MARK – Chapter 8 – Who do Men Say that I am?

Tuesday Morning Bible Study

February 14, 2023, the Year of Our Lord

Pastor Carolyn Sissom

Jesus is still in the Gentile region of Tyre and Sidon near Decapolis. The miracle of the feeding of the four thousand Gentiles is similar to the feeding of the five thousand Jews in Galilee. However, Jesus emphasizes the importance of the miracle in his rebuke to His disciples in verse 13-21. Matthew is the only other of the four gospels to mention this miracle.

He is being followed into the wilderness by a very large crowd of people

Mark. 8:1-9: In those days, the multitude being very great and having nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples to Him and said to them,"I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. If I sent them away hungry to their own houses, they will faint on the way; for some of them have come from afar." Then His disciples answered Him, “How can one satisfy these people with bread here in the wilderness?” He asked them," How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.” So, He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. He took the seven loaves and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and they set them before the multitude. They also had a few small fish; and having blessed them, He said to set them also before them. So, they ate and were filled. They took up seven large baskets of leftover fragments. Those who had eaten were about four thousand. He sent them away.

Jesus is revealing that He who fed the “multitude” in the wilderness of Shur with manna from Heaven, is the same LORD who can multiple the loaves and fish. He, who is the Bread of Heaven, will supply all sustenance for His people.

John 6:33: For the bread of God is he which comes down from heaven, and gives life unto the world.

John 6:51: I am the living breach which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

John 6:58: This is that bread which came down from heaven; not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead; he that eats of this bread shall live forever.

They are yet to know Jesus as the Lamb of God who surrendered Himself to God for the service and the “FOOD’ of man. These truths find fulfillment also in the body of Christ, for we being many are one bread and one body; for we are all partakers of that one bread (1 Cor. 10;17).

The BREAD OF GOD is many-membered.

Mark 8: 10-12: Straightway he entered into a ship with his disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha. The Pharisees came forth, and began to question him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him. He sighed deeply in His and said, "Why does this generation seek a sign? Assuredly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation."

Matthew gives us a broader explanation.

Matthew 16:1-4: The Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, “it will be fair weather, for the sky is red”; and in the morning, “It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.” “Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet, Jonah." He left them and departed.

Perhaps the sign of the prophet Jonah points to Jesus being raised from the dead. Jonah was thrown into the sea and swallowed by a fish for three days. Jesus was raised from the dead in three days. Jonah’s being expelled from the fish speaks of Christ’s resurrection and triumph over death, which is the greatest “sign” God could ever give. The resurrected Jesus is the eternal sign that our sins are forgiven, and we will have eternal life with Him in Heaven.

Also, all the miracles which Jesus has performed up to this time is a “sign.” Their only motive is to discredit Jesus.

Mark 8: 13-15: "He left them, and getting into the boat again, departed to the other side. The disciples had forgotten to take bread, and they did not have more than one loaf with them in the boat. He charged them, saying, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.

Leaven is a type of evil and signifies that there is to be nothing sour or evil in the life and service of the Head and Body of the Christ.

1 Co. 5:6-7: Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore, purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.

In the meal offering, leaven was excluded. Leaven possesses fermenting properties, like pride and in the case of this passage, hypocrisy. Leaven smells. The Meal Offering was baked in fire.

Keep in mind, the disciples knew the scripture, the feasts and the sacrifices.

Lev. 2:11-12: No grain offering which you bring to the Lord shall be made with leaven, for you shall burn no leaven nor any honey in any offering to the LORD made by fire. As for the offering of the first fruits, you shall offer them to the LORD, but they shall not be burned on the altar for a sweet aroma.

This is in reference to the new Meal Offering at the Feast of Pentecost. This was not burnt on the Altar because it contained Leaven, and had a different typology. The two leavened loaves representing not Jesus Christ, but the Church made up of believing Jews and Gentiles.

Whereas, the meal offering was baked in a fiery furnace; this speaks of the fiery trial endured by Christ and His body.

Mark 8:16-21: The disciples reasoned among themselves, saying, “it is because we have no bread.” But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened? Having eyes, do you not see? and having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the fives loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments did you take up?” They said to Him, “Twelve.” Also, when I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of fragments did you take up?” And they said, “Seven.” So, He said to them, “How is it you do not understand?”

Matthew 16:12 says then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

The resurrected Jesus is the eternal sign that our sins are forgiven. I also believe the numbers to be metaphorical:

1. Five is the number of grace and 1000 is limit-less. Twelve is the number of government of God in His Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven; and the twelve tribes of Israel.

2. Four is the number of the world (Gentiles) and 1000 is limit-less. Seven is the number of fullness and perfection. For in Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. (Col.2:9). Ro. 11:25: ……until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

Psa. 89:11: The heavens are thine, the earth also is thine, as for the world and the fullness thereof, thou has founded them.

Eph. 3:19: to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge that you might be filled with all the fullness of God.

Mark 8: 22-25: Then He came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him. So, he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when he had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything. He looked up and said, “I see men like trees, walking.” Then Jesus put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. He was restored and saw everyone clearly. Then He sent him away to his house, saying, “neither go into the town, nor tell anyone in the town.”

This reveals the ministry of the Body of Christ. If those who are either blind in eyesight; or spiritually blind do not pray for themselves, yet friends and relatives praying for them even then, Christ will be pleased through our prayers to touch and heal the blind.

Here is Christ leading the blind man. He led him outside the village, so as not to create a scene or have unbelief from the village. Christ never does his work by the halves. He put his hands upon his eyes and then the blind-man could see clearly.

Jesus now begins His journey to Jerusalem.

The main task Jesus had to undertake on the course of this journey from the north of Palestine to Jerusalem was to prepare His disciples for His ensuing crucifixion.

Mark 8:27-30: Jesus and His disciples went out to the towns of Caesarea Philippi, and on the road he asked His disciples, saying to them, “Who do men say that I am?” So, they answered, “John the Baptist; for some say, Elijah, and others, one of the prophets.” He said to them, “but who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said to Him, “You are the Christ.” Then He strictly warned them that they should tell no one about Him.

Matthew 16: 16-17: Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon-Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you, that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

The “Rock” in Peter’s revelation is, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

These twelve men sacrificed their homes and livelihood to follow Jesus and live in his company. When they joined with him, most believed he was the Messiah.

John 1:40-42: One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “we have found the Messiah (which is translated, the Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “you are Simon, the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas (which is translated, A Stone).

Jesus knows they will be tested in this conviction as well as persecuted. He also knows there is a traitor in the twelve. He is checking their hearts knowing full well they will all be shaken to the very core of that conviction.

These verses are Jesus’ first prediction of His death and resurrection. Peter doesn’t pass this test too well. He is again rebuked.

Mark 8:31-33: Jesus began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He spoke this word openly. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. But when he had turned around and looked at His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, "Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men"

Even though Father God revealed Jesus to Peter as the Messiah, Peter still does not understand that God is no longer in the Jewish Temple; and the elders, chief priests and scribes are no longer God's Kingdom servants.

The next verses are a “sweet sermon.” This is who taught me to preach “sweet sermons.”

Mark 8:34-38: When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, "Whoever, desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the son of Man also will ashamed when he comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels."

To his followers who are present with Him, these will be persecuted and many die if they decide to follow Jesus. He is telling them to be prepared to face martyrdom, with the indignity of being made to carry the transverse beam of his cross to the place of execution, which was the practice under the Romans. The cost of discipleship for the infant church would thus have to be willing to lose their mortal life; and all this, for Christ’s sake and for the gospel i.e. for the sake of spreading abroad the good news of the Kingdom of God; for only in this way would he attain the true life, that of the age to come.

He, by contrast, who aimed to save his (mortal) life, especially such as sought to enrich themselves, and gain the whole world would be spiritually destitute in the eternal order, Christ Himself manifesting towards them then His utmost displeasure.

The coming of the Kingdom God with power will not be delayed. For certain of those then listening to Him would still be alive when this occurred. That God’s kingdom was and is a present reality in the ministry of Jesus, and yet would have a future consummation. Through Jesus’ ministry, the Kingdom of God is a present reality, but greater power will be revealed.

1. Jesus’ transfiguration.

2. His crucifixion and resurrection.

3. Pentecost and the descent of the Holy Spirit indwelling.

4. A visible manifestation of the Rule of God displayed in the life of an elect community.

5. Signs and Wonders done by the apostles.

6. The spread of Christianity throughout the Roman empire.

7. The spread of Christianity throughout every nation, tribe and people.

Some who are standing here indicates many of those standing there would then be dead.  A minority, nevertheless, would still be living in A.D. 70 when the Romans destroy Jerusalem and the temple; and its glorious sequel, the Christian Church.

The disciples still do not understand that God is in Christ and Jesus is now God's temple on earth.  The presence of God has left the temple in Jerusalem. 

Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries Church, 10115 West Hidden Lakes Lane, Richmond, TX. 77406

Scripture from N.K.J.V. – I entered into the labors of F. F. Bruce Bible Commentary, Stephen S. Short; and Matthew Henry Commentary; Principles of Present Truth, Kelly Varner. Comments and conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect the views of those who I entered into their labors.

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