Mark 8 Bible Commentary

B. W. Johnson’s Bible Commentary

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(Read all of Mark 8)
In the Coasts of Cæsarea Philippi.

SUMMARY.--The Four Thousand Fed. At Dalmanutha. Seeking a Sign from Heaven. The Blind Man Healed at Bethsaida. Peter's Confession at Cæsarea Philippi. The Death and Burial of the Son of Man. Peter Rebuked. Taking the Cross and Following Christ.

      1. In those days. While Christ was in Decapolis. For notes on the feeding of the four thousand, see Matt. 15:32-38. This is not the same event as the feeding of the five thousand (Matt. 14:13-21; Mark 6:32-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-14). In Mark 8:19, 20, the Lord refers to both miracles.

      10. Into the parts of Dalmanutha. Matt. 15:39 says "Magdala." Neither place exists now, but they are supposed to have been near each other on the western shores of the Sea of Galilee. Abbott suggests that they were two different names for the same place, a common circumstance.

      11-13. The Pharisees came . . . seeking of him a sign from heaven. See notes on Matt. 16:1-4.

      14-21. The disciples had forgotten to take bread. For notes on the warning against the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod, see Matt. 16:5-12. Matthew says "Sadducees" instead of "Herod." Herod was a Sadducee, and the Sadducees generally were his supporters.

      22. He cometh to Bethsaida. Near the mouth of the upper Jordan into the lake. It was upon the eastern bank of the river. The account of the miracle that follows is only given by Mark. And they bring a blind man unto him. The people, not the disciples, brought him. He was brought (1) either because he could not find the way alone, or (2) because he had not faith that would induce him to go, and so was brought by the faith of his friends. This man was not born blind. He had evidently seen men and trees aforetime.

      23. Led him out of the town. As he had taken the deaf man out of the crowd (Mark 7:33). The Lord often sought to escape publicity. When he had spit on his eyes. I suppose that this unusual course was intended to develop in the man the faith which the Lord made the usual condition of healing.

      24. I see men; for I behold them as trees, walking. Certain moving forms about him, but without the power of discerning their shape or magnitude; trees he should have accounted them from their height, but men from their motion.

      25. Then again he laid his hands upon his eyes. This is the only example of a progressive cure. I suppose that it was an example of progressive faith. The Lord could have healed him with a word, but he wished to save the soul as well as the body.

      26. Sent him away to his house. Evidently he did not live in Bethsaida, as he was forbidden to go into the town, or to tell the story there.

      27-30. Jesus went forth . . . into the villages of Cæsarea Philippi. For notes on Peter's confession of Christ, see Matt. 16:13-20. Compare Luke 9:18-21. Cæsarea Philippi was a heathen town, in the extreme north of Palestine, near the foot of Mount Hermon, and one of the sources of the Jordan.

      31-38. He began to teach them, etc. For the first announcement of the suffering of our Lord, the rebuke of Peter, and the lesson concerning the cross, and saving the soul, see notes on Matt. 16:21-28. Compare Luke 9:22-27. Verse 38 is peculiar to Mark in this connection, though given in Matt. 10:32, 33, on which see notes.