Daily Bible Reading

January 17, 2024

Mark 8:1-26(GNT)

God’s Guiding Word: Discipleship

Introduction

Mark 8:1–26: Similar to the feeding of five thousand people recorded in Mark 6:30–44, today’s reading provides an account of Jesus feeding four thousand people. The Pharisees seek to test Jesus, and Jesus appears exasperated at the seeming inability of the disciples to comprehend the metaphor of yeast when referring to the teachings of the Pharisees and actions of Herod. The reading concludes with an account of Jesus healing a blind man. 

Scripture Reading

1 Not long afterward another large crowd came together. When the people had nothing left to eat, Jesus called the disciples to him and said, “I feel sorry for these people, because they have been with me for three days and now have nothing to eat. If I send them home without feeding them, they will faint as they go, because some of them have come a long way.”

His disciples asked him, “Where in this desert can anyone find enough food to feed all these people?”

“How much bread do you have?” Jesus asked.

“Seven loaves,” they answered.

He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves, gave thanks to God, broke them, and gave them to his disciples to distribute to the crowd; and the disciples did so. They also had a few small fish. Jesus gave thanks for these and told the disciples to distribute them too. 8-9 Everybody ate and had enough—there were about four thousand people. Then the disciples took up seven baskets full of pieces left over. Jesus sent the people away 10 and at once got into a boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha.

11 Some Pharisees came to Jesus and started to argue with him. They wanted to trap him, so they asked him to perform a miracle to show that God approved of him. 12 But Jesus gave a deep groan and said, “Why do the people of this day ask for a miracle? No, I tell you! No such proof will be given to these people!”

13 He left them, got back into the boat, and started across to the other side of the lake.

14 The disciples had forgotten to bring enough bread and had only one loaf with them in the boat. 15 “Take care,” Jesus warned them, “and be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.”

16 They started discussing among themselves: “He says this because we don’t have any bread.”

17 Jesus knew what they were saying, so he asked them, “Why are you discussing about not having any bread? Don’t you know or understand yet? Are your minds so dull? 18 You have eyes—can’t you see? You have ears—can’t you hear? Don’t you remember 19 when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand people? How many baskets full of leftover pieces did you take up?”

“Twelve,” they answered.

20 “And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand people,” asked Jesus, “how many baskets full of leftover pieces did you take up?”

“Seven,” they answered.

21 “And you still don’t understand?” he asked them.

22 They came to Bethsaida, where some people brought a blind man to Jesus and begged him to touch him. 23 Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village. After spitting on the man’s eyes, Jesus placed his hands on him and asked him, “Can you see anything?”

24 The man looked up and said, “Yes, I can see people, but they look like trees walking around.”

25 Jesus again placed his hands on the man’s eyes. This time the man looked intently, his eyesight returned, and he saw everything clearly. 26 Jesus then sent him home with the order, “Don’t go back into the village.”

Today’s Key Verse: Mark 8:6b

Then [Jesus] took the seven loaves, gave thanks to God, broke them, and gave them to his disciples to distribute to the crowd … 

Reflect

According to verse 2, how did Jesus express compassion for the crowd? How were the people fed? How did the Pharisees seek to test Jesus (verses 11–12)? In Jesus’s warning to the disciples in verse 15, he was saying that the hypocrisy of the teachings of the Pharisees and the actions of Herod affect the whole people of God just as yeast affects a whole batch of dough (see Luke 12:1; Galatians 5:9). In what ways can people of faith today guard against being led astray by false teachings? 

Pray

Jesus, you are the true bread from heaven and source of life. Nurture me daily with your teachings and help me to discern and turn away from words and actions that are not in accord with your will. Keep my heart and mind open to your voice and guide me each day in the way of your truth. In your holy name, I pray. Amen. 

Tomorrow’s Reading

Mark 8:27—9:1: Peter declares Jesus to be the Messiah. 

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