The Gospel of Mark is part of the synoptic Gospels. The early church attributes authorship to John Mark, a student of Peter in Rome. Written by Mark witnessed earlier by Peter. It is though to have been written around 64 AD under Emperor Nero. Nero launched Persecution of believer’s of the way. The original audience is believers in Rome. It is probable believer’s in Rome experienced anxiety out of fear of persecution. Thesis: Bear witness to God’s greatness among us. (Exhortation)
Main Idea: Distractions can narrow our ability to experience God’s greatness. Where do we see ourselves within the text?
Themes running through passage are:
- Myopic perspective (unsure of things in a distance) Spiritual
- Slow to perceive
In the text the author provides us with three experiences “on the way” of Jesus and the disciples. The first takes place on the boat. Notice the disciples forgot to bring sufficient provision for their journey. Jesus warns them to Watch out-Beware of the Yeast of the Pharisees and King Herod. What does this mean? Yeast was often symbolic of “influence” such as, piety of the Pharisees and political corruption of King Herod. Jesus again encounters the disciples as they are having side conversations among them about what appears to be Jesus’ comment to them about the Yeast…“It’s because we have no bread.”
Jesus Knew and cautioned them saying, “Why are you talking about having no bread.” Jesus then follows up with a series of questions? Do you still not perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes and fail to see? Do you have ears and fail to hear? And do you not remember when I broke five loaves of bread for the five thousand? Do you not yet understand? Second is the healing of the blind man in Bethsaida. Jesus double touch healing of a nameless blind man in Bethsaida is the only place in the Gospel’s where a healing occurs in stages. Miracle stories in Antiquity stressed suddenness (C.Keener)
Use of irony is common in the Gospel of Mark. The healing appears to take place in private as the text indicates Jesus led him out of the village. Jesus then puts saliva on his eyes then lays hands on him. Note: Saliva was commonly associated with healing. (C. Keener) At the first touch Jesus asks the blind man; “Can you see anything? The blind man sees distorted. “I see people but they look like trees walking.” At the second touch Jesus says, “Your vision is restored.”
Jesus went on with the disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; Jesus and Peter are in dialogue; following Peter’s response to Jesus about whom people say Jesus is? (John the Baptist, Elijah or one of the Prophets) Peter then confesses Christ as “Messiah” after being asked by Jesus “But who do you say I am?” It is ironic that the story of the blind man who receives a double touch healing is in between the two accounts of the disciples, faltering perception of God among them. Remember full revelation of Jesus doesn’t come to Peter until after the resurrection when Jesus speaks to Peter. We know that Jesus was human yet never ceased to be fully God. So what?
- Even in their shortcomings God worked patiently with the disciples.
- God’s love for humanity is Constant. Often undeserved by human standards.Grace!
- Our response to God is our faith and Witness to God’s Greatness among us.
Where are we falling short?
Let us bear witness to God’s greatness among us.
Keener, Craig S. The IVP Bible background commentary: New Testament/Craig
Bible NRSV, NIV
Old Testament Lesson: Isaiah 55:10-12
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
For you shall go out in joy,
and be led back in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall burst into song,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Gospel Lesson: Mark 8:14-30
Now the disciples had forgotten to bring any bread; and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. And Jesus cautioned them, saying, “Watch out—beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.” They said to one another, “It is because we have no bread.” And becoming aware of it, Jesus said to them, “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes, and fail to see? Do you have ears, and fail to hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?” They said to him, “Twelve.” “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?” And they said to him, “Seven.” Then he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?”
They came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village; and when he had put saliva on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Can you see anything?” And the man looked up and said, “I can see people, but they look like trees, walking.” Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he looked intently and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Then he sent him away to his home, saying, “Do not even go into the village.”
Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.
Meditations For Your Week
Sunday, October 21 ~ Saturday, October 27
Sunday: “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2
Monday: “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.” Romans 8:16
Tuesday: “I am He who testifies about Myself, and the Father who sent Me testifies about Me.” John 8:18
Wednesday: “And behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”
Thursday: “Jesus answered and said to them, “Even if I testify about Myself, My testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from or where I am going.” John 8:14
Friday: “You call me teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am.” John 13:13
Saturday: “And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.” Acts 4:33