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Bible Commentaries

Brown's Commentary on the New Testament

Mark 8

  1. Introduction
    Read: Psalm 40:1-8
    1. Last time we looked at two situations…the Syro-Phoenician woman and the blind man.
    2. We looked at them from the aspect of the great humility that each of them had as they came to Jesus!
    3. We asked the question…”Do we walk humbly with God…do I have a contrite spirit?”
    4. Today, as we hear the Word…we must ask the question…do I have a heart of compassion like Jesus? …and am I willing to place my heart into submission to His?
    5. Am I?

Verses 1-9

  1. Feeding The 4000
    1. Compassion
      1. Mar 8:1-3 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.
        1. Jesus is in the region of Galilee…
          1. Mar 7:31 And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis.
        2. There is a “Great multitude” that has been following Him…
          1. Mar 8:9 And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away.
          2. Mat 15:38 And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children.
        3. And…Jesus has compassion on the crowd -- He feels their pain and seeks to do something about it!
        4. In essence…He’s asking His disciples – what are we going to do about it? >> It’s a test!
    2. Creation
      1. Mar 8:4 And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness?
        1. “I don’t know”, shrugging their shoulders!
        2. Perhaps what He was looking for was: “Jesus, You’ve done it before…You can do it again!”
        3. ​​​​​​​How often have we seen God move or work in our lives and yet, when trouble comes, answers are needed or provision required…we don’t know where to turn?
      2. Mar 8:5-9 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.
        1. Jesus now patiently, after the disciples failed the “What should we do” test, asks “What do we have to work with?” and goes through the routine…He creates something from nothing!
        2. Jesus is always looking for someone to work with…not someone who is perfect but someone who is simply available and willing!
        3. What is your availability? Are you willing to let Jesus use you to minister to others?
        4. When you do…God blesses us exceedingly! Look at the 7 baskets of leftovers…these are like the size of big laundry baskets…not small picnic baskets!
        5. Luk 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

Verses 10-26

  1. Spiritual Blindness
    1. The Hard Heart
      1. ​​​​​​​Mar 8:10-12 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.
        1. The legalists of the day…the Pharisees come and tempt Jesus – if you’re really the Messiah…PROVE IT!
        2. Signs are not to PROVE anything, rather they are a confirmation of God’s love and mercy. Every healing Jesus did…He told the people to say nothing – He was individually, compassionately, explicity ministering to them in their own need!
        3. These side shows of healing ministries…the ones that are done to tout the healing and not the love and mercy of our Savior are just that: side shows. God won’t show a sign to a hard or greedy heart…He comforts and ministers to the humble!
    2. The Dull Heart
      1. Mar 8:13-16 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.
        1. Jesus charges the disciples to “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod”
        2. The Pharisees were into Spiritual power over the masses and Herod was into physical power over the masses
        3. …both saturated in PRIDE.
        4. But, silly guys that they were, they thought He was yelling at them for not bringing their bread.
      2. Mar 8:17-21 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?
        1. ​​​​​​​Jesus was like: “If I wanted bread I’d create it! Don’t you see? Hello, anyone home?
        2. No…Jesus wanted the disciples to see and recognize and take care for themselves that they didn’t get power hungry and try to “LORD OVER” the people.
          1. ​​​​​​​1Pe 5:1-4 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
        3. We should always lead with grace, yet walk in submission.
        4. There is a point to this…how often are we hard-hearted or dull of heart going: “duh?”
        5. We should be careful to not judge the disciples…they, like us, are learning and growing.
        6. Which of us hasn’t been clueless with the Lord at one time or another?
        7. Which of us hasn’t needed and received God’s great mercy and love and unconditional acceptance in the face of our own stupidity?
    3. The New Heart
      1. ​​​​​​​Mar 8:22-26 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.
        1. Again, we find Jesus encountering a blind man…and Jesus took him out of the town to have a bit of privacy, we can guess.
        2. He spits on his eyes…something we find gross, but in that day the spit of a prophet was considered medicinal…
        3. And then He laid His hands on Him and asked him if he could see anything.
        4. The response – men as trees, walking. He could see roughly, kind of in block stick figures, but in no detail whatsoever.
        5. So, Jesus puts His hands on Him again…and asks him again if he can see –
        6. And the man could see and was sent home and told not to tell anyone.
    4. Our Heart
      1. ​​​​​​​So, what is the application of all this to our lives?
      2. Our lives are changed and conformed to the image of Christ in stages just like this man’s healing.
      3. When we first get saved, we really have no clue to the vastness of God; the awesomeness of His grace or the enormity of His love. But God begins a great work in our hearts and lives.
        1. ​​​​​​​Php 1:3-6 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, 5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; 6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
        2. Heb 12:2a Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;
        3. 1Th 5:24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
        4. Rom 8:28-29 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
  2. Conclusion
    1. ​​​​​​​The end of the story, if you will, is that Jesus has compassion on us – just as He does with others. Jesus loves us, just as He does others…
    2. Jesus wants to lavish the blessings upon us that come through submission to His will and wants to change us into the image of Christ…
    3. We will let Him? Are we willing to give our lives toGod?​​​​​​​

Verses 27-33

  1. Introduction
    1. Read: Tit 2:11-14
      1. God desires that we be purified, set apart for His work…He tells us to “be Holy even as I am holy”.
      2. If we, as Christians, want more than to simply wander aimlessly through life like the Israelites int he wilderness…Jesus will tell us how today!
      3. He will call us to true humility…Blessed are the meek == Blessed are those whose strength is under Jesus’ control!
      4. Today, as we hear the Word…we must ask the question…who is Jesus to me – and how am I going to respond to this belief?
  2. Who is Jesus
    1. Who Do Men Say that HE is?
      1. Mar 8:27-28 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.
        1. Jesus begins with his “Students” by asking them, “Who do men say that I am?”
        2. They answer the obvious possibilities of the day: John the Baptist (obviously reborn), Elijah (Elias) or one of the other prophets – He spoke prophetically and did signs and wonders like some of the other prophets…
      2. Mar 8:29-30 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.
        1. ​​​​​​​Then Peter (obviously under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) tells Him that He is the “Christ”.
        2. What does it mean to be the Christ?
          1. ​​​​​​​He is the Son of God… King of Kings / Lord of Lords / The Great “I AM”
          2. ​​​​​​​Mighty God / Everlasting God / Wisdom of God / Power of God
          3. The Word of God / The Lord our Righteousness / My Rock and my Redeemer
          4. The Lamb of God that was slain / The Bridegroom / The Saviour of the World
          5. To the Jews…it meant conquering King and Savior of the Nation!
            >> > WHO DO YOU SAY JESUS IS? <«
    2. What HE Must Do!
      1. ​​​​​​​Mar 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.
        1. Jesus died to pay the price for our sins…He is our Propitiation!
          1. ​​​​​​​1John 2:1-2 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
          2. ​​​​​​​Isa 53:5, et. Al. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all …he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
        2. He rose from the dead 3 days later…after His death:
          1. ​​​​​​​Rom 4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
          2. 1Co 15:12-14, 17 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
    3. Savouring the Things of God
      1. ​​​​​​​Mar 8:32-33 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.
        1. We are warned often in the scripture that we are to be in the world…but NOT “of” the world. John tells us:
        2. 1Jn 2:15-17 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
        3. We can’t live by our emotions, our wants or by our laziness – rather, we are to live according to the Word of God being led by the Holy Spirit!
        4. (Our fore-fathers in the faith showed us the example) Heb 11:13-14 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
        5. ​​​​​​​(The Apostle John tells us that because of our position in Christ…we should purify our lives) 1Jn 3:1-3 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

Verses 34-38

  1. The Cost of Discipleship
    1. Following Jesus
      1. Mar 8:34 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.
        1. The first thought…”Whosoever” :: Just like Salvation…discipleship is open to anyone who wants to follow Jesus…the steps are simple and direct –
          1. ​​​​​​​Deny himself
            1. ​​​​​​​A disciple must first deny himself…that means putting self and it’s desires, wants, lust,& flesh second to what God wants and second to what is best for those around us.
            2. Php 2:1-4 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
          2. Take Up his Cross
            1. ​​​​​​​The cross is a symbol of execution – it represents horrible death. The cross was only used for non-Roman citizens. Romans citizens were executed by be-heading!
            2. This is similar to the gallows & the electric chair. There is an old hymn with the chorus that says, “At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light, And the burden of my heart rolled away,”
            3. Making that more modern it might say, “At the electric chair, at the electric chair, where I first saw the light…”
            4. Taking up your cross symbolizes our death to self – our choice to put what we want after the needs of others…
              1. ​​​​​​​Col 3:5-7 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6 For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: 7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.
    2. Losing Your Life
      1. ​​​​​​​Mar 8:35 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.
        1. Rom 10:9-10 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
        2. The Lordship of Christ means we choose to give up our rights and serve our Master…the LORD Jesus Christ.
        3. Servants have no rights other than to follow their master’s orders!
        4. 2Ti 2:3-4 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
        5. Joh 12:23-26 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. 25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. 26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.
    3. Losing Your Soul
      1. ​​​​​​​Mar 8:36-37 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?
        1. This is the alternative to following after Christ…
        2. Heb 11:25-26 (Moses chose…) rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
    4. Unashamed
      1. ​​​​​​​Mar 8:38 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.
        1. Mat 10:32-33 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
        2. Rev 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
        3. We must choose Jesus over everything else…
  2. Conclusion
    1. ​​​​​​​Isa 55:6-1 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: 7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
    2. Jer 29:11-13 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
Copyright Statement
Brown's Commentary on the New Testament is reproduced by permission of author. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Brown, Jim. "Commentary on Mark 8". "Brown's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnc/mark-8.html. 2017.