Mark Chapter 8
Mar 8:1 MKJV In those days, the crowd being very great and having nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples and said to them,
Mar 8:2 MKJV I have compassion on the crowd because they have now been with Me three days and have nothing to eat.
Having nothing to eat - If they had brought any provisions with them, they were now entirely expended; and they stood in immediate need of a supply. (Clarke)
I have compassion on the multitude: The situation is similar to the recent feeding of the five thousand. We see both a hungry multitude and a compassionate Jesus, so Jesus presents the dilemma to the disciples: what do we do? (Guzik)
I have compassion on the multitude,.... Christ is a compassionate Saviour both of the bodies and souls of men: he had compassion on the souls of this multitude, and therefore had been teaching them sound doctrine and he had compassion on the bodies of many of them, and had healed them of their diseases; and his bowels yearned towards them all;
because, says he,
they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat; for if they brought any food with them, it was all spent, and they were in a wilderness, where nothing was to be got; where they had no house to go into, nor bed to lie upon, and no provisions to be bought; and in this case they had been two nights and three days; which showed great affection and zeal in these people, and a close attachment to Christ, in exposing themselves to all these difficulties and hardships, which they seemed to bear with much patience and unconcernedness. The Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic versions prefix the word "behold" to this clause, as expressing admiration at their stay with him so long in such a place. (Gill)
Mar 8:3 MKJV And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint in the way. For many of them come from afar.
For divers of them came from far - And they could not possibly reach their respective homes without perishing, unless they got food. (Clarke)
Mar 8:4 MKJV And His disciples answered Him, From where can a man satisfy these with loaves here in the wilderness?
How can one satisfy these people with bread here in the wilderness? We can imagine Jesus hoping one of the disciples might say, “Jesus, You did this before. You can do the same kind of work again.” Jesus hoped they would regard His past faithfulness as a promise to meet their present need.
It’s easy to criticize - or even mock - the disciples for their response. But when we see how patient Jesus is when we lack faith, or when we are simply dense in understanding, then we sympathize with the disciples. (Guzik)
How many times have you had to experience one of the Lord’s miracles before you got message?
Mar 8:5 MKJV And He asked them, How many loaves do you have? And they said, Seven.
Mar 8:6 MKJV And He commanded the people to recline on the ground. And He took the seven loaves and gave thanks, and He broke and gave to His disciples to set before them. And they set them before the people.
Mar 8:7 MKJV And they had a few fish. And He blessed and commanded them to also serve these.
Mar 8:8 MKJV So they ate and were filled. And they took up over and above seven lunch baskets of fragments.
Mar 8:9 MKJV And they who had eaten were about four thousand. And He sent them away.
He commanded the people to sit down — The evangelists having, in the account of the former dinner, described the manner in which the multitude was set down, thought it needless on this occasion to say any thing of that particular, probably because they were ranged as before, in companies by hundreds and fifties. And he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks — He gave thanks for the fishes separately, and distributed them separately. So they did eat — Matthew, they did all eat, and were filled; were abundantly satisfied. And they took up of the broken meat, &c. — Which Jesus ordered them to gather up, that he might thus convince them, in the strongest manner, of the greatness of the miracle; and teach them also, at the same time, to use a prudent frugality in the midst of plenty. This miracle, and also the former of the same kind, recorded Mar_6:40, &c., were intended to demonstrate, that Christ was the true bread which cometh down from heaven; for he who was almighty to create bread without means to support natural life, could not want power to create bread without means to support spiritual life. And this heavenly bread we stand so much in need of every moment, that we ought to be always praying, “Lord, evermore give us this bread.” (Benson)
Mar 8:10 MKJV And immediately He entered into a boat with His disciples and came into the region of Dalmanutha.
Barnes: Mat_15:39 Coasts of Magdala - Mark says, “The parts of Dalmanutha.” Magdala was probably the same place which was formerly called Migdol, Jos_19:38. It is now called Mejdel, and is situated a few miles north of the city of Tiberias, in the land of Gennesaret, on the western side of the Sea of Tiberias, and directly east of Cana of Galilee. “It is a wretched hamlet of a dozen low huts huddled into one, and the whole ready to tumble into a dismal heap of black basaltic rubbish.” - The Land and the Book (Thomson), vol. ii. p. 108. This was the birthplace of Mary Magdalene, out of whom the Saviour cast seven devils, Mar_16:9. Dalmanutha was probably a small village near to Magdala, of which no remains have been discovered. There is no contradiction in the statements of the two evangelists here, for they do not say that Jesus went to either of these towns, but only to the coasts or parts where they were situated.
Mar 8:11 MKJV And the Pharisees came out and began to dispute with Him, seeking a sign from Heaven from Him, tempting Him.
Pharisees came forth -- Considering Jesus a competitor and a successful one; and fearing, not without a cause, that their own reputations as teachers were becoming tarnished because of Jesus' superiority as a teacher.
A sign from heaven -- Hence, belittling the many signs he was giving the people in the healing of the sick, etc.
Tempting him -- To find fault.
Guzik: Seeking from Him a sign from heaven: In the mind of the Pharisees, this was not a request for another miracle of the type Jesus had already done. They are asking for a dramatic sign from the sky, something similar Elijah’s fire from heaven (1 Kings 18).
i. Testing Him: This is not a friendly encounter. The word tested could be translated tempted. The Pharisees are tempting Jesus to perform a miraculous sign just as Satan did in the wilderness.
Do we sometimes act like these Pharisees when dealing with our brethren?
Do we come to our brethren looking to find fault?
Mar 8:12 MKJV And He sighed deeply in His spirit and said, Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly I say to you, There shall no sign be given to this generation.
Adam Clarke And he sighed deeply in his spirit - Or having deeply groaned - so the word αναστεναξας properly means. He was exceedingly affected at their obstinacy and hardness of heart. See Mat_16:1-4.
Barnes: Sighed deeply in his spirit - His heart was deeply affected at their wickedness and hypocrisy. The word “spirit” here is taken as the seat of the emotions, passions, affections. He drew groans deeply from his breast.
No sign be given - That is, no such sign as they asked, to wit, a sign “from heaven.” He said a sign should be given, the same as was furnished by Jonas, Mat_16:4. But this was not what they “asked,” nor would it be given “because” they asked it.
Guzik: He sighed deeply in His spirit: This attack, and the unbelief it showed, distressed Jesus. He was amazed at the unbelief and audacity of these religious leaders. “The sigh physical, its cause spiritual - a sense of irreconcilable enmity, invincible unbelief, and coming doom.” (Bruce)
i. This demand for a “special” sign was an extreme example of the arrogance and pride of the Pharisees towards Jesus. Essentially, they said, “You have done a lot of small-time miracles. Come on up to the big leagues and really show us something.”
ii. “Behind the demand for a sign was the prior, firm conviction that Jesus’ authority was demonic in origin, his works are an expression of black magic.” (Lane)
c. No sign shall be given to this generation: Jesus refuses, because His miracles are not done with the intention of convincing hardened unbelievers. Instead, Jesus did miracle to show the power of God in the context of mercy. Those who believe that if people see enough signs, they will come to faith, presume to know more than Jesus did. He condemned the generation seeking a sign.
Mar 8:13 MKJV And He left them. And entering into the boat again, He departed to the other side.
Mar 8:14 MKJV And the disciples had forgotten to take loaves, and they did not have more than one loaf in the boat with them.
Mar 8:15 MKJV And He charged them, saying, Take heed! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the leaven of Herod.
Barnes: It passes secretly, silently, but certainly through the mass of dough. See the notes at Mat_13:33. “None can see its progress.” So it was with the doctrines of the Pharisees. They were insinuating, artful, plausible. They concealed the real tendency of their doctrines; they instilled them secretly into the mind, until they pervaded all the faculties like leaven.
Clarke: Beware of the leaven - What the leaven of Pharisees and Sadducees was has been already explained, see Mat_16:1. Bad doctrines act in the soul as leaven does in meal; they assimulate the whole Spirit to their own nature. A man’s particular creed has a greater influence on his tempers and conduct than most are aware of. Pride, hypocrisy, and worldly-mindedness, which constituted the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees, ruin the major part of the world.
How does your belief system affect your behavior?
Are you proud and arrogant?
Are you worldly-minded?
Are you looking out for your brethren in love?
Are you looking on your brethren to find fault with them?
Do you have any leaven in your lives?
Mar 8:16 MKJV And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have no loaves.
Mar 8:17 MKJV And knowing it, Jesus said to them, Why do you reason that it is because you have no loaves? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Have you still hardened your heart?
Mar 8:18 MKJV Do you have eyes and do not see? Do you have ears and do not hear? And do you not remember?
Guzik: It is because we have taken no bread: Why would Jesus, who miraculously fed both 5,000 and 4,000 worry about bread? The disciples didn’t understand Jesus at all here. It is easy to be judgmental of the spiritual insensitivity of the disciples, until we take an honest look at our own.
MHCC: When we forget the works of God, and distrust him, we should chide ourselves severely, as Christ here reproves his disciples. How is it that we so often mistake his meaning, disregard his warnings, and distrust his providence?
When is the last time you missed the lesson the Lord was giving you?
Mar 8:19 MKJV When I broke the five loaves among five thousand, how many hand baskets full of fragments did you take up? They said to Him, Twelve.
Mar 8:20 MKJV And when the seven among four thousand, how many lunch baskets full of fragments did you take up? And they said, Seven.
Mar 8:21 MKJV And He said to them, How do you not understand?
Russell: The disciples very much missed the point of Jesus' parabolic statement about the leaven of the Pharisees. They at once thought of literal leaven and literal bread, and noted that they had only one loaf with them and supposed that the Master was upbraiding them. Their mental eyes, their eyes of understanding, were not very widely open, and Jesus promptly and very plainly told them so, and apparently with a measure of chagrin, that after all the teaching He had given them they should be so slow to perceive the spirit of His words.
He reminded them of the miracle of the five thousand fed with the five loaves, and asked them how many basketfuls of fragments they collected. They answered, "Twelve." He reminded them of the other feeding of the four thousand with seven loaves, and asked them how many baskets were taken up. They answered, "Seven." He said, How, then, do you not understand that I was not finding fault with you for having only one loaf; surely, if I had the power to produce bread before, I have still that power, and could not have referred to your lack of bread.
The same thing is noticeable today amongst the Lord's people in Bible Study frequently; the spirit of our Lord's teachings is often missed altogether by some whose minds center merely around some little incidental. The remedy for this is a closer walk with God; a more careful study of the Divine Word, entering into the spirit of the Master and His work, as footstep followers. In this connection let us not forget the difficult "thorns" which another parable tells us so frequently infest the hearts and minds of God's people and hinder the Word of Truth from bringing forth its proper fruitage. The "thorns" are "the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches," Jesus said.
Do you think on the miracles the Lord has done in your life?
Do they help you to trust him more in the future?
Mar 8:22 MKJV And He came to Bethsaida. And they brought a blind man to Him and begged Him to touch him.
Adam Clarke They bring a blind man unto him - Christ went about to do good, and wherever he came he found some good to be done; and so should we, if we had a proper measure of the same zeal and love for the welfare of the bodies and souls of men.
Mar 8:23 MKJV And He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spat on his eyes and had put His hands on him, He asked Him if he saw anything.
Adam Clarke And he took the blind man by the hand - Giving him a proof of his readiness to help him, and thus preparing him for the cure which he was about to work.
Led him out of the town - Thus showing the inhabitants that he considered them unworthy of having another miracle wrought among them. He had already deeply deplored their ingratitude and obstinacy: see on Mat_11:21 (note). When a people do not make a proper improvement of the light and grace which they receive from God, their candlestick is removed: Rev_2:5.
When he had spit on his eyes - There is a similar transaction to this mentioned by John, Joh_9:6. It is likely this was done merely to separate the eyelids; as, in certain cases of blindness, they are found always gummed together. It required a miracle to restore the sight, and this was done in consequence of Christ having laid his hands upon the blind man: it required no miracle to separate the eyelids, and, therefore, natural means only were employed - this was done by rubbing them with spittle; but whether by Christ, or by the blind man, is not absolutely certain.
Mar 8:24 MKJV And he looked up and said, I see men as trees, walking.
Adam Clarke --I see men as trees, walking - His sight was so imperfect that he could not distinguish between men and trees, only by the motion of the former.
Is this a progressive healing?
Or was the Lord showing us the current vision of the man—if he just opened his eyes?
I knew a sister in her old age who probably had similar vision as this man—she saw people only as shadows—it was by your voice that she recognized you.
Mar 8:25 MKJV And after that He put His hands again on his eyes and made him look up. And he was restored and saw all clearly.
Adam Clarke Reader, art thou in this man’s state? Art thou blind? Then come to Jesus that he may restore thee. Hast thou a measure of light? Then pray that he may lay his hands again on thee, that thou mayest be enabled to read thy title clear to the heavenly inheritance.
Mar 8:26 MKJV And He sent him away to his house, saying, Neither go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town.
Adam Clarke --He sent him away to his house - So it appears that this person did not belong to Bethsaida, for, in going to his house, he was not to enter into the village.
This miracle is not mentioned by any other of the evangelists. It affords another proof that Mark did not abridge Matthew’s Gospel.
Do you like others to know of your good deeds?
Mar 8:27 MKJV And Jesus and His disciples went out into the towns of Caesarea Philippi. And in the way He asked His disciples, saying to them, Who do men say that I am?
Guzik: Who do men say that I am? Jesus did not ask this question because He didn’t know who He was, or because He had a twisted dependence on the opinion of others. He asked this question as an introduction to a more important follow-up question.
Russell: Whom do men say -- Our Lord was drawing out the apostles, to crystalize in their minds the thought which he knew was already forming.
Gill: saying unto them; whom do men say that I am? not that he needed any information of this; for he knew not only what was said by men but What was in them; but he put this question, in order to bring out their sense of, and faith in him, and to impart something to them which was necessary they should be acquainted with
Mar 8:28 MKJV And they answered, John the Baptist. But others say Elijah, and others say one of the prophets.
Guzik: John the Baptist; but some say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets: People who thought that Jesus was John the Baptist didn’t know much about Him, and they didn’t know that Jesus and John had ministered at the same time. But both John and Elijah were national reformers who stood up to the corrupt rulers of their day.
i. Perhaps in seeing Jesus as John the Baptist or Elijah, people hoped for a political messiah who would overthrow the corrupt powers oppressing Israel.
c. Some thought Jesus was a herald of national repentance, like John the Baptist and some thought Jesus was a famous worker of miracles, like Elijah. Some thought Jesus was someone who spoke the words of God, like the prophets.
Russell: Some say, Elias -- Showing that the public mind was being exercised, was noting that he was not an imposter.
Who do you think Jesus is?
Do you really believe it?
Mar 8:29 MKJV And He said to them, But who do you say that I am? And Peter answered and said to Him, You are the Christ.
Adam Clarke --Thou art the Christ - Three MSS. and some versions add, the Son of the living God.
MacLaren: Why did Christ begin by asking about the popular judgment of His personality? Apparently in order to bring clearly home to the disciples that, as far as the masses were concerned, His work and theirs had failed, and had, for net result, total misconception. Who that had the faintest glimmer of what He was could suppose that the stern, fiery spirits of Elijah or John had come to life again in Him? The second question, ‘But whom say ye that I am?’ with its sharp transition, is meant to force home the conviction of the gulf between His disciples and the whole nation. He would have them feel their isolation, and face the fact that they stood alone in their faith; and He would test them whether, knowing that they did stand alone, they had courage and tenacity to re-assert it. The unpopularity of a belief drives away cowards, and draws the brave and true. If none else believed in Him, that was an additional reason for loving hearts to cleave to Him; and those only truly know and love Him who are ready to stand by Him, if they stand alone… Mark, too, that this is the all-important question for every man. Our own individual ‘thought’ of Him determines our whole worth and fate.
Mark gives Peter’s confession in a lower key, as it were, than Matthew does, omitting the full-toned clause, ‘The Son of the living God.’ This is not because Mark has a lower conception than his brother Evangelist, for the first words of this Gospel announce that it is ‘the Gospel of Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God.’ And, as he has identified the two conceptions at the outset, he must, in all fairness, be supposed to consider that the one implies the other, and to include both here. But possibly there is truth in the observation that the omission is one of a number of instances in which this Gospel passes lightly over the exalted side of Christ’s nature, in accordance with its purpose of setting Him forth rather as the Servant than as the Lord. It is not meant that that exalted side was absent from Mark’s thoughts, but that his design led him rather to emphasize the other. Matthew’s is the Gospel of the King; Mark’s, of the Worker.
The omission of Christ’s eulogium on Peter has often been pointed out as an interesting corroboration of the tradition that he was Mark’s source; and perhaps the failure to record the praise, and the carefulness to tell the subsequent rebuke, reveal the humble-hearted ‘elder’ into whom the self-confident young Apostle had grown. …. How did these questions and their answers serve as introduction to the announcement of the Cross? In several ways. They brought clearly before the disciples the hard fact of Christ’s rejection by the popular voice, and defined their own position as sharply antagonistic. If His claims were thus unanimously tossed aside, a collision must come. A rejected Messiah could not fail to be, sooner or later, a slain Messiah. Then clear, firm faith in His Messiahship was needed to enable them to stand the ordeal to which the announcement, and, still more, its fulfilment, would subject them. A suffering Messiah might be a rude shock to all their dreams; but a suffering Jesus, who was not Messiah, would have been the end of their discipleship. Again, the significance and worth of the Cross could only be understood when seen in the light of that great confession. Even as now, we must believe that He who died was the Son of the living God before we can see what that Death was and did. An imperfect conception of who Jesus is takes the meaning and the power out of all His life, but, most of all, impoverishes the infinite preciousness of His Death.
Guzik: You are the Christ: Peter knew the opinion of the crowd - while it was complimentary towards Jesus - wasn’t accurate. Jesus was much more than John the Baptist, or Elijah, or a prophet. He was more than a national reformer, more than a miracle worker, more than a prophet. Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah.
- Calling Jesus the Messiah was right on the mark, but easily misunderstood. In the thinking of most people in Jesus’ day, the Messiah was a political and national superman. “Toward the close of the OT period, the word ‘anointed’ assumed a special meaning. It denoted the ideal king anointed and empowered by God to deliver his people and establish his righteous kingdom.” (Wessel)
Whom say ye -- Implying that they were separated in his mind from the rest of the people, and should have a clearer knowledge of him than others. Jesus had been with his disciples working miracles for probably two years before he asked them. For a considerable period of his ministry our Lord did not declare himself, even to his disciples, to be the Messiah.
What think ye of Messiah?
What think ye of his invitation to become his associates?
What think ye of the cost of self-denial, self-sacrifice?
What think ye of the great reward?
Mar 8:30 MKJV And He charged them that they should tell no one of Him.
Russell: Tell no man -- To have proclaimed it in a general way might have created more or less of insurrection, and might have hindered the carrying out of the divine arrangement respecting his ignominious death. They could still proclaim the kingdom of heaven at hand, they could still speak of Jesus as the great Teacher and man, they could still wonder as to whom he might be.
Of him -- The proper time for making him known as the Messiah would be after he had finished the work of sacrifice which the Father had given him to do.
Seems that the 12 are the only ones who obeyed this command.
Mar 8:31 MKJV 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 scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
Guzik: (Mar_8:31-32 a) Jesus reveals His mission plainly: to come and die, and then rise again.
That the Son of Man must suffer many things: Why must Jesus suffer many things and be killed? Because this was the predicted work of the Messiah (Isa_53:3-12). He must die, and He must after His death rise again.
Russell: And he began -- Implying that thereafter this was frequently a subject for discussion and consideration between him and them. The deep things of the divine plan are revealed to us only as we have confessed Christ.
The same Lord is still teaching line upon line, precept upon precept, as we are able to bear the truth; and our preparedness for it will be proportionate to our nearness and fellowship with him.
Must suffer many things -- Testings of faith and loyalty to God are as necessary to Jesus' followers as they were to himself.
And be killed -- They must be prepared in advance for his shameful death, else it would prove such a shock to their faith that they could not recover from it, neither believe in his resurrection.
Do you believe?
Mar 8:32 MKJV And He spoke that saying openly. And Peter took Him and began to rebuke Him.
Guzik: He spoke this word openly: This was an unbelievable shock to anyone expecting or hoping that Jesus was the national and political messiah. It is as if a presidential candidate announced toward the end of his campaign that he will go to Washington to be rejected and executed.
i. “A suffering Messiah! Unthinkable! The Messiah was a symbol of strength, not weakness.” (Wessel)
ii. “Sometimes the Messiah was thought of as a king of David’s line, but more often he was thought of as a great, super-human figure crashing into history to remake the world and in the end to vindicate God’s people . . . The Messiah will be the most destructive conqueror in history, smashing his enemies into utter extinction.” (Barclay)
Russell: Saying openly -- Before the entire twelve apostles.
And Peter -- In his love for the Master, and intoxicated somewhat by the honors bestowed upon him already, undertook to be the teacher. We are to listen to his Word, and not attempt to correct our Lord or substitute our own ideas.
Took him -- Apart from the others. The only one with sufficient courage to express himself.
And began -- Peter did not get to finish. The Master hastened to repudiate such a disloyal suggestion.
To rebuke him -- Privately whispering to him that such sentiments should not be introduced or expressed before the apostles, that it would be discouraging to them all. Showing that the disciples clearly understood the statement about his death.
You also have covenanted to death—do you rebuke teachings that remind you of the sacrifice you must offer?
Mar 8:33 MKJV But when He had turned around and looked on His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, Go behind Me, Satan! For you do not mind the things of God, but of the things of men.
Guzik: Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him: Peter’s intent was love for Jesus, but he was unwittingly used of Satan. You don’t have to be demon possessed to be used of Satan, and we need to be on guard lest we are unwittingly used.
i. Mat_16:17-19 gives us a little more insight into this passage. We read there that after Peter made the confession of faith recorded in Mar_8:29 (You are the Christ), Jesus then answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. Jesus went on to further build up Peter after that complimentary word. It’s not hard to see Peter following these steps:
• Peter confesses Jesus as the Messiah
• Jesus compliments Peter, telling him that God revealed this to him
• Jesus tells of His impending suffering, death, and resurrection
• Peter feels this isn’t right, and he feels that he hears from God
• Peter rebukes Jesus
ii. We can infer that if Peter was bold enough to rebuke Jesus, he was confident that God told him what was right and that Peter was wrong. Where it all broke down was that Peter was far too confident in his ability to hear from God.
• What Peter said didn’t line up with the Scriptures
• What Peter said was in contradiction to the spiritual authority over him
b. Get behind Me, Satan! This was a strong rebuke from Jesus, yet entirely appropriate. Though a moment before Peter spoke as a messenger of God, he then spoke as a messenger of Satan. Jesus knew there was a satanic purpose in discouraging Him from His ministry on the cross, and Jesus would not allow that purpose to succeed.
i. We can be sure that Peter was not aware that he spoke for Satan, just as a moment before he was not aware that he spoke for God. It is often much easier to be a tool of God or of the devil than we want to believe.
c. You are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men: Jesus exposes how Peter came into this satanic way of thinking. He didn’t make a deliberate choice to reject God and embrace Satan; he simply let his mind settle on the things of men instead of the things of God, and Satan took advantage of it.
i. Peter is a perfect example of how a sincere heart coupled with man’s thinking can often lead to disaster.
ii. Peter’s rebuke of Jesus is an evidence of the leaven mentioned in Mar_8:15. With his mind on the things of men, Peter only saw the Messiah as the embodiment of power and strength, instead of as a suffering servant. Because Peter couldn’t handle a suffering Messiah, he rebuked Jesus.
Are you following God’s Plan?
Are you following man’s plan?
Are you following your own plan?
Mar 8:34 MKJV And calling near the crowd with His disciples, He said to them, Whoever will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.
Mar 8:34 TPT Jesus summoned the crowd, along with his disciples, and had them gather around. And he said to them: “If you truly want to follow me, you should at once completely disown your own life. And you must be willing to share my cross and experience it as your own, as you continually surrender to my ways.
Guzik: (Mar_8:34) In light of His mission, Jesus warns those who want to follow Him.
Let him deny himself, and take up his cross: It was bad enough for the disciples to hear that Jesus would suffer, be rejected, and die on a cross. Now Jesus tells them that they must do the same thing!
b. Deny himself, and take up his cross: Everybody knew what Jesus meant when He said this. Everyone knew that the cross was an unrelenting instrument of death. The cross had no other purpose.
i. The cross wasn’t about religious ceremonies; it wasn’t about traditions and spiritual feelings. The cross was a way to execute people.
ii. In these twenty centuries after Jesus, we have done a pretty good job in sanitizing and ritualizing the cross. How would we receive it if Jesus said, “Walk down death row daily and follow Me”? Taking up your cross wasn’t a journey; it was a one-way trip. There was no return ticketing; it was never a round trip.
iii. “Cross bearing does not refer to some irritation in life. Rather, it involves the way of the cross. The picture is of a man, already condemned, required to carry his cross on the way to the place of execution, as Jesus was required to do.” (Wessel)
iv. “Every Christian must be a Crucian, said Luther, and do somewhat more than those monks that made themselves wooden crosses, and carried them on their back continually, making all the world laugh at them.” (Trapp)
c. Jesus makes deny himself equal with take up his cross. The two express the same idea. The cross wasn’t about self-promotion or self-affirmation. The person carrying a cross knew they couldn’t save themselves.
i. “Denying self is not the same as self-denial. We practice self-denial when, for a good purpose, we occasionally give up things or activities. But we deny self when we surrender ourselves to Christ and determine to obey His will.” (Wiersbe)
ii. Denying self means to live as an others-centered person. Jesus was the only person to do this perfectly, but we are to follow in His steps (and follow Me). This is following Jesus at its simplest: He carried a cross, He walked down death row; so must those who follow Him.
Russell: Take up his cross -- Figurative of crucified. In the sense of being sacrificed, even of earthly interests. If Christ's crucifixion was not the crucifixion of a sinful will and desires, neither is ours as followers of the spotless Lamb of God, crucified with him. Actual, literal crucifixion signifies to deliver up to a torturous, slow, but sure death. The figurative closely resembles this.
And follow me -- "Walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit." (Rom_8:4) This is the condition. In no other way will Jesus become our Advocate.
Have you denied yourself?
In what ways have you taken up Jesus’ cross?
Does your life reflect this? (ask a neighbor if you don’t know)
Mar 8:35 MKJV For whoever will save his life shall lose it; but whoever shall lose his life for My sake and the gospel's, he shall save it.
Mar 8:35 TPT For if you let your life go for my sake and for the sake of the gospel, you will continually experience true life. But if you choose to keep your life for yourself, you will forfeit what you try to keep.
Russell: Will save his life -- Greek: psuche; soul, being. Those who love self, popularity, worldly prosperity, honor of men, more than they love the Lord, and who reverence human theories and systems more than the Word of the Lord.
Shall lose it -- His eternal life. The great "prize" of the divine nature. Not worthy to share the kingdom.
Shall lose his life -- Greek: psuche; soul, being. Anyone solicitous of maintaining his rights and holding on to the present life, unwilling to sacrifice all, will lose the great "prize" of the divine nature.
Shall save it -- The reward of life on the spirit plane. In the first resurrection.
Guzik: (Mar_8:35 to Mar_9:1) Why we must take up our cross and follow Jesus.
Whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it: We must follow Jesus this way because it is the only way that we will ever find life. It sounds strange to say, “You will never live until you walk down death row with Jesus,” but that is the idea. You can’t gain resurrection life without dying first.
i. You don’t lose a seed when you plant it, though it seems dead and buried. Instead, you set the seed free to be what it was always intended to be.
Meyer: 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.
Are you saving your life for yourself?
Mar 8:36 MKJV For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?
Guzik: What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Avoiding the walk down death row with Jesus means that we may gain the whole world, and end up losing everything.
i. Jesus Himself had the opportunity to gain all the world by worshipping Satan (Luk_4:5-8), but found life and victory in obedience instead.
ii. Amazingly, the people who live this way before Jesus are the ones who are really, genuinely happy. Giving our lives to Jesus all the way, and living as an others-centered person does not take away from our lives, it adds to it
Russell: Gain the whole world -- The selfishness thus developed will make them unfit for the eternal life.
Lose his own soul -- Greek, psuche, life, being
MHCC: As the happiness of heaven with Christ, is enough to make up for the loss of life itself for him, so the gain of all the world in sin, will not make up for the ruin of the soul by sin. And there is a day coming, when the cause of Christ will appear as glorious, as some now think it mean and contemptible. May we think of that season, and view every earthly object as we shall do at that great day.
Do you value the promises of God?
Does your life reflect that?
Mar 8:37 MKJV Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Expositors: What shall it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or with what price shall he buy it back when he discovers his error? But that discovery is too often postponed beyond the horizon of mortality. As one desire proves futile, another catches the eye, and somewhat excites again the often baffled hope. But the day shall come when the last self-deception shall be at an end. The cross of the Son of man, that type of all noble sacrifice, shall then be replaced by the glory of His Father with the holy angels; and ignoble compromise, aware of Jesus and His words, yet ashamed of them in a vicious and self-indulgent age, shall in turn endure His averted face. What price shall they offer then, to buy back what they have forfeited?
Mar 8:38 MKJV Therefore whoever shall be ashamed of Me and of My Words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man shall also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.
Guzik: It isn’t easy to walk death row with Jesus. It means that we have to associate ourselves with someone who was despised and executed. But if we are ashamed of Him, He will be ashamed of us.
i. “If Jesus Christ had come into the world as a mighty and opulent man, clothed with earthly glories and honours, he would have had a multitude of partisans, and most of them hypocrites.” (Clarke)
ii. Jesus is coming again in glory, and if we will rebel against the world, the flesh, and the devil, we will share in the glory.
iii. Most people think of following Jesus as conforming to the “establishment.” Actually, Jesus calls us to rebel against the established order of this world. We are called to rebel against the tyranny of the flesh, against the fear and conformity of the world, against the traditions of man. Jesus encourages a “slave rebellion,” where the slaves of sin, Satan, and the world rebel against their masters.
Russell: Ashamed of me -- There are many ways of showing ourselves ashamed of Christ: if we are ashamed of any member of his Body, if we are ashamed to be recognized by the world as members of his despised Body, if we are ashamed of his doctrines.
"He that despiseth you despiseth me." (Luk_10:16)
The heart attitude that says, "So long as right is as easy as wrong I will choose the right, but if wrong is easier than right I will choose the easier way," is disloyal to God. Such characters are not willing to be closely identified with the Body of Christ, but would follow "afar off." They have not, by faithful service, developed the necessary character and proved their sympathy, devotion, love and zeal for the Lord and his truth. Manifestly such will not be fit for the glorious position to which the Lord has called us if so weak of character.
And of my words -- Love to God is above all, and love to God's Word Jesus puts next. Ashamed to confess the doctrines which he taught. To be ashamed of the truth, of the divine plan, of the teachings of God's Word, because they are unpopular with men, is to offend the Lord and prove ourselves unworthy of his favor. Whoever honors and serves not the Lord's Word, lacks evidence of love for the Lord himself.
Sinful generation -- Those who had not made a consecration.
Son of man -- The Son of the man (Adam). The "Son of man" is a title of high honor because it is a perpetual reminder of his great victory by which he obtained the divine nature.
Be ashamed -- He will not own them as members of his Bride class. He would rightly be ashamed to take for his Bride one so inferior to the true standard of moral excellence. Such a heart would be unworthy of the glorious high calling. Indeed it would make even an unworthy human being.
Does your life reflect that you are ashamed of the Lord?
What can you do better?
What do you need prayers on?