Chapter 28

Bread and blindness
Mark 8:1-26 (NASB)

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1 In those days again, when there was a great multitude and they had nothing to eat, He called His disciples and said to them, 2 “I feel compassion for the multitude because they have remained with Me now three days, and have nothing to eat; 3 and if I send them away hungry to their home, they will faint on the way; and some of them have come from a distance.” 4 And His disciples answered Him, “Where will anyone be able to find enough to satisfy these men with bread here in a desolate place?” 5 And He was asking them, “How many loaves do you have?” And they said, “Seven.” 6 And He directed the multitude to sit down on the ground; and taking the seven loaves, He gave thanks and broke them, and started giving them to His disciples to serve to them, and they served them to the multitude. 7 They also had a few small fish; and after He had blessed them, He ordered these to be served as well. 8 And they ate and were satisfied; and they picked up seven large baskets full of what was left over of the broken pieces. 9 And about four thousand were there; and He sent them away.

10 And immediately He entered the boat with His disciples, and came to the district of Dalmanutha. 11 And the Pharisees came out and began to argue with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, to test Him. 12 And sighing deeply in His spirit, He said, “Why does this generation seek for a sign? Truly I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation.” 13 And leaving them, He again embarked and went away to the other side. 14 And they had forgotten to take bread; and did not have more than one loaf in the boat with them. 15 And He was giving orders to them, saying, “Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” 16 And they began to discuss with one another the fact that they had no bread. 17 And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet see or understand? Do you have a hardened heart? 18 “HAVING EYES, DO YOU NOT SEE? AND HAVING EARS, DO YOU NOT HEAR? And do you not remember, 19 when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces you picked up?” They said to Him, “Twelve.” 20 “And when I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of broken pieces did you pick up?” And they said to Him, “Seven.” 21 And He was saying to them, “Do you not yet understand?”

22 And they came to Bethsaida. And they brought a blind man to Him, and entreated Him to touch him. 23 And taking the blind man by the hand, He brought him out of the village; and after spitting on his eyes, and laying His hands upon him, He asked him, “Do you see anything?” 24 And he looked up and said, “I see men, for I am seeing them like trees, walking about.” 25 Then again He laid His hands upon his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly. 26 And He sent him to his home, saying, “Do not even enter the village.”

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Mark 8:1-9
Feeding four thousand

Jesus performs a miracle similar to feeding of the crowd which included five thousand men.[1] Here, He feeds four thousand men, and again probably many women and children. After hearing Jesus teach, they are hungry and without food. Jesus feeds them from seven loaves and a few small fish. Seven large baskets of scraps are collected after all have eaten plenty. A little later Jesus refers to both incidents, confirming each occurred. Surely these two miracles would convince everyone that Jesus is the Son of God?

Mark 8:10-12
The blindness of the pharisees

However, not the biased Pharisees! As Jesus and His disciples take a boat for Dalmanutha, they argue with Him asking for a sign from Heaven! In opposing Him they are blinded by prejudice. Sin always blinds unrepentant sinners, even if they lead others.[2] Jesus sighs and refuses to give another sign. (In any case, they probably would reject it.) Today people still crave for signs and wonders although they don’t need them. God’s revealed word, the Bible, leads honest seekers to faith in Christ. God’s written revelation is the strongest possible evidence of His existence.

Mark 8:13-21
The blindness of the disciples

Jesus leaves for the other side by boat. One loaf only is in the boat. The disciples mistakenly think He refers to lack of bread when He warns Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod. But Jesus refers to their ungodly influence, proud opposition, and rejection of Him. He reminds them that making bread from nothing is easy for Him, as He cites His two recent miraculous feedings of large crowds. His disciples are still blind to His identity, deaf to His words, and lack understanding.

Jesus’ disciples still must concentrate on His character and works. Knowing who Jesus is and what He has done leads to understanding His word and why some oppose it.

Mark 8:22-26
A blind man sees

People plead with Jesus to touch and heal a blind man at Bethsaida. Leading him away by the hand Jesus spits on and touches his eyes, asking, Do you see anything? He sees men like trees, walking around. Jesus touches his eyes again. His sight is perfectly restored. He is sent home and told not to enter the village. Christ’s personal involvement with the man, both by word and by touch, feature in this unique two-stage miracle.

An old lady, blind from birth, became a Christian. Her eyes of spiritual understanding were opened. She rejoiced that she was Heaven-bound and that the first person she would ever see would be Jesus!

Through the gospel Jesus can open your eyes, too.[3] John Newton says in, ‘Amazing Grace’, ‘I once was blind, but now I see.’ Do you understand about Jesus through new eyes?

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[1]    .  Mark 6:41.
[2]    .  Matthew 15:14.
[3]    .  Acts 26:18.

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Questions on Chapter 28
Mark 8:1-26 Bread and blindness.

A. How do you know that this further account of feeding thousands of people with hardly any food is not a confused contradiction of the first account?   Mark 8:6-9   Mark 6:41   Mark 8:19-20   2 Timothy 2:15

B. Compare the blindness of the Pharisees with the blindness of the disciples.   Mark 8:14-22   Mark 8:11-12, 15   Matthew 15:12-14   Revelation 3:18   1 John 2:8-11

C. In what ways is the healing of this blind man similar to other miracles performed by Jesus? In what way is it different?   Mark 8:22-24   Mark 8:25