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Mark chapter 8

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27And 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? 28And they answered, John the Baptist: but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets. 29And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ. 30And he charged them that they should tell no man of him. 31And 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. 32And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. 33But 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. 34And 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. 35For 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. 36For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 37Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 38Whosoever 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.

What does Mark chapter 8 mean?

Mark 8 runs in a loose parallel of Mark 6:31–7:37. Jesus performs a mass feeding (Mark 8:1–9; Mark 6:31–44), publicly disagrees with the religious leaders (Mark 8:10–21; Mark 7:1–23), and performs a healing miracle that the Old Testament associates with the Messiah (Mark 8:22–26; Mark 7:31–37).

Jesus had taken His disciples—apparently more than just the Twelve—into Gentile territory, presumably in an attempt to find a quiet place to teach. In Mark 7, they traveled northwest of Capernaum to the region of Tyre (Mark 7:24), then continued farther north to Sidon (Mark 7:31). Now they are in the district east of the Sea of Galilee.

While in Tyre, Jesus had set a tableau to show that He has come for the Gentiles as well as the Jews, even if said Gentiles interrupt their private meeting. Now, He continues the theme by serving a meal for a mixed group of four-thousand-plus Gentiles and Jews in Decapolis. The Pharisees had condemned the disciples for neglecting to wash their hands before meals in case the food had touched something unclean (Mark 7:1–5). Jesus provides food for Gentiles—the worst of all unclean things. The disciples, however, wonder how they will feed all the people, having forgotten that Jesus fed an even larger crowd outside Bethsaida (Mark 6:31–44).

From Decapolis, Jesus and the disciples return by boat to the west coast of the Sea of Galilee. The Pharisees renew their attack, demanding a sign that Jesus' authority comes from God and not Satan (Mark 3:22). They do not mean the miracles Jesus has performed, but something that unquestionably proves He is the Messiah come to liberate Israel. In Mark's account, Jesus leaves them with nothing, but in Matthew Jesus tells them they haven't read the signs they've already received, and they won't get another except one related to Jonah (Matthew 16:1–4).

Jesus promptly takes His disciples back to the boat. He tries to express to the disciples that the beliefs of the Pharisees and Herod's followers are like tiny bits of leaven that, if they're not careful, will permeate their belief systems, as a little yeast makes a whole loaf of bread rise. The disciples completely miss the point and translate His warning into frustration that they have forgotten to bring more than one loaf of bread. Jesus drops the larger message and reminds them that He is more than capable of turning a single loaf of bread into a meal for all of them.

In Bethsaida, Jesus heals a blind man—another miracle that is identified in the Old Testament as a sign of the Messiah. The disciples respond by declaring that Jesus is the Messiah. Unfortunately, they don't know what the Messiah is. Jesus clearly explains that the Messiah's eternal reign as prophesied in the Old Testament will not come yet. First, He will have to die and be resurrected. Next, His followers will have to be willing to make a similar sacrifice.

Mark 8 is a kind of fulcrum in the ministry of Jesus. Next, James, John, and Peter will witness His transfiguration. In chapters 9 and 10, He will again warn them of His impending sacrifice. Chapter 11 begins with the Triumphal Entry which marks the beginning of Passion Week. Throughout this time, Jesus will intensify His teaching to prepare the disciples for their roles in the early church. Eventually, they will begin to understand.
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