What does Mark 8:11 mean?
ESV: The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him.
NIV: The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven.
NASB: And the Pharisees came out and began to argue with Him, demanding from Him a sign from heaven, to test Him.
CSB: The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, demanding of him a sign from heaven to test him.
NLT: When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had arrived, they came and started to argue with him. Testing him, they demanded that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority.
KJV: And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him.
NKJV: Then the Pharisees came out and began to dispute with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, testing Him.
Verse Commentary:
The tenses of the words in the text suggest Jesus and the Pharisees have been arguing for some time before the Pharisees demand a sign. Matthew 16:1 says the Sadducees are there as well, unless this is a different day. "Signs" are miracles performed by God's prophets to validate their authority as spokesmen for God. The Pharisees know of the healings—including healing the blind and deaf—and exorcisms, but they want something more extreme, a literal "sign from heaven" that proves Jesus' authority is from God and not Satan (Mark 3:22–30). They want something like Elijah calling down fire from heaven to consume his sacrifice (1 Kings 18:36–38)Whatever the specific sign, they want something that proves He is God's Messiah who will lead them into freedom from Rome. Instead, Jesus scolds the Pharisees for understanding the weather but not the prophecies of the Old Testament (Matthew 16:2–3).

The request for a sign parallels Jesus' second temptation (Matthew 4:5–7). Satan had suggested Jesus throw Himself from the pinnacle of the temple. If He had done so, He would have proven His significance to God in front of the religious leaders. If history is any indication, the religious leaders would have found some way to give credit for the miracle to Satan (Mark 3:22), and the people would have tried to make Jesus king (John 6:15). Neither response would have served God's purpose. Jesus will face this temptation again while hanging on the cross (Mark 15:29–32).

We have people in our own lives with the same hardened heart. They find something in the Bible that takes away a freedom or authority and choose to reject Jesus because of it. Instead of submitting to all the evidence that Jesus is who He said He is, they close their ears, eyes, and understanding and come up with ridiculous arguments to justify their decision.
Verse Context:
Mark 8:11–13 continues after Jesus fed the five thousand outside of Bethsaida (Mark 6:30–44), then returned to Galilee and argued with the Pharisees over His authority over tradition (Mark 7:1–13). Now, after feeding four thousand in Decapolis, He returns to Galilee and argues with the Pharisees over whether they have the right to ask Him for a sign that His authority comes from God. In both cases, the Pharisees have all the evidence they need. They just refuse to see it. This may be the same event recorded in Matthew 16:1–4 and Luke 11:29–32, but it is unclear.
Chapter Summary:
This chapter describes another miraculous feeding of thousands by Jesus. He also counters the hard-hearted and selfish hypocrisy of the Pharisees in seeking even more miraculous signs. Speaking to the disciples, Jesus rebukes their short memories and reminds them about God's intent to provide for His followers. After healing a blind man, Jesus accepts Peter's proclamation that Jesus is the Messiah. Almost immediately, though, Jesus rebukes Peter for resisting the idea that the Messiah must suffer and die.
Chapter Context:
Mark 8 continues Jesus' attempts to teach the disciples God's plan for the Messiah. Jesus has not come for the religious Pharisees but for the meek who willingly respond to Him. He has not yet come as the glorious and victorious champion of Israel, but to die for the whole world. And His followers must also be willing to sacrifice their lives. The chapter marks a turning point in Jesus' ministry as His miracles grow fewer and His teaching increases. Interestingly, Jesus also faces a repeat of the temptations He experienced in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1–11).
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Mark emphasizes both Jesus' servanthood and His role as the promised Messiah: the Son of God. This is done through a concise, action-packed style. Mark provides relatively few details, instead focusing on actions and simple statements. This relates to the Gospel's authorship, which is believed to be based on the memories of the apostle Peter. These include many of Jesus' miracles, in contrast to other Gospels which include many more of Jesus' teachings and parables. Mark also makes frequent mention of Jesus' ministry being misunderstood by others.
Accessed 6/21/2024 5:16:49 PM
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