Curious about the picture above? This is a photo of a friend of ours, Steve. His wife, Annie, was pictured in our featured image for the book of Matthew. That’s a Hebrew/English interlinear Bible and the handwriting on the notepad is Hebrew as well. Steve has been taking Hebrew classes online for just 2 years but is diligent in his studies and has proven to be a great resource for us when it comes to digging into the original texts. Those of you who came to our Fellowship Reunion Weekend last October probably met him. Special thanks to their daughter, Margaret, who is an amazing photographer and generously takes many of these photos for me.
GOOD MORNING BROTHERS AND SISTERS!
Today’s readings are Mark 8-9
Wasting no time, let’s dive on in!
Mark 8:15 may seem to have a sentence out of place at first glance.
The disciples are talking about not having bread and in Mark 8:15 we see Messiah:
“And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” Mark 8:15
Now we know that leaven symbolizes sin and the phrase that we read time and again in the Bible is that a little leaven leavens the whole lump. A tiny bit of yeast is all that is needed to make the whole loaf rise, right? So why, when these men are talking about being hungry for bread, is Messiah bringing sin into this? The answer lies in the verses around this.
Context is key, and when a verse doesn’t seem to make sense we need to stop and reorient ourself by checking out all of the verses around it to see what we’ve missed.
11 The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. 12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” 13 And he left them, got into the boat again, and went to the other side.
14 Now they had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. 15 And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” 16 And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. 17 And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” 20 “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” And they said to him, “Seven.” 21 And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?” Mark 8:11-21
We see that just prior to this the Pharisees were testing Messiah, trying to get Him to perform a miracle or give them a sign. They did not have faith that He was who He said He was.
“He sighed deeply in His spirit.” Have you done that before? That is bone weary. Messiah is tired of their constant testing and he is about to retreat with His inner circle. Now, here are His own men, which Messiah points out have seen Him perform many miracles and even multiply bread for nearly ten thousand people at this point and they are fretting over not having bread. Beware, He says, that you don’t become like them. Are you seriously worrying about not having food after all that you’ve seen me do?
And now I’d like to introduce an episode of: Do you ever wonder?
Today’s episode opens with Messiah and the story of fishes and loaves.
First of all, did you catch that there are actually two incidents where Messiah feeds the multitudes by multiplying bread and fish?
One of those records Him as feeding four thousand and one feeding five thousand. There are distinct differences between each incident to let us know that there were two separate incidents.
•In Mark 6:43, the incident of the 4000, they began with seven loaves and a few fishes, there were twelve baskets left over of food.
•In the second incident, feeding the 5000, Mark 8:8, they began with five loaves and two fishes, there were seven baskets left over.
In Mark 8:16-21 Messiah refers to these are two separate incidences in this passage while talking to His disciples:
16 And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. 17 And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” 20 “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” And they said to him, “Seven.” 21 And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?” Mark 8:16-21
Okay, so now for my “Do you ever wonder?”
So here is my random thought. Do you ever wonder if the fish was raw or cooked?
I got to digging into that and I think we have a clue in John 6:8
8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” John 6:8
So this is a boy that was among the group and he had his own rations on him. Fish without some form of preservation will obviously not last very long traveling or even going about your day finding work.
Matthew 14:15-17 says:
15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
By the number of fish and loaves we can see that this must be referring to the meal the boy offered to share and by this verse we can see that this was the evening, so he had likely had the fish with him all day.
With that in mind, it was probably smoked, dried, salted, or a combination of these. When Messiah took it and multiplied it, I assume He duplicated what He had been given, so in my mind the fish was not raw.
This is just a rabbit trail that I found interesting and thought you might, too!
Mark 8:22-26 What’s up with the spit?
Okay I’m about to take you on a few short some rabbit trails. At the start it may seem like a stretch but I think it is absolutely relevant so hang in there with me if you’ve read this far.
In Mark 8, we see Messiah heal a blind man with His spit. I want to talk about potential reasons why He did this.
First of all, we know Messiah didn’t need to physically do anything to heal someone. He could just will it and it was so. We see examples of this in John 4:46-54, Mark 7:24-30, Matthew 15:21-28, Matthew 8:5-13, Luke 7:1-10, and John 46:53.
Still, sometimes he physically did something and, since he didn’t have to, I think it is safe to surmise that the physical doing of something was for our benefit because we, as humans, have a more difficult time grasping the spiritual world than we do the physical world.
Now, I think it is significant to note that this is the only place in the Bible where Messiah heals in a two stage process. After the first stage, He asked the man if He could see yet. The man looked around and did, in fact, see, but it was still a bit blurry, not in focus. Messiah continued His work and the man was able to see clearly. This parallels the life of a Believer. He opens our eyes and we begin to see, but not fully as of yet. When we allow Him to continue His work in us, over time, it becomes clearer. In the meantime, He is there, at work within us.
For those who feel overwhelmed, as if there is still so much to learn, I think this two step process model can be a great encouragement but I also want to add this – for each of us, there is still much to learn. If you think, at any point, that there is a human today who isn’t still drinking from a firehose when it comes to the wisdom and knowledge of YHWH, you are mistaken. He’s working on you the same as everyone else.
And now to the one reason that causes us to stretch our minds a bit more because we need to interject ourselves into the minds and culture of those around Messiah. We’ve already seen folks questioning who Messiah is. “Isn’t this Joseph’s and Mary’s boy?” “He’s just a carpenter…” etc. We’ve also seen noted incidents in which the Pharisees seek to trap Him, prove Him false, or find charges against Him that will stick in order to get Him out of their way. We’ve also talked about their own law, which is sometimes called tradition, sometimes called oral tradition, etc. All of these manmade laws and traditions are collected in a book we know today as the Talmud.
Well in that talmud, there is actually a declaration that says the spit of the firstborn of the Father is healing. I looked it up. You can find it here but you’ll need to scroll down just a bit. When I say “healing” I’m not talking about making the blind to see. I’m talking about something similar to how we view an ointment these days. One account talked about putting spit in ones own eye first thing in the morning for relief, etc.
So once we get into John we’ll see the Pharisees actually implying that Messiah is of illegitimate birth, while claiming that they are the sons of YHWH (John 8:41). And now for the point of all this: One theory that I found in my research is that in doing this Yeshua was boldly declaring- to all that deny Him – that He is the firstborn son of YHWH. Here He is, the ultimate firstborn in that His spit will not just heal, but it will miraculously heal.
Just a few possibilities for you. I think one, some, or all are possibilities. When we get to John, I’ve got yet another facet to share with you about this.
Mark 8:33 shows us Messiah rebuking Peter. Now, as we think of “rebuke” this seems a bit out of place. But if we look up the original word this was translated from we see that it is epitimao and it can mean to warn someone in order to prevent something from happening. Check out some other translations of this verse by clicking the link below. I think reading through several of them may bring further clarity.
But here is the kicker,
We go from Matthew 16:15-18 where Messiah is saying He will build His church on faith like Peter had (Calling Peter the pebble to His rock) to here in Mark 8:33
“GET BEHIND ME, SATAN!”
Whoa. That escalated quickly.
What happened? The next sentence says all.
“For you are not setting your mind on the things of YHWH, but the things of man.” Mark 8:33
That’s something to stop and think on. Every. Day.
In Mark 9:12 We see Messiah referencing Elijah. See notes on that in my Matthew 11-12 notes.
I think we covered some interesting things in our notes today and we certainly cover some significant knowledge in our reading. Let me know what stands out to you in the group.
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!