Mark 8 Devotional
by Pastor David Groendyk
Besides Jesus’ death and resurrection, Mark 8 is the most pivotal chapter in this book. The entire book swings like a hinge on verse 29. The lead-up to verse 29 reinforces Jesus’ supreme authority and the fact that so many people do not quite understand who he truly is. After repeating his miracle of feeding thousands of people with very little food (vv. 1–10), Jesus has back-to-back encounters with people who don’t fully understand (vv. 11–21). The incredible amount of leftover food after feeding so many people with so little bread and fish should have been rock solid proof that Jesus was the eternal Creator and giver of life. Don’t the disciples get it yet? Hence, also, the very deep sigh when being challenged by the Pharisees. Haven’t they seen enough yet? Stop looking for signs and proofs, see what Jesus has already done, and believe that he is your Lord and Savior!
The healing of the blind man (vv. 22–26), besides being a great miracle, is also a picture of the disciples. Isn’t it a strange place for Mark to put this story? And isn’t it a bizarre method of healing that Jesus uses? Was he not able to fully heal him the first time, so he needed a second go? It seems the way this healing goes down shows us the state of the disciples’ hearts. In the same way the blind man could kind of see though not fully, the disciples kind of understand who Jesus is though not fully. And just as the blind man has his full sight restored, so the disciples will soon come to a full realization of who Jesus is.
Who is Jesus? The Christ who must die on the cross! The confession that Peter makes is the central point of this book. The disciples understand that Jesus is more than just another prophet (v. 28). What they don’t understand is that, as the Christ, he must suffer, be killed, and be resurrected again (v. 31). From this point on, Jesus is much more plain about the fact that he must be killed. From 1:1 all the way through 8:30, Jesus’ total authority and power is on display. But from 8:31 all the way through the end of the book, that authority and power is challenged through heavy suffering and persecution. The emphasis from here on out is his death. And anyone who is not willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of following and obeying Jesus is on the side of Satan and will not be recognized by Jesus on judgment day (vv. 33, 38).
Who do you say that Jesus is? Are you sure you fully grasp the whole picture of Christ? Is he a good teacher? Is he a prophet that can do really powerful signs? Or is he more than that? If Jesus is anything less than the eternal Creator, divine giver of life, and Savior from hell, then there is no reason for you to sacrifice your earthly possessions and life for his sake. We may as well give up Christianity altogether. But if Jesus is the God who chooses to suffer and die and come to life again in order to save us, then he deserves our entire lives.
What are you trying to gain in your life? Are you trying to build up this life? Are you willing to overlook Jesus’ teachings for the sake of making earthly gains? Then you haven’t understood Christ, and you’re in danger of losing your soul. “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (v. 36). Christ is so supremely worth it, we ought to be glad to give up anything for him. Is there anything you think would be too hard to give up if Christ asked you to? Pray that Christ would make himself more valuable to you.