HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR FAITH
Mark 7:1-8:33 , Mark 8:11-13,16-21,27-33 1/10/2010
Still Christ is upon motion; now he visits the parts of Dalmanutha, that no corner of the land of Israel might say that they had not had his presence with them. He came thither by ship (Mark 8:10); but, meeting with occasions of dispute there, and not with opportunities of doing good, he entered into the ship again (Mark 8:13), and came back. In these verses, we are told,
How he refused to gratify the Pharisees, who challenged him to give them a sign from heaven. They came forth on purpose to question with him; not to propose questions to him, that they might learn of him, but to cross question with him, that they might ensnare him.
The Pharisees Came
(Mark 8:11-13) When they arrived, the Pharisees came out and started in on him, badgering him to prove himself, pushing him up against the wall. 12Provoked, he said, â€œWhy does this generation clamor for miraculous guarantees? If I have anything to say about it, youâ€™ll not get so much as a hint of a guarantee. 13He then left them, got back in the boat, and headed for the other side.
One great design of Christâ€™s coming was, to set aside the ceremonial law; and to make way for this, he rejects the ceremonies men added to the law of Godâ€™s making. Those clean hands and that pure heart which Christ bestows on his disciples, and requires of them, are very different from the outward and superstitious forms of Pharisees of every age. Jesus reproves them for rejecting the commandment of God. It is clear that it is the duty of children, if their parents are poor, to relieve them as far as they are able; and if children deserve to die that curse their parents, much more those that starve them. But if a man conformed to the traditions of the Pharisees, they found a device to free him from the claim of this duty.
Words and Actions
(Mark 8:16-21) Meanwhile, the disciples were finding fault with each other because they had forgotten to bring bread. 17- Jesus overheard and said, â€œWhy are you fussing because you forgot bread? Donâ€™t you see the point of all this? Donâ€™t you get it at all? 19Remember the five loaves I broke for the five thousand? How many baskets of leftovers did you pick up?â€
They said, â€œTwelve.â€
20â€œAnd the seven loaves for the four thousandâ€”how many bags full of leftovers did you get?â€ â€œSeven.â€ 21He said, â€œDo you still not get it?â€
Our wicked thoughts and affections, words and actions, defile us, and these only. As a corrupt fountain sends forth corrupt streams, so does a corrupt heart send forth corrupt reasonings, corrupt appetites and passions, and all the wicked words and actions that come from them. A spiritual understanding of the law of God, and a sense of the evil of sin, will cause a man to seek for the grace of the Holy Spirit, to keep down the evil thoughts and affections that work within.
(Mark 8:27-33) Jesus and his disciples headed out for the villages around Caesarea Philippi. As they walked, he asked, â€œWho do the people say I am?â€
28â€œSome say â€˜John the Baptizer,â€™â€ they said. â€œOthers say â€˜Elijah.â€™ Still others say â€˜one of the prophets.â€™â€
29He then asked, â€œAnd youâ€”what are you saying about me? Who am I?â€
Peter gave the answer: â€œYou are the Christ, the Messiah.â€
30Jesus warned them to keep it quiet, not to breathe a word of it to anyone. 31He then began explaining things to them: â€œIt is necessary that the Son of Man proceed to an ordeal of suffering, be tried and found guilty by the elders, high priests, and religion scholars, be killed, and after three days rise up alive.â€ 32He said this simply and clearly so they couldnâ€™t miss it. But Peter grabbed him in protest. 33Turning and seeing his disciples wavering, wondering what to believe, Jesus confronted Peter. â€œPeter, get out of my way! Satan, get lost! You have no idea how God works.â€
Christ never put any from him that fell at his feet, which a poor trembling soul may do. As she was a good woman, so a good mother. This sent her to Christ. His saying, Let the children first be filled, shows that there was mercy for the Gentiles, and not far off. She spoke, not as making light of the mercy, but magnifying the abundance of miraculous cures among the Jews, in comparison with which a single cure was but as a crumb. Thus, while proud Pharisees are left by the blessed Saviour, he manifests his compassion to poor humbled sinners, who look to him for childrenâ€™s bread. He still goes about to seek and save the lost.
Here is a cure of one that was deaf and dumb. Those who brought this poor man to Christ, besought him to observe the case, and put forth his power. Our Lord used more outward actions in the doing of this cure than usual. These were only signs of Christâ€™s power to cure the man, to encourage his faith, and theirs that brought him. Though we find great variety in the cases and manner of relief of those who applied to Christ, yet all obtained the relief they sought. Thus it still is in the great concerns of our souls.
We have read a great deal of the doctrine Christ preached, and the miracles he wrought, which were many, and strange, and well-attested, of various kinds, and wrought in several places, to the astonishment of the multitudes that were eye-witnesses of them. It is now time for us to pause a little, and to consider what these things mean; the wondrous works which Christ then forbade the publishing of, being recorded in these sacred writings, are thereby published to all the world, to us, to all ages; now what shall we think of them? Is the record of those things designed only for an amusement, or to furnish us with matter for discourse? No, certainly these things are written, that we may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God (John 20:31); and this discourse which Christ had with his disciples, will assist us in making the necessary reflections upon the miracles of Christ, and a right use of them. Three things we are here taught to infer from the miracles Christ wrought.
They prove that he is the true Messiah, the Son of God, and Saviour of the world: this the works he did witnessed concerning him; and this his disciples, who were the eye-witnesses of those works, here profess their belief of; which cannot but be a satisfaction to us in making the same inference from them.