In Mark Chapter 8 Jesus feeds the 4,000 (this is after He fed the 5,000 in chapter 6, and after He walked on water, also in chapter 6). The disciples are seeing a lot of supernatural love.
In the next passage (v 11-13), the Pharisees seek a sign of Him from Heaven, tempting Him. He sighs deeply in His spirit and replies that there will be no sign given to this generation. My thoughts: How are the Pharisees seeking a sign, when Jesus has been performing all these miracles, some of which they have witnessed? They have not eyes to see.
Then Jesus charges the disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees; the disciples can’t figure what He’s talking about, and reason it’s because they forgot to bring bread with them. Jesus asks them several questions: Why reason ye? Perceive ye not? Having eyes, see ye not? And having ears, hear ye not? Do you not remember? How is it that ye do not understand?
Reading this with my human perspective, it sounds like Jesus is getting fed up with them. BUT I know that Jesus is God, and that the words of His mouth and the meditations of His heart are pleasing in God’s sight (Psalm 19.14).
Jesus never asks a question to which He does not know the answer, because He knows everything. And, because God is love, Jesus is love. He asks and does all things in love. And I’m pretty sure that love showed on His face and in His body language.
Jesus asks these questions to edify them because He loves them. He wants them to see.
Next, Jesus heals a blind man. The blind man first sees men as trees, walking; after Jesus puts His hands again upon the man’s eyes, the man can see clearly.
My thoughts: Jesus is using this as an object lesson, connecting it to their discussion about not seeing / not perceiving. The blind man starts to see after Jesus intervenes. The disciples are starting to see. Jesus continues to intervene for the blind man, and then the man can see clearly. Jesus will continue to intervene for His disciples, and they will be able to see “every man clearly.”
Next, Jesus is walking with His disciples and He asks who others say He is, then He asks who they say He is. Peter answers that Jesus is the Christ. [In the parallel telling, in Matthew 16.17, Jesus answers Peter, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”]
In the final passage in Mark 8 (v 31-38), Jesus speaks to His disciples and others. He says, “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.”
This ties up the lesson Jesus has for His disciples: In your flesh, in your natural state, you are unable to perceive truth, to see God in His glory. There is the example of the Pharisees: they were unable to perceive Who Jesus was, even after witnessing His miracles and love. It is important to understand that basic fact – you are nothing in and of yourself (John 15.5). But when Jesus intervenes, truth dawns. We can start to understand that Jesus is the Christ, and that He can do all things. The blind man receiving clarity of sight foretells the coming of the Holy Spirit, when we are given the gift of Very God living within us.
We are not able to see unless God the Father gives us sight. Luke 10.21-23 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him. And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see.
We must not get in the way of the Holy Spirit (Mark 8.32, when Peter rebuked Jesus). Mark 8.35: For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.
Step aside. Let God’s Holy Spirit have His way with you. Just like in Matthew 16.17, Jesus answers Peter, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” Flesh and blood cannot reveal Truth to you, but only God, Who is in Heaven.
He who has eyes to see, let him see; he who has ears to hear, let him hear. The eyes and the ears must be His.