Mark 8 – Feeding Another Crowd, Rebuking Peter

Mark 8:1-10 – Since there’s a similar story in Mark 6, I’m sometimes tempted to think this duplicate is an error, a mistake of Mark’s memory. Surely, this didn’t happen twice, right? But why not? John tells us at the end of his gospel that there were many things left out that Jesus did. Jesus healed more than one beggar, raised more than one dead person to life, why wouldn’t he have fed more than one crowd? For some reason, this miracle seems more unbelievable than the rest. I guess I can picture a man getting healed, I can see it happening. I can’t picture how 7 loaves and a few fish feed thousands.
Mark 8:14-21 – They missed Jesus’ point about the Pharisees and Herod, thinking he was chastising them because they forgot the bread. Perhaps their failure was on their hearts, maybe they were hoping he hadn’t noticed, so when he said ‘yeast’ they thought of the lack of bread. But Jesus points out that they never need worry about the lack of bread, he has proven himself able to deal with that challenge. This is a more subtle way of saying what he did in Matthew 6 – don’t worry about the needs of this world. I know that you need to eat and I will provide. Instead, be focused on heaven and concern yourself with the things that will misdirect you away from there.
Mark 8:22-26 – I wonder, why didn’t the first time ‘take’? Surely, it wasn’t Jesus’ failing. Was it the man’s lack of faith? Were there two conditions that needed to be healed, and Jesus tackled them one at a time. God decided that we needed to see Jesus taking two steps to heal this man, but decided that we didn’t need to know why he did. I wonder what the point we are to take from it is.
Mark 8:32 – I’ve wondered in the past if the disciples didn’t’ hear these teachings of Jesus referring to his coming death and dismiss them as a parable that they didn’t quite understand. Surely, it couldn’t mean what it sounded like? But Peter here clearly understands, but he thinks that Jesus is wrong. No Jesus, that’s not how it goes! We are not doing this that way! Peter had forgotten who was the master and who was the disciple.
Mark 8:34-38 – We used to twist this to mean that Jesus was teaching us to share our faith. His purpose was to go to the cross, ours is to make disciples, therefore take up your cross = share your faith. It’s pretty easy to use similar logic to read all kids of things into what Jesus was saying here.
Reading it this time, however, I see the broader context. Jesus just spoke of his coming death and rebuked Peter for it. He then clarifies what’s to come. He would not be put on the cross, he would take it up himself. He willingly would relinquish his life here on Earth for the joy of the life to come. If we are to follow him, we must do the same. Pick up our own crosses and lay down our Earthly lives. He reinforces the point by saying the best Earthly life we can achieve is worth nothing compared with eternity.
It’s not about any one practice or doctrine, it’s about changing our minds & hearts to look heavenward. If we do, then our actions will follow.

2 thoughts on “Mark 8 – Feeding Another Crowd, Rebuking Peter

  1. The other way we know that it’s two separate picnics is that Jesus, in verses 19 and 20 refers to each event separately.

  2. The healing of the blind man has intrigued me as well. Why the two step miracle? I’ve wondered if there isn’t a connection with the following event (vs 27-33) where Peter and the other disciples aren’t seeing clearly who Jesus is the first time and it would take another touch before they saw clearly? And I wonder if His resurrection (vs 31) isn’t the second touch that it would take before they saw clearly? Not sure but just a thought.

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