Mark 8: Demand for a Sign

What is the likelihood that hungry people would faint on their way home? Why wouldn’t it have been sufficient to offer a prayer for God to sustain them?

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Mark 8:1–3 During these days, another huge crowd gathered. Because they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples. “I feel sorry for all these people who have been with me for three days and have nothing left to eat. If I send them away hungry, they might faint on their way home because many have come from far away.”
King James
Mark 8:1–3 In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them, I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat: And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far.

If the disciples had already seen a multitude of five thousand fed, why would they doubt what could have been done with a smaller crowd?

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Mark 8:4 The disciples said, “In a desolate place like this, where can we get enough food to feed so many?”
King James
Mark 8:4 And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness?

How many disciples were present to distribute food?

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Mark 8:5–8 “How many loaves do you have?”
“Seven,” they said.
Jesus told the people to sit on the ground. He took the loaves, gave thanks, and broke them. He gave the pieces to the disciples, who distributed them to the crowd.
They also had a few small fish that he blessed and gave to the disciples to serve.
After all had eaten as much as they wanted, the disciples gathered seven full baskets of leftover pieces.
King James
Mark 8:5–8 And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven. And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people. And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them. So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets.

How was the size of the crowd measured?

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Mark 8:9 Jesus sent the people home—four thousand men, plus women and children.
King James
Mark 8:9 And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away.

Why did Jesus take a boat rather than walk to Dalmanutha?

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Mark 8:10 Immediately after feeding the four thousand, Jesus got into a boat with his disciples and went to the area of Dalmanutha.
King James
Mark 8:10 And straightway he entered into a ship with his disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha.

If the Pharisees had seen Jesus at work or had heard reliable reports of his miracles, how cold they think they were testing him by asking for a sign? What did they think Jesus would or would not do?

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Mark 8:11 Some Pharisees came to test his claim that he had been sent by God. So they asked him to show them a miraculous sign from Heaven.
King James
Mark 8:11 And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him.

Why did Jesus refuse to do what the Pharisees had asked?

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Mark 8:12–13 He gave a deep groan. “Why do people keep asking for a sign? Without a doubt, no such proof will be given to this generation.” So he left them standing there.
He got back into the boat and headed for the other side of the lake.
King James
Mark 8:12–13 And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation. And he left them, and entering into the ship again departed to the other side.

What circumstances might have existed that would cause the disciples to forget bread? Why did Jesus choose this particular time to talk about yeast? What did they think he meant?

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Mark 8:14–16 The disciples had forgotten to take bread and had only a single loaf in the boat.
“Watch out,” Jesus said. “Be careful to avoid the yeast of the Pharisees and those partial to Herod.”
They reasoned among themselves what Jesus meant. “He must have said this because we failed to bring enough bread.”
King James
Mark 8:14–16 Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf. And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod. And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have no bread.

Why didn’t the disciples understand what Jesus was saying?

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Mark 8:17–21 Jesus knew what they were saying. “Why do you think it’s a problem that we have no bread? Do you not yet understand? Do you still have hardened hearts? Are you like those who have eyes that cannot see or ears that cannot hear? Don’t you remember? When I broke the five loaves to feed the five thousand, how many baskets of leftovers did you have?”
“Twelve,” they said.
“When I broke the seven loaves to feed the four thousand, how many did you have?”
“Seven,” they said.
“How is it, then, that you still do not understand?”
King James
Mark 8:17–21 And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened? Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember? When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? They say unto him, Twelve. And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? And they said, Seven. And he said unto them, How is it that ye do not understand?

What was the expectation of the people who brought the blind man to Jesus? Why?

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Mark 8:22 At Bethsaida, people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him.
King James
Mark 8:22 And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him.

Why didn’t Jesus’ first touch completely heal the blind man?

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Mark 8:23–26 He took the man by the hand and led him out of town. There, he spat on his eyes and laid his hands on him. “Can you see now?”
The man looked around. “Yes, I can see people, but they look like trees walking.”
Again Jesus laid his hands on the man’s eyes.
This time when the man looked, his eyes were fully opened, and he could see everything clearly.
Jesus sent the man straight home, saying, “Do not go into town, and do not tell anyone how you were healed.”
King James
Mark 8:23–26 And 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 upon him, he asked him if he saw ought. And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly. And he sent him away to his house, saying, Neither go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town.

Why might Jesus’ identity be of public interest in the area near Caesarea Philippi?

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Mark 8:27–28 After leaving Galilee, Jesus and his disciples headed toward one of the towns near Caesarea Philippi. As they walked, he said, “Who do people say that I am?”
They said, “Some say you are John the Baptizer. Others say you are Elijah or one of the other prophets.”
King James
Mark 8:27–28 And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am? And they answered, John the Baptist: but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets.

How did Peter’s spiritual perception differ from what the disciples knew about Jesus in the beginning? How was that knowledge remarkably different from common public opinion?

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Matthew 16:17 “Very good, Simon, son of Jonah. You did not become convinced because of someone’s teaching, but my Father in Heaven revealed it to you.”
Mark 8:29 “Who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter said, “You are the Anointed One, the Messiah.”
King James
Matthew 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
Mark 8:29 And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ.

Why did Jesus want his disciples to know him but let others continue in their misconceptions?

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Mark 8:30–31 He gave a stern warning: “Do not tell anyone that I am the Messiah.”
Jesus began to explain to his disciples his need to go to Jerusalem and endure great suffering at the hand of government officials, chief priests, and teachers of the Law. “I will be killed,” he said, “but three days later I will rise to life.”
King James
Mark 8:30–31 And he charged them that they should tell no man of him. And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

What did the disciples think when they heard Jesus say he would suffer, die, and be raised to life three days later?

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Mark 8:31–32 Jesus began to explain to his disciples his need to go to Jerusalem and endure great suffering at the hand of government officials, chief priests, and teachers of the Law.
“I will be killed,” he said, “but three days later I will rise to life.”
He talked to them plainly, clearly explaining what he meant.
Simon Peter took Jesus aside and privately reprimanded him for saying such things.
King James
Mark 8:31–32 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.

Why did Peter object to what Jesus said would happen?

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Mark 8:33 Jesus turned and saw the other disciples, then looked at Peter. “Do not stand in my way, adversary. You do not understand the plan of God. You see only from a human point of view.”
King James
Mark 8:33 But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.

What does it mean to “take up your cross”? How important is doing that?

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Mark 8:34–35 VWhen a crowd had gathered with his disciples, he began to teach. “If anyone wants to follow me, he must sacrifice his selfish desires. Take up your cross, and then you can follow me. If you try to save your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you lose your life for my sake and for spreading the good news, you will find it.”
King James
Mark 8:34–35 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.

What makes our life on Earth worth something?

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Mark 8:36–37 “What have you gained if you own the whole world but lose your life? Nothing has sufficient value that you should want to exchange it for your life.”
King James
Mark 8:36–37 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

What kind of behavior might indicate that we are ashamed of Christ? To what extent should we be concerned about what we say and do?

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Matthew 10:32–33 “If anyone publicly acknowledges me before men, I will publicly acknowledge him before my Father in Heaven. But anyone who denies me before men I will deny before my Father in Heaven.”
Mark 8:38 “Those who are ashamed of me in this wicked and unfaithful generation will cause the Son of Man to be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
Romans 1:16 With great pride, I declare the life-changing message of Jesus Christ, for it has the power to restore our fellowship with God, beginning with the Jews and then reaching out to everyone else.
King James
Matthew 10:32–33 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
Mark 8:38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.