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Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible ® (NASB), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. www.Lockman.org 

 

MARK CHAPTERS 7 & 8

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1-7 The Pharisees and some of the scribes gathered around Him when they had come from Jerusalem, 2 and had seen that some of His disciples were eating their bread with impure hands, that is, unwashed. 3 (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they carefully wash their hands, thus observing the traditions of the elders; 4 and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they cleanse themselves; and there are many other things which they have received in order to observe, such as the washing of cups and pitchers and copper pots.) 5 The Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, "Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?" 6 And He said to them, "Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: 'THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. 7 'BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.'

 

Mk 7,1-13

(173k) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Man’s Religion >> Deeds that are not initiated by God >> Traditions of men -- A definition of "Religion" is: Deeds that are not initiated by God though intended to honor Him. According to this definition, anything we do in the name of God that is not initiated by the Holy Spirit is considered dead religion. Since God has given us the Holy Spirit to communicate with us about His will, we should know His will and be doing it, instead of the mindless activities that are handed down to us from generation to generation by uninspired men. 

(177d) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> False doctrine >> Doctrines of the precepts of men -- How can someone make their own religion? Most false religions slowly evolve, so there is no one particular time or person responsible for their contrivances. That, however, does not excuse those who believe in them; they should know better. False doctrines within cults often financially benefit those who are in charge of them. This is not a coincidence but a hint that explains why these doctrines form, and who is in control of them. False teachings are not innocent misinterpretations of Scripture, but strategically devised schemes to coerce people to give their money to the clergy. If that seems hard to believe, look at verses 9-13 a little closer. 

(178k) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Hypocrisy >> Jesus rebukes the Pharisees for accusing Him of Sin

Mk 7-1

(65g) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Satan unites the world for the cause of persecution

Mk 7-4

(159d) Works of the devil >> Essential characteristics >> Counterfeit godliness >> Counterfeit righteousness -- It is good to wash your hands frequently, but it is obviously no way to find favor with God. The Pharisees were externally minded, paying little attention if any to the contents of their hearts. They were highly judgmental, until it came to themselves; then they were quick to forgive. Jesus saw grime on the Pharisees, not from dirt, but from sin. He never confronted them until they confronted Him first, and then He gave them both barrels. He did not spare them, for they were embezzling the people in the name of God.

Mk 7,6-13

(79l) Thy kingdom come >> Know the word as a sword in spiritual warfare >> To defend yourself from religion – The Church has backslidden if not fallen away altogether from the true faith. If we backslide, we can return, but for a Christian or a church or a nation that has fallen-away from God, there is no repentance. Backsliding is like trying to climb a mountain or a steep hill with loose gravel, our feet slip until we get a grip and finally make it up the hill. Falling away from the faith is different; it is giving up and walking down the mountain. We can backslide and have His calling in mind with every intension of doing it, and soon as we regain our traction, we will find our place in His will, so backsliding essentially is a non-issue, but falling-away from the faith is a travesty. Many think they can ignore God’s calling and still be saved, but the Bible doesn’t teach that our salvation is separate from our calling; they are actually bound together in one purpose to give glory to God (Phi 2-12,13). The person who truly believes in Jesus will pursue his calling from God, and the person who doesn’t believe in God will not walk on the trail of good works that God has prepared for us.

Mk 7,6-9

(159m) Works of the devil >> Essential characteristics >> Counterfeit God >> Counterfeit truth – People today consider religion to be more important than having a genuine faith in God. They point at their religion and say, ‘This represents my faith.’ Unfortunately, anything that represents faith is an idol. When we study the doctrines of salvation that the Church has established for itself, and compare them with Scripture, not just a couple verses (which is how the Church has veered into heresy) but Scripture in its entirety, the contrast is startling. Jesus said about the Pharisees in His time that they neglected the commandments of God, and the Church today says that we are not under the law anymore, so we are neglecting the commandments of God too. They claim to walk by the Spirit, but are they, or are they just walking in their flesh and calling it Christianity? Most call themselves Christians because they have asserted certain doctrines to be true, but this is not how the Bible teaches to be saved.

Mk 7,6-8

(171a) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Outward appearance >> Vanity >> Vain religion

(199h) Denying Christ >> Man chooses his own destiny apart from God >> Rejecting Christ >> The world rejects God >> Rejecting Christ to keep the world – Jesus was talking to the Pharisees in His own day, who had Him crucified, who were experts at explaining away the commandments of God in order to keep their traditions. They were experts in bridging the gap between their Old Testament manuscripts and the precepts of their religion. In the first century Jesus created a Church from a people who loved God with all their hearts, but now 2000 years later the Church has regressed to a level that rivals the Pharisees. Churches across America and throughout the developed world are full of people who have no conscience toward God, just as it was in Jesus’ day. Christians will even argue against the teachings of godliness; they do exactly what Jesus quoted them from the Old Testament, “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me” (Isaiah 29-13). There is no better description of the times in which we are living, “Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.” They think they have made a covenant with God where they put Jesus on their lips, but their heart is with the world, but God never agreed to that.

Mk 7-6,7

(74d) Thy kingdom come >> The heart >> The heart is the location of man's truth

(141j) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Old Testament bears witness to the new >> Old Testament is for our instruction >> It reflects the nature of man in the law -- The fact that Jesus connected with the Old Testament by quoting the law was His way of endorsing it, hence validating it. The fact that God had to write a law to teach us how to act suggests that the law is a mirror image of our sinful nature. That is, if God had to tell us to love Him and our neighbor, it means that by His estimation we don't.

Mk 7-7

(170j) Vanity (Key verse)

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8-13 "Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men." 9 He was also saying to them, "You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition. 10 "For Moses said, 'HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER '; and, 'HE WHO SPEAKS EVIL OF FATHER OR MOTHER, IS TO BE PUT TO DEATH '; 11 but you say, 'If a man says to his father or his mother, whatever I have that would help you is Corban (that is to say, given to God),' 12 you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or his mother; 13 thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that."

 

Mk 7-8,9

(195c) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Idolatry >> Serving two masters >> You can only believe in one at a time -- You can only serve one master at a time. In this case the Pharisees chose to believe in the traditions of men over the commandments of God. Keeping the traditions of men is idolatry in that it involves setting aside God's commandments. Jesus said they nicely set aside the truth to accommodate their traditions. In doing so they are not passively ignoring Him but actively rejecting Him. If people traditionally loved one another that would be a good thing, but most traditions are not about love or truth, but are about money and religion. They are generally instituted as a way to avoid a genuine relationship with God, while simultaneously holding to a form of godliness to appear righteous before men. 

Mk 7-8

(232j) Kingdom of God >> Seeking the kingdom >> Embrace (Jesus during the storm) >> Things not to embrace

Mk 7,9-13

(76c) Thy kingdom come >> Motives >> Seeking authority for security >> Motives based on greed -- Jesus is pointing out the most common motive for establishing false doctrine: money. He was comparing what the word of God says to the doctrines of the Pharisees, and concluded that the difference between them is the instruction about how people should spend their money. That should not surprise anyone. Essentially, the Pharisees turned Corban (A sacrifice made to God) into contraband (property that is illegal to possess).

(90h) Thy kingdom come >> Keeping the law >> Righteousness of the law >> We must keep the law because it is righteous

Mk 7,10-13

(73i) Authority >> Respect authority in the family >> Respect your mother and Father

Mk 7-13

(223f) Kingdom of God >> The elusive Kingdom of Heaven >> Miss God >> Missing the point >> Miss the meaning of the truth -- What would be the result of manipulating the Scriptures to make it say what we want in order to become wealthy? Wouldn't there be consequences for that? Before these people finished slashing the Scriptures, they would not be able to identify the truth if He stood in front of them. The reason Israel missed their Messiah was the fault of their leaders, and the reason they missed Him was because they had hacked up the word of God for the purpose of acquiring the unrighteous mammon, and in the process they hacked up their consciences so tortuously that their hearts could no longer discern the truth. Like buying tickets before entering the fairgrounds, these men bought rights from their conscience to alter the holy commandments of God at the cost of their souls (Rev 22-18,19). 

 

14-23 After He called the crowd to Him again, He began saying to them, "Listen to Me, all of you, and understand: 15 there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man. 16 ["If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear."] 17 When he had left the crowd and entered the house, His disciples questioned Him about the parable. 18 And He said to them, "Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated ?" (Thus He declared all foods clean.) 20 And He was saying, "That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. 21 "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22 deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. 23 "All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man."

 

Mk 7,14-23

(74j) Thy kingdom come >> Heart of man is sinful >> Sin is conceived in the heart – The question was addressed in verse 5, ‘Why do your disciples not wash their hands before they eat?’ Jesus said to the Pharisees in other passages, ‘You people do all things for appearance sake in order to look righteous before men, but God knows your heart’ (Lk 16-15). Jesus taught that evil and wickedness is conceived in the heart long before it is mass-produced through the flesh. Jesus was explaining why so many people refuse to make a commitment to follow Jesus, because their hearts are in shambles. They don’t want to change; in fact, it is virtually impossible to change the heart, simply because we don’t control it; rather, it controls us. We can say we don’t want to sin anymore, but an hour later we are at it again. Our flesh thinks what it wants and does what it wants. To make matters worse, we say we control our bodies, yet the body ultimately performs the contents of the heart in disregard of our better judgment, so whatever is in there will invariably manifest regardless how hard we try to keep a lid on it, after which it redefines us. If we can’t control our hearts, then technically we cannot control our actions either. The point Jesus was making with the Pharisees was that wickedness and evil must be evicted from the heart before we can serve God. Since we are unable to do this on our own, it makes matters of the heart the work of God. The beauty of God’s plan for the Christian is that He has a way of dealing with matters of the heart, giving us His Holy Spirit, who gives us new desires to serve Him, and these new desires replace the old ones that have been festering in us for years. Only the Holy Spirit can throw out the old furniture and bring in the new to create a heartfelt environment that is conducive to worshipping God.

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Mk 7-14

(79j) Thy kingdom come >> Know the word >> Listen to the word >> Listen to Jesus

Mk 7-15

(26l) Sin >> Consequences of sin >> Curse >> Deeds that return to the doer >> Words of your mouth -- This verse goes with verses 21-23. Jesus was speaking about the words of our mouth, speaking generally about what goes into a man and what exudes from Him, like eating food and expelling waste. Sometimes the words we speak resemble that which comes out the other end, suggesting that we must be careful what we say so our mouth doesn’t become just as filthy. When a man defiles himself by his words, God sees both ends the same. James addressed the tongue, asking the same question how both fresh and salt water can come out the same spigot (Jm 3-11,12).

(85c) Thy kingdom come >> Your words can lead to your own demise >> Your mouth defiles the rest of your body – When we strive for righteousness, we focus on our works and pay less attention to the words of our mouth, putting our words in a different category with our deeds, but our words are part of what we do. All the sinful works we perform with our hands and feet are equivalent to the sin that passes between our lips. If we took the things we said as seriously as the things we did, everybody would benefit, but most people don’t think carefully enough what they say. It is so easy for a word to slip, and sometimes we don’t even realize what we have said until it is too late, and we can’t take it back. We need to set a guard in front of our pie hole.

Mk 7-16

(106e) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Hearing from God >> Attaining the hearing ear >> Having the ability to hear

Mk 7-17,18

(138b) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Reproof >> Jesus reproves His disciples for their unbelief

Mk 7-19

(118k) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Freedom >> Law of the spirit >> Law of liberty – No longer is eating pork against the law for the Jew, much less for the gentile. The New Testament teaches that all foods are to be enjoyed in moderation, and that there should be no restrictions, unless we do it for personal reasons of health in the freedom of Christ and not for religious purposes. Therefore, one who restricts the eating of food for religious purposes is attempting to put us in bondage. The Catholic teaching of abstaining from meat on Friday was to say that fish was not a meat, and it turns out that fish is a healthy choice; in fact, we should eat fish once a week. There have been worse rules in Catholicism, but just the fact that they regulated the eating of food for religious purposes was a type of bondage. The bondage was not the actual eating of fish on Friday, but the idea of doing so would supposedly make the parishioner more spiritual. That is witchcraft! How many Catholics sat at a restaurant table and ordered fish on Friday and felt more in tune with God because of it? Food will neither commend us to God nor condemn us (1Cor 8-8).

Mk 7,20-23

(78o) Thy kingdom come >> Renewing your mind >> Putting your heart on display >> Consequence of not renewing your mind

Mk 7,21-23

(16e) Sin >> Man’s willingness to be evil >> Allowing sin to reign in your flesh >> Afraid to deal with it – Jesus was talking to the religious people of His day who lived for appearance sake, who couldn’t understand that the heart played a central role in serving God. They read the Old Testament manuscripts every Sabbath that spoke about Kind David, who emphasized worshipping God from the heart, and Moses also was a worshipper of God from the heart, yet it never occurred to the Pharisees that their hearts were completely useless to God. People are afraid to deal with matters of the heart because they are so nebulous, being easy to lie to our ourselves about the bitterness and rage in contains. It scares us to learn what is in there, and we are afraid to look.

(22e) Sin >> Greed takes without consideration for others >> Covetousness

(24l) Sin >> Poverty (Forms of fear) >> Unrighteous anger – Jesus didn’t mention anger but He did mention murder, which is essentially the same thing. There have been many murders, but there is far more anger in the world. We have all felt angry. Jesus taught that our actions and our hearts are essentially the same, for if we allow anger to fester, eventually it will manifest. Many times we want to do evil and something stops us. It is always a good thing whenever we don’t manifest the evil in our heart, but it is not good that we have feelings for it, because it guarantees that eventually we will act on it. Jesus is saying He wants to minister to us so we don’t feel so much like sinning. This is the power of Christ; He can keep us from being angry; He has power to overcome these forces in our lives, but we must surrender to His control. God has a will in mind for us, and if we step on that narrow way and stay on it with complete devotion to Christ, over time God will slowly drain the bad feelings we have harbored in our hearts. The various evil desires will lose their power and we will be free; then we will be in bondage to Christ and to His will, but the tradeoff has a promise; we will bless others and glorify God, and in the end inherit eternal life (Rom 6-22).

(25h) Sin >> Poverty (Forms of fear) >> Thief >> Stealing from some one

(26l) Sin >> Consequences of sin >> Curse >> Deeds that return to the doer >> Words of your mouth -- These verses go with verse 15

(74a) The Heart (Key verse)

(134j) Temple >> Your body is the temple of God >> Sins of the body >> Immorality >> Adultery >> Physical adultery

(182h) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Deception >> Being deceptive with people >> Lying to others

(186f) Works of the devil >> The result of lawlessness >> The reprobate >> Man’s role in becoming a reprobate >> The fool >> The heart of a fool

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24-37 Jesus got up and went away from there to the region of Tyre. And when He had entered a house, He wanted no one to know of it; yet He could not escape notice. 25 But after hearing of Him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately came and fell at His feet. 26 Now the woman was a Gentile, of the Syrophoenician race. And she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 And He was saying to her, "Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." 28 But she answered and said to Him, "Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table feed on the children's crumbs." 29 And He said to her, "Because of this answer go; the demon has gone out of your daughter." 30 And going back to her home, she found the child lying on the bed, the demon having left. 31 Again He went out from the region of Tyre, and came through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, within the region of Decapolis. 32 They brought to Him one who was deaf and spoke with difficulty, and they implored Him to lay His hand on him. 33 Jesus took him aside from the crowd, by himself, and put His fingers into his ears, and after spitting, He touched his tongue with the saliva; 34 and looking up to heaven with a deep sigh, He said to him, "Ephphatha!" that is, "Be opened!" 35 And his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was removed, and he began speaking plainly. 36 And He gave them orders not to tell anyone; but the more He ordered them, the more widely they continued to proclaim it. 37 They were utterly astonished, saying, "He has done all things well; He makes even the deaf to hear and the mute to speak."

 

Mk 7-24

(143l) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> It is popular to follow Jesus

Mk 7,25-30

(146f) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Deliverance from demon possession >> Casting out violent demons

Mk 7,25-29

(62d) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Being clever >> Answer with wisdom – When the syrophoenician woman came to Jesus for help, He denied her at first but liked her answer and so gave her exception. It was a wise answer, not challenging the Lord but showing that she knew her place with God among His people. Had she argued with Him, she would have gotten nowhere. She could have pestered Him; that always works, but it takes a lot of energy and she didn’t have much time because her daughter was dying. Having a wise answer is a shortcut to pestering the Lord, referring to prayer. The problem is we often don’t have wisdom enough to answer the Lord to get our prayers answered. The shortcut to getting our prayers answered is to pray until God reveals his word to us, and then pray His word, because it is a prayer of wisdom, and it will intrigue Him to answer our prayers. Many of us don’t know how to pray, and for years we struggle in prayer for certain things, and sometimes we never get our prayers answered. This is when we need help from God. See: Jm 1,2-8.

Mk 7,26-30

(210hb) Salvation >> Jews and gentiles are being saved >> Salvation is from the Jews >> The Jew first >> Jesus ministered to gentiles by exception -- This is a story that is similar to the occurrence in Exodus 32,7-14 when Moses changed God’s mind, which is quite an achievement. Jesus answered the woman in so many words “No”, initially denying her request, because He came exclusively for the Jews, making the gentiles second in line for the grace of God; later, the revelation came that the gentiles would be included. This woman got what she needed from God based on her understanding of Israel's Jewish messiah, that Christ came for the Jew first, then also for the gentiles in that order. What does that say about Jesus' comment to her in Mat 15-28, "O woman, great is thy faith"? God initially intended the Jews to carry the gospel into all nations, but after the Jews rejected God’s purpose for themselves and blasphemed, He turned to the gentiles through the apostle Paul, who wiped the dust off his feet after many efforts to reach the Jews with the gospel. Jesus wanted to make it perfectly clear to everyone that the Jew was God’s first choice in bringing the gospel to the nations; it would have worked better that way. Man can be disobedient but we know that God has His ways. Man’s life is a mere breath, and for Him to wait a couple thousand years is nothing more than waiting a couple days, and at the end of this age, he will call His Jewish people once more, and this time they will answer the call and take the gospel to the nations in the Great Endtime Revival.

Mk 7,27-29 

(77k) Thy kingdom come >> Being Humble Before God >> Having an attitude of humility

Mk 7-31 -- No Entries

 

Mk 7,32-37

(145b) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Unique methods of healing -- Jesus used all sorts of ways to heal people, demonstrating that His healing power was not in the method He used, but in His Father who enabled Him. Jesus wanted to continue going from town to town, preaching the gospel and healing the sick, but after getting so much publicity, He was forced to go underground; He didn’t want to be stuck ministering in the woods; He wanted to be with the people and model His ministry for His disciples, who would take the gospel to the world.

Mk 7-36

(20l) Sin >> Disobedience >> Paying no attention to the word

(70g) Authority >> Sin of familiarity >> Familiar with the truth (enemy of discernment) >> Familiar with Jesus in the flesh -- The people who disobeyed Jesus' orders not to tell anyone about His miraculous healings feared greatly the authorities of their day, knowing that if they didn't do exactly as they said, they would be ostracized from the synagogue, or they could be thrown into prison, tortured, or even killed. However, they were not afraid of Jesus, and rightly so, since He never gave anyone reason to fear Him, though He has all authority in heaven and on earth. They knew He would do them no harm even if they disobeyed Him, though they could have respected His wishes a little more since He just did them a favor by healing their sick. It caused Jesus a lot of grief spreading word around that He had miraculous powers. The crowds got bigger and attracted more attention and made Him work harder to stay on God's timeline, "For it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem," (Lk 13-33). He was the lamb of God, scheduled to be sacrificed on Passover and not before the time. 

(185l) Works of the devil >> The result of lawlessness >> Blasphemy >> Unwilling to obey the revelation from heaven >> Unwilling to walk in God’s freedom – Jesus healed a deaf and dumb man and gave them strict orders not to tell anyone, but the more He charged them to keep quiet, the more they carried the news, the more the Pharisees caught wind of it, the more their anger broiled, and the sooner they would have crucified Him if He didn't do something. He was trying to delay the inevitable until the time was right. There were other things He wanted to do, and He was trying to stay on God’s time schedule. At Passover He ventured to Jerusalem for the third time in his ministry and made sure that He would never leave the holy city. He went to the temple to worship and there severely rebuked the Pharisees to the point that they wanted to kill Him on the spot. He knew the things He said to them sealed His fate, but He didn’t want the Pharisees coming after Him before the time. He wanted to be in control of when it happened. Telling the Pharisees what His Father thought of them acted like a trigger that set in motion His crucifixion, so He chose the time when He would die. Prior to this, Jesus was trying to slow down the progress of inciting the Pharisees against Him. His ministry began immediately after His temptation in the wilderness. In the beginning of His ministry He taught in the towns and villages of Galilee and elsewhere, but as His notoriety grew, it incited His enemies against Him, making populated areas unsafe, which drove Him back into the wilderness. We could say, then, that Jesus wilderness experience ended at His death, making His 3˝-year ministry was an extension of His wilderness experience, where He did most of His preaching and teaching. The Pharisees occasionally ventured into the wilderness to spy on Him, but the Roman governors didn’t go there, and so Jesus effectively separated the Pharisees from the authority they would need to have Him crucified.

 

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Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible ® (NASB), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. www.Lockman.org 

 

MARK CHAPTER 8

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1-8 In those days, when there was again a large crowd and they had nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples and said to them, 2 "I feel compassion for the people because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat. 3 "If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way; and some of them have come from a great distance." 4 And His disciples answered Him, "Where will anyone be able to find enough bread here in this desolate place to satisfy these people?" 5And He was asking them, "How many loaves do you have?" And they said, "Seven." 6 And He directed the people to sit down on the ground; and taking the seven loaves, He gave thanks and broke them, and started giving them to His disciples to serve to them, and they served them to the people. 7 They also had a few small fish; and after He had blessed them, He ordered these to be served as well. 8 And they ate and were satisfied; and they picked up seven large baskets full of what was left over of the broken pieces. 

 

Mk 8,1-9

(12l) Servant >> Jesus is the servant of man

(147c) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Miracles signs and wonders >> God exercises authority over His creation

(229k) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> Partaking of Jesus’ ministry -- There is no difference between this multitude who ate and was filled, and Israel in ancient times who gathered and ate the manna that fell from heaven. Both groups partook from the ministry of God. There is also no difference between the response of both groups, Israel in ancient times who forgot God while the manna was still in their mouths, and Israel in Jesus day whose stomachs were satisfied and later condemned the one who fed them. Israel is not worse than anyone else; in fact, we have all acted just like them throughout the ages. Israel is therefore a microcosm of the rest of the world; others have condemned them, but they only prove they are no better than Israel, who is truly exemplary of mankind.

(234l) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Invest in the kingdom >> Be a blessing >> Freely give what you received from God

Mk 8-2,3

(29l) Gift of God >> God knows our needs; therefore we don’t have to care -- Note that the people didn't raise a revolt and chant in Jesus' ear with one voice that they were hungry and needed food in order to make it back to their homes (some of whom came from a distance), until He finally succumbed to their cries and gave them something to eat. Instead, it was Jesus' idea to feed the people; He knew their needs and fed them before they realized they were hungry. James said that if anyone lacks wisdom (or anything), we should ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, but how many times are our needs met so that we don't have to ask God for anything. He sees our need and meets it before we even have the occasion to send a formal prayer. If Jesus cares so we don't have to, how willing is He to meet our needs when we do care?

(123c) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Love >> Spiritual affection >> Compassion is the emotion of the Spirit

Mk 8,5-8

(117d) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Rest in Jesus (Sabbath) >> Let Jesus do the work >> Let Him work on your circumstances

Mk 8,6-9

(54d) Paradox >> More left over scraps than the initial amount

Mk 8-6

(13d) Servant >> Serve the body >> Promoting its health >> Building up the body of Christ – When Jesus fed the four thousand, He existed in physical form and handed the bread to His disciples, and they in turn divided the bread among the people, but in these times Jesus is invisible as He continues to divide the blessing of God among the people though His disciples.

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9-13 About four thousand were there; and He sent them away. 10 And immediately He entered the boat with His disciples and came to the district of Dalmanutha. 11 The Pharisees came out and began to argue with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, to test Him. 12 Sighing deeply in His spirit, He said, "Why does this generation seek for a sign? Truly I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation." 13 Leaving them, He again embarked and went away to the other side.

 

Mk 8,9-12

(20f) Sin >> Nature of sin >> Seeking a sign Jesus could have told the Pharisees, 'Where were you when dinner was served?' When we think of the thousands of miracles Jesus performed, they were all neon signs blinking in everyone’s eyes that Jesus was the Son of God, but these guys came wanting a sign. Actually, it was their clever way of asking Jesus for a free meal. Jesus was there preaching the gospel, because that is what He came to do, and when they asked for a sign, He said, “no sign will be given to this generation,” but what He meant was, ‘No sign will be given to you.’ Some people saw many signs, but these unbelievers saw nothing. They were saying, ‘In order for us to believe your words, we must first see a sign. Signs were His credentials that He brought with Him; they asked to see His credentials. Jesus’ stance was that His words were just as much a sign as His miracles. If people had an ear to hear, they would have known that what He was speaking came from God, and they wouldn’t need a sign to believe.

Mk 8,10-13

(168j) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> The world has deaf ears to God >> Deaf from a hardened heart – Jesus did everything for the sake of the disciples' future when signs and wonders would eventually fizzle. Evangelists for the centuries went about preaching and teaching throughout the world without performing any signs to confirm their message, and many believed in Jesus, particularly in Europe. Churches were established within their borders, converts were made, people were saved and the gospel was advanced without any signs to be observed. Hence, the word of God is a greater sign than miracles. We could see a miracle, and it wouldn’t have as great an impact on us as the gospel itself, if we had ears to hear it. The problem is most people cannot hear the word of God, and they still wouldn’t believe even if they saw a miracle, but those who can hear the heavenly message don’t need a sign. Those who believed were ordained from the foundation of the world to hear the word of God and believe with no need of a sign from heaven. Jesus didn’t give the Pharisees a sign because they wouldn’t have believed in Him anyway.

(241f) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Hindering the kingdom >> Obstacles in the way of the kingdom >> Obstacles that keep you from Jesus – Jesus got back in the boat and went somewhere else, His ministry stifled by the Pharisees. Does that mean there was no one in that whole district who was ready to believe in Jesus? There may have been some, but Jesus wasn’t able to reach them. He could feed four thousand people with a single hand-basket of food, walk on water and heal any imaginable disease, but the human will acted as an obstacle that Jesus simply was not willing to override. This shows the level of respect that God has for mankind made in the image of God, who also is able to exercise his will to make decisions. They stood in the way of the gospel and kept it from advancing into their region. This is what Jesus meant when He said to the Pharisees, “You have taken away the key of knowledge; you yourselves did not enter, and you hindered those who were entering” (Lk 11-52). They acted as obstacles to the word of God, and they will be judged accordingly.

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14-16 And they had forgotten to take bread, and did not have more than one loaf in the boat with them. 15 And He was giving orders to them, saying, "Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod." 16 They began to discuss with one another the fact that they had no bread.

 

Mk 8,14-21

(54d) Paradox >> Opposites >> Concerned about their needs when the provider of sparrows is aboard their ship

(167g) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Carnality/Secularism (mindset of the world) >> The carnal mind does not receive the things of God >> It does not understand the word of God -- Jesus was rough on His disciples for their lack of understanding. What do you suppose He expected them to understand? Going back to the context, He fed over five thousand people with five loaves of bread and four thousand with seven loaves, so the fact that they were low on bread seemed irrelevant. Jesus was making an analogy between the leaven of the Pharisees and their bread quandary, and His disciples were not on the same page with Him because they were worried about food. Worry and fear are common problems that keep us from reaching our full potential, because our minds are preoccupied with concerns. Remember His analogy of the sower of the seed, "and some seed fell among the thorns, and the worries of the world choked the word and it became unfruitful," (Mat 13-22). The disciples were somewhere between the thorns and the road where the seed fell and the devil came and snatched the seed from their hearts because they didn't understand it. Jesus came down hard on His disciples because they had already seen many things that should have convinced them about His willingness and ability to solve any problem they would ever encounter, and they still were not getting it. 

(198j) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Frustrating the grace of God >> Frustrating Jesus through unbelief

Mk 8,15-21

(147a) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Remember Jesus’ miracles – Jesus was not asking them a math question regarding the number of baskets of food they recovered after each feeding; He was asking them if they understood that nothing was impossible with God. Although He was fully human and His body was subject to all the weaknesses that we suffer, yet He did not live by the limitations of unbelief. He was asking His disciples how long it would take before they would understand this. He earnestly desired them to understand that He was the Son of God and that His Father was the source of everything, because a day was coming when He would ascend back to His Father and send the Holy Spirit in His place, equipping them with the same power and rights that He has with His Father, so they too could live beyond the limitations of unbelief. This is what He wants from His Church. The only way the people of God can understand what Jesus wanted His disciples to know is through unity. If only a handful of believers understood that all things are possible with God, and the rest remained in spiritual ignorance, God would be unwilling to perform many miracles though them.

(168i) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> The world has deaf ears to God >> Deaf to the word of God from a lack of understanding

(178j) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Hypocrisy of the Church is rebuked >> Jesus rebukes His disciples

Mk 8-15

(177f) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Beware of false doctrine -- Jesus became frustrated with His disciples because He couldn't teach them anything; their minds were always elsewhere. He was constantly gathering their thoughts to focus on what He was saying. Like little children they were never simply ready to listen without adult supervision, yet they were no different from us. With this kind of wishy-washy mental discipline, they were susceptible to false doctrine, which Jesus considered a real threat. Isn't it interesting that false doctrine can creep into an untrained mind easier than the truth, because false doctrine works better in an environment of confusion and chaos, which is so prevalent in the world. Jesus wanted to tighten up their thought processes and spend more time musing on the things of God, so false doctrine would become less of an issue after He left.  

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17-31 And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, "Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet see or understand? Do you have a hardened heart? 18 "HAVING EYES, DO YOU NOT SEE? AND HAVING EARS, DO YOU NOT HEAR? And do you not remember, 19 when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces you picked up?" They said to Him, "Twelve." 20 "When I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of broken pieces did you pick up?" And they said to Him, "Seven." 21 And He was saying to them, "Do you not yet understand?" 22 And they came to Bethsaida. And they brought a blind man to Jesus and implored Him to touch him. 23 Taking the blind man by the hand, He brought him out of the village; and after spitting on his eyes and laying His hands on him, He asked him, "Do you see anything?" 24 And he looked up and said, "I see men, for I see them like trees, walking around." 25 Then again He laid His hands on his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly. 26 And He sent him to his home, saying, "Do not even enter the village." 27 Jesus went out, along with His disciples, to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way He questioned His disciples, saying to them, "Who do people say that I am?" 28 They told Him, saying, "John the Baptist; and others say Elijah; but others, one of the prophets." 29 And He continued by questioning them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered and said to Him, "You are the Christ." 30 And He warned them to tell no one about 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.

 

Mk 8,17-21

(138b) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Reproof >> Jesus reproves His disciples for their unbelief

Mk 8-17

(74l) Thy kingdom come >> Let not your heart be hardened >> Insensitive to the things of God -- If Jesus must ask if we have a hardened heart, then the answer is yes. A hardened heart was the cause of their lack of understanding. They witnessed miracles the world had never seen, yet they gained no insight from them. Remember Israel who saw the works of God for forty years and their bodies fell in the wilderness; God swore in His wrath, "They shall not enter My rest," (Ps 95-11). Jesus didn't want His disciples to go in that direction, so He continually pounded the truth into them, awakening them from their spiritual slumber. We look for "Gentle Jesus" in the Scriptures, and He's not on every page. Much of the gospels are devoted to Jesus loving the people, rebuking His disciples (hence the name disciple), and condemning the Pharisees. Christianity is a delicate balance between love and war, love of God and man, and war with spiritual principalities and powers in high places that want to capture our minds and fill them with thoughts of the world, which is controlled by the devil. Jesus was right to be concerned about His disciples; He was on the other end of the boat all alone, because they couldn't comprehend His identity, though He tried to explain Himself many times to them.

Mk 8-18

(106e) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Hearing from God >> Attaining the hearing ear >> Having the ability to hear

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Mk 8,22-26

(145b) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Unique methods of healing – When the people handed the blind man to Jesus and asked Him to lay His hands on him and heal His blindness, they were essentially saying to Him, ‘Use the same method on him that You usually use.’ Jesus as though said back to them, ‘You have the wrong idea; you think that it is through My touch that people are healed.’ It wasn’t Jesus’ hand coming in contact with the sick that induced healing; it was His Father in heaven who induced the healing through Christ. If Jesus chose to use his hand as the medium of transmission, then so be it, otherwise He could use a different method, and it all worked the same. It is not the method of transmission that is important but faith in God. Jesus had no power in Himself to do anything; He was merely a conduit of His Father’s will to establish His kingdom on this earth. Now that Christ has ascended back to the Father, He has given us of His Spirit that we might carry on the work of establishing His kingdom in the individuals that God has prepared to receive it.

(226k) Kingdom of God >> Illustrating the kingdom >> Rewards of heaven >> God rewards us for obeying Him >> Rewarded for believing in God – Jesus operated exclusively through faith in His Father; He transmitted the healing virtue to people who were operating in their own human faith, known as confidence. One of the best ways to understand our faith is to contrast it against it’s opposite, unbelief. The first statement of unbelief is that God does not love us, and that He is unwilling to demonstrate His presence among us for our benefit. Faith is just the opposite. If we can believe that God loves us and is willing to demonstrate His presence among us, the definition of Heb 11-1 says, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” The definition of God’s faith no one knows. His confidence transcends our confidence in that after He commanded the stars in the sky, they appeared. What is this thing that God used to create the universe? Nobody knows. We know its name, faith, but we don’t know how God does what He does through faith. Therefore, our faith believes in God’s faith (Mk 9-24), and in doing this we are able to walk in a portion of His faith, and this is how we are saved.

(236j) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Invest in the kingdom >> Invest in the treasures of the kingdom >> Invest your life in God’s faith – God’s faith has to do with the combination of the Holy Spirit and the word of God working in tandem, and then came an act of obedience that corresponded with the truth, and through these three a spark is ignited. That spark is faith, and faith is from God. It is one thing to believe in God for a miracle; it is another for God to perform a miracle through us. The blind man said to Jesus, “I see men, for I see them like trees, walking around.” This implies that he was seeing better than he did before Jesus touched Him. The man was developing confidence in God to receive the miracle of sight. At first He didn’t have confidence in Christ; he wanted to believe, but he didn’t know how. Jesus took him from the people and spit in his eyes. Jesus was increasing the man’s faith by elaborating on the method of transmission, adding more steps to help him believe. It was a prop; Jesus’ hand making contact with the sick person was a prop to help him believe. The man said to Jesus, ‘I can see better but my vision is still blurry;’ his faith was blurry. He lacked confidence in Jesus to heal him, so Jesus touched his eyes, and as the man strained to see, the healing virtue allowed him to see with the confidence he had in Jesus.

Mk 8,27-30

(108h) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Revelation of Jesus Christ >> Spiritual revelation >> Revelation of His identity – A few verses earlier Jesus complained to His disciples that they hadn’t internalized the feeding of the four thousand with a hand-basket of food, yet they understood Him to be the Christ? These were in conflict: knowing He was the Christ but not knowing all things were possible for Him. They were not getting the full revelation of Jesus Christ. They understood that the Father solved all Jesus' problems, but they still weren’t sure He was willing to solve all their problems. They couldn’t see that God was in absolute control. They were still thinking that somehow His plan could be derailed, and when they saw Jesus hanging on the cross, their fears were confirmed. At Pentecost thousands of people were saved with no miracles involved, and so it seems they inherited Christ’s attribute that nothing was impossible for Him. If we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, then we have the potential to understand this revelation and begin living accordingly. God’s desire is that we live a miraculous life within the parameters of our fleshly weaknesses.

Mk 8-29,30

(57fa) Paradox >> Opposites >> Making enemies by telling the truth – Jesus didn’t want people telling others that He was the Christ for two reasons: first, He wanted people to come to their own conclusions. Second, He didn’t want the message that He was the Son of God to reach the ears of His enemies too soon, for He knew they would be threatened by it. For the disciples to claim that Jesus was the Christ was a major revelation, which was all-important that they understood. When they started following Jesus, they were not entirely sure about this. They saw something in Him, and what He had they wanted. This revelation was clarified over a period of weeks and months, after witnessing miracle after miracle and observing His perfection.

Mk 8-31

(37b) Judgment >> The cross >> Father slays His son

(103i) Thy kingdom come >> God purifies His church >> Jesus goes through God’s purifying process -- Suffering seems to have purifying qualities, like gold that has been liquefied in a hot furnace, releasing its impurities that float to the top. Although Jesus was without sin and did not personally need to go through any kind of purifying process, the Father still tested Him all the way to the cross, in order that He might taste death for us all. Now that God has experienced death, which is the essence of Satan and the root of man's problem, God can now imparted His Spirit, which is the essence of God and man's ultimate solution.

(210c) Salvation >> The salvation of God >> Jesus is our sacrifice >> God uses sinners to sacrifice His son

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32&33 And He was stating the matter plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. 33 But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's."

 

Mk 8,32-38

(203c) Denying Christ >> Dishonor God by not receiving Him

(223h) Kingdom of God >> The elusive Kingdom of Heaven >> Miss God >> Missing the mark >> Miss the will of God for your life -- Jesus sad to Peter, "You are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's." How many of us have truly set our minds on God's interests and sought to fulfill His purpose? Peter had no idea about the will of God for Christ, let alone the will of God for his own life. What if we knew the will of God; would that help us fulfill it? If we knew what God really wanted of us, the vast majority would run with our tails between our legs in the opposite direction. Mary, the mother of Jesus, said to the waiter, "Whatever He says to you, do it," and then the waiter filled the water pots as He was instructed by the Lord, and the water turned into wine based on the waiter's obedience. Most people in the Church today do not have the faith of the waiter in Jn 2,1-10. Somewhere along the line, Peter and the other disciples realized that Jesus was priceless and that whatever He wanted them to do, they would give top priority and die trying to fulfill it. This is the kind of faith and confidence we need in Christ, for without it we won't fulfill the smallest thing that God would ask of us.

Mk 8-32,33

(176e) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Zeal without knowledge (Spirit w/o the word) >> Devotion without direction

(183e) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Spirit of Error (Anti-Christ / Anti-Semitism) >> Nursery for the spirit of error >> Selfish ambition >> Seeking to control the truth

Mk 8-33

(18g) Sin >> False Judgment lacks evidence >> Temporal mindset

(46g) Judgment >> Spiritual warfare >> Fall of Satan >> Removing Satan’s obstructions -- Removing Satan’s obstructions was one of Jesus' full time jobs. He refused to allow demons to manifest in His presence, and equally refused to allow lies, false doctrine and deception to flourish around Him, but always put it in its place. Obviously, Peter was not the devil, and he wasn't doing anything dumber than usual by standing between Jesus and His cross. Jesus rebuked Peter because he was acting like the devil by placing man's interests before God's interests. He had a temporal mindset and interpreted everything through the flesh. 

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34 And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.


Mk 8,34-38

(6d) Responsibility >> Advocate God’s cause >> Jesus’ yoke of death

(56g) Paradox >> Opposites >> Seek God’s life by subduing your flesh – Jesus was saying that we don’t have an option to do the will of God, though there are many people who think they can juggle Christianity with worldliness. There are many movies about Jesus being whipped and bloodied, beaten and nailed to a cross to die for our sins, raised from the dead, and that is the end of the story. What is missing from a rendition of the gospel like this is, where does dying to self fit into the story? Someone might ask, what good is the cross if we must die to self? We need to realize that the old covenant commandments are still in force; God still wants us to live according to the expectations that He imposed on Israel. Jesus didn’t go to the cross so we could live like heathens; rather, the new covenant is a new way to live for Him. The cross has created a means by which God can now impart His Spirit into us, because our faith in His cross has utterly pardoned us of all sin, making us holy to the Lord. Now that we have His Spirit dwelling in us, he wants to direct and empower us to deny our fleshly impulses and live godly for His namesake. Jesus illustrated this process of self-denial as taking our own cross and following Him, denying ourselves the right to live any way we want and living instead according to the will of God. This is translated as denying ourselves the right to pick a career or marry a wife or husband, etc. Do we have aspirations? God calls us to deny them and take up His aspirations, which He promises will give us greater fulfillment than if we did our own thing. God may allow us to experience many things, but then again, He might call us to sacrifice them for a higher purpose that God has for us. We have no choice but to follow Him, for if we wish to live our way, we may lose everything; if we wish to see heaven, we will need to make sacrifices in this life.

(164g) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> The world system >> Satan’s system of authority >> His elementary principles of the world

(192a) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Result of putting off the old man >> Gain by losing >> Life for life >> Losing your life to gain God’s life -- Why do we need to give up our old way of life to follow Jesus? For one thing, our old way was shrouded in unbelief; we were not following Jesus. Since then we have made a pact with the Holy Spirit to walk in faith, and since our flesh was not consulted in the decision to follow Him, it will not cooperate with us. Peter got in the way of Jesus' cross like our flesh gets in our way of following Jesus (Vs 31-33). He taught us through the example of Peter just how strict we should be with our flesh. Jesus refused to let anything get between He and the cross, because the temptation was there to deviate from it, since it did not appeal to His flesh. God wants us to be just as devoted to fulfilling His purpose for us. 

(208a) Salvation >> Salvation verses >> The kindness of God >> The cross

(232c) Kingdom of God >> Seeking the kingdom >> If you must count the cost, the price is always too high

Mk 8,34-37 

(42k) Judgment >> Satan destroyed >> Conform to the glory of Christ’s death – Abraham sacrificed his son Isaac on the altar, yet he got him back safe and sound with his faith confirmed, just like our heavenly Father got His Son back from the dead. We must be just as willing to sacrifice everything in hope of one day getting it back with interest. In this way we see that it is not so much a sacrifice as an investment into the Kingdom of God. When we get saved, we have no idea what God wants us to do. He may give us permission to marry, but then He might not. The point is we must sacrifice everything before we will discover His will. Abraham was intending to plunge the knife into his son Isaac; his attitude toward God was that just by the sound of His voice, he could trust God with His whole heart. Abraham believed that he could kill his son in obedience to God’s voice and only good would come of it. How much more will good come of our calling who obey His new covenant voice? Obviously there are many flakes and nut-cases out there who have killed people in the name of their god, but they don’t count. We are talking about listening to the Holy Spirit, not listening to demons. There is a huge difference, and if we don’t know the difference, then it is time to get saved.

(253l) Trinity >> Relationship between Father and Son >> Jesus is subject to the will of the Father – Jesus defined the cross as denying Himself; there is no better way to describe the journey to the cross than self-denial. Jesus denied Himself in order to go to the cross, but what did He deny, for there was nothing in this world He wanted? His flesh didn't want to die! We can extract pleasure from our flesh at the cost of things that are far more valuable. The temptation that made Him sweat drops of blood was to run from the prospect of taking on the sins of the whole world. As the sound of soldiers’ footsteps grew louder, He was tempted to flee, or at least circumvent the encroaching reality, but He denied the temptation to flee the Garden of Gethsemane and save His own skin at the cost of doing His Father's will. Throughout His life He denied Himself various temptations, following His Father instead along the Via Dolorosa, the road of suffering. His Father heaped the sins of all the world on Him as He was dying and caused Him to sink into the depths of hell. He was personally innocent of all sin and God raised Him from the dead and put the horror of it all behind Him. Jesus described it as a woman in labor, painful at the time, but afterward joyful that a child has been born into the world. 

Mk 8-34

(103j) Thy kingdom come >> Purifying process >> God purifies His church >> We go through Jesus’ purifying process – Heb 2-10 says, “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.” If Jesus had to go through a purifying process for His Father, how much more do we? The Son of God who was perfect in every way came from heaven and inhabited a human body in all its weaknesses and was tested. The question the Father had of His Son was this, ‘You seem perfect, but what if I made you as one of your brethren to dwell in the weakness of sinful flesh, would you remain perfect?’ So He sent Jesus, conceived in His mother Mary; He had a natural birth and lived from infancy to adulthood in every way like us, except without sin (Heb 4-15). With every known temptation thrown at Him by the devil for thirty-three years, Jesus remained perfect in the eyes of His Father, so when He gave His flesh for the sins of the world according to the predetermined plan of God, the Father accepted His sacrifice as full payment of the believer's sin, and then raised Him from the dead and brought Him back to heaven. The Father received Him as one who had been tested and found true. He commands us to go through the same purifying process. Of course we will not be like Jesus but will fail many times, and so God poses a different question to us. Of His Son He asked, ‘When I test you, will you remain perfect?’; but of us He asks, ‘When I test you, will you remain faithful? If we do, He considers us perfect, no matter how many times we fail. Of the Father Jesus said, “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mat 5-48); but of the Son the Father says, ‘Take up your cross and follow Me.’ Note that Jesus told us to take up our cross, not His. The life that He has prepared for us has incorporated into it a purifying process, that if we submit to it will be the stone against which He sharpens us in preparation to do His will. We embrace the cross of Christ, the sacrifice He made for His Father as a means of forgiving our sins, so we can be tested and accepted before God, made perfect through the blood sacrifice of our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ.

(187ab) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Die to the flesh >> The ministry of dying to self >> Die to self to minister to God >> Pick up your cross and follow Him – Jesus died for the sins of the people so God could receive us; this needed to happen before anything else. Who would want to follow Jesus who is going to the cross? On the contrary, there are many who follow Christ, for along with the cross He carries the promise of eternal life, but the message is that we must sacrifice this life in order to receive it. There is a popular Christian hymn, “The Old Rugged Cross.” It depicts a person walking with His cross trekking up the hill of Golgotha to the place where Jesus was crucified, and there being nailed to our cross next to Him as the believing criminal. We know that the cross was the Father’s predetermined plan for His Son, that Jesus should be sacrificed for the sins of the people. The cross was His very purpose of coming into the world, His calling. Some people don’t believe God has a calling for each of us, but if the cross was Jesus’ calling, then dying to self is the basis of our calling and ministry from God. Through the ministry of dying to self, the separation of our personal interests and desires, we find God’s purpose. There is one aspect of everyone’s calling that is the same: dying to self; this is how we find God’s purpose. We must sacrifice this life in the flesh in order to find God’s life in the Spirit, His plan for us is to promote the Kingdom of God in this world.

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35-38 "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it. 36 "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? 37 "For what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels."

 

Mk 8,35-38

(55k) Paradox >> Gain the world to lose your soul >> He who saves his life shall lose it -- This is one of Jesus' notoriously baleful descriptions of the nature and condition of the world. We see it as a hostile environment but also as home, and so give it more credence than it deserves. These verses resemble His statement about money in Mat 6-24, "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." These verses, however, use stronger language, warning us that not only can we lose our soul by seeking the riches of the world, but we can lose it simply by believing in the world, and reveling in its wholesale rejection of God. In the process of seeking the favor of this world that is antipodal to everything God represents, it is hopeless to juggle with that and a genuine relationship with Christ, who considers it idolatry, calling us adulteresses in Jm 4-4. There is something inherently evil about wanting to identify with a system that hates its creator. 

(199g) Denying Christ >> Man chooses his own destiny apart from God >> Rejecting Christ >> Throwing God away >> Denying Christ – Someone might say, ‘I’m not going to sacrifice anything or deny myself; instead, I’m going to believe in the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ for my sins, but not live for Him,’ Jesus is not giving us a choice; we must deny ourselves. He is saying if we don’t we will lose our eternal souls. This whole thing about juggling Christianity and the world is a figment of people’s imaginations. The Bible nowhere gives us permission to do this, but the Church in a state of apostasy has given itself permission to opt-out of obeying Christ, and the vast majority of people in the Church are doing just that. The Church has created doctrines that give them permission to live this life to the fullest without any need to make sacrifices for the sake of the Kingdom of God, but the plethora of Scriptures that speak against their ideas far outweigh the few heavily interpreted verses they use to justify themselves. People who juggle Christianity with the world don’t have confidence that they are in the center of God’s will, and if they wish to live this way, they will never see heaven. 

Mk 8-36,37

(249m) Priorities >> God’ s preeminence >> World’s perception of wealth >> The world’s wealth has no value >> The world’s wealth cannot afford a single soul – Imagine the rich man who spent his whole life accumulating great wealth according to the value system of this world and then died. Suddenly, he realized that he had traded his eternal soul for things of the world. He met Jesus at the judgment and said, ‘Lord, Lord, before you say or do anything, I have all this money, and I even have investments in gold; I have stockpiles of it; I can get it for you if you just let me.’ What would Jesus would say to that? ‘Sir, My streets are paved with gold, what need do I have with yours? Besides, we don’t use money up here.’ The rich man would say, ‘Lord, what do you want then? What can I give in exchange for my soul?’ Jesus would answer, ‘I already asked that rhetorical question, and it was supposed to help you think twice about selling your soul for the sake of your own selfish pursuits, for how will you buy it back?’ The moral of the story is, we have nothing that God needs; all He wants from us is our hearts, which is literally priceless to Him. For the rich man to give his heart to Jesus at the White Throne Judgment would be like giving Him the wrappers of a McDonald’s happy meal; Jesus will throw the packaging into the abyss along with the rich man. The rich man wouldn’t be happy in heaven anyway. He doesn’t like God, and he probably wouldn’t like anyone else in heaven either, because they all love Jesus. If He let the rich man in heaven, he would be the only one there who didn’t love God, and he would crash every party he attended. Heaven just wouldn’t know what to do with him. God has a place prepared for him instead, where he will feel much more at home, because he wouldn’t have to pretend that he likes Jesus, nobody does there; he can just be himself. Off he goes then, into outer darkness, never to be seen again, all because he was unwilling to invest his life in the Kingdom of God. “Weeping shall be there and gnashing of teeth.”

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Mk 8-38

(40b) Judgment >> Jesus is the judge >> Jesus judges the world’s disobedience – Jesus came to a people at a time not so different from our own, and Jesus called His generation adulterous and sinful. Two thousands years later, we have come full circle. We can’t pick two things from our society that are different from His, and that generation hung Him on a cross, and so would we. This is actually provable in that He will return in the not so distant future, and people will try to kill Him again, not the meek and mild son of man, but the all-powerful Son of God returning in the glory of His heavenly Father. Those who would attempt to kill Him under those circumstances must be insane, which is becoming an accurate description of society today. What Jesus’ generation didn’t know, it was just as impossible to kill Him in the weakness of human flesh as it will be in His glorified state at His second coming. He says about our adulterous and sinful generation, if we are ashamed of Him, He will be ashamed of us. If we are ashamed to name Jesus in public or speak His word among the heathen, then He will be ashamed of us. He is not talking about Christians who are ashamed of Him, for there are no Christians ashamed of Jesus. He was saying that being ashamed of Jesus is a sign that we are not Christian at all. This is something we must all consider as the acid test of our faith. Are we willing to confess Jesus in public?

(64j) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Weaknesses of God >> Foolishness of God

(150c) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Confessing Jesus to be saved >> Confessing Jesus that He may confess us to the Father – Paul said there are two requirements to being Christian, though there is no hard and fast method of getting saved: we must confess Jesus as our Savior and we must believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead (Rom 10-9). Confessing Jesus is proof that we believe in Him. It may explain why salvation is so elusive to some people that they are seeking a method or a formula of salvation when there isn’t one. To the children of God everything makes perfect sense, because their heart is right with God; but to others, believing in God is like trying to pound a round peg into a square hole. One thing is certain; we need the indwelling Holy Spirit as the essential definition of Christianity, but how the individual successfully invites the Holy Spirit into his heart is different for each person. Some answer an altar call, some quote a version of the sinner’s prayer, and still others pray in a ditch for God’s grace and mercy. We could say the sinner’s prayer; we could not say the sinner’s prayer; if our heart is right with God, it doesn’t matter. The sinner’s prayer is approximately what someone would say if he had a genuine newfound faith, but it doesn’t guarantee a sincere and contrite heart, so saying the sinner’s prayer doesn’t guarantee salvation. One thing is certain of all Christians; they are victorious, having conquered their flesh and their fears and their doubts, and they have asked Jesus to conquer their death, so on the day of their death, instead of dying, they will be transported directly to heaven.

(157b) Witness >> Validity of the believer >> Evidence of being hell-bound >> Rejecting Christ

 

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