Review: 7:31-37 If the people in the region where amazed at what Jesus had done for the demon possessed man in chapter 5, here they were overwhelmed with amazement or utterly amazed because here was a man they brought to Jesus who was deaf and dumb, both incredibly real physical problems. These were Gentiles and this is made clear when we look at Matthew 15:30-31 where Gentiles praised the God of Israel because of Jesus.
8:1-9 From Jesus’ words it is implied they had not eaten or not eaten much for three days. When Jesus had fed the 5,000 they were mainly Jews from the NW shore of the Sea of Galilee, here they are primarily Gentiles. The three days implies the people were not there just for the ‘show’ but had a real spiritual hunger to which Jesus responded with the words I have compassion for these people.
His disciples again questioned where they would get food to feed the 4,000. Still out of dullness or hardened hearts? Maybe, but also maybe they did not want to presume on Him on Jesus. Jesus did not rebuke them, but asked the same question as in 6:38 How many loaves do you have? And it was not what some in the crowd had, but what the disciples had.
Jesus here was once again demonstrating His divinity and His ability to meet every need in abundance and not just for Jews, but for Gentiles as well.
8:10-13 Dalmanutha is not found on any map, but is thought to be in the region of Magadan where the book of Matthew says they went. It is thought to be an inlet north of Tiberias which is 73 miles from Jerusalem. There Pharisees came out to test Him. Why they big deal about the location? How did they know He would be there? They did not. After His reply to them about His disciples not washing their hands in chapter 7 they must have spread out and waited for their next opportunity to test Him. They would have had to call for reinforcements to cover all the ports.
Upon hearing their question Jesus sighed deeply or more literally groaned inwardly and in the original groaned in His spirit. He was dismayed and disgusted with them. He knew they knew better, so He left.
8:14-21 On the way to Bethsaida the disciples discussed their lack of bread having only one loaf. Were they worried Jesus would not provide for them after providing once for 5,000 and again for 4,000? He could and would provide for them, but they had only to ask – in faith. Jesus by His series of questions seems astonished by their lack of understanding so He admonishes them.
8:22-26 From Due to a lack of repentance in Bethsaida Matthew 11:21 Jesus only provided a healing ministry here. and no teaching ministry. And He healed a blind man.
8:27-30 After some period of time they walked roughly 66 miles from Bethsaida to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way, during this 3-6 day walk Jesus asked two questions. We are not told hold long they took to answer the first question or the time between the first and second question. But the questions and answers came during this long walk. Peter gave his answer – really an answer for all they disciples. He is the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed One, but they are told to keep quiet as they have yet more to learn first.
8:31-33 While still walking, He teaches of His future – near future – rejection, death (on the cross), and resurrection. His rebuke of Peter shows us being in opposition to God is to be in league with Satan.
8:34-9:1 [Introduce this with video on persecution of a Nigerian Christian Church] Now, He teaches not only the disciples, but the crowd that has likely been following them at a small distance while they walked. He call them all together because He has a message for everyone – not only His disciples. Denying self means to live as an others-centered person. Parents do this all the time for their children. Jesus would carry a cross, and walk down death row; so must those who follow Him. The rest explains why we must take up the cross and follow Jesus.
Or are we merely listening to the Word, but not putting it into practice as those in Ezekiel 33:30-32 As for you, son of man, your people are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, ‘Come and hear the message that has come from the Lord.’ My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.
- Are we willing to deny ourselves and put following Jesus first and foremost in our lives?
- Are we willing to take up our cross and follow Him day in and day out?
- Are we so enamored with the world we cannot follow Him and will lose our eternal soul?
- Are we ashamed of Him and what He teaches and what His word teaches that we will deny Him?
Many ‘seeker’ or ‘seeker friendly’ churches act as if they are and effectively deny Him.
Leonard Ravenhill said If Jesus preached the same message minister’s preach today, He would have never been crucified.
What message will we carry forward? Will it be Christ’s message?
If it comes to us being rejected, outcasts, persecuted, even hated, we would do well to remember Jesus’ words in John 15:18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”