Here we are today in Mark chapter 8 and this is one of my favorite accounts of Jesus. Crowds followed Him everywhere to hear Him teach and see Him do miracles. This crowd was numbered well above 4000 and Jesus was concerned that they had been with Him, listening to him for 3 days, and were hungry to the point of collapse. Just think, they had been willing to sit with Him without food because of who He was and what He had to say.
Once again Jesus asked the disciples to provide food and once again they were at a loss. He asks them to start with what they have. What did they have? 7 loaves and some small fish. I like the part where it says the people ate AND were satisfied. They didn’t just eat enough to knock the hunger off but were satisfied. Jesus fed AND satisfied over 4000 people with only 7 small loaves and a few fish.
Then the disciples picked up the scraps. Why would Jesus want to save the scraps? What do you think?
Then we see those pesky Pharisees coming after Jesus again. They were a bit like Texas mosquitoes - they just keep coming. They asked for a sign from heaven. It says Jesus sighed and said no sign will be given. He was tired from teaching and then these guys came and challenged Him again. Why do you think He said no? Perhaps because they didn’t believe who He was. Or maybe they just wanted a miracle for a miracle's sake.
Then Jesus and the disciples discussed bread again. They had forgotten to bring bread with them again. Jesus told them to watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod. (Yeast was a symbol for sin and evil). The disciples didn’t understand what Jesus was saying to them. Jesus asked them, “Why are you still taking about having no bread?” Do you not see or understand? Are your hearts hard? Do you have eyes but don’t see and ears but don’t hear? And don’t you remember? When I broke the five loaves for the 5 thousand , how many baskets did you pick up? Twelve! And when I broke 7 loaves for the 4 thousand how many baskets did you pick up? Seven!
Why don’t you understand?
Then we go on to the healing of the blind man at Bethsaida. I thought it was interesting that this miracle was of blindness healed after He had asked the disciples, do you have eyes but not see? He, Jesus, restored sight.
Then we see him walking and talking with His disciples. He asked them, “Who do people say that I am?” They gave Him answers. John the Baptist. Elijah. One of the prophets. Then He asked, “But what about you? Who do YOU say that I am? Then Peter spoke up and answered, “You are the Christ.”
Peter got it! Christ is the Greek term for Messiah, which is a Hebrew word. For the Jews the Messiah was the one who was prophesied about, the future king of Israel who would deliver them from bondage and bring a time of freedom, power, influence and prosperity.
Jesus goes on to teach of His death and the chapter concludes with Jesus saying, "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet give up his soul?" What can a man exchange for his soul?
Think—what is your soul worth? Is it worth all the time and effort spent on all the “stuff” that we do and get? Is it just efforts to please others or is it a total commitment to Christ? What will you exchange your soul for?