Now do you get it? (Mark 8:22 – 10:52)
 Mark’s selective mentions of geography
Mark evidently wrote his Gospel with methodical purpose. For instance, his selective references to geographical locations are deliberate. Whereas the other Gospel authors, John in particular, move their narrative back and forth between north and south like a busy elevator, Mark tells the history in three distinct sections:
- up north – in Galilee, Bethesda, Tyre and Sidon, and Caesarea Philippi (Mark 1:1 – 8:26);
- down south – in Bethphage, Bethany, and especially Jerusalem (Mark 1:1 – 8:26); and
- events that all occurred while Jesus and his disciples travelled ‘on the way’ Greek hodos) from north to south (see Mark 8:27; 9:33-34; 10:17, 32, 46, 52; and 11:8). Let’s examine that transition period, bearing in mind that John the Baptist’s ministry was to: ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming’ (Mark 1:3, all references from The Living Bible); and the first Christians were known as ‘followers of the Way‘ (Acts 9:1-2).
 ‘On the way’
Mark’s middle section in his Gospel is also well crafted. It has ‘book ends’ that highlight the emphasis of his enduring message. The healing of two cases of blindness by the Lord obviously draw the readers’ attention to the disciples’ current lack of spiritual understanding. Jesus remarked on that very problem of theirs – and ours! – as he crossed the lake in Galilee with them (Mark 8:15-21).
- As they were crossing the lake, Jesus warned them, ‘Watch out! Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod.’
- At this they began to argue with each other because they hadn’t brought any bread.
- Jesus knew what they were saying, so he said, ‘Why are you arguing about having no bread? Don’t you know or understand even yet? Are your hearts too hard to take it in?
- You have eyes – can’t you see? You have ears – can’t you hear? Don’t you remember anything at all?
- When I fed the 5,000 with five loaves of bread, how many baskets of leftovers did you pick up afterwards?’ ‘Twelve,’ they said.
- ‘And when I fed the 4,000 with seven loaves, how many large baskets of leftovers did you pick up>’ ‘Seven,’ they said.
- ‘Don’t you understand yet?‘ he asked them.
 So Jesus healed this first blind man in stages (Mark 8:22-26)
This instance of healing by Jesus is quite unique among his miracles, an apt illustration of his disciples’ limited spiritual vision. he had to touch the blind man’s eyes a second time because the first touch had left him with only partial sight.
- ‘I see people, but I can’t see them very clearly. They look like trees walking around.’ It was only after
- ‘Jesus placed his hands on the man again [that] his eyes were opened. His sight was completely restored, and he could see everything clearly.’
 Peter’s declaration about Jesus’ identity follows straight after (Mark 8:27-30)
Don’e make a career of any privileged Peter replied [on behalf of them all], ‘You are the Messiah.’ As he had hinted to the newly sighted man, now ‘Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.’ However, although they now fully realised that he was ‘the Anointed’ foretold in the Old Testament, they still did not understand that he must be crucified, die and rise again. he is about to tell them this in three major statements (8:31-32; 9:30-32; 10:32-34) and a couple of other mentions during this transition phase of his earthly ministry (9:12 – 10:45) – obviously a main emphasis in their training at this time.
 Vital lessons along the way
- Your life is not your own (8:31-38). Take up your cross – en route to execution!
- Don’t make a career of any privileged glimpses of glory (9:1-13)
- Others’ needs are his opportunity to use us (9:14-29)
- Maintain a fresh sense of child-like wonder (9:33-49)
- Treat your possessions and capabilities as a stewardship, not ownership (10:1-31)
- Resist any tendency to become ‘super-spiritual’ (10:32-45). If you feel closeness to Jesus is a reward, you’re a dreamer. Find your joy in ‘the fellowship of his sufferings’ (see Philippians 3:1-10)’
- Stay sensitive to his in the voice and his leading (10:46-52). And when he clears your vision, ‘follow Jesus in the way’.