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Mark  ◦   Chapter 8

1A short time later, another large crowd assembled, and they also didn't have any food to eat. Jesus took note of their situation, called his disciples, and said,2"I care about these people; they have spent three days with me and now have nothing to eat.3If I send them home on an empty stomach, some may faint from exhaustion, because many of them have come from far away."

4His disciples replied with uncertainty, "But we're in the middle of nowhere! From where are we to get enough bread to feed them?"

5So Jesus asked them, "How many loaves do you have?" "Seven," they replied.

6So Jesus instructed the crowd to sit down on the ground. After he gave thanks for the seven loaves, he broke them and gave them to his disciples who gave them to the people.7They also had a few small fish, which Jesus took, gave thanks for them, then passed the fish to the disciples to give to the people.8The crowd ate all they desired, and when everyone was full, the disciples collected seven basketfuls of leftovers.9There were about four thousand men present (plus women and children). Once the meal was over, Jesus sent them home,10then got into a boat with his disciples and sailed to the district of Dalmanutha.

11The theologians from the school of the Pharisees, who prefer a legal theology, came and began to challenge Jesus. They demanded a sign from heaven to prove his right to teach what he did.12He groaned at how closed their minds were to evidence and truth, and said, "Indeed, the people of today prefer miraculous signs, but I am here to tell you the truth: No miraculous sign will be given to them."13Then he left them standing there, got back in the boat, and crossed back to the other side.

14Once on the boat, the disciples realized they hadn't brought any food, except for one loaf of bread.15Jesus said to them, "Keep sharp, stay vigilant, and watch closely to keep out the yeast of legal theologies — like those taught by the Pharisees, and imposed law constructs used by human governments like Herod's — from the church."

16The disciples were too concrete in their thinking and wondered, "Is it because we didn't bring any bread with us that he mentioned yeast?"

17Aware of their conversation, Jesus said, "Why are you focusing on bread? Is your perspective so small that you think only about food for the body? Don't you realize what is happening? Are your minds too steeped in tradition to figure it out?18You have eyes, but fail to comprehend and you have ears, but fail to understand! Don't you learn from experience?19Remember when I, with just five loaves, fed over five thousand people? How many baskets of leftovers did you gather?" "Twelve," they replied.

20"Or what about when I fed over four thousand with seven loaves; how many baskets of leftovers did you gather then?" "Seven," they mumbled.

21He gently urged, "Think about it. Don't you understand yet?"

22When they came to Bethsaida, some people brought a blind man to Jesus and begged Jesus to touch him.23He led the blind man by the hand outside the village. Then, to avoid introducing doubt, Jesus met the man's expectations for how healing was done and put saliva on the man's eyes and then placed his hands on him. Then Jesus asked, "What do you see?"

24The man looked up and said, "I see people; but its kind of blurry; they look like trees moving about."

25So Jesus touched the man's eyes once more, wiping them clean. Then the man could see everything clearly.26Jesus sent him home, instructing him, "Don't go back to the village."

27Jesus and his disciples continued on to the towns around Caesarea Philippi. While they were walking, Jesus asked them, "Who do people say I am?"

28So they told him, "Some say you are John who immersed people in water; others say you are Elijah; and still others say you are one of the other of God's spokeman from the past."

29"Well," Jesus said, "what about you? Who do you say I am?" Peter answered without hesitation, "You are the Messiah, our Savior."

30Jesus warned them that it was not the time to tell the people this.

31Then Jesus began to explain to them the full extent of his mission: "The Son of Man, in order to provide the Remedy to sin, must suffer the weight of many things, including rejection by the church leaders, and condemnation by the theologians, senior priests, pastors, and church lawyers. He must be killed, and on the third day rise to life again."32He didn't hide the truth, but told them plainly what was going to happen. Peter didn't like what he was hearing, so he took Jesus aside and tried to direct him down a different path.

33Jesus saw all the disciples watching, and turned to Peter and said, "Get Satan's methods of selfishness away from me! You do not have God's methods of love in mind, but are promoting the survival-of-the-fittest ways of fallen humanity."

34Then he summoned the crowd to join him and his disciples and said: "If anyone wants to follow me into unity with my Father, they must surrender their life, willingly choose to die to selfishness, and follow me in love.35For whoever follows the survival-of-the-fittest principle and seeks to save their or her life will lose it because the infection of selfishness will not be eliminated; but whoever loses their life in love for me will find eternal life, for they will have been restored back to God’s design for life — selfless, other-centered love.36What good does it do to selfishly hoard all the treasures of the world only to die eternally?37Or how much is one’s individuality — their eternal existence — worth to them?38If anyone is ashamed of me and my methods of truth and love and chooses unity with this disloyal and selfish generation, the Son of Man will be unable to unite such selfish people into his family when he comes in the fullness of his Father's glory with his holy angels."