Gospel of Mark: Chapter 8

Gospel of Mark:

Commentary on Chapter 8

  • v. 2 – I cannot resist a small point of application. Note that Jesus has “compassion” upon the people – this is the same compassion with which God looks upon you and I today.[1]
  • v. 4 – The disciples have already seen Jesus feed five thousand (more than are present now) in 6:35-44! Further they are aware of how God provided manna for the Israelites when they were in the wilderness (Exodus 16).
  • v. 5 – This is less loaves than were available when he earlier fed the five thousand.
  • v. 10 – The location of Dalmanutha is uncertain. Some manuscripts have Magadan or Magdala.
  • v. 11 – Jesus has performed many signs that demonstrate his supernatural authority and power but the Pharisees desire yet another sign and a sign of a different type. They desire a sign that comes directly and visibly from God to verify Jesus’ identity.
  • v. 15 – Leaven is something fermented used in bread to make it rise (became puffy instead of flat, soft instead of hard). It is usually associated with evil in Jewish thought.
  • vv. 22-26 – This healing story is very similar to that of the deaf and mute man found at the end of chapter 7.
  • v. 23 – As in chapter 7, spit was seen as being medicinal in nature and was used by doctors in treating ailments.
    • Jesus, as in chapter 7, takes the man out of the village so as to avoid many individuals from seeing the miracle and causing larger crowds to follow him.
  • vv. 24-25 – This is the only miracle that Jesus performs which requires multiple steps. It may be that this miracle symbolically is similar to the multiple steps needed in unveiling the truth in the lives of the disciples.
  • v. 26 – If a blind man walked back in seeing everyone would know something had happened, Jesus is trying to keep the excitement about his healing powers to a minimum.
  • v. 27 – There were two Caesarea’s in the area – this one was founded by Philip and thus named in part after him to distinguish it from the other and larger Caesarea.
  • v. 28 – This calls our minds back to the dialogue between Herod and others regarding Jesus after the beheading of John the Baptist in 6:14-16.
  • vv. 29-30 – The Christ is the Greek word used to translate the Hebrew Messiah. Both words mean an anointed one and to the Jewish mind spoke of a promised deliverer who would free the Jewish people from oppression (currently the Romans) and usher in God’s kingdom.
    • Jesus is still keeping his identity secret. He does not want people to think he has come as a conquering hero – how most expected the Christ to come – instead he must teach them that he is to be a suffering and ultimately crucified servant.
  • v. 31 – Son of Man is Jesus’ most frequent way of identifying himself. It finds its roots in Dan. 7:13-14 where one like the son of man comes from God, of Jesus’ identity as a suffering man as predicted in Isaiah 52:13-53:12, as the new representative of the human race (replacing or superseding Adam), and as a messenger from God (Ezekiel 2:1-8).
  • v. 32 – Peter did not understand yet that Jesus was not coming as the victorious Christ most expected.
  • v. 34 – The cross is used as a symbol of all the forms of suffering one may experience in following Christ – which may literally include death by crucifixion or any other means – but which also includes rejection by others, loss of wealth and status, and so on.

Author: David Mackey

Revision: 1.0 4/27/13


[1] If the concept of grace is difficult for you, I highly recommend Mark Rutland’s book Streams of Mercy. It is a short, easy, and enjoyable read that helps clarify what God’s love looks like.