Class Notes: 1/8/2014
Mark 7:31-Mark 8:15 Jesus' disciples cannot parlay the miracles they see Jesus perform into doctrine in their thinking
In our study of Mark last time we left off in Mark 7:31-35; where Jesus was traveling through Decapolis on his way back to Galilee from Tyre.
Upon his arrival this time He was met with positive volition because of the witness of the man who Jesus had healed on his previous visit and the people presented Him with a man who could not hear or speak properly.
In healing this man, Jesus uses symbolic acts that uniquely address the man's needs and caused him to exercise faith. Jesus took him aside privately in order to communicate one-to-one with him away from the crowd.
By touching his ears and tongue, spitting on the ground and looking up to heaven to God; Jesus conveyed what He was going to do. His deep sigh may have reflected compassion for the man but it more likely reflected Jesus thinking as He battled the satanic powers that enslaved man.
Then Jesus gave the Aramaic command "Ephphatha" that means "Be opened' This word could easily be lip-read by a deaf person. His use of Aramaic may indicate that the man was not a Gentile.
Immediately at Jesus' command the man's ears were opened and he could speak clearly. Defective speech usually results from defective or inaccurate hearing. This is true in both the physical and spiritual realms.
Mark 7:36; He kept on commanding them over and over not to tell others, but the more he kept telling them to not say anything the more widely they spread the news of the healing.
Mark 7:37; The word translated "utterly" in the NASB is the Greek word "hyperperissos" that means "beyond measure." This word only used in this Bible verse so it is a hapax legomenon.
Mark 8:1; This verse introduces another occasion several months later. The previous time He fed 5000. The crowds had again gathered around to listen to Jesus for an extended period of time such that their food supply had run out so he calls his disciples.
It's interesting to note that Jesus didn't feed them until after they had listened to Him long enough to run out of their own food. This is how the church should function in its evangelistic activities. The physical food should be served after the spiritual food is served because the spiritual food is more important.
Mark 8:2-3; For "three days" they had gathered around Him, and paid attention to His teaching, until their food had all been eaten, so that they were left with "nothing to eat." He could not bear to leave them in that situation for their trip home.
"If I send them away hungry they will faint by the way." Many apparently lived a long distance from the place so for them to travel home hungry was a hardship that Jesus was unwilling to place on them.
Mark 8:4; His disciples still don't get it. They have watched the Lord perform miracles for three days and they just stand there with a blank expression on their faces.
They failed to remember and apply the doctrine related to the feeding of the five thousand they failed to remember the Lord's faithfulness to them on the Sea of Galilee, they did not remember the faith of the woman in Tyre, and they failed to understand the miracles that our Lord had performed the past three days.
Their expression of unbelief and lack of faith-rest is hard to understand given the continuous stream of miracles they have seen Him perform. Because of their hardness of heart they still haven't learned faith-rest but at least this time they know enough to simply put the problem back on Him.
Mark 8:5; His response is the same as before "what do you have?" They had seven loaves of bread and verse 7 tells us they also had a few small fish.
Jesus' question concerning the amount of bread available clearly indicated His this was an invitation for the disciples to use the resources they had as Jesus had done when He had previously fed the 5000 but their faith was insufficient.
Mark 8:6-7; His process is almost the same that He used when feeding the 5000 except that this time he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. Last time He told the disciples to instruct the people to sit on the ground but this time He tells them Himself. Jesus said: Sit down and do nothing.
This is grace. It doesn't mean to have an empty mind, it means you put your mind in gear by recalling God's promises and applying them through doctrinal recall and putting your body in neutral.
So Jesus takes the bread and the fish and after giving thanks, He broke off pieces (aorist active indicative) and He kept on giving (imperfect active indicative) the pieces to His disciples who keep on serving (aorist active indicative) to the seated people.
We see from this that God does not help those who help themselves; He helps those who wait on Him and obediently claim His promises with faith rest. Isa 40:31;
Mark 8:8-9; All 4000 men plus women and children ate and went away satisfied and they had 7 very large baskets left over. One basket for each loaf of bread.
The Greek word used to describe the baskets in this instance is "spuris" instead of "kophinos" that was used in the previous incident Mark 6:43; Instead these were rope baskets that were large enough to hold a man so each basket was equivalent to at least 12 of the baskets that were used when the 5000 were fed.
Mark 8:10; Once the crowd left Jesus and His disciples immediately departed on a boat and crossed over to the western side of the lake into a region called Dalmanutha that was also known as Magadan Matt 15:39;
Mark 8:11; In their locked in arrogance and unbelief the religious authorities were looking for something that they could use to discredit Him.
The word "testing" is the Greek word "peirazo" that means to test with the purpose of discovering something. In this case they were testing Him for the purpose of discovering evil.
It means that they were testing Him with the objective of finding a flaw or something wrong. Jesus faced a tremendous amount of this because He was perfect and He was a threat to them so they were trying to neutralize Him
In order to help them find a flaw they desired that He would show them a sign. Remember that a sign is a miraculous deed from heaven to prove that Jesus is truly God and the Messiah.
Jesus had been performing many miracles and they now have the gall to ask for another sign. They want a sign of His Messiahship and yet that is all that Jesus has been doing for about a year and a half.
So obviously they are not interested in Jesus as Messiah because when they asked the question He had already fulfilled all of the concepts connected with the signs prophesied in the Tnach.
So when they ask for another sign they are revealing their negative volition. They indicate the fact that they have already rejected Him and they have already rejected the Old Testament scriptures.
They are now trying to trip Him up by getting Him to say something that they can use to discredit Him by asking the question, Show us a sign.
Remember that the signs have to do with miracles and extra-natural phenomena. The principle is that when these miracles of Jesus and the other things that He performed in an extra-natural way are rejected, then Jesus gives them something that is stronger than miracles. He gives them doctrine.
The principle is that doctrine is more powerful than all of the miracles that have ever been performed since the beginning of time. Power that is demonstrated through miracles is absolutely nothing compared to the power of the recall and application of God's Word.
Mark 8:12; His sighing reflects His frustration with their obstinate locked in negative volition and unbelief. They have consistently rejected the legitimate validation that He has presented so this time he tells them that he will not give them a sign because they would not have accepted it even if he did.
They have rejected the Biblical signs because the Bible isn't their criterion. They are totally divorced from the Word. Jesus takes them back to the only criterion. If you can't be saved through the Word there is no way to be saved. There is no greater power than the Word and if the Word won't do it nothing will.
Matthew tells us that the final sign was "the sign of Jonah" Matt 16:4; Matt 12:39-40; Their request for a sign was illegitimate because it arose from negative volition and unbelief and was an attempt to discredit Him.
We see in Acts that they did not even accept the sign of Jonah that was demonstrated in His resurrection as a sign because they were in locked in negative volition and unbelief and as a result they were implacable.
Mark 8:13; So Jesus left them standing there. He gets back into the boat and crosses over to the northeastern shore of the lake. This was the end of his ministry in Galilee. The Jewish leaders were unreachable so it was time to walk away.
The words "leaving them" mean that He walked away physically, but when He walked away physically He also "departed" from them mentally. This is very important. If you walk away from people angry you are still thinking about them.
There are times when you have to forget about people who disagree with you and move on because they are not going to change. That is what Jesus did.
He walked away with perfect peace of mind because He had given them the greatest power possible, the Word. He walked away with perfect tranquility because He had done everything that He could do. They were implacable.
Mark 8:14; The departure was so sudden and unexpected that the disciples forgot to get more bread so they only had one loaf. But that wasn't the real problem the disciples' biggest problem was that they were unable to recall doctrine.
After seeing Him feed the five thousand and the four thousand why would they be concerned about bread. The point is, that if they were unable to recall what had happened with the bread it is quite obvious that they were not going to be able to recall anything else.
For three years Jesus taught them doctrine and when it became time to use it at the cross what did they do? With the possible exception of John they forgot it and ran. This was an illustration of their inability to recall and think doctrine under pressure.
If after great miracles in connection with bread they were concerned about forgetting to take bread obviously they did not have any recall. Memory is important because it establishes the frame of reference for decision-making; it is what is remembered that forms the basis for one's norms and standards.
If the disciples have forgotten about Jesus' capacity to produce bread obviously they have also forgotten all the other doctrine that they were supposed to have learned. Jesus wasn't concerned about bread but he is concerned about their inability to recall and apply His doctrinal teaching using faith-rest.
Mark 8:15; Jesus warned (He kept giving orders to") them to be on the alert and continuously on guard against the yeast (leaven) of the Pharisees and that of Herod (Antipas). The leaven of the Pharisees is false doctrine or false criterion. And as soon as He warns them we see that they are completely confused.
In God's Word, the word leaven is never used for good, it is always used for bad and it is always used to represent something that is contrary to God's Word. Leaven represents evil that is the basis for establishing false doctrine.
In the New Testament there are five things that are referred to as leaven: the leaven of the Pharisees, mentioned here is religious legalism;
the leaven of the Sadducees is religious rationalism;
the leaven of Herod is the exploitation of others for one's benefit or expediency;
the leaven of the Corinthians is immorality,
the leaven of the Galatians is legalism.
In every case leaven is not simply a system of false doctrine it is a false frame of reference that is the basis for false doctrine. False doctrine is the result of having the wrong frame of reference or a wrong standard of reference for decision-making.
The disciples have forgotten bread, but Jesus is warning them that a frame of reference or a false set of values that is established from false doctrine is far worse because accurate decision making is only possible with an accurate frame of reference from God's Word. Paul discusses this in Rom 12:3;
This is exactly what has happened in our country. The communist progressives have made war on God's Word and they have established their propaganda lies and deceit as the frame of reference for vox populi through the educational system and the media just like the Pharisees did.
We have to engage them in the marketplace of ideas but at some point because this is the devil's world we will also most likely have to walk away like Jesus did because the intransigent implacable arrogance that results in locked in negative to the truth of God's Word will inevitably cause the nation to reap the whirlwind that has been sown. Hosea 4:6; Hosea 8:7;
There comes a time when God has to destroy intransigent implacable arrogance to preserve the humble. James 4:6;
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