Mark: Jesus The Perfect Servant Of God

Part II: The Perfect Service Of Jesus, The Perfect Servant Of God, Mark 1:1-10:52

CC. Christ's Work To Critique Inexcusable Unbelief In Him

(Mark 8:10-21)


I.              Introduction

A.    We learned in our first lesson in this series that Mark's Gospel presents the perfect service of God's Perfect Servant, Jesus, with Mark's focus of having rebounded unto upright service from personal failure.

B.    Mark's defection had as its underlying cause a lack of faith in God, Bible Know. Com., N. T., p. 388-389.

C.    Jesus critiqued this unbelief in various parties in Mark 8:10-21, and we view the passage for our insight:

II.            Christ's Work To Critique Inexcusable Unbelief In Him, Mark 8:10-21.

A.    Jesus critiqued the Pharisees' unbelief in Him in Mark 8:10-13:

1.     After the feeding of the four thousand, Jesus entered into a ship with His disciples and crossed over the Sea of Galilee to "Dalmanutha," or Magadan on the opposite, western shore, Mark 8:10; Ibid., p. 137.

2.     Christ was met there by some Pharisees who tried to test Him, asking for a "sign" from heaven, something to authenticate Him as truly being God's Messenger to Israel, Mark 8:11; Ibid.

3.     In reality, they believed just the opposite, that Jesus was working by Satan's power, cf. Mark 3:22; Ibid.

4.     The Pharisees were without excuse for not trusting in Christ, for they believed in the divine inspiration and authority of the written Old Testament Scriptures (Zon. Pict. Ency. Bib., v. Four, p. 747), and Jesus Himself appealed to His fulfillment of Scripture in His miracles as proof that He was the Messiah to the disciples of John the Baptizer in Matthew 11:2-6 (with Isaiah 35:5; 61:1).

5.     Accordingly, Jesus sighed deeply in His spirit, and refused the Pharisees' request for an authenticating sign as He had all along been authenticating His ministry as Messiah by way of His miracles, Mark 8:12.

6.     Jesus then left the Pharisees, entering into the boat He had just left to cross back over to the other side of the sea, withdrawing from the spiritually dark, hardened Pharisees, Mark 8:13.

B.    However, Christ also critiqued the unbelief in Him expressed by His own disciples in Mark 8:14-21:

1.     In the boat, Jesus told His disciples to beware of the "leaven" of the Pharisees and Herod, Mark 8:15.

2.     The disciples had forgotten to take physical bread with them except for one loaf (Mark 8:14), so they reasoned that Jesus was warning them against buying bread from the Pharisees and Herod, Mark 8:16.

3.     Jesus knew of their reasoning, so He asked, "Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread?" (Mark 8:17a ESV)  He asked if they did not yet perceive or understand as their hearts were hardened, that having eyes they did not see, and having ears they did not hear, Mark 8:17b-18a with Isaiah 6:9-10.

4.     This was a charge of unbelief, the same problem [to a lesser degree] Jesus had critiqued in the Pharisees, so He clarified how His disciples should have responded in faith and not in unbelief, Mark 8:18b-21:

                        a.        He asked them that when He had recently broken the 5 loaves to feed the 5 thousand, how many hand baskets (kophinos, Arndt & Gingrich, A Grk.-Eng. Lex. of the N. T., 1967, p. 448) of leftover fragments had they taken up (for their own needs), and the disciples replied, "Twelve," Mark 8:18b-19.

                        b.        He then asked that when He had broken the 7 loaves for the 4 thousand, how many rope baskets that could carry a man (spuris, Ibid., p. 771) of fragments had they taken up, and they said, "Seven," Mk. 8:20.

                        c.        Jesus then asked His disciples, "Do you not yet understand?" (Mark 8:21 ESV)

                        d.        To explain, in miraculously feeding Israel bread in the wilderness, Jesus had fulfilled Deut. 18:15-19 in being the Prophet like Moses who fed Israel manna in the wilderness, and Who was thus the Messiah!  Christ thus taught that His works of recently miraculously producing material food as Messiah when His disciples' food supply greatly lacked should have caused them to know He did not now expect them to produce material food!  They should have realized that He thus spoke of spiritual leaven, the sin He had just critiqued in the Pharisees, and of which Herod was guilty (Luke 23:8), where they failed to trust in Jesus for seeking authenticating signs contrary to Biblically authenticating miracles, Mark 8:11-12.


Lesson: Jesus critiqued the unbelief both of the Pharisees and also of His disciples in their failing to heed the message of His miracles that fulfilled Old Testament Scripture in identifying Himself as the true Messiah.


Application: (1) May we believe on Jesus as the Messiah due to His Biblically authenticating miracles.  (2) As believers, may we continue to trust our Lord's material provisions in the Christian life as our Messiah and God!