Reading for Wednesday, Oct 17: Mark 8
Given Mark’s context, it seems the feeding of the 4,000 (v1-10) occurs in Gentile territory, which is significant. It demonstrates Jesus’ role as living bread for the Gentiles, an issue that the early church will continue to wrestle with long after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension. But Jesus continues to draw the hungry to Himself, feeding them with the bread from heaven.
This sustenance is contrasted with the leaven of the Pharisees, the dissatisfying combination of legalism and hypocrisy. But the remaining verses in this chapter help illuminate the nature of this bread that Jesus represents.
First, we receive this bread through faith. Peter’s confession of Christ’s identity — “You are the Christ,” — becomes our conduit for eternal life. But this life is characterized by the words Jesus speaks in vv34-36: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake eand the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”
This is the question we would do well to ask ourselves in a culture of self-interest and material pursuit.