Study Guide

Gospel of Mark Chapter 7:31-8:26

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Chapter 7:31-8:26

Satisfied Crowds and Failing Disciples…Again

  • People bring a man who is deaf and mute to Jesus for his healing touch.
  • Jesus leads the guy away from the crowd, where he puts his fingers in his ears, spits, then touches his tongue. Interesting.
  • Jesus looks skyward, groans, and says, "Ephphatha," which is an Aramaic word that Mark translates for Greek readers: "Be opened" (7:34).
  • Right away, the guy hears and speaks. Ta-da!
  • Jesus orders that this be kept silent, but to no avail. Everyone proclaims what happened anyway.
  • A large crowd is gathered, and the narrator emphasizes that we've seen this before (namely, 6:34).
  • Jesus informs his disciples of his concern that the crowd has not eaten for three days. They've got to be starving and will faint if they try to walk home. What should we do? Big hint: 6:35-44.
  • The disciples are clueless. Duh…where are we going to get enough bread to feed all these people in the wilderness?
  • Jesus asks them how much bread they have, and they inform him that they have merely seven loaves.
  • Jesus directs the crowd to recline on the ground, takes the bread, gives thanks, breaks it, and distributes it to everyone via his disciples.
  • By the way, they also had a few fish, and Jesus did the same for them. Yummy.
  • About 4,000 eat their fill, and they still collect seven baskets full of scraps.
  • After dismissing the crowd, Jesus and his disciples boat to the neighborhood of Dalmanutha.
  • The Pharisees are there, and they ask Jesus for a sign from heaven. Hello…he just fed 4,000 people with seven loaves of bread, ya dimwits.
  • Jesus groans. Ugh…y'all are not getting a sign, so there. Perhaps Jesus is being ironic considering the preceding story.
  • Back on the boat, Jesus tells his disciples, who forgot to pack some bread, to beware of the "yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod" (8:15).
  • The reference to "yeast" provokes an argument about who forgot the bread. The disciples really need to get this parable thing and stop taking Jesus so literally.
  • Jesus more or less tells them they're dumb. They don't get it—at all. Sure, they have eyes and ears, but they don't see or hear.
  • Put on your thinking caps for a second. Jesus uses this very language in the "parable theory" of 4:12 to describe those who lack access to the mystery of the kingdom of God. What does that imply about the status of the disciples?
  • Jesus really chews them out now. Sure, the disciples remember concrete facts, such as how many baskets full of scraps they collected after the feeding miracles, but they miss the larger significance (which is…?). These pupils of his are still getting F's.
  • They arrive at Bethsaida, where people lead a blind man to Jesus and request his healing touch.
  • Jesus guides him out of the village, where he spits into his eyes, lays his hands upon him, and asks him if he sees. What's with all the spitting?
  • The man replies that he sort of sees, but people look like trees.
  • Jesus places his hands upon the guy's eyes, and this time he sees everything with 20/20 vision.
  • Jesus orders him to go home and not to enter the village

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