Gospel of Mark Chapter Eight: Part One

Introduction: A key idea in the Gospel of Mark is that Jesus is the servant of God. Today, we hope to discuss Jesus' prerogatives in feeding four thousand, in condemning the Pharisees, in His teaching on yeast, and over blindness.

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Body:
Read Mark 8:1-10
13. In Feeding Four Thousand.
In this section of the eight chapter of the Gospel of Mark Jesus feeds a great multitude. In this case, it is four thousand men. He starts with only seven fish and a few loaves, but ends up with seven basketfuls of leftovers.

Applications -
- Active compassion.
Notice in vs. 2-3 of the eight chapter of the Gospel of Mark that Jesus had a compassion that moved Him to respond to human needs. There are too many who claim that they care, but they don’t have the actions of care. And there are too many who don't even pretend that they care.

Let's work on being actively compassionate, as we see with Jesus. We can start with witnessing, using our gifts for service, and supporting those who advocate for the oppressed (e.g., NAACP, Urban League, etc.).

Read Mark 8:11-13
14. In Condemning the Pharisees.
In this next section of the eight chapter of the Gospel of Mark the Pharisees came and tested/challenged Jesus. They asked for a sign. Jesus said, "no."

Applications -
- Saying "no."
Notice in vs. 8 of the eight chapter of the Gospel of Mark that Jesus refused to cater to the request of the religious leaders. In other words, He said "no." He did not let them control His energy or attention.

We would do well to stop letting people, especially those who don't mean us any good, have so much control of our energy and time. Let's seek the wisdom and courage to say "no." Everyone doesn’t deserve a front seat in our minds.

Read Mark 8:14-2115. In His Teaching on Yeast. Jesus was teaching about the danger of the Pharisees in this section of the Gospel of Mark. The disciples misunderstood. Jesus chastised them.

Applications –
- The Pharisees' influence.
Notice in vs. 15 that Jesus warns about how the influence of Pharisees can be like yeast in bread - a little bit will spoil the whole loaf (see I Cor. 5:6-7). There are those who look and act religious, but their hearts are far from what God is concerned with.

If we are not careful, these people will exercise an influence in our spirits and in our church family. Their influence has a way of growing. And before we know it, we and our church are upset and off of God's course for our lives.

Let's be careful with the influence of Pharisees – religious but wrong people. Whenever a person is doing something contrary to God's will, which is often discovered in God's word, they are wrong. They can have a high ranking title and many years of seniority and yet be wrong.

- Being in tuned with God's will. Notice in the eight chapter vss. 12-21 of the Gospel of Mark that people can be close to you for some time and yet don't understand what is going on. One would think that after seeing Jesus feed 5,000 and then 4,000 that the disciples would not be so concerned about bread.

However, they lacked spiritual discernment. If we are not careful, we will confuse title and seniority with spiritual discernment. They are not the same. Let's seek to be in tuned with what God is doing.

We can move in this direction by prayerfully studying and obeying God's word with the support of other believers. Even when we don't know what God is doing, we should trust Him to do what is best for His people.

Read Mark 8:22-26
16. Over Blindness.
Jesus heals a blind man in this section of the eight chapter of the Gospel of Mark. It was a two part healing. Jesus instructed the man to go home, not to the village.

Application –
- Ministry partnerships.
Notice in vs. 22 that there were at least two people involved in helping the blind man get connected to Jesus. There was partnership in ministry. The church ought to be a place where we develop partnerships in ministry.

We ought to find those who can lift our loved ones up in prayer, talk with them, and even provide supportive services as needed (e.g., transportation, job referral, etc.). Let's work on developing ministry partnerships among our church family members. This will call for the humility to ask for help and the availability and compassion to respond to the request.

- Open to God's creative ways. Notice in the Gospel of Mark chapter eight in vss. 23-25 that Jesus healed the man with a two step process. On other occasions, God had healed with a one step miracle. The point is that God can do a new thing. If we restrict God to what He has already done, we may miss what He is doing today. Let's be open to God blessing His people, anyway He wants to bless us.

As much as God can move in traditional worship, He can also move through a praise team, liturgical dance, and whatever other way He may chose. And we would do well to obey His "post-blessing instructions." If God says go home then we ought to go home.

Conclusion: Let's work on being servants of God. God has much for those who obey His will.

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