“Then He charged them, saying, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” Mark 8:15 NKJV
The major events of passion week, begin with Palm Sunday and Monday Jesus weeps over Jerusalem. Today, or Tuesday of Passion Week is the day Judas arranged the deal with the Jewish leaders to betray Jesus. He did not trust God to provide his daily bread, instead he went to find it on his own. What he did not realize is, that he wasn’t acting alone, he was deceived and under the influence of the enemy.
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.
If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen
Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen
Today’s reading is the Book of Mark chapter 8 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV).
Feeding the Four Thousand
8 In those days, the multitude being very great and having nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples to Him and said to them, 2 “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. 3 And if I send them away hungry to their own houses, they will faint on the way; for some of them have come from afar.”
4 Then His disciples answered Him, “How can one satisfy these people with bread here in the wilderness?”
5 He asked them, “How many loaves do you have?”
And they said, “Seven.”
6 So He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And He took the seven loaves and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and they set them before the multitude. 7 They also had a few small fish; and having blessed them, He said to set them also before them. 8 So they ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets of leftover fragments. 9 Now those who had eaten were about four thousand. And He sent them away, 10 immediately got into the boat with His disciples, and came to the region of Dalmanutha.
The Pharisees Seek a Sign
11 Then the Pharisees came out and began to dispute with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, testing Him. 12 But He sighed deeply in His spirit, and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Assuredly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation.”
Beware of the Leaven of the Pharisees and Herod
13 And He left them, and getting into the boat again, departed to the other side. 14 Now [a]the disciples had forgotten to take bread, and they did not have more than one loaf with them in the boat. 15 Then He charged them, saying, “Take heed, beware of the [b]leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”
16 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have no bread.”
17 But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart [c]still hardened? 18 Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments did you take up?”
They said to Him, “Twelve.”
20 “Also, when I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of fragments did you take up?”
And they said, “Seven.”
21 So He said to them, “How is it you do not understand?”
A Blind Man Healed at Bethsaida
22 Then He came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him. 23 So 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 on him, He asked him if he saw anything.
24 And he looked up and said, “I see men like trees, walking.”
25 Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly. 26 Then He sent him away to his house, saying, [d]“Neither go into the town, nor tell anyone in the town.”
Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ
27 Now Jesus and His disciples went out to the towns of Caesarea Philippi; and on the road He asked His disciples, saying to them, “Who do men say that I am?”
28 So they answered, “John the Baptist; but some say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.”
29 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Peter answered and said to Him, “You are the Christ.”
30 Then He strictly warned them that they should tell no one about Him.
Jesus Predicts His Death and Resurrection
31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke this word openly. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. 33 But when He had turned around and looked at His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, “Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not [e]mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
Take Up the Cross and Follow Him
34 When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”
- Mark 8:14 NU, M they
- Mark 8:15 yeast
- Mark 8:17 NU omits still
- Mark 8:26 NU “Do not even go into the town.”
- Mark 8:33 setting your mind on
MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:
Isaiah 41:10- “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
I woke up hungry today. Somedays, I suppose we, being humans, just do that (and I find it even more frequent when fasting and praying). Hunger reminds me to be hungry for God. Not that I need reminding, but we all do need to stir it up. Somedays I am so hungry I listen to the Bible all day instead of music.
Lord, I just want more of you and to know you more!
Spiritual and physical food is a basic need we have and cannot function without it. We see the silliness man contrives when starved of spiritual food. And we have experienced the irrational anger that comes with being hangry (hungry/angry). We can go a very long time without food, though.
I met a man who is the Director of the Fasting Protocol. Which is a healthy lifestyle program for longer intermittent fasting. Longer – as in days without food. My brother first joined it to lose weight. And he did. But listening to my brother I heard hints of key health information so I joined. I told the man, my goal was to understand fasting for spiritual reasons. But I want to be healthy and do it right. When fasting correctly, (yes it is just abstaining from food and drinking water – but it is having the right minerals in your water, a healthy gut, and drinking enough water) people can go for a very long time without food. And if you do not do it right, you cannot go for as long.
But eventually – you need food. It is a basic human need.
God is concerned about what we eat (both physically and spiritually). He wants us to fast and spend time with Him. But he also wants us to eat and be fully blessed.
The Lord’s Prayer covers all our needs well (our need to worship, to ask forgiveness, to humbly submit and…) including food! Our daily bread. In this case bread represents our financial needs (like to pay our bills) our food needs, our spiritual needs, and all our needs. God also says he is concerned about our wants, so some of those are also in this category.
We begin todays reading with 4000 men and more women and possibly children who were fasting and spending time with Jesus. It was so good, no one thought about their journey home without food – and how they might not make it. (When fasting, your energy is depleted – so learning to exercise and function while fasting is another part of The Fasting Protocol. These people did not prepare for this fast and did not have the strength.)
Jesus was moved with compassion and fed them.
When I was young, and heard a message on this passage, I thought the preacher screwed up – it was 5000 that he fed, not 4000. And I looked in my Bible and thought, well it does say 4000, why did I think it was 5000? Jesus did it again! And these disciples played the same role as the last time. Now the timeline of the miracles is not extremely clear, but what we do know so certain is that Jesus’s ministry was about 3 years long. So within a year or two of the feeding of the 5000, these disciples completely forgot?!
I want to ridicule them and mock them for forgetting. However, just this morning in my prayers I confessed to God how worried I was about bills that are due in 2 weeks. I asked for him to drop a job in my lap or send me some sales or give me some sort of new direction to go in. And ya know what God’s response was? Silence. So I open this passage to read and study to give you a discussion on it and I am cut to the quick! OUCH! Just 12 days ago, JUST 12 DAYS AGO! Just 12 days ago, I paid all my bills and I have no idea where God got the money from or how it stretched into my account!!! The disciples forgot, but so did I (and in 12 short days).
Many times in the Old Testament God says DO NOT FORGET THESE THINGS I HAVE DONE! Don’t forget – yet we do, apparently.
So in God’s perfect multiplication the first time they had 12 baskets of bread and lost them in a storm at sea. This time they have 7 baskets of bread and they get the bread to the other side of the sea, but somehow forget it and come back with no bread. These men cannot hold onto their blessings no matter what! Let us be mindful to thanks Him, praise Him, and hold onto the blessings He gives us.
So, now let’s discuss Dalmanutha. The boat arrives, they take the bread off the boat, and they run into some Pharisees. Did you ever notice, the Pharisees seem to be everywhere! BUT they also seem to miss it every time Jesus heals someone, or raises the dead or casts out a demon. But they knew about it. They saw cripples walking and demon possessed being of clear mind and blind seeing and deaf hearing. They saw it. They saw the signs.
“Then the Pharisees came out and began to dispute with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, testing Him.” Verse 11.
I read this and wonder if Jesus saw this irony – these people had signs and wonders… but still ask for a sign. But they have many signs. I sigh…. I then see Jesus also sighs. He knew of the irony.
“But He sighed deeply in His spirit, and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Assuredly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation.” Verse 12.
You see these Pharisees had their daily bread and they had their messiah – they were abundantly blessed. But they failed to realize it. They failed to thank Him for it. They failed to be nourished by it!
So He tells the disciples to gather their things, they jump on a boat and head back to the other side, forgetting their baskets of bread. And Jesus has them alone on a boat and figures it is a good time to explain how corruption grows and destroys good men. Jesus tell them to be separated, come out from among them. To be consecrated to Him. But these lunkheads are thinking with their stomachs. Their guilt over forgetting bread is condemning them into not hearing what the Lord is saying!
Same with us – Don’t we get it? We will not go hungry! God is concerned for your belly and my belly too! All we need to do is ask daily for our serving and not worry. Our mind are meant to be fixed on things eternal – on His kingdom coming – on ministering to others – on transforming souls and making disciples.
The leaven of the religious folks and politicians. I think Jesus should have used a different metaphor. I understand how leaven works and is so tiny and can escape the breadboard when making dough. BUT have you ever had one rotten strawberry in your basket? It looked ok from the outside but it carried rot inside it. By morning all the strawberries in the basket with it are destroyed. It is the same rot or corruption carried in the leaven metaphor here. Even if the other strawberries wanted to stay fresh – it was out of their control. Their only hope was to get away, set apart and washed.
I hope the 12 understood when Jesus explained it all to them. It doesn’t say.
Speaking of not understanding, next up we have the blind man being healed and I cannot tell you how many people do not understand and have told me Jesus got the prayer wrong the first time.
Things to make note of: verse 23 He took the blind man out of town to heal him (more crowd control, more “Do not tell anyone” and more keeping the signs from the Pharisees). Next note: Jesus had to pray for him twice. Jesus did nothing wrong – He wasn’t hungry or hurried. God permitted us to see that sometimes we must pray more than once. Sometimes it takes more than one or even two prayers for the full miracle. Sometimes we get a little bread, and it is not the bread we want and we walk away hungry. But instead of walking away, ask for seconds. We can be full.
Finally Jesus is alone with the disciples again as they are walking and Jesus ask what the word on the street is. We all know, Jesus already knew. But he was building a conversation.
If God asks you a question you know he already knows – answer it anyway. He is trying to talk with you.
Verse 29 – Peter has the revelation that Jesus is the Christ and to all of our surprise he answers “who is Jesus” correctly and doesn’t say Jesus is the bread maker! I almost didn’t think Peter would get there – but before he gets too proud, Peter will bumble again shortly. Because Jesus starts to talk about his suffering and death.
Now none of us want to see someone we love suffer and die – there was a demon nearby whispering in Peter’s ear, anxiety, fear…. And this demon tool hold of Peter and used him. Can spirit filled believers with the full revelation of Christ be demon possessed. No, I personally do not think so. But I know they can be played like a puppet with they are not guarded against such things! Yes, be aware and be not used as a false prophet or teacher – be not a hindrance to the will of the Father because your flesh agrees with a demon, releasing yourself to submitting to the evil.
“…He rebuked Peter, saying, “Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” Verse 33 b
This is bread for your spirit. You need to be fed to the fullness – and fully understand the enemy can you spirit filled believers. We are weak, humans. We try our best. Peter was not cast out of the group for not being Christian. So when a believer has a weak moment, rebuke the demon and loved the brother or sister.
Finally today’s reading ends on a serious note, without bread – no, this is meat. (I am still hungry.)
Pick up your cross and follow me.
The baby-food rendition of this is that the cross is your trials – it was Jesus’s trial. And then we have baby Christian saying their marriage or children are their cross to bear. AND then you look at me getting red in the face ready to yell into their ignorance: NO, Sharron, your husband and kids are your blessings and not your trials! Your attitude towards them is your trial! Fix yourself and love them! Thank God for them! Oh man!
But if you were to say the persecution, or the people teasing you on lunch break for eating alone reading your Bible, was your cross, your trial. Yes. Yes it is. Carry it. Carry it till you die.
Now for the grown up juice meat rendition of this statement – surrender your will and your actually life and all of your possessions – your dead flesh, your past wants and desires, pinned to the cross is what you carry. Occasionally hearing them trying to come back to life and you pin another nail in them on the cross you carry. The cross is not a symbol of anything. It is real in spirit and the place where we say, “Not my will, but thy will, oh Father!” The same terms Jesus came to in order to carry His cross. So we carry death? NO! We carry life. Those things were death, but with them put away, it is life within us, through us and we carry it to others. The meat is a little more abstract, but so yummy. Check the context here – it is truth. Keep the scriptures pure – that is the power and anointing of God. Because the work of God always completes what it set out to do.
It is high time we wake up – and surrender all, even to our death. It is time to do the will of our Father. Stop looking and worrying for the daily bread and do the things you are made for such a time as this to do. He will provide food. You just do what he wants you to do – which is probably to share bread with others.
Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!