About Jesus Steve Sweetman
This Section - Chapter 8 9:1
section of Mark concerns the feeding of the “four thousand”.
We should not confuse this feeding of the four thousand with the
feeding of the five thousand we saw previously.
Some liberal scholars want to suggest that both accounts speak of
the same event, but if you look at the time and location, you’ll soon
see these two events are two different events.
phrase “those days” in verse 1 refers to the days Jesus spent in the
verse 2 Jesus mentions to the disciples that He has “compassion” on
all these people. They were
getting hungry and they’d been listening to Jesus teach for 3 days now.
We should note here that Jesus does have compassion for people’s
stomachs. Hungry people are a
concern for Jesus. What we
don’t know is if these people had brought food with them and now
they’ve run out of food, or they hadn’t eaten for 3 whole days.
these people hadn’t eaten for 3 days you have good reason to ask why
Jesus didn’t have concern about their hunger prior to this point.
should note that Jesus does not ask the disciples what He should do.
He only mentions to them that the crowd has come from a distance
and He doesn’t want to send them home hungry or else they’d not make
it home alive. Jesus is simply
making this statement, maybe to see how these men would respond.
verse 4 the disciples do respond by telling Jesus that they were in a
remote place and that there wasn’t any place around to get food for
them. You might wander at this point why the disciples would have answered
the way they did in light of the previous feeding of the five thousand men
plus woman and children. Did
they not learn anything from that miracle?
on the other hand some scholars suggest that there is faith in the
disciples response to Jesus.
By saying that there’s no food source to be found, these scholars are
suggesting that the disciples understand that Jesus is the only one that
can provide food.
in the feeding of the five thousand, in verse 6, Jesus asks them how many
loaves of bread they have. The
answer was seven loaves.
verse 6 Jesus tells the people to sit down whereas in the last feeding He
told the disciples to have the people sit down in groups of 50 and 100.
Jesus then took the 7 loaves and gave thanks, just as He did the
last time and then gave the loaves to the disciples to distribute.
Jesus hands out the loaves to the disciples, scholars say that is when the
miracle took place due to the Greek verb tense and structure of the
sentence. Thus the miracle did
not take place as the Twelve passed the loaves to the people.
This is how I believe the miracle took place with the last feeding
time there were 7 baskets of food left over, whereas the last time there
were 12 baskets of food left over. The
last time we noted that there was one basket of leftovers for each of the
Twelve. If that really meant
something, you might then ask, “were there only 7 of the Twelve here at
this feeding”? That we
don’t know. And we don’t
know why they only had 7 baskets of food leftover.
One thing we do know about all of the events that the Gospel
writers have written, and that is more is said and done in these events
than what is recorded. So we
simply don’t have all the answers, because we don’t have all the
commentators have commented on the baskets that would have been used in
both cases. They were made of
wicker, and it is quite possible they might have been very large, holding
up to 50 loaves of bread.
tells us in verse 9 that there were about 4000 men, meaning the crowd was
much larger than 4000 including woman and children.
Jesus dismissed the crowd He and His disciples
got into a boat once again and left for the region of Dalminutha.
This area is not mentioned anywhere else in the New Testament so it
is likely that it was a small locality, located on the west side of the
Sea of Galilee.
verse 11 Jesus and His followers get out of the boat and another crowd
gathers by Jesus which included some Pharisees, which was normal.
These Pharisees asked Jesus to give a “sign from Heaven”
proving Him to be sent from God. Of course, these men had heard of, and
most likely seen many of Jesus’ miracles.
But remember, they attributed these miracles to the devil who they
claimed was working through Jesus. They
wanted some kind of dramatic sign that would come down from Heaven, like
when Joshua made the sun stand still for 24 hours, or when Elijah made
fire come down from the heavens. They
wanted to see something come down from Heaven.
need to understand that this request was not made from a genuine heart of
faith but was made to test, or trick Jesus as Mark says.
Jesus does not have to respond to such arrogant
and faithless requests.
one thing these Pharisees didn’t understand was that there was such a
sign that came down from Heaven when Jesus was baptized by John.
The voice that came from Heaven saying that this was God’s
beloved Son and that He was pleased with Him.
This was the sign, the Heavenly credentials that these men were
looking for but did not want to accept.
flat out says that no sign will be given to this generation who always
wants a sign. Proof enough had
already been given to show Jesus’ credentials.
Jesus simply left them and got back in the boat and proceeded once
again to the other side of the lake.
most likely understood that any miracle
shown to a rebellious heart of unbelief would not satisfy anyway.
It wouldn’t back then and it won’t today.
It is this heart of faithless unbelief that must first change
before Jesus will respond to any of our requests.
this situation with the Pharisees we learn that Jesus does not feel
compelled to show a sign or to perform a miracle.
He also doesn’t feel compelled to stay and try to reach hearts
that don’t want to be reached.
verse 14 Mark tells us that the disciples had forgotten to bring some
bread with them on their trip, except for one loaf.
It is pretty clear that there was some talk about this so Jesus
uses this incident as a spring board to
teach the disciples.
verse 15 Jesus warns His disciples. The
word “warn” is a strong word. My
thinking is that Jesus is now feeling the pressure of the cross that would
soon come. This pressure in
His humanity might have made Jesus somewhat irritable and easily upset at
times. Therefore this warning
might well have been said is a strong way.
He warns them by saying, “be careful, watch out for the yeast of
the Pharisees and that of Herod”.
is interesting that Jesus puts the Pharisees and Herod together in the
same sentence. He warns the
disciples of the yeast of both the Pharisees and Herod.
Now Herod clearly is a Gentile ruler which the Jews hated.
To associate the Pharisees with this man is a pretty drastic thing
on the part of Jesus.
is that part of the bread that causes the bread to rise and fill out.
It only takes a small measure of yeast to make a good full loaf of
bread. In the case of the
Pharisees a little bit of hypocrisy builds up to a lifestyle of self
Herod, the yeast concerns his liberalism in moral values.
In both respects sin is the problem that shows itself in different
verse 16 we see that the disciples didn’t really understand what Jesus
was talking about. They
thought because they forgot to bring some bread with them that Jesus
brought up the subject about yeast. Yet
once again, Jesus and the disciples weren’t connecting in their
conversation with each other.
verse 17 Jesus sees them talking among themselves about this.
Jesus’ frustration or irritableness is seen
when He asks four questions. The
first question is, “Do you still not see or understand”?
After so many talks these men still don’t get much of what Jesus
is talking about, and this is now the third year of the disciples being
second question is, “Are your hearts hardened”?
This question implies more than just not being able to understand.
When New Testament writers use the words “hardened heart”, for
the most part it is in reference to unbelief.
Jesus is in fact questioning their trust in Him. Not understanding
is one thing, but still not believing or trusting is another thing
fourth question is, “do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail
to hear”? These men do have
physical eyes and ears. They
do see what Jesus does and hear what He says.
But what they see and hear doesn’t get translated into a good
mental understanding, much like many people today.
We can see and hear all we want from hundreds of sermon, but if we
don’t seriously sit down and think these things through with the help of
the Holy Spirit, we’ll be just like these disciples. We do have to
remember, they did not have the Holy Spirit in them at this point, but
still, the Holy Spirit was speaking through the words of Jesus.
verses 19 and 20 Jesus reminded these men of the miracles of the five
thousand and four thousand. He
asked them how many loaves of bread were left over on each occasion.
They answered correctly. They
had 12 baskets of food left over after the feeding of the five thousand
and 7 baskets of food left over after the feeding of the four thousand.
quite possible that the disciples exhibited much concern when they
discovered they forgot to bring bread with them. Jesus didn’t reminded
these men of how He fed the crowd. He
reminded them of how much food was left over.
This might well be to
tell them that He looked after them in the past, and He’d do the same
now and in the future, so why worry.
matter comes down to trust. These
men had 2 huge events that showed them that Jesus would look after them,
yet in this instance, they had a lack of trust.
Trust is the basic thing Jesus works with us on.
As trust in Him becomes stronger, we become more like Jesus.
verse 21 Jesus repeats question number 1 by asking, “do you still not
still don’t seem to get what Jesus is trying to tell them.
know that Jesus loved these men but the 3 years that He spent with them
were trying years in some respects. In
question number 1 Jesus asked, “do you not understand”?
He ends the conversation with “do you still not understand”?
Both questions are similar with a slight difference.
I think the last question might well have had a hint of resignation
mixed with it. That is to say, “you still don’t get it.
Let’s just drop the subject for a while and give your mind and
hearts a rest”.
verse 22 we see that Jesus and His disciples came to
verse 23 we see that Jesus led this blind man by the hand outside of the
city. Jesus could have healed
this man immediately but for some reason He didn’t.
Maybe He wanted to talk with the man as they walked together and as
they most likely tried to avoid the large crowd.
Jesus and the man reached the spot where Jesus intended to go, He spit on
the man’s eyes. We always
wonder why Jesus did this because it seemed so unusual.
No one really knows why Jesus spit as He did.
While spitting, Jesus touched the man and then asked him to look up
to see what he saw.
verse 24 we note that the man told Jesus that He saw men as if they were
trees walking. The man clearly
could not see properly. Once
again, we always ask, “why no immediate healing”.
Some might suggest that it might be possible that Jesus’ saliva
made things appear blurry. This
might well be. Yet on the
other hand, if this was the case, you’d then ask, “why did Jesus touch
the man again to apparently complete the healing”?
can only guess why it took 2 touches for this man to be healed.
My guess is that this was a special occasion.
Jesus obviously wanted to be with this man, somewhat alone and talk
things over with Him, or else He wouldn’t have walked with him outside
of the village. My guess is
that Jesus was building trust in this man.
Step by step Jesus presented this man with another occasion to
trust. First He’d have to
trust Jesus to lead Him out of the city safely.
The man then would have to trust Jesus in the things He told him on
the way. Then trust was being
built with this two part healing. In
the end, the man could see perfectly.
verse 26 Jesus told the man to go home without going into the village that
they just came from. It is
thus clear that the man did not live in that village, yet we ask, “why
did Jesus say this”? On a
number of occasions Jesus told people not to say anything about their
healing, and many times it was simply because Jesus didn’t want everyone
to know. The crowds were
already large enough.
this man needed time to think and ponder on what had happened.
Maybe he didn’t need the crowd to take away the importance of
this moment by their business. We
can’t say for sure. We only
note that this is what Jesus wanted this man to do and hopefully trust had
been built sufficiently for this man to obey Jesus.
point out that from this point on in Jesus’ life He speaks about His
suffering that will take place. So
far in Mark there’s been next to little talk about His suffering but
from here on out it is definitely on Jesus’ mind.
verse 27 we see Jesus and His disciples walking towards Caeserea Philipi.
While on the road walking Jesus asks them, “who do people say
that I am”? I believe that
Jesus knew exactly who people thought He was.
What He was doing here was beginning an important discussion with
His main followers. He could
have asked, “who do you say I am”, but He reserves that question for
later. Right now He wanted the
disciples to think about others and what they thought.
He wanted to show the contrast between what people thought about
who He was and what He wanted the disciples to understand.
thought Jesus was a great prophet. Others thought He was
Elijah returning to announce the Messiah’s soon coming to
seems clear to me that if some people thought that John or Elijah could
come back from the dead, it should not have been too hard for these people
to believe that Jesus could in fact come back from the dead, although many
didn’t believe when it happened.
asks the important question in verse 29 when He asks, “who do you say I
am”. Now that they’ve
answered what the general consensus was,
Jesus wanted them to seriously consider who they thought He was.
Did they agree with the general public, or did they believe Jesus
to be someone else?
same question is the important question for every human being to come to
grips with. It is evident that
Jesus has had a profound impact
on human history. We’ve
idolized, venerated, and greatly esteemed many lesser men in history.
How we view Jesus, is
the most important thing for us to come to a conclusion about, but sad to
say, many ignore giving any serious thought to who He is.
Because of Jesus’ importance in human history it would seem to me
that we all should think about this question that Jesus asks His disciple
while walking along a country road.
was the first one to answer. Was
this impetuous Peter, or was he the one appointed by God to actually
answer this question? I
believe Peter was impetuous, but I also believe that Peter was the one who
was to answer this question, because he would take the lead in the early
church and Jesus’ response to Peter was partly teaching in nature and
also partly prophetic.
does not tell us the whole story as Matthew does.
Mark only says that Peter responds to Jesus by saying, “you are
the Christ”. Jesus’
controversial reply to Peter is omitted by Mark.
The controversy is
between Protestants and Catholics concerning Jesus’ words
“upon this rock I will build my church”.
Catholics say the word “rock” refers to Peter, while
Protestants believe the word “rock” refers to Peter’s confession.
believe Peter’s confession is the rock.
The rock is the foundation rock to all that is called Christian.
The truth that Jesus is the Christ is the cornerstone to our faith.
Yet before Jesus can be the Christ, He has to be Lord, because only
the Lord of all there is can do the things Jesus did that would bring
about salvation by His roll of Christ.
doesn’t say it, but Peter went on to say, “the Son of the Living
God”. (Matt. 16:16) In order
for Jesus to be Lord, He first needs to be the “Son of God”.
He needs to be God in human flesh.
One who is not God cannot be Lord of all things, and in turn cannot
be the Christ, our Saviour. There
is a progression to whom Jesus really is.
He is first Jesus, meaning the Son Of God.
Then He is Lord and Christ which are descriptive titles.
title Christ simply means “the anointed one”, which means that God the
Father has anointed Jesus His Son to be what the Jews called the Messiah.
Yet by the time Jesus the Messiah came to earth the Jewish concept
of Messiah was that of a political leader, and Jesus certainly was not a
political leader, although many wanted to make Him one.
Jesus was the suffering servant who came to be sacrificed as a
sacrificial lamb for not only
could possibly be part of the reason why Jesus told the Twelve not to tell
anyone that He was the Christ. The
general public would have thought in wrong terms.
Jesus was not a political Christ that would save the Jews from the
Romans. Besides, such talk
would have brought on new controversy that might well have sped up the
arrest of Jesus that in my opinion had a specific date to be accomplished.
one other possible reason why the Twelve were told not to broadcast this
truth. They as yet had not
received the Holy Spirit and His power to enable them to proclaim this
truth as they should. Only
after Pentecost were they capable of preaching the gospel as it was to be
Peter’s answer to Jesus, we note from Matthew that Jesus said his answer
came by revelation, and that would be revelation by the Holy Spirit.
Peter didn’t think this up on his own.
He had help. Thus I
believe this whole experience with Jesus, Peter and the other disciples
was a spiritual experience. I
believe the Holy Spirit could be felt in this time of teaching in a
this point in Mark’s narrative, we’re well into the third years of
Jesus’ earthly ministry. Things
that Jesus now says and does
point to the end of this ministry, and He clearly has these things on His
verse 31 Mark says that Jesus “began to teach” concerning the things
He would suffer at the hands of the Jewish leadership.
The word “began” suggests a new phase in Jesus’ teaching.
Prior to this Jesus had eluded to the suffering yet to come, but
now He “began” to tell His disciples plainly what would soon come to
tells them exactly what will happen. He
will suffer and actually be killed at the hands of the elders, chief
priests, and teachers of the Law. Yet
things wouldn’t end there. He would rise from the dead.
last part of verse 31 says that Jesus did indeed “speak plainly” about
these things. He spoke plainly
enough that I’m sure the disciples understood what He was saying.
At least Peter did, for in verse 32 Mark tells us that Peter took
Jesus aside and “rebuked” Him. Peter,
a mere man, taking God in human flesh aside, to correct Him shows you a
little bit of the personality of Peter.
and the others, may have understood the words that Jesus was telling them
but they didn’t understand the meaning behind the words.
They got the idea that Jesus would die. They didn’t understand
that this was God’s plan for Jesus.
can just see Peter as if he were Jesus’ big brother, trying to clue
Jesus in on how things should be and that he and the others would not
allow the Jewish leadership to do as Jesus said.
verse 33 we see that after Peter took Jesus aside, Jesus turned and looked
at the disciples and rebuked Peter in return.
I’m guessing that Jesus’ rebuke was a little more stern than Peter’s.
looks at Peter and says, “get behind me satan”. Or in more modern
terms, “get out of my way satan”.
Jesus was looking at Peter, yet speaking to satan.
To me, it is clear that satan was using Peter’s words as a test
for Jesus. Jesus could turn back. It
wasn’t too late. Peter could help Jesus out of his time of sufferings,
but Jesus would have nothing to do with this.
He was steadfast. He
had a job to do within certain
time frame, and He would not be swayed by Peter or by satan.
incident shows us how Jesus could discern
the spiritual world around Him.
It also shows us how satan can use words that people say, even
though the words may be well intended by the person.
There is a demonic world around us influencing people and using
them for satanic purposes.
I believe that the confession of Peter was a spiritual experience for all
those present, it does not surprise me that satan would be around to mess
up this revelation. His
attempt to use Peter’s words could be an attempt to nullify the
revelation that Peter received.
verse 34 and following Jesus speaks to the disciples and others that are
around with strong words. He
says that if anyone is interested in following Him, he must deny himself.
What Jesus was saying here is that you can’t serve yourself and
Him at the same time.
goes on to say that if you really want to save your life you have to lose
it for my sake and the gospel’s sake.
Simply put, Jesus is saying that the good life will eventually come
to you, but before that happens, you must deny yourself, take up your
cross and die as I will. You
must lose what is precious to you and replace it with the things of
God’s Kingdom. We as
Christians should major on being representatives of the
my thinking, these words of Jesus as spoken here tell us how we should
live in this age. This age is
about self denial for the purpose of following Jesus.
This age is not about accumulating wealth, prestige, or any other
worldly things. This is a
different mentality than most North American Christians have today.
We think of getting blessings instead of
36 is well known. “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world,
yet forfeit his own soul”. Truly
the things of Jesus, the things of the Spirit are much more important than
any worldly possession, even if that includes every thing in the world,
and that’s an awful lot of things. One’s
soul is the most precious possession that he has.
verse 37 Jesus asks, “what shall a man give in exchange for his
soul:”? What Jesus is
really saying here is, “can you actually place a monetary or material
value on one’s soul”? The
answer is clearly “no”. One’s soul is too valuable to have a value.
The reason for this is because one’s soul is eternal and no
material possession can equal or out-value one’s soul.
what the soul of man is to me
is somewhat debatable. There’s
been different ways of thinking about the soul over the centuries.
Is the soul different from the spirit, or are they the same.
Those who believe in the triune nature of man say they are
different. One things we know
is that whatever the soul is, it is that part of man that is eternal.
things that Jesus is saying here tell us that things pertaining to Jesus
are more important than anything else and therefore we should spend our
time and energy on these things.
verse 38 we see how Jesus viewed the generation in which He lived.
He called it an “adulterous and sinful” generation.
The followers of Jesus picked up on this and they continued in such
thinking. Things really
haven’t changed in our day and age and therefore we should think the
same of the generation in which we live.
The problem often occurs in that we love our generation more than
we aught to, and we don’t see it as sinful.
And even if you do brand this generation in such a way, to the
secular world we’d be out of step. The
average opinion of people is that they are relatively good.
This really isn’t New Testament thinking.
in verse 38 we see that we should not be ashamed about Jesus.
We should boldly stand up for what we believe in. If we can’t,
and if we are afraid and ashamed, Jesus says that He will be ashamed of us
when He returns. Christians
should not shrink back and take a back seat to the world.
With a gracious spirit, we should stand firm for our convictions.
Sometimes we may stand firm, but not so graciously.
one is ashamed, they feel shame for that which they are ashamed of. They
feel embarrassed. This
embarrassment causes them to act in fear and not to associate one’s self
with that which he is ashamed of. Therefore
if we are embarrassed about Jesus, we have fear, and that fear prevents us
from representing Jesus to the
world as we should. Fear is
the opposite of faith. This
fear and embarrassment then is a direct result of us having little or no
trust in Jesus.
take this verse to mean that Jesus will disown those who are ashamed of
Him when He returns. I’m not
convinced that Jesus is saying He will disown us. There may be those who do trust Jesus, but their trust is week, and
therefore they do feel shame. If Jesus disowns them, that suggests that
there needs to be a certain level of faith to be saved.
I believe that even the smallest level of trust in Jesus leads to
salvation. I’m not saying
that we should stay at such a place of weak faith.
We do need to progress. I’m
saying that when Jesus returns for His people, He will reward His people
according to their trust in Him and the things they’ve done based
on that trust. If we have
little trust and we are ashamed, Jesus will be ashamed of us as we stand
before Him, but we still stand before Him as His child, weak as we may be.
I’m not saying all will be saved.
I’m saying that not everyone has the same measure of trust in
Jesus, and some are afraid to express that trust today.
I believe that shame that Jesus is speaking about here is based on
no faith, not a little faith.
translations consider chapter 9 verse 1 as part of this section.
Jesus says that some people standing with Him at that moment would
be around when the