Mark 8

Mark 8 has Jesus once again having compassion on a group of people – 4000 men this time plus their families – and instructing His disciples to feed them with the seven loaves of bread and a few fish just like they had previously with the 5000.  The disciples were again surprised that Jesus expected them to do this, as their plan was to send them away.  It’s amazing how short the memory was of the disciples.  They had witnessed Jesus’ ability to do whatever was needed to care for the people around him.

They again demonstrate their inability to understand as they are traveling with Jesus.  The group was short on food – with only one loaf of bread between them.  They are having a discussion about what to do when Jesus intervenes.  “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread?  Do you not yet perceive  or understand?  Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke  the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” “And  the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” And they said to him, “Seven.” And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand”?

Are we different than the Twelve when it comes to realizing the power Jesus has?  Unfortunately we probably aren’t all that different.  We forget that there are no limitations to what God can do.  Jesus begins to teach the Twelve what is coming as He began to teach them that the Son of Man must  suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again”.  This had to be a huge revelation and not something they expected.  In fact, “Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him”.  Peter would have none of this teaching.  But Jesus turns the tables and “he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man”.

Jesus goes on to talk about what was expected for anyone that wanted to follow Him.  “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and  take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul”?  Jesus makes it clear that following Him is not about us, but it’s all about Him.  We have to be willing to give up ourself to be a Christ Follower.  The cost is great, but the outcome is even greater!

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