MARK CHAPTER 8.
Feeding Four Thousand Men. Mark 8, 1-9.
The great need of the people: V. 1. In those days, the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples unto Him, and saith unto them, V. 2. I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with Me three days, and have nothing to eat; V. 3. and if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way; for divers of them came from far. Jesus was still in the region of the Decapolis, where He had healed the deaf-mute. It may have been due partly to the excitement over this miracle, partly to the preliminary work of the former demoniac, that the multitudes from these cities and their vicinity that swarmed to Jesus were continually on the increase. Again, as on previous occasions, much people was present. Some of them may have provided lunch for a day or two, but just now they had nothing to eat; they were in actual need of food. Jesus had not been idle during these days. Discourses on the kingdom of God alternated with miracles of mercy. The people had remained during all this time; in this case they were from the border country which was predominantly heathen, whereas in the former case He had had Galileans to deal with. There were always some hearts that were opened to the Gospel, and thus the compassion of Christ was not without reward.
But here was an emergency which threatened to become serious. Jesus determined to test His disciples, as once before, to see if they now had sufficient trust in His almighty power to help. Calling them to Him, He lays the situation before them. He had the deepest compassion on the people, since their perseverance and eagerness to hear and see Him had brought them into this unpleasant plight. The sympathy of the Redeemer had been enlisted, His heart went out to them, for He knew if He should dismiss them without food, many of them would be utterly exhausted and suffer severely with excessive fatigue, many of them having come from some distance. "See what a kind Christ we have, who cares also that He may preserve our disgraceful body. Here hope may revive and a person, through these words of Christ, be consoled, as He says: They lie there and wait for Me, even to the third day, so I must also give them enough. There you see that all who diligently adhere to the Word of God are fed by God Himself; for that is the manner and power of faith, which flows from the Word of God alone. Therefore, dear friends, let us finally begin to believe; for only unbelief is the cause of all sin and vice that are now spreading in all stations. Why is it that there are everywhere so many foolish women and scoundrels, also so many land-swindlers, thieves, robbers, usurers, murderers, and sellers of incumbencies? All this follows unbelief. For such people judge only according to human reason; but reason judges according to that which it sees; and what it cannot see it does not like to understand; therefore, since it does not place its trust in God by faith, it must despair in itself, and thus produce knaves and scoundrels. Note: Thus it goes where the people let their reason reign instead of faith.... Such counseling and talking with the disciples is done in the first place for this reason, that the heart and the thoughts be revealed. For it cannot remain hidden and lie secret in His heart that He has compassion on the people, but it must be brought to the light of day that it may be seen and heard, and we learn to believe that we have the same Christ that is cordially concerned about our distress, also that of the body, and who always shows the words: I have compassion on the multitude, which are written in His heart with living letters, also in deed and in work. And He would also like to have us know this and hear the Word of the Gospel in such a way as though He were still talking to us in this hour and every day, whenever we feel our trouble, yea, long before we begin to complain concerning it. For He still is and will ever remain the same Christ, and He has the same heart, thoughts, and words toward us, that He was and had at that time, and neither yesterday nor ever has He changed, nor will He become a different Christ to-day or to-morrow. Thus there stands here a picture or board on which the depth of His heart is painted, for He is a faithful, merciful Lord, whom the knowledge of our trouble affects deeply, and He looks more deeply into it than we dare to pray or bring before Him. Woe upon the disgrace of our disagreeable unbelief, that we hear and see these things and yet find it so difficult to trust in Him!" 34)
The miracle: V. 4. And His disciples answered Him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness? V. 5. And He asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven. V. 6. And He commanded the people to sit down on the ground; and He took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to His disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people. V. 7. And they had a few small fishes; and He blessed, and commanded to set them also before them. V. 8. So they did eat and were filled; and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets. V. 9. And they that had eaten were about four thousand; and He sent them away. The disciples again failed in the test proposed to them by the Lord, whether from diffidence or from hardness of heart cannot be determined. Instead of reminding Him in joyful faith of the former feeding at a place only a few miles away, they begin to cast about for a solution of the difficulty, in utter helplessness: Whence will any one find it possible, here in the wilderness, to supply all these men with bread? There were, in this case, not even villages or towns within easy reach where supplies might be gotten. It is a question which has been repeated in countless variations since that time. "The apostles also worry, but in a far different way than Christ; they say: Whence can we obtain bread here in the wilderness to satisfy them? That is worrying; but this worrying does not help the matter. But, on the other hand, when Christ takes up the matter of the people and plans about getting them something to eat, though there are only seven loaves there and a: little fish, it still proves sufficient for four thousand men, and seven baskets of fragments remain.... How is it, then, that we, who are all Christians or want to be considered such, do not follow this example, neither comfort ourselves with our fullness and surplus, but are terrorized on account of want, and begin to worry on its account? For if we adhere to the Word of God diligently and faithfully, there will be no want; Christ will take care of us, and it must follow that we shall have enough to eat. For it does not depend upon how much or how little we have, but upon His blessing. If He adds that to the small store that thou hast, this will not only not dissolve, but on account of His blessing there will be added to it and be more there than in the beginning." 35) In this case the disciples had a supply of seven loaves, very likely the bread for their own use. Jesus now took charge of the banquet which He wanted to prepare for the multitude. He bade them all cast themselves down on the ground. The inviting grass of the former miracle seems to have been absent in this case. He then proceeded as before. Taking the seven. loaves and having spoken a blessing over them, He broke them and gave them to His disciples to distribute among the people. Note : Christ never began a meal without remembering the thanks due to the Giver of all good gifts and asking His blessing upon the food. "Here He teaches first that we should use what God gives us, no matter how little it is, and accept it with thanksgiving, and know that Christ also wants to bless it that it may prosper and suffice, yea, even grow under our hands; for that is well-pleasing to Him when His gifts are acknowledged and thanks returned for them, and He adds His blessing that this prospers better and reaches farther than great riches and superfluous goods of the unbelievers, as also the Scripture says, Ps. 37, 16; Prov. 10, 22; 1 Tim. 6, 6. For, what have they that possess many and great goods without faith and Christ, and what do they gain? They only deprive themselves of God and of His blessing, are idolaters, the captives of mammon, that dare not make use of their own goods nor let others use it, or they do not use it with a good conscience, neither are they happy over the bite that they eat on account of their avarice and bad conscience, in which they have only one thought, to scrape together more and more with all manner of bad deals and schemes, and yet must always be worrying and in danger that they will have no peace before God and the people, must hear and see much and experience things that make their heart sick, in their great possessions and in their own children; and thus they have thrown themselves into the bonds of the devil and pierced themselves through with many sorrows, as the apostle says, from which they cannot escape." 36) As Jesus was breaking the bread and dividing the little fish that had been found among the supplies, the food grew under His hand. As often as the disciples returned for more, so often could He offer it to them, and they, in turn, passed it to the people. So they all partook of the meal, and they all had their fill to eat; not one was obliged to remain hungry, though there were four thousand men that had enjoyed Christ's hospitality. And again the Lord, in the spirit of food conservation which is advocated throughout Scriptures, had the multitude gather up the remainders of the broken pieces, which could well be used for food, and they filled seven large baskets of the kind that were used in that country for carrying large loads on the back. It is not stated whether the people knew the manner in which they were fed on this occasion, nor what effect the knowledge had upon them, if they knew. And even the disciples remained comparatively callous, as the Lord soon had occasion to find out. If people let the constant repetition of the great miracles of Christ in the means of grace deaden their sensibilities, they are working great harm to themselves; the compassion, the mercy, the faithfulness of the Lord is new every morning.
The Leaven of the Pharisees. Mark 8, 10-21.
Request for a sign from heaven: V. 10. And straightway He entered into a ship with His disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha. V. 11. And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with Him, seeking of Him a sign from heaven, tempting him. V. 12. And He sighed deeply in His spirit and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? Verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation. V. 13. And He left them, and, entering into the ship, again departed to the other side. After the miracle of the feeding Jesus lost no time in further teaching and healing at this place. Without delay He entered the boat with His disciples and crossed the Sea of Galilee into the region of Dalmanutha, in the district of Magdala, Matt. 15, 39. This was a fertile district adjoining that of Gennesaret, and for that reason settled very thickly. Jesus always returned to Galilee for short trips, but the day of mercy for the Galileans had practically come to a close. His ancient enemies had not returned to Jerusalem, to all appearances. For no sooner had He begun the work of His ministry than they came out, probably from Capernaum. They here deliberately began a dispute, they tried to force the issue, they tempted Him. Their object was to get Him to do or say something that could be readily construed as being at variance with the Law of Moses. They hoped to gain their purpose in this case by having Him show a sign from heaven, a sign establishing His claim as the Messiah sent by God. They were not sincere in their urgent demand; they had no intention of believing on Him. If He had fulfilled their request, they would simply have denounced Him before the people as a false Messiah, in spite of all. The wickedness and hypocrisy of the question affected the Lord very deeply. He fetched a deep sigh in His spirit. He realized that the crisis had come, that henceforth there would be enmity to death against Him on the part of these members of the leading party in the Jewish Church. Then He said the solemn words, in the form of an oath: What sign does this generation seek? Verily I say unto you, if a sign will be given to this generation! This is an Aramaic form of speaking, leaving the sentence unfinished, the alternative unspoken. It is the strongest form of refusal. In their sense Jesus here and always refused them a sign. If the many miracles that had been performed in the presence of multitudes numbering thousands had made no impression on them, neither would some manifestation out of the sky penetrate their callous hearts. One sign He indeed is reserving for them and for the whole world, Matt. 12, 38-40, a sign so wonderful that they would never understand, much less accept and believe it - His resurrection from the dead. Having given the Pharisees this answer, He left them, and again crossed to the other side of the sea. The obstinacy and hardness of heart which these enemies exhibited hurt Him deeply, and so He wanted to be alone for awhile and gain strength for further labors and combats.
The disciples' worry about bread: V. 14. Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf. V. 15. And He charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the leaven of Herod. V. 16. And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have no bread. The departure from the region of Dalmanutha or Magdala had been very hurried. Their course was directed to a country which did not offer much in the form of food. A single loaf, probably one left over from the previous day, was all the provisions the disciples had in the boat. Note: The Lord literally lived up to the precept He had given that the believers should take no thought for the morrow, just as He had taught them to pray for the food which was enough for this day, which would sustain life till the next morning. But that one lonely loaf of bread was on the mind of the disciples like a heavy load. Jesus, meanwhile, was concerned about much more important things. The encounter with the Pharisees had given Him food for anxious thought with regard to His disciples. Here was a real danger menacing His disciples and the believers of all times. And so He turned to His fellow-passengers and charged them, gave them the earnest precept to keep their eyes open, to watch, to beware against the leaven of the Pharisees and also that of Herod. It was a figurative, proverbial saying, which was in general use among the Jews, since they often applied this word to something foreign to a substance, something that might cause fermentation and rotting, 1 Cor. 5, 6. "With this expression something should be indicated that in itself is small and insignificant, but when mixed with other things exerts a most extensive influence, which can scarce be resisted. The Lord warns against the pharisaic and Herodianic leaven. Theirs is a hypocritical manner, that emphasizes the external appearance, that pretends to be strict in worship and yet transgresses and sets aside God's commandments; their blindness in spiritual things should be indicated, which they gloss over with a show of sanctity. Before one is aware of it, the whole heart is filled with it, even if one has made only the slightest concession. But just as earnestly the Lord feels constrained to warn against the leaven of Herod. This reigning family professed adherence to the tenets of the Jewish Church, but its members drove out the devil of Pharisaism with an equally wicked devil; they wanted to introduce among the Jews the heathenish, loose, dissolute life, of which we had an example in the birthday festival of Herod Antipas. Instead of a hypocritical religion they introduced the religion of the flesh. Also in this respect the disciples of Christ must beware of the slightest beginnings." 37)
But the disciples were as dense as usual. They received the charge in silence and then talked the matter over among themselves quietly, lest the Master should hear. The conclusion they arrived at was this, that the words of the Lord were a reprimand because they had neglected to bring enough bread along. That one fact was worrying them. And, like them, the believers of all times find it very hard to separate their minds from the cares of this life. Christ, the Lord of heaven and earth, was with them in the boat, but that did not reassure the disciples. He is with us just as surely, according to His promise, even though His physical. visible presence has been withdrawn, but our hearts are usually just as badly beset by our concern for daily food.
The reproof of Christ: V. 17. And when Jesus knew it, He saith unto them, Why reason ye because ye have no bread? Perceive ye not yet, neither understand? Have ye your heart yet hardened? V. 18. Having eyes, see ye not, and having ears, hear ye not, and do ye not remember? V. 19. When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? They say unto Him, Twelve. V. 20. And when the seven among the four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? And they said, Seven. V. 21. And He said unto them, How is it that ye do not understand? Jesus had been busy with His thoughts, but His attention was now directed to His disciples by their whispering and consulting. And, without inquiring, by virtue of His omniscience, He knew the matter of their dispute and their conclusion. That was a worse blow than the enmity of the Pharisees. He gives utterance to a sharp reprimand in the form of a bitter complaint: Why are you consulting together about loaves which you have not? Not yet do you know or understand? Yet have you a heart that is calloused? Having eyes you see not, and having ears you hear not, and do not remember? It was lack of faith, lack of trust in Him, which was evident in the case of the disciples, as if there were nothing higher to be thought of than bread. They were almost on a level with the Jews to whom the Lord had applied the word of Isaiah concerning the hardness of their hearts. But, after all, it was only weakness, and not malice, in their case. And so the Lord uses a gentler tone in reminding them of the two great miracles of feeding which they had witnessed. He comes to their assistance by catechizing them on these exhibitions of divine power, to see whether they had taken proper note of all incidents. This they had remembered and answered correctly. And now He again urges them to consider the matter once more, very carefully, and see whether they could not reach the right conclusion. And this time they understood what He had referred to and what He wanted to teach, Matt. 16, 12.
The Blind Man of Bethsaida. Mark 8, 22-26.
V. 22. And He cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto Him, and besought Him to touch him. V. 23. And He took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when He had spit on his eyes, and put His hands upon him, He asked him if he saw aught. V. 24. And he looked up and said, I see men as trees, walking. V. 25. After that He put His hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up; and he was restored, and saw every man clearly. V. 26. And He sent him away to his house, saying, Neither go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town. This is the second miracle whose account is peculiar to Mark, and he relates it in just the same circumstantial, detailed way as the other, 7, 31-36. Jesus had crossed the sea with His disciples and landed on the northeast shore. Here, on the east side of the river Jordan, just where it flows into the Sea of Galilee, was the city of Bethsaida-Julias. Philip, the tetrarch of Gaulanitis, had built this city on the site of a former village and had called it, in honor of the daughter of the emperor, Bethsaida-Julias, to distinguish it from the other Bethsaida, on the western shore of the lake. Even in this neighborhood, where the Lord had probably never been for any length of time, His fame had preceded Him. They, the relatives or friends, brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him earnestly that He should touch him, having confidence that a mere touch of His hand would make him whole, restore his sight. The Lord wanted no publicity; He had come for the purpose of being alone with His disciples. So He took the blind man's hand and led him out of the village or city. Probably only His disciples were present. Having moistened the dead eyes with some spittle, He laid His hands on him, on his eyes, and then asked him whether he could see. The eyesight had been restored to some extent, so that the blind man could now see objects in indistinct, blurred outlines. But a second laying on of hands corrected this defect, enabling him to see things clearly, since he was now restored to the proper use of his sight. He could see all things sharply defined and standing out clearly. The miracle had returned the full use of his dead members to him. The reason for this gradual healing, that the blind man first looked up in the tentative manner peculiar to the blind, then saw things through a mist, and finally was fully restored, is not indicated. It should impress upon all Christian the great value of the sense of sight and of all senses, so that they appreciate and use them properly, never forgetting to give thanks to the Giver of all good gifts for them. In order to avoid a sensation, Jesus did not permit the man to return to his house, nor even to go into the city. He wanted to continue the work for which He had left Galilee.
Jesus the Christ and His Service. Mark 8, 27-38.
A journey to the heathen country: V. 27. And Jesus went out, and His disciples, into the towns of Caesarea-Philippi; and by the way He asked His disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am? V. 28. And they answered, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets. Jesus now at last got the opportunity for which He had been waiting and planning for some time. His work was to instruct His disciples more fully in the essentials of their calling, for this preparation was sorely needed. Leaving Bethsaida-Julias, they traveled northward by easy stages, until they came into the vicinity, into the suburbs of Caesarea- Philippi. They were now in the province of Gaulanitis, or Auranitis, in which Philip was tetrarch. Caesarea was its capital. It had been built on the site of the former village Pallium, on the eastern slope of the Lebanon, near the source of the Jordan. Philip called the new city Caesarea, in honor of the emperor, but to distinguish it from the city of the same name on the western coast of Palestine, he added his own name as a distinguishing mark. The whole district was now known by this name. It was a beautiful and prosperous region, upon which the snow-covered peak of Hermon looked down. But the inhabitants were, for the most part, heathen. Jesus here had the leisure, as His little company slowly traveled along the highways, to impart to them some of the information which would later stand them in good stead. But He also took the opportunity to ask them questions concerning the knowledge they had gained, a method sure to be effective in the case of such a teacher. He asked them, in a preliminary way, what opinion the people, especially those of northern Palestine, of Galilee, and of the country west of the Jordan, had concerning Him. They answered Him according to the information they had. Many held the opinion that He was John the Baptist; others, that He was Elijah in a reincarnation; others, that He was one of the prophets. Cp. chapter 6, 14. 15.
The confession of Peter: V. 29. And He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto Him, Thou art the Christ. V. 30. And He charged them that they should tell no man of Him. The first answer had been given willingly enough, for the information could be easily supplied. But now Christ puts the direct question to all disciples, emphasizing the pronoun: How about you? What is your opinion and confession? Note: The words are spoken to all apostles, not to a single one, nor to a group; Jesus wanted a frank, clear statement of their belief. The answer of Peter, therefore, can be understood properly only in this sense, as a confession of them all: Thou art the Christ. They hereby declared it as their firm conviction that their Master was the promised Messiah, and ascribed to Him all the attributes with which the prophets had endowed this greatest prophet of all. The confession of Peter is the confession of all true believers of all times. The question, What think ye of Jesus? is the great test question of the ages. By his personal relation to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, will the fate of every person be determined. It makes and posits the difference between believing Christians and unbelievers, the children of this world. People in general consider Christ a mere man, endowed, indeed, with many unusual virtues and with exceptional wisdom, but, after all, a mere man. But the Christians believe that this man is Jesus Christ, by God's counsel and will the Savior and Redeemer of the world, that He is true God, born of the Father from eternity. After commending the confession very highly, Jesus charged His disciples, He spoke in a tone of menace, almost threateningly, as if expecting foolish talk in this sacred matter, or to prevent the spread of false ideas regarding the work of the Messiah. For that in itself was the most difficult problem, to keep the disciples and others from indulging in all kinds of carnal hopes of a worldly empire, of a kingdom of this world. In our days such an objurgation would be needed with double emphasis, since the work of the millennialists is advancing rapidly and their literature is being spread broadcast over the country. We need no new Gospel, but we need the right, the simple understanding of the old Gospel, unclouded and unspoiled by the dreams of men that have no proper conception either of the person or of the work of Christ.
The first announcement of the Passion: V. 31. And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. V. 32. And He spake that saying openly. And Peter took Him, and began to rebuke Him. V. 33. But when He had turned about and looked on His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind Me, Satan; for thou savorest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men. Having accepted their confession and thus substantiated the same regarding His person and office, Jesus now took the opportunity to instruct them more fully in the knowledge of salvation. It was a new form of teaching which the Lord introduced at this point, no longer in parables, figures, and dark allusions and intimations, but with perfect freedom and openness. He, the Son of Man, must suffer much. That was the duty which He had taken upon Himself, the obligation which He had shouldered. This suffering is then analyzed. He would be rejected by the elders and by the high priests and by the scribes. It would finally narrow down to this: if the religious authorities would approve of Jesus as the Messiah and accept His teaching, the people would follow. But now it was a foregone conclusion that they would most emphatically disapprove of Him and His ministry. And so the result would follow very naturally: suffering, death, but also resurrection, a fact which the Jewish leaders did not take into account. All these predictions Jesus made with absolute frankness, keeping silence with regard to nothing. The word used here by the evangelist is one which is also fittingly applied to the work of the Christian ministry, 2 Cor. 3, 12. The sum and substance of Gospel-preaching is included in the statement of Christ and in the confession of the disciples. The telling of this wondrous story must be signalized and characterized by the same unwavering, un- hesitating boldness with which Jesus here spoke; it is the only way in which the message of salvation will be effective.
It was here that Peter, in his impulsive way, presumed upon a step for which he had absolutely no right. He drew Jesus aside a few steps and began to rebuke Him. The fact that He had just acknowledged Himself to be the Messiah, and that He now spoke of suffering and dying did not seem to Peter to agree. He had an altogether different idea concerning the work of a Messiah. But Jesus could brook no interference where His divine labor of love was concerned. He turned around to all the disciples, in order to draw their attention to His words and acts, since there was a lesson for them all here. He then turned to Peter and reprimanded him most severely: Away, behind Me, Satan! Peter here proved the adversary of Christ; it was Satan himself that was attempting to hinder the work of redemption through Peter. His suggestion and opinion had nothing of God's will in it, but only that of man, weak, sinful man, that cannot understand God's ways and works. All the disciples felt the reproof, though it was directed to Peter only. And the warning stands today for all those that would weaken the fact of Christ's suffering and death in the interest of sinful mankind. In the suffering and death of Christ divine and human ways and methods part company. The cross of Christ is a foolishness and an offense to human ideas, but in reality divine wisdom and divine power.
Concerning true discipleship: V. 34. And when He had called the people unto Him with His disciples also, He said unto them, Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. V. 35. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever will lose his life for My sake and the Gospel's, the same shall save it. V. 36. For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? V. 37. Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? V. 38. Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of Man be ashamed when He cometh in the glory of His Father with the holy angels. Jesus had given the disciples a summary of His work in the interest of fallen humanity, the essential and characteristic Messianic ministry. He now gives a summary of the demands of true discipleship, addressed not only to the twelve apostles, but to a multitude of people whom the Lord expressly calls for that purpose. He does not speak of the manner in which a person becomes a disciple, but the way in which he gives evidence of the faith living in him. There are three points that Christ emphasizes: 1) Denying self; 2) taking up the cross; 3) following Christ. A person who becomes a disciple of Christ really loses his identity, his individuality, so far as spiritual things are concerned. He no longer knows himself or insists upon his opinion and work. He sets aside all his own natural lusts and desires. But he must expect and therefore freely take upon himself the cross and suffering which is sure to strike him on account of his confession of Christ, though it lead into death itself. Thus the entire life of the Christian will finally resolve itself into that one purpose, to follow Christ wherever He may lead, and not doubt for the fraction of a second that His way is always best. The Lord explains this at some length. If anyone wants to save his life, have the full enjoyment of this life and all that it may offer in this world, he will lose the true life in Christ the Savior. But if anyone will regard this life, the world and all it has to offer, as nothing, give it all up for the. sake of Jesus and His Gospel, he will find the true life, the true joy and happiness in Him. If we should put the whole world with all its immeasurable riches on the credit side of the ledger and a single man's soul on the debit side, the credit side would be practically effaced. There is nothing in the wide world which can measure up to the value of a single soul, especially not if one considers the fact that the Son of God shed His blood for that soul. Note: This statement will be readily assented to in theory by almost every person in the world, but in practice the great majority discard the idea as foolish; to enjoy this life first, and, if there still be time, to prepare for the next, that is the religion of many, even of those that bear the Christian name.
But there is another distinguishing mark which Jesus emphasizes at the end of His address. The entire world, all men by nature, are an adulterous generation, given to idolatry of some kind, and therefore guilty of all, transgressing all the commandments of God. If therefore, now that the Redeemer has appeared and His message of salvation has gone forth into all the world, anyone hears this Gospel, and yet is ashamed of it and of the Redeemer whose praise it proclaims, then this same Redeemer, but now in the form of the Judge of the living and the dead, will also be ashamed of him and will condemn him on that last great day. For then there will no longer be weakness and lowliness to set Him apart, but He will appear in the glory of His Father, with all the holy angels as His body-guard, Matt. 10, 33; 2 Tim. 2, 12.
Summary. Jesus feeds four thousand men in the wilderness, is tempted by the Pharisees, warns His disciples against the leaven of the Pharisees and the Herodians, reproves their worldly care, heals the blind man of Bethsaida, accepts the confession of His Messidhship, and gives a lesson in true discipleship.