In today’s reading of Mark 8 Jesus called his disciples together to tell them that the crowd wss breaking his heart.
“1 In those days, when there was again a great multitude, and they had nothing to eat, he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, 2 I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat:” (Mr 8:1-2 ASV)
It is one of those occasions that we hear how Jesus felt with those around him, who had not taken enough arrangements to be alright for food and drinks. He knew that they had come a long distance, and we can imagine them being very thirsty also in that warm climate.
Jesus told the crowd to sit down on the ground. After giving thanks, he took the seven bread loaves, broke them into pieces, and gave them to his disciples so they could hand them out to the crowd. They also had a few fish. He pronounced a blessing over the fish and told his disciples to hand them out as well. Though they had not so much to start with the crowd ate its fill. It was a miracle and seven sacks of leftovers were collected. There were well over four thousand at the meal.
After Jesus had sent them home he himself went straight to the boat with his disciples and set out for Dalmanutha. When they arrived, the Pharisees came out and started in on him, badgering him to prove himself, pushing him up against the wall. It would not be the first time that the Pharisees came out to dispute with him and seeking a sign from heaven from him, to test him.
“10 And straightway he entered into the boat with his disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha. 11 And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, trying him. 12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation.” (Mr 8:10-12 ASV)
Also today we can find lots of people who would love to see signs from Christ. This generation clamour also for miraculous guarantees.
After the confrontation with the Pharisees at Dalmanutha he got back in the boat, and headed for the other side. But the disciples forgot to pack a lunch. Except for a single loaf of bread, there wasn’t a crumb in the boat. The disciples were finding fault with each other because they had forgotten to bring bread, but Jesus overheard and asked them why they were fussing because they forgot bread.
“13 And he left them, and again entering into the boat departed to the other side. 14 And they forgot to take bread; and they had not in the boat with them more than one loaf.” (Mr 8:12-14 ASV)
It seemed like the apostles after so many exhortations and miracles of their master teacher still didn’t see the point of all that Jesus did and could do. It was like they had already forgotten the five loaves Jesus broke previously for the five thousand and how many baskets of leftovers they were able to pick up.
“16 And they reasoned one with another, saying, We have no bread. 17 And Jesus perceiving it saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? do ye not yet perceive, neither understand? have ye your heart hardened? 18 Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember? 19 When I brake the five loaves among the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces took ye up? They say unto him, Twelve. 20 And when the seven among the four thousand, how many basketfuls of broken pieces took ye up? And they say unto him, Seven. 21 And he said unto them, Do ye not yet understand?” (Mr 8:16-21 ASV)
We can wonder if they didn’t understand what he had done at the supper. Do we perceive the meaning of the loaves and get to see how Jesus is the bread of life? In the past many hearts were blinded. but also today many minds are still in the dark. IHow about your heart, is it also dull of understanding?
“ for they understood not concerning the loaves, but their heart was hardened.” (Mr 6:52 ASV)
Are you recognising the right position for that man of flesh and blood who walked many miles to tell about the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God? Heading for the villages around Caesarea Philippi, Jesus was curious to know what his disciples thought about him.
“27 And Jesus went forth, and his disciples, into the villages of Caesarea Philippi: and on the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Who do men say that I am? 28 And they told him, saying, John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but others, One of the prophets.” (Mr 8:27-28 ASV)
“ And he asked them, But who say ye that I am? Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ.” (Mr 8:29 ASV)
Peter gave the right answer which we also should give:
“Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah.”
At that time the time was not yet ripe. But today it is high time that more people come to know Jesus. It is our task to go out and to tell people about that special man.
Centuries ago the Son of Man proceeded to an ordeal of suffering. He was unrighteously tried and found guilty by the elders, high priests, and religion scholars, to be killed, and after three days he rised up alive.
“30 And he charged them that they should tell no man of him. 31 And 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.” (Mr 8:30-31 ASV)
Jesus said this simply and clearly so they couldn’t miss it. Though even when a few years later, everything was notated by his disciples there are still lots of people who do not want to believe it.
For many, it still might be very difficult to believe. But they may be interested to get to know more. There you can step in and tell them more about this Messiah. You now can tell there is still time to come to know Jesus. You can assure them that anyone who intends to come with Jesus has to let him lead. We all should know that we are not in the driver’s seat. Jesus Christ is!
“34 And he called unto him the multitude with his disciples, and said unto them, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 35 For whosoever would save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s shall save it.” (Mr 8:34-35 ASV)
We should know that life shall not be easy always. We shall be confronted more than once with difficulties. Though we may not run from suffering. As followers of Christ, believing he is our mediator by God, we have to embrace it.
We must trust Jesus. He shall show you and all who want to follow him, how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, Jesus his way, to saving yourself, your true self.
What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?
“ For what should a man give in exchange for his life?” (Mr 8:37 ASV)
Truly, no ransom avails for one’s life, there is no price one can give to God for it (Ps 49:7), but this Nazarene man who always did the will of God, did offer himself as a Lamb for God. People should get to know that they were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from their ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.
“18 knowing that ye were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers; 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb without spot, even the blood of Christ:” (1Pe 1:18-19 ASV)
Lots of people shall get embarrassed when you start talking over Jesus and the way he is leading, but it is up to the believer to come out and say what he or she believes.
Let us not forget:
“ For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of man also shall be ashamed of him, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (Mr 8:38 ASV)