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!?!?!