New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand
8 During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said, 2 “I have compassion for these people;they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. 3 If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.”
4 His disciples answered, “But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?”
5 “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked.
“Seven,” they replied.
6 He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people, and they did so. 7 They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them. 8 The people ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 9 About four thousand were present. After he had sent them away, 10 he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the region of Dalmanutha.
11 The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. 12 He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to it.” 13 Then he left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other side.
The Yeast of the Pharisees and Herod
14 The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. 15 “Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”
16 They discussed this with one another and said, “It is because we have no bread.”
17 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember?19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”
“Twelve,” they replied.
20 “And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”
They answered, “Seven.”
21 He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”
Jesus Heals a Blind Man at Bethsaida
22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”
24 He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”
25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. 26 Jesus sent him home, saying, “Don’t even go into the village.”
Peter Declares That Jesus Is the Messiah
27 Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”
28 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”
29 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”
30 Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.
Jesus Predicts His Death
31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
33 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
The Way of the Cross
34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life[b] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
Mark 8:34 If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.
Throughout the Gospel of Mark, the disciples observed the many miracles Jesus performed. Feeding a multitude of people with very little resources twice, healing the sick, making the blind to see, and driving out demons.
In verses 13-21, we read that the disciples were concerned for not taking enough food on the boat while crossing the lake. Jesus said to them to watch out and be aware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod. The disciples misperceived this message and thought Jesus was referring to the fact that they forgot to bring food! Jesus asked them, “Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Though you have eyes, do you not see? And though you have ears, do you not hear and listen?” Here, Jesus was referring to their spiritual eyes and ears. How do we know if our spiritual eyes and ears are open? Seeing and believing the Word of God and hearing and obeying the voice of Holy Spirit.
V 29: When we speak God’s Word, confessing that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, and the Anointed One, we believe that He is our Savior and that we have been called to follow Him. So what does it mean?
To deny yourself? - Jesus explains that we have to set aside our selfish interests. Anytime we sacrifice our personal desires and plan to follow Jesus, we experience a death to self-will. The only way to successfully die to a fleshly desire is to stop feeding it! Every time you feed the flesh, it gets stronger but when you starve it, it will weaken and ultimately die! By that we defeat the devil that is out to destroy and kill us and keep us from following Jesus. Dying to self-will brings great victory and rewards.
Take up our cross? - The Amplified Bible says it is “a willingness to endure whatever may come.” There may be many different crosses we are asked to take up in our own lives. None of them is likely to be sought out by us of our own accord. We need Holy Spirit to tell us and then be willing to take up the one He shows us! We know that every cross is going to be heavy and sore to carry, but when we do - Jesus is right there! He will draw close to you; give you courage and wisdom to overcome; deepen your peace and make you victorious.
We are to follow Jesus, believing in Him, conforming to His example of living, and even suffering or giving up our lives because of our faith in Him. Praise God we have our Christian brothers and sisters to support us as we journey together in following Jesus.
Pray and thank God for Jesus and Holy Spirit and ask Him to renew your mind every morning.
Ask Holy Spirit to point out the fleshly desires that you need to deny so you can follow Jesus victoriously. Ask Him to help you stop feeding it and lay it down.
What cross do you need to take up to follow Jesus right now?
Who is sitting in your spiritual driving seat? You or Jesus? What do you have to sacrifice to put Jesus in the driving seat?
We want God to thrust us into the harvest field, loving our neighbors, sharing the Gospel, and discipling people.