Through the Bible Day by Day
In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them,
THE DEMAND FOR SIGNS REBUKED
Notice the Master’s tender considerateness, Mar_8:1-9. He would not have the people faint on their way home. There are distinct differences between this miracle and the feeding of the five thousand. Most of these are evident to the English reader, but that between the baskets used for the fragments is clear only from the original-those used in the case of the five thousand being quite different from the large ones used here, Mar_8:20; Mat_15:37. Our Lord never repeats His work.
The Savior sighed in the previous chapter over physical need; here He sighs over moral obtuseness, Mar_8:10-21. The language is very strong, and gives a glimpse into the Redeemer’s heart. Had the Pharisees been as willing to discern the signs of the age as to read the weather, they must have been able to recognize Him and His claims; but their foolish heart was darkened. Having sighed over the hard-heartedness of the Pharisees, might He not equally have done so over the obtuseness of the Twelve? They thought that He was referring to their carelessness in omitting to take bread. How little they realized that the cause lay far deeper! Let us be quick to read the divine intention in very simple incidents, and to learn that all God’s past dealings contain lessons for the present!
And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him.
THE COST OF FOLLOWING JESUS
Our attention has been drawn to the Master’s sighs; here, however, was another characteristic act. He spat on the eyes of the blind man, perhaps to excite his expectation and faith. Repulsive as ophthalmia is in the East, it did not repel Him nor staunch the flow of His pity.
We do not at once see everything clearly, but step by step we come unto perfect vision. Here we see through a glass darkly, there face to face. There was a great price to be paid; it was only through suffering and death that Jesus could do His greatest work, in redeeming and cleansing the children of men. He might have been the miracle-worker apart from Calvary; but to be the Savior, He must not spare Himself but be willing to pour out His soul even unto death. It was hard for the Apostles to learn this lesson; they wanted the Master to spare Himself. Peter, especially, sought to dissuade Him; but the Lord knew better the desperate need of men and how it must be met. There are three conditions to be fulfilled by those who have resolved to follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. 1. We must deny self; 2. Each must take up his cross; 3. We must think more of others than of ourselves. If these are realized, the soul is following Christ and making progress, even though it deems itself stagnant or drifting back.