Mark 8:1–10 (ESV)
Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand
8 In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, he called his disciples to him and said to them, 2 “I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been
with me now three days and have nothing to eat. 3 And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.” 4 And his disciples
answered him, “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?” 5 And he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.” 6 And
he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd. 7 And they had
a few small fish. And having blessed them, he said that these also should be set before them. 8 And they ate and were satisfied. And they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. 9 And
there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away. 10 And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha.
Jesus’ compassion moves Him to feed another hungry crowd by means of a second miraculous multiplication of bread. When Jesus confronts the disciples with feeding the crowds for a second time, they again fail to see that
His power provides the way forward. How slowly we sometimes respond in faith! Yet how graciously Jesus continues to provide, both with His Word of forgiveness and with daily bread. He fully satisfies our bodies and souls.
I pray: Lord, deepen our hunger for Your Word, and so teach us to turn first to You in every need. Then feed us with Your multiple gifts. Amen.
Mark 7:31–37 (ESV)
Jesus Heals a Deaf Man
he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32 And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand
on him. 33 And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. 34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,”
that is, “Be opened.” 35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36 And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more
zealously they proclaimed it. 37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
Jesus heals another person in
a Gentile region, further emphasizing His love for every race and kind of people. This serves as yet one more example of why we need to avoid the temptation to narrow the scope of the mission and to ignore opportunities to reach out to those who are different
than ourselves. Jesus’ healing of this man, immediately after He restored the daughter of the Syrophoenician woman, underscores that He desires to love, cleanse, and heal all people.
I pray: Lord, You have done everything
well. Help us also to see the depths of Your mercy and grace, that we understand them as gifts meant for all. Amen.
Mark 7:24–30 (ESV)
The Syrophoenician Woman’s Faith
24 And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden. 25 But immediately a woman
whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. 26 Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 And
he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 28 But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat
the children’s crumbs.” 29 And he said to her, “For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.” 30 And she went home and found the child lying
in bed and the demon gone.
In the regions of Tyre and Sidon, Jesus reveals that He has come to save the Gentiles along with the Jews. Unfortunately, the all-encompassing
nature of His Gospel is viewed today as a threat by many Christian communities; outreach to other cultures might be ignored. But Jesus calls us to repent of such notions, and He reaches out to all people. No one lies beyond the scope of His love and grace.
I pray: Lord, help us to share the Gospel with all people, especially those who are different from us, that all may be edified in the faith. Amen.
Mark 7:14–23 (ESV)
What Defiles a Person
he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile
him.” 17 And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you
not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And
he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness,
deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
teaches that people are not defiled by food or other things entering the body from the outside, but rather by their own evil inclinations and sinful behaviors. This teaching exposes the uselessness of our own excuse-making and dismisses our claims that other
people and things are to blame for our shortcomings and failures. However, Jesus does not merely condemn; He also sets free. Through His promises we are liberated from sin and reconciled to God.
I pray: Lord, renew us each day with clean hearts. By Your Spirit, give us joyous words, generous spirits, and behaviors that reflect Your glory. Amen.
Mark 7:1–13 (ESV)
Traditions and Commandments
7 Now when the Pharisees gathered to him,
with some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem, 2 they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. 3 (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands properly,
holding to the tradition of the elders, 4 and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions that they observe, such as the washing of cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches.)
5 And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” 6 And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you
hypocrites, as it is written,
“ ‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
7 in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”
9 And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish
your tradition! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 11 But you say, ‘If a man tells
his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban” ’ (that is, given to God)— 12 then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, 13 thus
making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”
Jesus criticizes the Pharisees for being overly concerned
with man-made observances while failing to fulfill God’s Commandments. Such hypocrisy still abounds, as most people worry more about human opinions than what God thinks. Given our own failures in this regard, it is a good thing that the Lord not only
commands in His Word, but also graciously forgives and promises goodness.
I pray: Lord, cleanse us each day from our sins. We thank You that Jesus was
made a fragrant, sacrificial offering for us. Amen.