I do such a thing, may I die! (LKGNT)
    4. What else did He say here? - Mt 16:4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.
      1. Mark seems to be saying, no sign of this kind you are seeking will be shown you… only the sign Jonah symbolized…i.e. Jesus death, burial, & res.
    5. (13) And he left them – It was an act of judgment; refusing the Pharisees.
      1. How sad to have the Savior sail away.
      2. Today, Jesus is either sailing away from you or sailing away with you. Which is it?
  4. YEAST (13-21)
    1. ​​​​​​​The miracle of the 4,000 had had little effect in bringing spiritual reflection.
      1. Don’t judge...How many have you missed?...Today?
    2. Boys, He fed 1000’s of folks w/bread. Why worry/argue over 1 loaf, when Jesus is in your boat?
      1. Their minds were dull; their hearts were hard; their spiritual eyes were blind; & their spiritual ears were deaf.
    3. (14b) They did not have more than one loaf w/them in the boat? – Yes they did, they had 2 – They had the Bread of Life aboard!!!
      1. It wasn’t so much that they forgot the bread, as much as they missed the loaf.
    4. (15) But the real lesson wasn’t only about bread…but about leaven/yeast.
      1. Leaven is consistently a symbol for evil in Scripture.
      2. Evil, like leaven, is small & hidden, but it spreads quickly & soon infects the whole.
      3. Gal.5:9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. Or, (NIV) A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.
      4. Here, the context was the leavened lessons/teachings of the Pharisees & of Herod (Mt. mentions Sadducees also).
        1. See, just a small deviation from the Word may get into an individual or a whole church, & before long will grow & infect everything.
    5. Also, Jesus only used Take heed when it was of utmost importance. (about 5 times)
      1. The Pharisees teachings to watch for? – Legalism.
        1. Today we can fall into the same trap of legalism; that is trying to live the Christian life by obeying a set of rules.
        2. Christianity isn’t being inhibited by rules; but by being inhabited by a Ruler.
        3. The legalistic church is a sad church…w/no joy; no thrill; no excitement; no victory.
      2. Herod’s teachings to watch for? – Worldliness.
        1. This is the church where there is no difference in lifestyles of its members & those of the lost world.
      3. The Sadducees teachings to watch for? – Liberalism.
        1. They didn’t believe in the supernatural, in the power of God, in miracles.
        2. The spiritual Liberals don’t understand Gods power.
      4. Today, Jesus still warns us…Beware of the leaven of Legalism; the leaven of Worldliness; & the leaven of Liberalism.
    6. (17) Here Jesus drills them with 9 rapid fire questions.
      1. Remember the teller that reached across the counter, took him by the ears, and banged his head 3x’s? Why do you reason because you have no bread? Bang! Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Bang! Is your heart still hardened? Bang! Having eyes, do you not see? Bang! And having ears, do you not hear? Bang! How is it you do not understand? Bang! Bang! Bang!
      2. I’m sure when He got done with the 9th question…all you could hear was the oars dragging in the water.
      3. Oh they knew the answers but didn’t understand the meaning.
      4. Jesus was arousing them from their spiritual stupor.
        1. Problem wasn’t hardness of heart but familiarity.
        2. The repeated exposure to His teaching, when not reflected upon & acted upon, worked progressive insensitivity & dullness in their lives.
        3. It was a case of use it or lose it. They were not appropriating what they were seeing & hearing. Feast on Jesus!
    7. (21) How is it you do not understand? – It’s best to see this question not as the continuation of a rebuke, but as a searching appeal to the disciples. Now, do you still not understand I am the Bread of Life for the whole world?
      1. Here, Jesus is getting them ready to hear about the Cross(8:31). Here, they were preoccupied with food.
      2. Is Jesus your bread? Your sustenance? Your spiritual nourishment? Do you understand He is your Bread for all life?

Verses 22-33
  1. Intro:
    1. Outline: His TOUCH; His TITLE; His TARGET.1. Have you experienced Jesus Touch? Do you know His Title? What was His Target?
  2. HIS TOUCH (22-26)
    1. ​​​​​​​This is only recorded by Mark.
      1. And the only miracle that took place in stages.
      2. About 2 ½ yrs have passed since the disciples began their journey.
    2. (22) Bethsaida – on the very top of the Sea of Galilee, on the east side of the Jordan river right before it spills into Galilee.
    3. (23) He took the blind man by the hand – I love that.
    4. Led him out of town – Why? Bethsaida was under judgment.
      1. Mt.11:21 Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
      2. So Jesus took the man out of there & told him not to go back(26). [he wasn’t from there]
    5. Why in 2 stages?
      1. 1st, we know Jesus could have healed this man instantly.
      2. It seems reasonable that the limitation was on the side of the human, not the divine.
      3. Alexander Maclaren speaks of Christ “accommodating the pace of his power to the slowness of the man’s faith.”
      4. Or perhaps it was the atmosphere in Bethsaida that hindered him.
        1. Remember His problem in Nazareth. see Mark 6:5,6
      5. All I know is…There are many times I need a 2nd touch.
        1. Praise God for His 2nd, 3rd, & 4th touch upon our lives.
        2. How many things weren’t clear to me, the 1st I heard of them?
    6. In another account it says he broke into song, singing... :)
      I can see clearly now, the rain is gone, I can see all obstacles in my way. Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind. It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) Sun-Shiny day.
  3. HIS TITLE (27-30)
    1. ​​​​​​​(27) Now they walk 25 miles north to one of my favorite places in northern Israel.
      1. Caesarea Philippi - (Beautiful) - It is at the headwaters of the Jordan.
      2. Strange place to reveal Himself though? - Originally known as a center for Baal worship. Also it was the site of a great temple to the Greek god, Pan.
        1. Called Banias from Paneas. OT area was called Laish, or Dan.
      3. Normally disciples would ask their rabbi the questions, but Jesus reverses the process. [looking around at these grotto’s/niches, who do you say I am?]
    2. (28) John? (Herod thought this); Elijah? (They were waiting his return according to Malachi); Prophets? (maybe he’s just another prophet?)
      1. All would agree He was special.
      2. He has his place among the greatest men. (He always makes the Top 100 influential men in history lists)
        1. But this is inadequate for Jesus…He is not just one of a series.
        2. He stands alone, unprecedented, unparalleled, unrivaled, unique.
      3. The spot light turns to them…what do you think?
        1. Feel the burn of that spot light today folks, because He still asks everyone that same question.
        2. The prize for the right answer is….Eternal Life.
        3. Who do you say that He is? Welcome to the fork in the road...everyone finds it!
          1. ​​​​​​​Was Jesus just a Legend? - A Liar, for claiming to be God? A Lunatic, crazy & not knowing what He was doing? - Or, Lord?
    3. (29) What a moment of revelation…You are the Christ.
      1. Matthew adds, Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. Mt.16:19
      2. Christ isn’t Jesus’ last name. Nor a cuss word.
      3. Jesus is His name (Jehovah is salvation); & Christ is His title, meaning “anointed one”. [Heb. Messiah]
        1. Jesus seemed to be very reluctant to use this title of Messiah/Christ (only 3 times in the sayings of Jesus), probably because of all of its current misconceptions.
      4. The confession of Jesus as the Messiah marks the midpoint of this gospel & the turning point in Jesus ministry.
  4. HIS TARGET (31-33)
    1. ​​​​​​​Began to teach – He makes a departure here in His teaching.
      1. Now that He is recognized, He immediately begins His journey to the cross.
        1. You might make a mark in your bible, as I did mine, as there’s an important division here.
        2. Between vs.30/31. Up to this point the focus was on Jesus as Servant, from now on it’s Jesus as Sacrifice.
        3. Looking back - there was crowds, preaching, and popular ministry; Looking ahead - the crowds slip away, the skies darken, & all roads lead to Jerusalem. (David Hewitt, Mark, pg.118)
      2. He starts His death March!
    2. (31) 1st of 3 announcements that Jesus made of his death & Res.
      1. Jesus stretched out his arms & said, “I love you this much” & “I’d rather die than live w/o you.”
      2. Elders (gen. name for the members of the Sanhedrin); chief priests (Sadducees); & scribes (mainly Pharisees) = the Sanhedrin.
        1. And they would reject him like a counterfeit coin.
    3. (32) The Blind man went from having a blurred vision, to seeing clearly; but Peter went from clear, back to fuzzy. [can you relate?]
      1. This was a nonsensical revelation at the time.
      2. 1 minute, inspired from heaven, next minute his inspiration is from hell.
        1. 1st he stood on the top rung of a ladder that reached into the heavens; Then he dives off an Acapulco cliff…only to belly flop in front of all the onlookers.
        2. One minute he was Peter the rock; then Peter the boat anchor.
      3. Peter saw only shame in the cross, Jesus saw glory. Peter saw defeat, Jesus saw victory.
      4. This kind of belief encouraged political revolution rather then spiritual revival.
        1. He had to warn them…He was going to Jerusalem not to reign…but to die.
  5. (33) Get behind me Satan – Ouch, that kinda stings.
    1. He looked at his disciples (His back to Peter) – because they agreed w/Peter’s assessment of the situation. [Peter was spokesman]
    2. Peter had become the unwitting carrier of demonic doctrine, parallel to that which Christ faced in the wilderness when Satan tempted Him to abandon the Father’s will & seek an easy Saviorhood.
      1. Satan was in Peters voice.
    3. Jesus wasn’t calling Peter the devil. But, He saw in Peters mistaken concern the same temptation to avoid suffering & choose the easy way.
    4. So, why such strong language? - As it gets closer to the cross He couldn’t have any tolerance toward this temptation.
      1. Peter does learn this lesson though, he writes much about suffering/sacrifice in 1st Pet.
        1. Soul-saving salvation could only come through a suffering Messiah. There was no other way.
    5. This is why I believe the story of the gradually healed blind man preceded this.
      1. He is chiding His disciples for their slowness of spiritual understanding. They were slow to perceive, slow to comprehend what Jesus was saying & doing.
        1. Spiritual maturity is not something that happens all at once. We have to grow & develop.
    6. Lastly, What is not mentioned in vs.31 (or in 9:31, 10:33,34) is WHY?
      1. Mark gives us the clearest statement of WHY after the 3 predictions. In 10:45 The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, & to give His life as a ransom for many
      2. This is the great central fact of history and of our lives. Jesus, the Son of Man, the exalted human, divine God-man, came & was sent by God the Father - to give his life as a ransom for many.
        1. ​​​​​​​God Can Ransom What Man Can’t. Our sin had, as it were, kidnapped us and put us in a prison of our own making, far from God, in the chains of iniquity, under God’s holy wrath, and powerless to free ourselves. (John Piper on Mark 8:31)
          1. A ransom had to be paid.
        2. But listen to Ps.49:7,8 No one can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for them - the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough.
      3. In other words, no mere man can ransom another man’s soul. And you can’t ransom your own.
        1. Then listen to verse 15 of that psalm: But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead; He will surely take me to himself. Man can’t. God will.
    7. “Peter, if you resist my plan to die, you resist God. You side with Satan against God. Satan doesn’t want me dead, because he wants you in hell. Satan wants me to bow down and worship him and jump off temples for fame and turn stones into bread for self-preservation. The last thing he wants is for a ransom to be paid for his captives. But that’s what God wants, Peter, because, he loves you. My coming to die as your ransom is the love of God.” (ibid)

Verses 22-33
  1. Slide#8 Intro:

A. Outline: His TOUCH; His TITLE; His TARGET.1. Have you experienced Jesus Touch? Do you know His Title? What was His Target?

  1. Slide#9 HIS TOUCH (22-26)
    1. This is only recorded by Mark.
      1. And the only miracle that took place in stages.
      1. About 2 ½ yrs have passed since the disciples began their journey.
    1. (22) Bethsaida – on the very top of the Sea of Galilee, on the east side of the Jordan river right before it spills into Galilee.
    1. (23) He took the blind man by the hand – I love that.
    1. Led him out of town – Why? Bethsaida was under judgment.

2

    1. Mt.11:21 Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
    1. So Jesus took the man out of there & told him not to go back(26). [he wasn’t from there]
  1. Slide#10 Why in 2 stages?
    1. 1st, we know Jesus could have healed this man instantly.
    1. It seems reasonable that the limitation was on the side of the human, not the divine.
    1. Alexander Maclaren speaks of Christ “accommodating the pace of his power to the slowness of the man’s faith.”
    1. Or perhaps it was the atmosphere in Bethsaida that hindered him.
      1. Remember His problem in Nazareth. see Mark 6:5,6
    1. All I know is…There are many times I need a 2nd touch.
      1. Praise God for His 2nd, 3rd, & 4th touch upon our lives.
      1. How many things weren’t clear to me, the 1st I heard of them?
  1. In another account it says he broke into song, singing... :)

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone, I can see all obstacles in my way. Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind. It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) Sun-Shiny day.IV. Slide#11 HIS TITLE (27-30)

  1. (27) Now they walk 25 miles north to one of my favorite places in northern Israel.
    1. Slide#12 Caesarea Philippi - (Beautiful) - It is at the headwaters of the Jordan.
    1. Slide#13 Strange place to reveal Himself though? - Originally known as a center for Baal worship. Also it was the site of a great temple to the Greek god, Pan.
      1. Called Banias from Paneas. OT area was called Laish, or Dan.
    1. Normally disciples would ask their rabbi the questions, but Jesus reverses the process. [looking around at these grotto’s/niches, who do you say I am?]
  1. Slide#14 (28) John? (Herod thought this); Elijah? (They were waiting his return according to Malachi); Prophets? (maybe he’s just another prophet?)
    1. All would agree He was special.
    1. He has his place among the greatest men. (He always makes the Top 100 influential men

in history lists)

    1. But this is inadequate for Jesus…He is not just one of a series.
    1. He stands alone, unprecedented, unparalleled, unrivaled, unique.
  1. Slide#15 The spot light turns to them…what do you think?

3

        1. Feel the burn of that spot light today folks, because He still asks everyone that same question.
        1. The prize for the right answer is….Eternal Life.
        1. Slide#16 Who do you say that He is? Welcome to the fork in the road...everyone finds it!
          1. Was Jesus just a Legend? - A Liar, for claiming to be God?

A Lunatic, crazy & not knowing what He was doing? - Or, Lord?

    1. Slide#17 (29) What a moment of revelation…You are the Christ.
      1. Matthew adds, Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. Mt.16:19
      1. Christ isn’t Jesus’ last name. Nor a cuss word.
      1. Jesus is His name (Jehovah is salvation); & Christ is His title, meaning “anointed one”. [Heb. Messiah]
        1. Jesus seemed to be very reluctant to use this title of Messiah/Christ (only 3 times in the sayings of Jesus), probably because of all of its current misconceptions.
      1. The confession of Jesus as the Messiah marks the midpoint of this gospel & the turning point in Jesus ministry.

V. Slide#18 HIS TARGET (31-33)

    1. Began to teach – He makes a departure here in His teaching.
      1. Now that He is recognized, He immediately begins His journey to the cross.
        1. You might make a mark in your bible, as I did mine, as there’s an important division here.
        1. Between vs.30/31. Up to this point the focus was on Jesus as Servant, from now on it’s Jesus as Sacrifice.
        1. Slide#19,20 Looking back - there was crowds, preaching, and popular ministry; Looking ahead - the crowds slip away, the skies darken, & all roads lead to Jerusalem.1
      1. He starts His death March!
    1. (31) 1st of 3 announcements that Jesus made of his death & Res.
      1. Jesus stretched out his arms & said, “I love you this much” & “I’d rather die than live w/o you.”
      1. Elders (gen. name for the members of the Sanhedrin); chief priests (Sadducees); & scribes (mainly Pharisees) = the Sanhedrin.
        1. And they would reject him like a counterfeit coin.
    1. (32) The Blind man went from having a blurred vision, to seeing clearly; but Peter went from clear, back to fuzzy. [can you relate?]
      1. This was a nonsensical revelation at the time.

1

David Hewitt, Mark, pg.118

4

    1. 1 minute, inspired from heaven, next minute his inspiration is from hell.
      1. 1st he stood on the top rung of a ladder that reached into the heavens;

Then he dives off an Acapulco cliff…only to belly flop in front of all the onlookers.

      1. One minute he was Peter the rock; then Peter the boat anchor.
    1. Peter saw only shame in the cross, Jesus saw glory. Peter saw defeat, Jesus saw victory.
    1. This kind of belief encouraged political revolution rather then spiritual revival.
      1. He had to warn them…He was going to Jerusalem not to reign…but to die.
  1. Slide#21,22 (33) Get behind me Satan – Ouch, that kinda stings.
    1. He looked at his disciples (His back to Peter) – because they agreed w/Peter’s assessment of the situation. [Peter was spokesman]
    1. Peter had become the unwitting carrier of demonic doctrine, parallel to that which Christ faced in the wilderness when Satan tempted Him to abandon the Father’s will & seek an easy Saviorhood.
      1. Satan was in Peters voice.
    1. Jesus wasn’t calling Peter the devil. But, He saw in Peters mistaken concern the same temptation to avoid suffering & choose the easy way.
    1. So, why such strong language? - As it gets closer to the cross He couldn’t have any tolerance toward this temptation.
      1. Peter does learn this lesson though, he writes much about suffering/sacrifice in 1st Pet.
        1. Soul-saving salvation could only come through a suffering Messiah. There was no other way.
  1. This is why I believe the story of the gradually healed blind man preceded this.
    1. He is chiding His disciples for their slowness of spiritual understanding. They were slow to perceive, slow to comprehend what Jesus was saying & doing.
      1. Spiritual maturity is not something that happens all at once. We have to grow & develop.
  1. Slide#23 Lastly, What is not mentioned in vs.31 (or in 9:31, 10:33,34) is WHY?
    1. Mark gives us the clearest statement of WHY after the 3 predictions. In 10:45 The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, & to give His life as a ransom for many
    1. This is the great central fact of history and of our lives. Jesus, the Son of Man, the exalted human, divine God-man, came & was sent by God the Father - to give his life as a ransom for many.
      1. Slide#24 God Can Ransom What Man Can’t. Our sin had, as it were, kidnapped us and put us in a prison of our own making, far from God, in the chains of iniquity, under God’s holy wrath, and powerless to free ourselves.2

2

John Piper on Mark 8:31

5

        1. A ransom had to be paid.
      1. But listen to Ps.49:7,8 No one can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for them - the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough.
    1. In other words, no mere man can ransom another man’s soul. And you can’t ransom your own.
      1. Slide#25,26 Then listen to verse 15 of that psalm: But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead; He will surely take me to himself. Man can’t. God will.
  1. “Peter, if you resist my plan to die, you resist God. You side with Satan against God. Satan doesn’t want me dead, because he wants you in hell. Satan wants me to bow down and worship him and jump off temples for fame and turn stones into bread for self-preservation.

The last thing he wants is for a ransom to be paid for his captives. But that’s what God wants, Peter, because, he loves you. My coming to die as your ransom is the love of God.”3

3

ibid


Verses 34-38
  1. Intro: Our Cross-Walk
    1. Last section(vs.31-33) we talked about His cross...and as if this was not enough shock for one day, Jesus has another for His disciples & the crowd...now for our cross.
      1. If you’re serious about following Me…you must take the same path…it’s a cross-walk.
        1. It’s costly…but worth it – No fine print here friends.
    2. Jesus turns to the crowd & challenges them w/some of the most solemn & searching words that ever fell from His lips.
      1. Understand the make up of this group: some hanging upon his every word; others interested in Him; others attracted by Him; some loved the association with his popularity; some enjoyed the miracles; some the occasional free lunch; they all felt they wanted to be with Him in some way.
        1. But Jesus battles a thoughtless, hasty profession of faith.
      2. What would you say if Jesus spun around this morning, pointed at you, & asked you, in front of everyone, “Why are you following Me?” - What would you say? [Oh, & you had to tell the truth!]
  2. OUR CROSS-WALK (34)
    1. He gives 3 conditions for true discipleship: Deny Himself, Take up his Cross, Follow Me.
    2. Deny himself – If we cling to our rights, our privileges, our life selfishly…we lose in the end.
      1. Negatively, One must deny himself decisively saying no to selfish interests and earthly securities. (BKC)
        1. Self-denial is not to deny one’s personality, to die as a martyr, or to deny “things” (as in asceticism).
        2. Rather it is the denial of “self,” turning away from the idolatry of self-centeredness and every attempt to orient one’s life by the dictates of self-interest.
      2. Maybe the reason we aren’t making much progress in our Christianity is because we’re still trying to give the orders?
      3. To deny self is to surrender.
        1. There is a Moment of surrender @ Salv.; & a Practice of surrender (sanct), which is moment-by-moment & lifelong.
      4. So, to deny self is to: say no to yourself; relinquish all claims to your life; and renounce your right to run your life.
        1. You know Christian, you don’t belong to yourself. 1Cor.6:19,20 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price.
        2. Jesus Christ has absolute claim on your life. You are no longer to live a self-centered life but a Christ-centered life.
    3. Take up his cross – our crosses are not simply trials or hardships. Nor is it a call to give up certain things. Our cross is not an unfair boss, nor a difficult child. Our cross is not even an illness nor a handicap…but it is a call to DIE. [Paul said, I die daily 1 Cor.15:31]
      1. Positively, one must take up his cross, decisively saying yes to God’s will and way.
        1. Across comes from specifically walking in Christ’s steps, embracing His life.
        2. It’s when we bear the disdain because we are embracing the narrow way of the cross. It’s when we live out the business ethics of Christ in our marketplace & the sexual ethics of Christ in our world. It’s when we embrace weakness instead of power. It’s when we extend ourselves in difficult circumstances for the sake of the gospel.
        3. It’s not the difficulties in your life that are cross-bearing, but the difficulties for Christ’s sake which are.
      2. The cross an instrument of death.
        1. Crucifixion was used by Rome to express its mastery over its subjects.
          1. It was complete submission of the victims will, to the will of another.
          2. Let everyone know Rome was supreme, that they were dominated by Rome.
        2. Am I willing to surrender my life to Jesus?
        3. Am I willing to put my life under complete subjugation into the will & desire of another...that being Jesus?
        4. Am I willing to place my plans, my will, my desires to be secondary to the will of Jesus?
    4. To Take Up our cross is not to hang on it, it’s our life long journey TO the cross.
      1. Condemned prisoners were generally made to carry the crossbar of their cross to the site of execution. It is our Cross-Walk.
      2. The Trappist monk Thomas Keating once said, “The cross Jesus asks you to carry is yourself.” It's all the pain you inflict on yourself, it's the pain you inflict on others.”
    5. Here He sifts out the true Christians from His fair weather followers.
      1. Gal.2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
      2. Take up your cross is also called: consecration, making Jesus your Lord, dying to self, yielding to the spirit.
      3. What matters is not what you call it, but that you do it.
      4. God wants your life…All of it.
      5. Surrendered people obey God even when it doesn’t make sense.
        1. Abraham: followed God’s leading w/o knowing where.
        2. Joseph: trusted God’s purpose w/o knowing why everything happened the way it did (i.e. sold into slavery; trumped up rape charges; 2 yr prison sentence).
        3. Hannah: waited for God’s perfect timing for a child, w/o knowing when.
        4. Mary: experienced a miracle w/o knowing how.
      6. Gal. 6:14 God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
      7. First he must give up all right to himself; that is, cease bothering about self-preservation, self-aggrandizement, and self-protection against ridicule, and abandon self-assertion as a way of life.
        1. This is how the world is crucified to me.
      8. Second, he must take up his cross: that is, settle for a life into which the world’s favor and esteem do not enter. Only criminals going to execution - people from whom the world’s favor has been totally withdrawn - carried crosses in those day.
        1. This is how I am crucified to the world.
    6. Follow me - Whoa follow you? – If you’re going to the cross…then that means… we’re-going-to-our-cross.
      1. Giuseppe Garibaldi, the great Italian general/patriot/politician [led 1,000 volunteers in the capture of Sicily and Naples (1860)] appealed for recruits in these terms, “ I offer neither pay, nor quarters, nor provisions; I offer hunger, thirst, forced marches, battles & death. Let him who loves his country in his heart, & not w/his lips only, follow me.”
      2. Jesus didn’t come to make life easy but to make men great!
    7. Recap: Overall thought: Treasure Me more than your own comfort and your own safety.
      1. Deny yourself: The opposite of self-denial is the idol of self-gratification.
      2. Take up your cross: The opposite of cross-bearing is the idol of self-preservation.
      3. Follow Me: Trust and treasure Jesus enough to follow him...even when it is costly.
        1. Phil.3:8, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.
  3. THE PARADOX OF THE CROSS (35)
    1. Embrace the paradox of the cross!
    2. It is a simple fact of life that those who try to get all finally lose all, while those who give all actually get all in the end!
      1. In light of eternity, things that seem so important now, have no value at all.
      2. There’s nothing more powerful than a person who has nothing to lose but everything to gain.
      3. Slide#16 Jesus says, Losers are keepers!
        1. Finders, keepers, losers, weepers: is the adage with the premise that when something is unowned or abandoned, whoever finds it can claim it. [idiom relates to an ancient Roman law]
          1. But Jesus says, Losers are keepers.
        2. Yes, this is the exact opposite of the spirit of our age...where the world screams, “Save yourself. Love yourself. Pamper yourself. Live for yourself.”
        3. We live in a society of keepers that ultimately become a society of losers.
          1. Ours is a society of losers! :)
          2. Lose your life for Christ’s sake, for His gospel’s sake, for Pete’s sake!
    3. Drifting snow and bitter cold threatened the lives of Indian evangelist Sadhu Sundar Singh and his Tibetan companion as they crossed a Himalayan mountain pass. Fighting the "sleep of death", they stumbled over a mound in the trail. It was a man, half dead. The Tibetan refused to stop but continued on alone. The compassionate Sadhu, however, shouldered the burden the best he could. Through his struggling, he began to warm up, as did the unconscious man. But before reaching the village they found the Tibetan - frozen to death. The principles that Jesus taught are still true: whoever shall save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it.
  4. THE PARABLE OF THE RICH MAN IN A NUTSHELL (36,37)
    1. If a man has forfeited his soul, the whole world could not buy it back.
      1. It is said that about 200 years after the death of the great conqueror Charlemagne the emporer Ophello had his tomb was opened. The sight the workmen saw was startling. There was his body in a sitting position, clothed in the most elaborate of kingly garments, with a scepter in his bony hand. On his knee lay the Holy Scriptures, with a cold, lifeless finger pointing to Mark 8:36: "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and loose his own soul?"
      2. Many years ago a primitive tribe observed a custom of electing a king every 7 years. During his reign he was given authority to do whatever he wanted. But there was one hitch. At the end of his brief reign he was put to death to make way for a new leader. Believe it or not, there were always men who were willing to exchange their lives for 7 years of power and indulgence. (Daily Walk, August 6, 1993)
  5. ASHAMED OR PROUD? (38)
    1. (38) If we deny Him now, He will deny us then. The opposite of being ashamed is being proud.
    2. A very cool goat & a sheep got into a conversation the other day…(my musings)
      1. Goat: Hey sheep, do you know what my ranking is amongst all the other goats?
      2. Sheep: No I don’t.
      3. Goat: I’m #13 in all the herd. What # are you sheep?
      4. Sheep: I don’t know my # goat. But, I am loved by my Shepherd.
      5. Goat: You’re a dumb sheep. Why do you follow that guy? Can’t you run your own life? Have you no sheep pride?
      6. Sheep: I try not to. I did try to be in charge of my life once.
      7. Goat: Now you’re talking. How did it go?
      8. Sheep: Not so well. I got lost. Master had to leave the flock & come find me.
      9. Goat: Ha, dumb sheep. I bet you got your little sheep hiny beat!
      10. Sheep: No, He wasn’t mad at me, just said that He missed me. And told me to follow Him, & He showed me the way home. I love Him and am proud to call Him my Shepherd/Master. I’m not embarrassed to be seen being led by Him. And, come to think of it…I actually, do have sheep pride...I’m proud of Him!
      11. Goat: Oh. Hmmm, did I tell you I’m #13 in all our herd?
        1. Connection: The opposite of being ashamed of someone, is being proud of them. Admiring them. Not being embarrassed to be seen with them.
          1. So Jesus is saying, “If you are embarrassed by me and the price I paid for you (and he’s not referring to lapses of courage when you don’t share your faith, but a settled state of your heart toward him) - if you’re not proud of me and you don’t cherish me and what I did for you - if you want to put yourself with the goats that value their reputation in the goat herd more than they value me, then that’s the way I will view you when I come. I will be ashamed of you, and you will perish with the people who consider me an embarrassment.”
    3. Am I willing to surrender my life to Jesus?
    4. Am I willing to put my life under complete subjugation into the will & desire of another...that being Jesus?
    5. Am I willing to place my plans, my will, my desires to be secondary to the will of Jesus?

Thomas à Kempis wrote:

Jesus has many who love his kingdom in heaven, but few who bear his cross. He has many who desire comfort, but few who desire suffering.

He finds many to share his feast, but few his fasting.

All desire to rejoice with him, but few are willing to suffer for his sake.

Many follow Jesus to the breaking of bread, but few to the drinking of the cup of his passion. Many admire his miracles, but few follow him in the humiliation of the cross.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Mark 8:4". "Brian Bell Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cbb/mark-8.html. 2017.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, October 22nd, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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