Mark 8:1-26

4000 Naturally Hungry & Miraculously Fed, 1-10

How did the logistics of this miracle benefit the hungry? Look closely at verse 6. The disciples of Jesus were to distribute the food. This is a creative miracle, not a healing one, it was issued by Jesus, but demonstrated by the disciples and felt by the hungry people that ate. What role do you play in the distribution of God’s word, which is sometimes described as food, milk or meat? (1st Cor. 3:2 & Heb. 5:12) The word of God is nourishing and full of life-giving wisdom for salvation. Not only is it nourishing, but it’s also appetizing, or appealing. The New Testament has an allurement in it’s message of purity, love and power. The holiness of God is beautiful. 1st Chron. 16:29, 2nd Chron. 20:21, Psa. 29:2 & 96:9

The Demand for a Sign. v11-13

The obvious miracles already publicly performed by Jesus did not suffice as evidence for the Pharisees. To them, Jesus wasn’t proven to be the Christ, or that he was even truly from God as a prophet. The Pharisees had an attitude that demanded more signs specifically to meet their personal criteria that would prove to them that Jesus was from God. This can only be understood as arrogance and is written by Mark, that sounds almost like an insult to the Pharisees. Which isn’t surprising, since many people already knew they were conspiring with their enemies the Herodians to try and test, try and tempt Jesus into making a mistake.

Warnings Against “Leaven” of Pharisees & Herodians, 14-21

Leaven isn’t always a bad thing, but in this context it is spreading sin and not complementing righteousness (Mt. 13:33). The disciples didn’t really understand what Jesus was talking about until Matthew 16:11-12, Mark doesn’t mention their enlightenment. What exactly was the leaven of the Pharisees? See Luke 12:1. What exactly is the leaven of the Herodians? It could be a type of hypocrisy that puts up a front of wisdom and power, when really they are foolishly flaunting sin and trying to make it look good, smart and productive. Doesn’t that sound personally familiar?

Two Stages of Healing, v22-26Here is yet another unique passage no other gospel shares. In chapter 8, We don’t have anyone who begins to understand who Jesus is. Not even the twelve disciples. They can’t imagine where they’ll get enough bread to feed these people, v4. They completely misinterpret Jesus’ bread metaphor, v6. And Mark makes explicit the fact that they can neither see nor hear, v18. In other words, they do not yet understand who he is, v21. But Jesus can heal the deaf, 7:31-37. And he can heal the blind, 8:22-26. Perhaps his two attemptsto train the disciples will pay off and enable them to see clearly! What about you and me? Doesn’t it take quite a few times of God trying to say, teach or bless us, before we get it!?!?!

Mark 7:24-37

v24-30, The Power of Humility!

The prophet Isaiah promised the Messiah/Christ would not be pulling Public Relation stunts to get attention, in fact he deliberately tried to do some work quietly, but his powerful love was so strong in every community, he couldn’t keep his work private even when he wanted to, see Isaiah 42:2. If we want to follow Jesus, we will make the same effort, no matter how vain, remember what Paul told Timothy about his good works, 1st Tim. 5:25. On the subject of the daughter’s mother, there is no arrogance, rightful pride, or over-zealous insistence that Jesus should help her. She knows her true position before God, and replies in humility. Her begging on behalf of her daughter is not a demand, it is a humble request. This truly is the way we should pray, according to God’s will, for this is the will of God, stay humble! Even the apostle Paul called himself the least of all the saints, Eph. 3:8, and he helped many many people who were victims and so can we!

v31-37, The Power of Intercession!

Again, Jesus tries to work privately, but to no avail. His powerful mercy amazes everyone, he can’t even get people to stay calm and quiet about the miraculous mercy he shares. Christ’s one word, (EPHPHATHA) with one touch, the one drop of saliva! Healed instantly! We today physically have no way of him so intimately touching anyone, but we do have all of his words we could ever desire. The real question is: Do we desire his power to live righteous lives, regardless of our physical plight? Every physical healing Jesus performed intimately while he was physically present, is a demonstration of the Father’s living will to instantly give spiritual healing while he is spiritually present! Do you believe in this powerful truth? Never forget this and take great faith in the facts explained in John 9:1-5. 

Very often in the scriptures, not always, but here, we see faith in the real source of real power being demonstrated by people other than the victim. Christians should express faith in God’s love for victims who are helpless, like the little daughter and the deaf/mute man. Do you have any victims in your family?… in your circle of friends or in this congregation? How do we express our faith in the real Healer, the great physician, Jesus.

The friends of the deaf/mute man were “beseeching” or begging Jesus. Many times in the New Testament we are reminded of how Christians are to pray for the salvation of lost souls, look closely at 1st TIm. 2:4, Romans 10:1 & Php. 1:9-11 and there are a few other examples.  There is no greater or more pressing need for people than to be saved, forgiven and growing in the grace & knowledge of Christ. Christians are often the only “letter” (2 Cor. 3:3-6) unbelievers will read, in order to meet the great Physician, Christ. He is the only Mediator, 1st Tim. 2:5. And yet, we are interceding.  Why? Because, ““The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2nd Cor. 4:4).