Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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MARK - Chapter 8

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Mark 8

Supplemental Commentary:

Note.  Only those words and passages which have no parallel in the First Gospel are commented upon here.  For the rest the reader should consult the Commentary on the parallel passages in Matthew.


4.  Ministry Mostly in the Regions Bordering on Galilee  7, 24 -- 9, 49  (continued)

8, 1-9:  Jesus Feeds Four Thousand.  Parallel in Matt. 15, 32-38.

8, 10-12:  The Pharisees Ask a Sign.  Parallel in Matt. 15, 39; 16, 4; cf. also Luke 12, 54-56, and the earlier occasion when a sign was demanded (Matt. 12, 38-40; Luke 11, 16.29 f).    11.  The Pharisees came forth: perhaps the sense is, "out of their own region"; if so, then the district of Dalmanutha is not to be sought in Galilee.    12.  The sighing deeply in spirit signifies here Christ's weariness with this unbelieving generation.  Mark's account is important in making Christ's refusal of a sign absolute; see Commentary on Matt. 12, 39.

8, 13-21:  The Leaven of the Pharisees.  Parallel in Matt. 16, 5-12.

8, 22-26:  A Blind Man at Bethsaida.  Peculiar to Mark.    22.  On the site of Bethsaida see Commentary on Matt. 14, 13.  Jesus and the Apostles were now on their way from Decapolis to Caesarea Philippi.    23.  As in the cure of the deaf-mute (7, 31 ff), so also here the miracle is performed outside the village in order to keep it secret (cf. 26).  Some commentators explain the use of spittle in this case as a means of increasing the faith of the blind man; the cure would then be gradual because the man's faith was at first imperfect.  Other commentators see both in the use of spittle and in the gradual nature of the cure means used by our Lord in order to conceal the miraculous nature of the cure.  It was commonly believed at that time that spittle was an effective remedy, especially if it were the spittle of one who had not yet eaten on that day.    24.  The man, not blind from birth, recognized these objects but vaguely.    25.  The translation of the Vulgate, and he began to see, is rather surprising in view of the fact that the text states that the man had already partially recovered his sight; the meaning of the Greek is, "and he looked straight ahead."    26.  There are several varieties of readings for this verse; the best manuscripts read, "And he sent him into his house, saying, 'Do not go into the village.'"

8, 27-30:  Peter's Confession.  Parallels in Matt. 16, 13-20 and Luke 9, 18-21.

8, 31-33: Passion and Resurrection Foretold.  Parallels in Matt. 16, 21-23 and Luke 9, 22.

8, 34-39:  The Doctrine of the Cross.  Parallels in Matt. 16, 24-28 and Luke 9, 23-27.    38.  Cf. Matt. 10, 33.    39.  The full expression, the kingdom of God coming in power is peculiar to Mark and is best understood in the sense of "the manifestation of divine power in the establishing of God's Kingdom on earth," such as would be visible even during the lifetime of the Apostles.

Confraternity Bible:

Jesus Feeds Four Thousand  1 In those days when again there was a great crowd, and they had nothing to eat, he called his disciples together and said to them, 2 "I have compassion on the crowd, for behold, they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat; 3 and if I send them away to their homes fasting, they will faint on the way, for some of them have come from a distance."  4 And his disciples answered him, "How will anyone be able to satisfy these with bread, here in a desert?"  5 He asked them, "How many loaves have you?"  And they said, "Seven."

6 And he bade the crowd recline on the ground.  Then taking the seven loaves, he gave thanks, broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute; and they set them before the crowd.  7 And they had a few little fishes; and he blessed them, and ordered them to be distributed.  8 And they ate and were satisfied; and they took up what was left of the fragments, seven baskets.  9 Now those who had eaten were about four thousand.  And he dismissed them.

The Pharisees Ask a Sign  10 And immediately getting into the boat with his disciples, he came into the district of Dalmanutha.  11 And the Pharisees came forth, and began to dispute with him, demanding from him a sign from heaven, to test him.  12* And sighing deeply in spirit, he said, "Why does this generation demand a sign?  Amen I say to you, a sign shall not be given to this generation."

The Leaven of the Pharisees  13 And he left them, and getting back into the boat, crossed the sea.  14 And they had forgotten to bring bread, and they had but one loaf with them in the boat.  15 And he began to charge them, saying, "Take heed; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod!"  16 And they began to argue among themselves, saying, "We have no bread."  17 But Jesus knowing this, said to them, "Why do you argue because you have no bread?  Do you not yet perceive, nor understand?  Is your heart still blinded?  18 Though you have eyes do you not see, and though you have ears do you not hear?  And do you not remember?  19 When I broke the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments did you take up?"  They said to him, "Twelve."  20 "And when I broke the seven loaves among four thousand, how many large baskets of fragments did you take up?"  They said, "Seven."  21 And he said to them, "How is it that you do not yet understand?"

A Blind Man at Bethsaida  22 And they came to Bethsaida and they brought him a blind man and entreated him to touch him.  23 And taking the blind man by the hand, he led him forth outside the village; and applying spittle to his eyes, he laid his hands upon him, and asked him if he saw anything.  24 And the man looked up, and said, "I see men as though they were trees, but walking about."  25 Then again he laid his hands upon the man's eyes, and he began to see, and was restored so that he saw all things plainly.  26 And he sent him to his house, saying, "Go to thy house, and if thou enter the village, tell nobody."

Peter's Confession  27 And Jesus and his disciples went out into the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, saying to them, "Who do men say that I am?"  28 They answered him, saying, "John the Baptist; others, Elias; and others, one of the prophets."  29* Then he said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"  Peter answered and said to him, "Thou art the Christ."  30 And he strictly charged them to say nothing about him to anyone.

Passion and Resurrection Foretold  31 And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and Scribes, and be put to death, and after three days rise again.  32 And what he said he spoke openly.  And Peter taking him aside, began to chide him.  33 But he, turning and seeing his disciples, rebuked Peter, saying, "Get behind me, satan, for thou dost not mind the things of God, but those of men."

The Doctrine of the Cross  34 And calling the crowd together with his disciples, he said to them, "If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  35 For he who would save his life will lose it; but he who loses his life for my sake and for the gospel's sake will save it.  36 For what does it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, but suffer the loss of his own soul?  37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes with the holy angels in the glory of his Father."  39* And he said to them, "Amen I say to you, there are some of those standing here who will not taste death, till they have seen the kingdom of God coming in power."


12: A sign shall not be given: the Pharisees asked a miraculous sign to confirm Jesus' mission, but He refused because of their obvious insincerity.

29: Peter definitely proclaims his faith in Jesus as the Messias.  In a parallel passage St. Matthew reports him as saying, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."

39: Who will not taste death: i.e., even in the lifetime of some of His listeners He will manifest the power of His kingdom.