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Wednesday, June 19th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Mark 8

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New TestamentSchaff's NT Commentary

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Verse 1

Mark 8:1. The same prediction is found in the accounts of Matthew and Luke. From the account before us (Mark 8:34) we see that those standing by included more than the disciples.

In power. Peculiar to Mark, and characteristic since he presents our Lord mainly in His power. The coming referred to was probably at the day of Pentecost, or the destruction of Jerusalem, and the consequent triumph of Christianity, as a religion distinct from Judaism (see on Matthew 16:28). This would be not simply with power, but in power, i.e., its principal manifestation would be an exhibition of power.

Verses 1-10

Compare notes on Matthew 15:21-39. The miracle (Mark 7:32-37) is peculiar to Mark and of special interest.

Verse 3

Mark 8:3. And some of them are come from far. Peculiar to Mark.

Verse 7

Mark 8:7. A few small fishes. Mark speaks of them separately. The language intimates that they were separately blessed and distributed.

Having blessed. A different word from that used in Mark 8:6. The distinction is slight, however: this one implying praise, and the other thanksgiving.

Verse 8

Mark 8:8. Baskets. Not the word used in the account of the similar miracle. See notes on Matthew 15:37; Matthew 16:10.

Verse 9

Mark 8:9. Mark again omits ‘besides women and children.’

Verse 10

Mark 8:10. Into the regions of Dalmanutha. Matthew: ‘Magadan’ (E. V. ‘Magdala’). The two were probably near each other, north of Tiberias, and our Lord seems to have landed at some retired point between them. See Matt. on Mark 15:39. The theory that they were on the south-eastern shore of the lake is altogether unsupported, and makes of these journeys of our Lord an aimless wandering.

Verse 11

Mark 8:11. And the Pharisees. Matthew: ‘with the Sadducees.’ But the former were the leaders. The skeptical Sadducees were entirely hypocritical in asking a sign from heaven.

Came forth. Spying hostility is implied. He had landed at some retired locality (see on Mark 8:10), where their opposition speedily found Him, since they began, at once, to question with him. These details are peculiar to Mark.

Verses 11-21

ON the whole section, see notes on Matthew 16:1-12.

Verse 12

Mark 8:12. And he sighed deeply in his spirit. This sigh, or groan, came from His heart, showing how keenly He felt the opposition He encountered. They showed more decided enmity, but the plain prediction of His death which so soon followed (Mark 8:31), shows that He knew the crisis was approaching. (‘The sign of the prophet Jonah,’ Matthew 16:4, points in the same way.) It may have been a sign of His entering, though with human pang, upon the appointed path of tribulation. But the sigh was mainly for these who would reject the atoning sorrows they were the instruments in producing.

Verse 13

Mark 8:13. This presents more distinctly than the parallel in Matthew the immediate departure in the waiting boat

To the other side. He returned to Galilee but once again, and then as quietly as possible (chap. Mark 9:30, etc.).

Verse 14

Mark 8:14. In the boat with them more than one loaf. The conversation did not necessarily take place in the boat. When they landed (Matthew) they forgot to supply themselves with provisions for their land journey, although they had brought but one loaf with them in the boat. No stock of provisions was needed for the short voyage.

Verse 15

Mark 8:15. The leaven of Herod. Matthew: ‘of the Sadducees.’ Herod was not a professed Sadducee, but our Lord was warning against what all these had in common. On the alliance of the Pharisees and Herodians, see on chap. Mark 3:6. The one common characteristic of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herodians was ‘hypocrisy’ (see on Matthew 16:12), the last named party coquetting with the other two as politicians do, and of course acting hypocritically.

Verse 16

Mark 8:16. The sense of this verse is clear, but the form varies in the early authorities.

Verses 17-20

Mark 8:17-20. The reproofs here given and the references to the miracles, are somewhat fuller than in the parallel passage; the answers of the disciples about the fragments are preserved, the distinction between the two kinds of baskets being kept up. Notice that the last clause of Mark 8:18 should be joined with Mark 8:19.

Verse 21

Mark 8:21. Do ye not yet understand, i.e., after these miracles. Mark stops with this brief question, because in writing for Gentile readers his main design was to show the condition of the Twelve, rather than to warn against Jewish notions.

Verse 22

Mark 8:22. And they come to Bethsaida. They had not landed there, but probably stopped there to procure provisions. Our Lord did not intend to remain there; He was seeking retirement, to prepare His disciples for the future.

A blind man. Probably not born blind. See on Mark 8:24.

To touch him, as though the touch was necessary to heal him.

Verses 22-26

THIS miracle, mentioned by Mark alone, is of peculiar interest, as exhibiting a gradual cure. In this case as in the last miracle (chap. Mark 7:32-36), there was a suggestion from the people as to the mode of healing, a separation from the crowd, a different mode from that suggested, including the application of saliva. The place was undoubtedly Bethsaida Julias on the eastern side of the lake. It is probable that there was no other Bethsaida. See on Matthew 11:21.

Verse 23

Mark 8:23. Brought him out of the town. A more decided separation even, than in the last case (chap. Mark 7:33). The reason may have been the unbelief of the place, since the man was particularly commanded not to go back there (Mark 8:26). The application of saliva came first, then the laying on of hands (which had been requested) which was repeated (Mark 8:25). Three successive acts instead of the usual word or touch.

Verse 24

Mark 8:24. I see the men; for I behold them as trees walking. The first exclamation is one of joyous surprise: ‘I see the men,’ i.e., the men who were near, the disciples and perhaps the man’s friends. But the cure was not complete, and, as he had been asked to tell what and how he saw, he adds: ‘because as trees,’ i.e., indistinctly, ‘I behold them’ (the men, not trees, as some infer from the common version) ‘walking.’ Perhaps his friends, or even the disciples, were restlessly moving about, awaiting the result. The mention of men and trees suggests that the man had once had his eyesight.

Verse 25

Mark 8:25. See foot-note to text. He saw clearly (the work of that instant), and was (thoroughly) restored; and he (thenceforward) saw all things plainly. The last clause represents a continued action. The common reading represents a second trial of vision at our Lord’s command. ‘All things ‘is preferable to ‘every man.’ Of course our Lord could have healed the man with a word, but He was not confined to one method. The gradual cure would remove the notion of magical influence. There may have been something in the man’s spiritual condition which called for this method to develop his faith. Nor was the mode without an important lesson for the disciples, at this juncture. We need not and ought not to expect Christ’s work of grace to be manifested in all cases through the same experience; a mistake which caused much distress among real Christians, and encouraged hypocrisy. The work of grace, though always wrought by Christ, is often a gradual process, in which other agencies are apparently involved; a protest against the notions, which look for magical power in sacramental forms, or insist upon sudden illumination and joy as a necessary accompaniment of conversion. Comp, the parable (chap. Mark 4:36-39) peculiar to this Gospel. While the man is not represented as active in curing himself he follows Christ, who leads him by the hand, looks up when Christ bids and tells our Lord both of the cure and its imperfection.

Verse 26

Mark 8:26. To his home. This was not in the village, but elsewhere. Our Lord forbids his return to the village. He was now seeking retirement and avoiding publicity, and there may have been some special reason why it should not be published there. The last clause is to be omitted, though found in many ancient authorities.

Verse 27

Mark 8:27. In the way. Luke (Luke 9:18), without naming the locality, tells that He had been ‘alone praying; ‘an important preparation for the important revelation which was to follow. This was not necessarily ‘in the way ‘from Bethsaida to Cesarea Philippi, but may have been during some journey while in those regions. Mark is less full than Matthew in Mark 8:28-30, but in exact accordance (see on Matthew 16:14-16; Matthew 16:20).

Verses 27-38

SEE notes on Matthew 16:13-28. Mark omits the blessing bestowed on Peter, and the subsequent promise, but inserts the rebuke. A significant fact, showing the humility of Peter. The reference to the institution of the Church as a separate communion, is also wanting. Hence the Passion of Christ is the central truth, involving the active and passive confession of His people, and not the institution of the Church, much less the primacy of Peter. It is remarkable that this fundamental confession of faith was called forth by our Lord, not in Galilee or Judea, but near Cesarea Philippi (Banias), a Roman settlement on the extreme northern boundary of Palestine.

Verse 31

Mark 8:31. After three days. Matthew and Luke: ‘the third day.’ The latter is the more definite expression for the same period.

Verse 32

Mark 8:32. And he spake the saying openly. Not necessarily in public, but rather without concealment, explicitly, not indirectly. Peculiar to Mark.

Verse 33

Mark 8:33. And seeing his disciples. This look, mentioned by Mark only, shows that Peter had not taken Him aside, but laid hold on Him to interrupt Him. Luke omits altogether the rebuke of Peter.

Verse 34

Mark 8:34. Called unto him the multitude. The crowd was never far off. What He would now say was of universal application. He would prepare the multitude to hear what He had just revealed to the Twelve, and test their willingness to follow Him to death. He thus showed His wisdom as a Teacher, in adapting the truth to the audience.

Take up his cross. Luke inserts ‘daily.’

Verse 35

Mark 8:35. And the gospel’s. Peculiar to Mark. See the note on the same addition in chap. Mark 10:29. But ‘for my sake ‘remains the leading thought: for the sake of the gospel, because it tells of the personal Redeemer.

Verses 36-37

Mark 8:36-37. These verses are emended in accordance with the best readings. life, same word as in Mark 8:35, comp. Matthew 16:25-26 .

In exchange, lit, ‘as a ransom price.’ The price which the earthly minded gives for the world is his ‘life,’ in the highest sense. But after having laid that down as the price, what has he as a counter price (that is the exact sense of the Greek word), to buy the life back again?

Verse 38

Mark 8:38. Shall be ashamed of me, and my words. Disown me and reject my words. The two terms correspond with those in Mark 8:35: ‘for my sake and the gospel’s.’ There is a hint of the same thought in Matthew’s account (Matthew 16:27), and something analogous is found in Matthew 10:33.

In this adulterous and sinful generation. Com. Matthew 12:39. These words, peculiar to Mark in this connection, suggest that being ashamed of Christ is the result of paying attention to the verdict of such a generation.

The son of man (now lowly, despised and rejected of men) also be ashamed (disown and reject). Cometh. At the Second Advent

In the glory of his Father. See Matthew 16:27. Luke is fuller: ‘In His own glory, and the Father’s, and of the holy angels.’

Holy angels. Matthew: ‘His angels.’

Bibliographical Information
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Mark 8". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/scn/mark-8.html. 1879-90.
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