Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them,Chapter 8
4. The healing of the blind man. (Mark 8:22-26)
1. The Feeding of the Four Thousand. Mark 8:1-9
The compassion and loving care of Him who came to minister is once more seen. Again He meets the need of the multitude in a miraculous way. But here we have seven loaves and seven baskets are left over. It points clearly to the manifestation of Divine power, for the number seven occurs twice. He in His great goodness and great power is sufficient to meet all human need. The miracle foreshadows the great and perfect blessings of the coming Kingdom age.
2. The Pharisees ask a sign. Mark 8:10-13
Though the religious leaders had seen so many signs and display of Divine goodness and power they asked a sign from heaven. Unbelief ever looks for something new and is never satisfied. Their request may be looked upon as a temptation. He could have shown a sign from heaven, but with it He would have left the humble path of the Servant. “He sighed deeply,” which is another phrase peculiar to Mark’s account, showing His deep emotion. He refused the sign. The next sign will be “the sign of the Son of Man in heaven” at the time of His glorious return. Then a believing remnant of His people will welcome Him.
3. The Warning against the leaven. Mark 8:14-21
He warns against the leaven of the Pharisees and Herodians. It is the only time the word leaven is found in Mark. It means, as elsewhere in the Word of God, evil. The leaven of the Pharisees is hypocrisy, insincerity of an unbelieving heart in opposition to God. The expression of it is self-righteousness in pride. The leaven of the Herodians is worldliness. He warns His disciples to beware of it for the leaven of the Pharisees was in them too. They did not fully see His Glory, though they believed in Him as the promised Messiah. Their state and the Lord’s Power and patience towards them is beautifully brought out in the healing of the blind man.
4. The Healing of the blind man. Mark 8:22-26
This healing at Bethsaida is only recorded by Mark. It reveals the tender, patient and successful method of the Servant in His ministry. The disciples’ case is illustrated. They saw “men as if they were trees.” Their sight was imperfect. But He did not leave them in that condition. Their clear sight came, when the promise of the Father, the Holy Spirit, was given to them. But many other lessons are found here. See how He led the blind man outside and what pains He took, and though He knew all about the effect of putting His hands upon his eyes, yet He inquired lovingly “if he beheld anything.” If we are in His loving hands, separated from Bethsaida (“place of snares,” a picture of the world), He will deal with us in the same tenderness and patience. Mark 8:26 tells us once more how He did not seek honor from man.
5. Peter’s Confession. Mark 8:27-30
How perfectly all is linked together. Though the disciples were imperfect in their sight yet they knew that He was the Christ. That is true faith, which they all possessed, with the exception of Judas, who never addressed Him as Lord. Mark gives the briefest account of Peter’s confession. Matthew contains the completest record. The church, as a future thing, is announced in Matthew as well as the Kingdom. The church is not mentioned by Mark. All shows the divine hand which guided the pens of these instruments. What is dispensational is always fully given in the kingly, dispensational Gospel by Matthew and omitted by Mark.
6. The first announcement of His coming rejection and death. Mark 8:31-33
The Servant now speaks of Himself as the Son of Man, the title both of His rejection and of His exaltation. For the first time He announces His coming death. He knew all from the beginning. He knew it when He went into the dark waters of Jordan. He knew it all along in His ministry of toil. Yet with the vision of His rejection, of His suffering on the cross, constantly before Him, He continued uninterruptedly in His ministry of love. Nothing could swerve Him from it. What perfection and beauty! But He also spoke of His resurrection. He knew the glory that should follow. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross and despised the shame. In our service for God the Cross and the Glory should ever be seen. We, too, must be willing to share His reproach and look forward to the crowning day, the day of His Glory and ours as well. Peter becomes, on account of his blindness, the mouthpiece of Satan, rebuking the Lord. Then “He looked on His disciples,” an addition in Mark. What a look it must have been! He rebuked Peter in the words He used when Satan made the same suggestion to avoid the cross.
Well may God’s people ponder over these words. Salvation is by Grace. Nothing can save but Grace. Eternal salvation is not dependent on our walk. But the way which leads to Glory is the way of self-denial and suffering. It is His own path. “Is it not true that we naturally like to escape trial, shame and rejection; that we shrink from the suffering which, doing God’s will, in such a world as this, must ever entail; that we prefer to have a quiet, respectable path in the earth--in short, the best of both worlds? How easily one may be ensnared into this!” (W. K.) We may not be called upon to lose the life for His sake, but “let him deny himself” we can always do, enabled by His Grace. All the words our ever blessed Lord spoke to His disciples hold good in this dispensation of Grace. He announces His coming Glory. It is His second Coming in the Glory of His Father.