Mark Chapter Eight
We shall find in chapter 8 another example of that which we have been noticing. Jesus leads the blind man out of the town. He does not forsake Israel wherever there is faith; but He separates the one who possesses it from the mass, and brings him into connection with the power, the grace, the heaven, whence blessing flowed-blessing consequently which extended to the Gentiles. Power was not exercised in the midst of manifest unbelief. This clearly marks out the position of Christ with regard to the people. He pursues His service, but He retires to God because of Israel's unbelief: but it is to the God of all grace. There His heart found refuge till the great hour of atonement.
It is on this account, as it appears to me, that we have (chap. 8) the second miracle of the multiplication of the loaves. The Lord acts again in favour of Israel, no longer as administering Messianic power in the midst of the people (which was implied, as we have seen, in the number twelve), but in spite of His rejection by Israel, continuing to exercise His power in a divine manner and apart from man. The number seven  has always the force of superhuman perfection-that which is complete: this however applied to what is complete in the power of evil as well as good, when it is not human and subordinate to God. Here it is divine. It is that intervention of God which is unwearied, and which is according to His own power, which it is the principal object of the repetition of the miracle to display.
Afterwards the condition both of the heads of Israel and of the remnant is displayed. The Pharisees require a sign; but no sign should be given to that generation. It was simply unbelief when abundant proofs of who He was were before them; they were the very things which had led to the demand. The Lord departs from them. But the blind and unintelligent condition of the remnant is also manifested. The Lord warns them to beware of the spirit and the teaching of the Pharisees, the false pretenders to a holy zeal for God; and of the Herodians, the servile votaries of the spirit of the world, who, to please the emperor, set God entirely aside.
In using the word "leaven," the Lord gives the disciples occasion to shew their deficiency in spiritual intelligence. If the Jews learnt nothing from the Lord's miracles, but still asked for signs, even the disciples did not realise the divine power manifested in them. I do not doubt that this condition is set forth in the blind man of Bethsaida.
Jesus takes him by the hand and leads him out of the town, away from the multitude, and uses that which was of Himself, that which possessed the efficacy of His own Person, to perform the cure.  The first effect well depicts the condition of the disciples. They saw, doubtless, but in a confused manner, "men, as trees, walking." But the Lord's love is not wearied by their unbelieving dullness of intelligence; He acts according to the power of His own intention towards them, and causes them to see clearly. Afterwards-away from Israel-the uncertainty of unbelief is seen in juxtaposition with the certainty of faith (however obscure its intelligence may be), and Jesus, forbidding the disciples to speak of that which they certainly believed (the time was gone by for convincing Israel of Christ's rights as Messiah), announces to them that which should happen to Himself, for the accomplishment of God's purposes in grace as Son of man, after His rejection by Israel.  So that everything is now, as we may say, in its place. Israel does not recognise the Messiah in Jesus; consequently He no longer addresses the people in that character. His disciples believe Him to be the Messiah, and He tells them of His death and resurrection.
Now there may be (and it is a most important practical truth) true faith, without the heart being formed according to the full revelation of Christ, and without the flesh being practically crucified in proportion to the measure of knowledge one has of the object of faith. Peter acknowledged indeed, by the teaching of God, that Jesus was the Christ; but he was far from having his heart pure according to the mind of God in Christ. And when the Lord announces His rejection, humiliation and death, and that before all the world, the flesh of Peter-wounded by the idea of a Master thus despised and rejected-shews its energy by daring to rebuke the Lord Himself. This attempt of Satan's to discourage the disciples by the dishonour of the cross stirs up the Lord's heart. All His affection for His disciples, and the sight of those poor sheep before whom the enemy was putting a stumbling block, bring a vehement censure upon Peter, as being the instrument of Satan and speaking on his part. Alas for us! the reason was plain-he savoured the things of men, and not those of God; for the cross comprises in itself all the glory of God. Man prefers the glory of man, and thus Satan governs him. The Lord calls the people and His disciples, and explains distinctly to them that if they would follow Him, they must take part with Him, and bear their cross. For thus, in losing their life, they would save it, and the soul was worth all beside. Moreover, if any one was ashamed of Jesus and of His words, the Son of man would be ashamed of him, when He should come in the glory of His Father with the holy angels. For glory belonged to Him, whatever might be His humiliation. He then sets this before His chief disciples, in order to strengthen their faith.
 It may be remarked that seven is the highest prime, that is indivisible, number; twelve, the most divisible there is.
 Spittle, in connection with the sanctity of the Rabbis, was highly esteemed by the Jews in this respect; but here its efficacy is connected with the Person of Him who used it.
 We have nothing here of the church, nor of the keys of the kingdom These depend on what is not introduced here as a part of Peter's confession-the Son of the living God. We have the glory of the kingdom coming in power, in contrast with the rejected Christ the prophet-servant in Israel.
── John Darby《Synopsis of Mark》
Four thousand fed by a miracle. (1-10) Christ cautions against the Pharisees and Herodians. (11-21) A blind man healed. (22-26) Peter's testimony to Christ. (27-33) Christ must be followed. (34-38)
Commentary on Mark 8:1-10
(Read Mark 8:1-10)
Our Lord Jesus encouraged the meanest to come to him for life and grace. Christ knows and considers our frames. The bounty of Christ is always ready; to show that, he repeated this miracle. His favours are renewed, as our wants and necessities are. And those need not fear want, who have Christ to live upon by faith, and do so with thanksgiving.
Commentary on Mark 8:11-21
(Read Mark 8:11-21)
Obstinate unbelief will have something to say, though ever so unreasonable. Christ refused to answer their demand. If they will not be convinced, they shall not. Alas! what cause we have to lament for those around us, who destroy themselves and others by their perverse and obstinate unbelief, and enmity to the gospel! 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?
Commentary on Mark 8:22-26
(Read Mark 8:22-26)
Here is a blind man brought to Christ by his friends. Therein appeared the faith of those that brought him. If those who are spiritually blind, do not pray for themselves, yet their friends and relations should pray for them, that Christ would be pleased to touch them. The cure was wrought gradually, which was not usual in our Lord's miracles. Christ showed in what method those commonly are healed by his grace, who by nature are spiritually blind. At first, their knowledge is confused; but, like the light of the morning, it shines more and more to the perfect day, and then they see all things clearly. Slighting Christ's favours is forfeiting them; and he will make those who do so know the worth of privileges by the want of them.
Commentary on Mark 8:27-33
(Read Mark 8:27-33)
These things are written, that we may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. These miracles of our Lord assure us that he was not conquered, but a Conqueror. Now the disciples are convinced that Jesus is the Christ; they may bear to hear of his sufferings, of which Christ here begins to give them notice. He sees that amiss in what we say and do, of which we ourselves are not aware, and knows what manner of spirit we are of, when we ourselves do not. The wisdom of man is folly, when it pretends to limit the Divine counsels. Peter did not rightly understand the nature of Christ's kingdom.
Commentary on Mark 8:34-38
(Read Mark 8:34-38)
Frequent notice is taken of the great flocking there was to Christ for help in various cases. All are concerned to know this, if they expect him to heal their souls. They must not indulge the ease of the body. 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.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on Mark》
 So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets.
So they did eat — This miracle was 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.
 And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him.
Tempting him — That is, trying to ensnare him. Matthew 16:1.
 And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation.
 And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.
Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod, or of the Sadducees; two opposite extremes. 17,18. Our Lord here affirms of all the apostles, (for the question is equivalent to an affirmation,) That their hearts were hardened; that having eyes they saw not, having ears they heard not; that they did not consider, neither understand: the very same expressions that occur in the thirteenth of Matthew. And yet it is certain they were not judicially hardened. Therefore all these strong expressions do not necessarily import any thing more than the present want of spiritual understanding.
 And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.
He led him out of the town — It was in just displeasure against the inhabitants of Bethsaida for their obstinate infidelity, that our Lord would work no more miracles among them, nor even suffer the person he had cured, either to go into the town, or to tell it to any therein.
 And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking.
I see men as trees walking — He distinguished men from trees only by their motion.
 And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am?
 And he charged them that they should tell no man of him.
He enjoined them silence for the present, 1. That he might not encourage the people to set him up for a temporal king; 2. That he might not provoke the scribes and Pharisees to destroy him before the time and, 3. That he might not forestall the bright evidence which was to be given of his Divine character after his resurrection.
 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
 And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.
He spake that saying openly — Or in express terms. Till now he had only intimated it to them.
And Peter taking hold of him — Perhaps by the arms or clothes.
 But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.
Looking on his disciples — That they might the more observe what he said to Peter.
 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
And when he called the people — To hear a truth of the last importance, and one that equally concerned them all.
Let him deny himself — His own will, in all things small and great, however pleasing, and that continually: And take up his cross - Embrace the will of God, however painful, daily, hourly, continually. Thus only can he follow me in holiness to glory.
 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.
 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
Whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words — That is, avowing whatever I have said (particularly of self denial and the daily cross) both by word and action. Matthew 10:32; Luke 9:26; Luke 12:8.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on Mark》
Chapter 8. Feed Four Thousand
Satisfy the People
I. Supply the Needs
II. A Blind Man at Bethsaida
III. Ask Disciples "Who I Am"
── Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》