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Baptism & The Thief on the Cross | Introduction to the Book of Acts | Preaching with Inspiration | Adair Chapman Sermon | More...

Mark 8

Mark 8:1  In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and he saith unto them,

In those days means while Christ was in Decapolis.

This is a similar multitude that was often gathered about Him in Galilee.

Mark 8:2  I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat:


If they brought any food, it was all consumed and they were in immediate need.


Mark 8:3  And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far.


They had become exhausted for want of food and had a long way to go to reach their homes.


Mark 8:4  And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness?


The disciples it seems did not reflect on the miracle in which Christ had fed the five thousand.  The disciples were still babes in faith and knowledge.  Also the Jews murmured immediately after their deliverance at the Red Sea. Cf: Exodus 15:24 & 17:1-3.


Mark 8:5  And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven.


The disciples now seemed to have suspected what Jesus was about to do for they do not ask as they did before “What are these among so many.” Cf: John 6:9.


Mark 8:6  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.


Probably under the direction of the disciples as in the feeding of the five thousand they arranged the people in companies of hundreds and fifties.  We should follow the example of Jesus and offer thanks over our daily meals before eating them.


Mark 8:7  And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them.


Jesus gave thanks over the fish separately showing the order that the two foods were served.


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


The baskets were Greek spoo-rece large baskets.  Matthew says they all ate and were filled.  The fragments after the people were filled were more than they had to begin with.


Mark 8:9  And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away.


The word “about” may mean a few more or a few less, but it gives us some idea what the Bible writers mean when they speak of great multitudes following Jesus.

Mark 8:10  And straightway he entered into a ship with his disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha

Matthew 15:39 says "Magdala." Neither place exists now, but they are supposed to have been near each other on the western shores of the Sea of Galilee.

Note the evangelists do not say, He went in to either of those towns, but only to the coast or parts.

Mark 8:11  And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him.


The Pharisees were looking for a great king and conqueror like King David with vast wealth and armies. Could Jesus be this conqueror and king of the Jewish nation? 


They were probably seeking a sign in the sky and not a sign on earth such as Jesus’ miracles were.  They wanted to test the extent of His miraculous powers so they could say there were some miracles which He could not work.  This is the first time that the Pharisees and Sadducees are mentioned as acting in concert against Jesus.  The Pharisees opposed Him because of His disregard of their tradition.  But, relative to Jesus’ miracles, the Pharisees and Sadducees occupied common ground in opposing Him.


Mark 8:12  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.


When so many signs and infallible proofs have already been given and continue to be given and you seek more proof no such sign as they sought would be given.  On raising from the dead Jesus gave the only sign that He promised to give them.

Mark 8:13  And he left them, and entering into the ship again departed to the other side

Mark 8:14  Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf.


Probably through their anxiety and interest in the attack on Jesus, they forgot to take food for themselves on their journey.


Mark 8:15  And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of  the leaven of Herod.


Cf: Matthew 16:5-12. Matthew says "Sadducees" instead of "Herod." Herod was a Sadducee, and the Sadducees generally were supporters of Herod.

Leaven is generally used in scripture to represent that which is evil.  The leaven of the Pharisees was their teaching both by word and example.  All false teaching is like leaven a secret, silent force that contaminates the body, and then changes the whole.  The leaven of Herod was a corrupting, political influence.


Just as Jesus can multiply the loaves and fishes to feed His children, beware of the Scribes, Pharisees, and all other false teachers who feed false doctrine which multiplies, silently, just like leaven which makes bread swell up.


Matthew 7:13  Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:  7:14  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.  7:15  Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 7:16  Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 7:17  Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 7:18  A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 7:19  Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.  7:20  Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 7:21  Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 7:22  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  7:23  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.


II Timothy 3:1-7 2Ti 3:1  This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  3:2  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,  3:3  Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,  3:4  Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;  3:5  Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.  3:6  For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,  3:7  Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.


II Peter 2:1-6 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.   2:2  And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.  2:3  And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.  2:4  For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;  And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;  2:6  And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;


II Peter 3:1-7  This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: 3:2  That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: 3:3  Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 3:4  And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 3:5  For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 3:6  Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.



Mark 8:16  And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have no bread.


The disciples talked the matter over among themselves and came to the conclusion that He reproved them for not taking bread.


Mark 8:17  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?


How could they be so troubled about bread when they recently saw Him provide bread for thousands?  No abiding impression has been made upon their minds.  The danger is not from lack of physical bread, but from the forces working around you that are working silently the hearts of many.


Mark 8:18  Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?


Mark 8:19  When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? They say unto him, Twelve.


Mark 8:20  And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? And they said, Seven.


This shows the dullness of spiritual perception and probably a lack of faith.  These questions of Jesus show beyond a doubt that He fed the multitude on two different occasions and not on one as some suppose.

Mark 8:21 And He said unto them, How is it that ye do not understand?

Beware of the leaven of false teachers and they at last understood the lesson.  But they, like we, were slow to understand.

Mark 8:22  And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him.

Bethsaida  was near the mouth of the upper Jordan where it empties into the lake. It was upon the eastern bank of the river. The account of the miracle that follows is only given by Mark.

This man had become blind by disease, or some other cause.  His friends brought him to Jesus to be healed, and they had faith that Jesus could do it.  They also needed to be taught to leave the mode of healing up to Jesus.

Mark 8:23  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.

As He had taken the deaf man out of the crowd in Mark 7:33, the Lord often sought to escape publicity. When he had spit on his eyes we suppose that this unusual partial healing was intended to develop in the man the faith which the Lord made the usual condition of healing.

This shows Jesus’ willingness to help the helpless.  Why Jesus spat, no one knows.

Mark 8:24  And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking.

He can see certain moving forms about him, but he does not have the power of discerning their size or what he sees.

This shows he was not born blind, or he would not have known how trees and men appear.

Mark 8:25  After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.

This is the only example of a progressive cure. We suppose that it was an example of progressive faith. The Lord could have healed him with a word, but he wished to save the soul as well as the body.

The second touch of Jesus completed the restoration. Cf:

Isaiah 29:18-19  And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness.  29:19  The meek also shall increase their joy in the LORD, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.

Mark 8:26  And he sent him away to his house, saying, Neither go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town.

Had he gone into the town seeing, the whole population might have gone out in pursuit of Jesus.

Mark 8:27  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?


Here, from the base of a mountain, burst forth a famous spring which is one of three sources of the river Jordan.  There is a cave in the mountain which was dedicated to the worship of the mythological false god Pan.  Jesus’ question is a convenient introduction to the question to come.


Mark 8:28  And they answered, John the Baptist: but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets.


The Jews believed that at the time of the Messiah, different prophets would appear. 


Malachi 4:5-6  Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:  4:6  And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse


It is evident from these answers, that all thought Jesus was an extraordinary man.  There were a variety of opinions, and people were discussing the question.  Christ was not ignorant as to what men thought and said of Him, but this is intended to teach His disciples, that He is the true and promised Messiah.


Mark 8:29  And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ.


The emphasis is on ye, the disciples, Peter’s answer as found in Mark, is short but inclusive.  Luke 9:20 adds to it, the Christ of God, but Matthew 16:16 gives it in the full, the Christ the Son of the Living God.


It links together the human and the Divine.  It is the bedrock, the great underlying Greek word Petra (bedrock) on which was laid the Cornerstone, Jesus, as He planted Himself upon this truth and died for it, and around whom was laid the foundation of the apostles and prophets, from whom rise, course by course, the living stones, Petri, that form the temple of the Holy Spirit, the Church of Christ.


Matthew 16:13-18  When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?  16:14  And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 16:15  He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?  16:16  And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 16:17  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 16:18  And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 16:19  And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Mark 8:30  And he charged them that they should tell no man of him.

They were not to tell of the full revelation, because they themselves were not yet prepared to be the intelligent proclaimers of it.  They did not have an adequate conception of the Kingdom of God.  This restriction to tell no man that He was the Christ lasted until His resurrection and He gave The Great Commission.

Cæsarea Philippi was a heathen town, in the extreme north of Palestine, near the foot of Mount Hermon, and one of the sources of the Jordan.

Mark 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.


He had alluded to them again and again, but they thought that these allusions were figurative, for they conveyed no clear idea to their minds. 


A suffering Messiah was utterly foreign to their conceptions of a Messiah, that only this explicit declaration could begin to prepare them.  Prophecy such as Isaiah 53 had made no impression upon the people or rabbinical teaching.  The scriptures show how actively all these Jewish groups made common cause against Him.  The Sanhedrin consisted of 71 members of elders, chief priests, and scribes.


Mark 8:32  And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.


Jesus spoke freely, frankly, and boldly without concealment, but Peter began to chide Him for such sad forebodings.  The word rebuke means admonish or earnestly entreat.


Mark 8:33  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.


These are the same words used by Jesus in the wilderness to Satan himself.  Jesus rebukes Peter for his good, and the good of the disciples.  Satan means, literally, an adversary.  Peter’s mind had fallen in with the carnal expectations of the Jewish nation rather than the purpose of God which Jesus and the prophets taught in the Suffering Servant Messiah.


Mark 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.


This was spoken to the multitude as well as the disciples, for the principals spoken here applied to both, and to us also, to the rich and the poor, the high and the low.  We must renounce our selfs and abstain from everything that stands in the way of duty.  Let a man surrender to God’s will, his affections, body, and soul, and be willing to renounce all, even lay down his life, if required.  Jesus is teaching self denial and gospel service.


He had just taught His disciples that He should suffer, now He was teaching the people that discipleship also involves suffering and self denial.  It consists of doing our duty as required in the Scriptures.  Let it produce whatever shame, disgrace, or pain that it may, for the Cross is taken willingly.  Self denial lies at the very threshold of Christ’s kingdom. 


The Cross is a synonym of suffering and shame.


Mark 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.


Save his life, by abandoning this pathway, shall lose that spiritual life which carries joys beyond the grave. 


Whoever dies in the path of duty, may be temporarily separated from the body, but the spirit lives on.  Cf:


John 11:25-26  Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 11:26  And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?


II Timothy 2:11-13 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:  2:12  If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: 2:13  If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.


II Timothy 1:12  For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.


Mark 8:36  For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?


To gain the whole world, means to possess it as our own.  All the riches, honors, and pleasures …. To be the richest man in the graveyard and shut out of Heaven and sent to Hell.


Mark 8:37  Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?


A man would give any and everything earthly in exchange for his natural life, should he not then be willing, to give even natural life itself, for eternal life. 


The antithesis is between earthly life, comfort and pleasures, and eternal life and eternal joys.  What shall be given as an exchange, a ransom price equivalent for heaven and everlasting life?

Mark 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.

The Jews were a perverse and apostate race.  This Jewish age, like today was given to wickedness, particularly adultery.  At a time when the friendship of no one else will do any good, the backsliding apostate will be justly disowned.  The coming spoken of in these verses, is the final manifestation of the Coming of Christ in power and glory.  Cf:

Matthew 25:31-46 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 25:32  And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:  25:33  And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 25:34  Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 25:35  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:  25:36  Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.  25:37  Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?  25:38  When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?  25:39  Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 25:40  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 25:41  Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 25:42  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:  25:43  I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 25:44  Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 25:45  Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 25:46  And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.


I Thessalonians 4:13-17  But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 4:14  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 4:15  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 4:16  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

I Thessalonians 4:17  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord

Revelation 1:7  Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.  Even so, Amen.


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