Mark Chapter 8 Part 1
Shalom, and welcome to V’ahavtah Yisroel, a Hebrew phrase which means, you shall love Israel. We hope you’ll stay with us for the next 30 minutes as our teacher, Dr. Baruch, shares his expository teaching from the Bible. Dr. Baruch is the senior lecturer at the Zera Avraham Institute based in Israel. Although all courses are taught in Hebrew at the Institute, Dr. Baruch is pleased to share this weekly address in English. To find out more about our work in Israel, please visit us on the web at loveisrael.org. That’s one word, loveisrael.org. Now here’s Baruch with today’s lesson.
Dr. Baruch: When we look into the scriptures, especially in the book of Psalms, we see an expression that repeats itself several times. In Hebrew it’s lev [inaudible 00:00:51] which means a heart which is prepared before God. One that is established and ready to communicate with the living God. It’s interesting because that word, lev [inaudible 00:01:06], the second word can also have to do with sincerity. One which is transparent. One where there is no pretense. And the point that needs to be made is this, if we’re going to be used by God. If God is going to move in our life, then we need to come before him in a way that there’s no pretense. That we are transparent, that we are ready to hear from him, and hear with the expectation to respond in obedience.
Take out your Bible and look with me to the book of Mark and chapter eight. The book of Mark and chapter eight. Now we’re going to begin in that first verse, and we’re going to see an expression ‘in those days’. And whenever we see an expression like that, we have to ask ourselves, in what days? What was going on? And we know that Messiah had been doing, almost throughout the whole book of Mark, miracles. But there’s something very important about a few of his miracles, especially in the previous chapter in those days. He did miracles that were uniquely related to the work of Messiah. So it just wasn’t saying that he was all powerful, that he could do great things, signs and wonders, but he did miracles that pointed to the truth that Yahshua was not just a prophet, not just a miracle worker, but was the anointed one of God. And it’s with that truth that chapter eight begins.
Verse one, in those days, and there’s an additional word, some manuscripts have it and others don’t. I believe that it should be, it’s part of the original text. And it’s the Greek word páli, which means again. And what he’s talking about here is again, there was a great multitude, a great crowd of people. But there was something unique. Other great crowds had come before him to hear him, to see miracles. To bring before him the sick, those who were in need. But there’s something different. This crowd of people, it says that they were with him and what? And we’re not having something to eat. Now because of that, it shares something with us. It shares with us that these people were committed. They were putting Messiah, and what was he doing here? Well, in this eighth chapter, at the beginning the context is that for three days, and we’ll come to that in a moment, he only did one thing.
There was no miracles. There were no signs. There were no wonders. There was simply teaching, a revealing of the truth of God. Messiah was opening up the scriptures to these individuals, and they were there with nothing to eat. And we read in verse two a very important expression. It says basically, he had compassion for this crowd. But the word here for compassion is something not that he thought and said well, and went through all the logical conclusions. They haven’t had food, they’ve been here for three days, they’ve been very diligent and committed to the word of God. But this expression means, it just kind of touched him. He was moved with compassion for these people. And notice what it says, verse two, I have compassion upon the crowd that already three days they have remained with me. And there was no evidence that they had any intention of leaving. They were clinging to Messiah, not for what they could receive physically, but because they were seeking truth.
And that’s one of the most important questions that we can ask ourselves concerning our relationship with Messiah Yahshua. Why are we his disciple? And if the first thing is not, because he has truth, he has the truth of God. And without the truth of God, well, there’s no freedom. There is no Liberty. There’s no ability to worship God, because the scripture says that God requires us to worship him in spirit and truth. So if we want to be with God, truth is foundational. Verse two, it says that they had already remained with me, he’s speaking, and they’ve had no food for three days.
Now, numbers are important in the scripture, and three has to do with testing, but not tempting. And that’s very important. Testing in the sense of revealing something. It’s similar to doing a diagnostic exam. You want to know what the situation is, and in this passage of scripture, something’s going to be revealed, something’s going to be checked. Checked at the disciples and also checked at another group of people that we’ll meet at the end of our study, the Pharisees. Now the Pharisees, and it’s very important that we understand this, the Pharisees weren’t in that group who had been there three days without anything to eat, listening to the word of God as it was being expounded by Messiah.
Verse three, he continues to speak and says, and if I should send them and the word is fasting. Now, many Bibles may say hungry, but it just doesn’t mean hungry, it means that they had been fasting. And that’s significant. They came there with the purpose to draw close to God. And one of the ways that we know to do that, when we want to hear from God, when we want God to move in our life, when we want deliverance from those things that are oppressing us, one of the vessels that God gives to us to do that is fasting. And biblically speaking, fasting is always accompanied with prayer. So they were there fasting and praying, and prayer is inherently related to the word of God.
So they were there, he knew that if he sent them away, fasting, what was going to happen? Well, it says if I should send them away fasting into their homes, they will faint upon the way, and some of them have come from a great distance. So Messiah, and this is a very important principle. When we are concerned about the spiritual truth, when our life reflects a pursuing of the truth of God, God will move in our life and he’ll take care of our physical needs. He’s faithful to provide. He’s not going to let us lack anything that we need to serve him.
So what does he do? Well, let’s move on to verse four. And the disciples, his disciples, answered. Now they knew the physical situation, but they also knew something else, where they were located. And they had been there, perhaps no one knew that three days was going to pass of him teaching, and them being out. And we’re going to see in a moment that they’re in this wilderness and there’s nothing around. And notice what it said, and his disciples answered, and they said from where is a man able to satisfy, meaning, to give bread and to satisfy with bread. And what happens? Well, if you keep reading, they said in this location, in this desert. And he asked them, that is Messiah asked them, how much bread do you have? And their answer is seven. Seven loaves. But literally, the only thing that appears there is a number seven. Now here again, numbers are important in the scripture, and seven is related to the Sabbath day. And when we look at the scripture it tells us that HaShem sanctified the Sabbath day, the seventh day.
Now, why is that important? Because I hear teachers all the time say the number seven has to do with completion. It does not, the number 10 does. Seven, if we look carefully at the scripture, it has to do with sanctification. And that word, sanctification, has to do with holiness. And I want you to see what Messiah’s objective, is to bring sanctification, holiness, into our life. And there’s a relationship between sanctification and truth. Sanctification has to do with being set apart for a purpose, a godly purpose. Sanctification demands that we submit to the purposes of God. And all of this is going to be played out in this passage today. So he asked them, how many breads do you have? And they said, seven.
Verse six, and he commanded the crowd that they would sit down upon the ground. And he took the seven breads, that is the seven loaves of bread, he gave thanks and he called his disciples and gave to them, in order that they should set it. And they placed it literally before the crowd. So there was a crowd, we don’t know at this time how many people were there. We know that previously in this gospel of Mark, something very similar took place in the feeding of the 5,000, but we just know that there was a great multitude of people. And he had seven loaves. He prayed and he distributed to all this vast group of people. It also tells us in verse seven, and he had a few fish. He gave thanks for them as well and he said also, these set before them. So bread and fish. Verse eight, and they ate and they were what? Satisfied.
Now notice the disciples, and remember what number is important here? The number three. As in three days. There’s going to be a test, and the disciples pretty much failed. Because they had just seen earlier on how Messiah took five loaves and two fish and fed 5,000 in a similar place. And now the same situation happens and he says, how much bread do you have? And they what? Well, they have no recollection that Messiah is able to take with very little and make a great amount. In fact, Messiah is able to take nothing and make it whatever he wants. So in this passage of scripture, he takes seven, and we don’t have the amount of fish. Why? Because there’s an emphasis on the number seven, this sanctification. So look again, verse eight, and they ate and they were satisfied, and he took up the residue of pieces. And there were what? Seven basketfuls. Now that’s the third time the number seven is related to us.
And that’s to emphasize. So no one misses out on what God wants to share. Sanctification. Sanctification for what? Well, the disciples here, how many disciples? 12. And the disciples relate to Israel, and Israel has a call upon her life. And that is to be used by God for, that is that Israel has been sanctified for a purpose. And that is to fill the earth with God’s glory, to bring about the presence of God in this world. But the problem is the disciples are not much different than Israel. We’re not doing what we’re called to do. We’re not picking up on the truth. We’re not utilizing the power, the authority, the anointing that God has given to us. And therefore we see something, look again, verse eight, they gathered up seven basket fulls. Verse nine, and they were there, it was approximately 4,000.
Now, why is that number important? Well, when we study the feeding of the 5,000, we saw significance in that number. What’s significant about the number 4,000? Well, the number four relates to the world. Usually in the scripture when we talk about the number four, we’re talking about the four winds or the four directions, north, South, East, West, all the world. And what Messiah wants to do, his work is to bring holiness, and remember that word sanctification. It comes from the same root both in Hebrew and in Greek, the same root that has to do with sanctification. What he wants to do is bring a sanctifying influence, holiness, into this world. And that’s why it’s so important. If we’re going to connect with the living God. If we’re going to be disciples of Messiah, then we need to realize that first and foremost, what God wants to do is to bring holiness into our life.
Now we can think of that as morality, as ethics, as living in purity, turning away from sin, and all of that is true. But there’s another very important aspect. And the word sanctification in Hebrew, as we’ve said, has to do with being set apart for a purpose. And unless we are following God’s purpose, we’re not going to be manifesting holiness. That is, that the glory of God is not going to be seen through us. Now not too long ago in another group, we were talking about the menorah. The menorah that was lit in the temple. And there was something very important about that menorah. We talked that that menorah had six pieces to it, and it really, the word pieces are not the best way to translate it, because the menorah was made from one batch of gold. And it was kind of like a large gold nugget.
Now, many people think that the menorah was casted, that is that they melted the gold down, they put it in a cast in order to what? Make the menorah. But that’s not the case. The menorah was made from one large gold nugget and a hammer. And they beat the menorah into that shape. So even though there were seven, what the scriptures calls, vessels attached to it, it all came from the same lump of gold. And you couldn’t take gold away from it, make a piece and attach it back on, it all had to be beaten in that perfect form. Now, why is it important that that menorah has six vessels to it? Because six is the number of grace, the mercy of God. And it’s significant because when you look in the Book of Revelation and it speaks concerning the body of Messiah, his redeemed congregations, it speaks about the congregation as what? A lamp stand. A lamp stand that does what? Well, it reveals light, and that’s what we’re called to do, revealed light. That’s the purpose, and that light is the glory of God.
So unless we are sanctified, according to the purposes of God, we’re not going to be faithful servants. And that’s exactly what we see as we move on in this section. So there was about 4,000 of them that ate, and he sent them away. Verse 10. Now we might think that that’s the end. But when you look at verse 10, there’s another piece of information that is so key. Verse 10, and immediately he embarked into the boat with his disciples, and he went into the region called Dalmanutha. Now this was kind of out of the way. It was not a religious place. And it certainly would not be a place that you would find any of the religious leaders of Israel normally speaking. But what happens? Well now look to verse 11, we see a very important change.
Verse 11, and the Pharisees went out. Went out to where? Where he was in this location. And what I want you to see is the difference. There was that group of 4,000. 4,000 men, in addition, children and women as well. They went out, but they went out to receive truth. They went out to draw closer to God. They went out so that they might hear truth and apply it to their life. But we see something very, very different with these Pharisees. Verse 11, and the Pharisees went out, and they began to do something. Now, most Bibles will say they began to question him. But it’s very important, you’re going to see, that they began to question him, seeking a sign. And that word for questioning, and that word for seeking, is the same biblical word. There’s an additional prefix attached to the word questioning, the one that’s translated questioning, but it’s the same word. They were seeking.
They were seeking him, and they were seeking a sign. Now, is that bad or good? Well, it depends. Let me give an example what I mean. One of my favorite accounts in the scripture is about Gedeon, or Gideon. And he was used in a mighty way to bring about a renewal among his people. He was a leader, but he was a leader that understood the importance of truth. Now he did something. Remember he took that fleece and he put it on the ground and he asks, can you make it wet and dry around it? And then can you make it dry and wet around it? Now why was he doing that? Well, he wasn’t testing God in the sense God, are you able to do that? Can you impress me with a miracle? That’s not why he was asking. He was asking to confirm something, to discern if that was God. Not if God’s able, he knew that God is able to do all things. He was discerning the spirits, is this God.
And when God confirmed it was him, Gideon submitted. So there’s a big difference between wanting to seek truth and verify this is God’s will and what the Pharisees were doing. Why do I say that? Well, again, look at verse 11, and the Pharisees went out and began to question him, seeking from him a sign from the heavens. Now they wanted to see a sign, but they weren’t what? They weren’t seeking a sign for the sake of truth. Because we’re going to see at the end of this section, they were doing something so that they might tempt him. And what was that? To misappropriate the power, the anointing, the calling of God. To misappropriate that for our purpose, rather than gods.
They were trying to get him to say, wow, they doubt me. I better do something in order to prove to them who I am. But they weren’t sincere. They weren’t like Gideon. They were setting a trap for him. They wanted him to do something because it met their purposes, their plans, their objectives. And there’s the dichotomy. There’s two types of disciples, a true disciple and a false disciple. A true disciple wants to know God’s truth. He wants to know the will of God, the purposes, the plans of God, so that he can submit to them. He’s like Yahshua in the garden, not my will, but thy will be done. The false disciple, oh, they’ll go a distance. Those Pharisees, they traveled a long way from Judea to get to this area. And they were seeking something spiritual, but not for the purposes of God, but for their own purposes that he might fall prey to their plan.
And here’s what we need to realize, that our plans need to be attached to the cross. Because our plans are always rooted in sin, because they’re our plans. It’s only when we set them aside and we accept the sanctified purposes of God, the purpose that he saved us for. Remember that scripture that talks about workout your salvation? Well, it doesn’t mean I need to do things in order to be saved. It’s talking about the outcome of salvation, and that outcome of salvation is that sanctifying influence. When we grow, and we mature, and we begin to walk more effectual in the pathways of God. That we understand it’s his will that we’re seeking. And the only way that we can do that is when we come before God with what? An established heart. A heart without any pretense. Not coming humbly before him so that we can get something, but coming humbly before him so that we can learn truth and submit to it.
Well, notice how Messiah responds. Verse 12, and he sighed in his spirit. He was frustrated by these individuals that had so much knowledge that God had put them in a place of authority. They had such a potential, but instead of using it for truth, it was all about them fulfilling their objectives. So he sighed in the spirit, disappointed in them and he said, what a generation, or why does this generation seek a sign? A very important question. Why does this generation seek a sign? What are you going to do with it? If God were to reveal himself to you, how would you respond? Are you seeking him for truth? Are you seeking him a sign to know the truth so you can surrender to it? Well, verse 13 says, and he left them and again embarked and went into the other side. He went away.
Now notice the difference between how he acted with the multitude who came humbly, came for one purpose, to know truth, who were fasting and praying, and how he responded to them. He gave them nothing whatsoever. And if God is silent in your prayers, it may be because you’re coming before him asking him to put his blessing on your plans, and that you have not responded to his truth. You’re not intending to walk in his ways. You’re trying to manipulate God through prayer so that you might get your will. God won’t respond. He’ll do the same thing he did to those Pharisees, he’ll just move away. Well, we’ll stop now, until our next lesson when we press on in our study of the Gospel of Mark.
Speaker 1: Well, we hope you will benefit from today’s message, and share it with someone else. Please plan to join us each week at this time and on this station for the radio edition of loveisrael.org. Again, to find out more about us, please visit us at our website loveisrael.org. There you will find articles and several other lectures from our teacher, Dr. Baruch. These teachings are in video form. You may download them or watch them in streaming video. Until next week, may the Lord bless you in our Messiah Yeshua, that is Jesus, as you walk with him. Shalom from Israel.