Having eyes, see ye not? And having ears, hear ye not? And do ye not remember? — Mark 8:18
For six months I knew my job of seventeen years was going to terminate. Diligent searching for other employment produced nothing. Many times, I prayed that the Lord would provide me with employment according to His perfect will, hoping that He would not wait until I was unemployed!
The Lord gave me promises regarding a job and let me know that I was to fully trust Him. Yet, as each opportunity for a new job faded, my faith seemed to fade also. One night at a church service, when the minister preached, “It only takes a wee bit of faith to believe,” I got down on my knees and cried out to God, “What happened to the faith I once had? Why is it so hard to trust You now? I used to feel like I had quite a measure of faith, and now I feel down to nothing. Please help me!” Christ filled me with His Spirit and reminded me that He is in control of my life, and that I can trust Him for every aspect of my life.
The Gospel of Mark indicates that Jesus’ disciples had trouble perceiving the full meaning of the miracles that He performed. In spite of what they had seen Him do, they could not seem to remember that He was all-powerful and could handle any situation. Sometimes we may struggle to comprehend or remember that as well! Yet the Lord never fails His people. At times, He does not act until we feel as if all possibilities have been exhausted, and we are ready to faint. But He is able, for He is God.
The Lord answered my prayers and gave me a job. Today, let us remember that He wants to help in whatever situation we are facing. We can remember how He has helped us before, and trust His power to undertake for us now.
In this chapter, Mark continued his substantiation of Jesus as the Son of God. In today’s text, Jesus provided food for the Gentiles, gave a warning regarding the Pharisees, and restored sight to a blind man.
Verses 1-10 contain the account of Jesus feeding the four thousand. This is not the same event as when Jesus fed the five thousand (Mark 6:30-44), for there are significant differences in the accounts. Jesus was still in Decapolis when He fed the four thousand, so this was largely a Gentile crowd. The number of loaves, fish, and baskets were specifically noted and were different on the two occasions. Also, there may have been a substantial time lapse between the two events. In the first part of his Gospel, Mark was trying to show how difficult it was for the disciples to grasp who Jesus was and His mission. The two accounts of feeding the multitudes helped point this out.
This text gives the number as four thousand without saying “men,” as the account of feeding the five thousand did. Therefore, this may have been a smaller crowd. Yet, it is quite possible that there were more leftovers on this occasion, because the Greek word translated basket in the account of the five thousand was kophinos. This was a container used by Jewish people to carry food and keep it ritually clean. In today’s text, the Greek word was sphuris, which was a larger basket constructed from reeds or rope. These were large enough to hold a person (see Acts 9:25).
As noted in verse 11, the Pharisees tempted Jesus again, seeking a supernatural sign from Heaven. They were testing His claim that God had sent Him. Because they had already proved their unwillingness to believe Him, Jesus did not give a sign, and departed to the other side of the lake.
When the disciples were concerned about having insufficient food, Jesus told them to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod. To the Jewish people, leaven was symbolic of sin; a little leaven will spread and affect a whole batch of dough. Jesus was warning the disciples to watch out for unbelief, criticism, and hypocrisy, which could easily contaminate their spirituality.
Verses 21-26 tell of the healing of a blind man. Bethsaida, also called Bethsaida-Julias, was at the northeast part of the Sea of Galilee. The Bible does not say why Jesus healed this man in stages. The man’s statement, “I see men as trees, walking” (verse 24), could be translated, “I can actually see people, for they look to me like trees — only they walk!” Although the man could see some, his vision was not distinct until the Lord put His hands upon his eyes, and he was healed completely. Again, as in the previous chapter, Jesus tried to minimize the publicity by instructing the man not to tell of the miracle in the town.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
IV. The authentication of the Son of God
M. His power to meet physical needs for Gentiles (8:1-10)
1. The need (8:1-4)
2. The miracle (8:5-10)
N. His power over the Pharisees (8:11-20)
1. The demand for a sign (8:11)
2. The demand refused (8:12)
3. An accompanying warning (8:13-20)
O. His power over blindness (8:21-26)
The Lord is well able to help us in small things or when we have reached our extremity. Let us remember to trust Him!