Pray: To open your time together.
Read: Mark 8: 1-38
Consider: Some thoughts for your group
One of the things that makes the gospel according to Mark so special is his storytelling ability. Chapter 8 is a masterful example of Mark’s ability to not only pass along the good news of Jesus, but to do it in a way that draws us into the story. In this chapter we learn about Jesus’ work to cure blindness, both physically and spiritually.
Jesus has already fed the 5000, but at the start of this chapter we see that Jesus is at it again. He miraculously provides bread for 4000 more people who are hungry and again there is an abundance left over. Even so, the religious leaders approach him and demand a sign from heaven to legitimize himself. Mark gives us a hint about Jesus’ feelings in this moment saying, “He sighed deeply…”. How tired Jesus must have felt to continually be asked to prove himself. The Pharisees did not see Jesus for who He was. Jesus replies, “No sign will be given.”
This is a theme in chapter 8. People, even Jesus’ disciples don’t see Jesus for who He is. When the disciples are concerned about not having bread (of all things!) Jesus asks them, “Do you not see? Do you have eyes, but not see?”.
Mark then immediately takes us to the story of the blind man. The blind man encounters Jesus, but at first can only see partially. Jesus lays hands again on the man and Mark tells us “His eyes were open, his sight was restored, he saw everything clearly.” With this story of healing blindness ang giving clear sight at the forefront of our mind, Mark takes us back to the disciples.
Jesus asks “Who do people say I am?” The answer is muddled, like the blindman’s unclear eyes. “Some say Elijah? Some say John the Baptist?” They see partially, but not clearly. Just as Jesus leaned into the blindman’s healing, He leans into the disciple’s spiritual blindness. “Who do you say I am?” Peter then saw everything clearly, “You are the Messiah.”
- Why do you think Jesus “sighed deeply” at the Pharisees test? What does it tell us about the state of the Pharisees inability to “see Jesus” even after the miracle he just performed? How might we be missing what Jesus is doing around us right now?
- Do you think it was a coincidence that Jesus rebuked the disciple’s spiritual blindness just before he healed a blind man? What are the parallels that you see in Jesus’ interactions with his disciples and the healing story of the blind man?
- As you read this entire chapter together take a moment to ask each person in your group what stands out to them. What does Mark want us to take away from this portion of Jesus’ story.
Often, we miss God at work in the present because we forget the good work God has done in the past. Take a moment to share memories of what God has done in your life. How has God shown up in your story in the past? How might your past have prepared you for what God is doing today?
Spend some time praying for one another. Praise God and celebrate what He has done in the past. Remember that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. With that in mind, bring Him your fears, hopes, and petitions for the present.