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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

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Commentary on Mark

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Commentary spanning earlier chapters

4.35–8.21 : Continuing the prophetic renewal of Israel (and other peoples) despite opposition and the disciples' misunderstanding.

This section is organized around two sequences of Moses‐and Elijah‐like sea crossings, exorcisms, healings, and wilderness feedings.

8.1–9 : Wilderness feeding of four thousand

(Mt 15.32–38; cf. 6.30–44 ). As he had fed the earlier crowd in the wilderness, implicitly composed of Jews, now Jesus also feeds the surrounding peoples in the wilderness. Seven is symbolic of the surrounding peoples, as twelve was of Israel ( 6.43 ). The two wilder ness feedings echo the two accounts of the giving of food to the Israelites in the wilderness (Ex 16; Num 11 ).

8.10–12 : No sign will be given

(Mt 16.1–4; 12.28–39; Lk 11.29; 11.16; 12.54–56 ). This passage would make better sense if v. 10 were in one paragraph with vv. 11–12, and v. 13 were joined to the following paragraph (vv. 14–21 ). Blind to the sequences of Moses and Elijahlike actions Jesus has just taken, the Pharisees again press Jesus, asking for a sign from heaven, to test him, which they do again in 10.2 and 12.15 .

10 :

Dalmanutha, the parallel in Mt 15.39 reads “Magadan” (see note there).

8.13–21 : The disciples misunderstand

(Mt 16.4–12; Lk 12.1 ). In a bridge to the next section, the disciples simply do not understand what is happening, either the scheming of the religious and political authorities seeking to destroy Jesus (cf. 3.6 ) or the renewal movement underway among the surrounding peoples as well as among Israelite villages.

17–18 :

4.9–12; 6.52 .

19 :

6.41–44 .

20 :

8.5–8 .

8.22–10.52 : Jesus confirms and continues his prophetic role in the renewal of Israel while announcing his agenda as martyr&messiah to the misunderstanding disciples.

8.22–26 : Healing of a blind man

(Jn 9.1–7 ). This restoration of a blind man's sight and that of Bartimaeus in 10.46–52 frame this part of Mark in which the disciples are “blind” to what is said and done.

8.27–33 : Jesus' first announcement and Peter's misunderstanding

(Mt 16.13–23; Lk 9.18–22 ).

27 :

The villages of Caesarea Philippi, villages subject to Herod Philip in the northernmost area of (formerly) Israelite territory.

28 :

Again, not surprisingly given his program, Jesus is popularly understood as Elijah, one of the prophets, or even John.

29–30 :

There is very little evidence for expectations of “the messiah,” which was hardly standardized at the time. The role and title the Messiah would fit Jesus' subsequent actions (e.g., in 11.2–10 ) and statements about him, but not his previous actions in Mark.

31 :

The translation softens a key Greek term: “it is necessary that … ,” i.e., in God's plan, given the historical situation. The Son of Man, meaning “human being” or the future figure representing a restored Israel, or both, is clearly Jesus' selfreference. This is the first of three clear announcements that “it is necessary” that he be condemned by the rulers, be killed, and rise again.

32–33 :

Following Peter's rebuke (presum ably about having to be killed), Jesus in turn rebukes Peter in startling terms, contrasting the purpose or will of God for human beings with the purposes those human beings would have for themselves. Jesus will be a martyrmessiah.

8.34–9.1 : The cost of following Jesus

(Mt 16.24–28; Lk 9.23–27; cf. Mt 10.28–33; Lk 12.4–9 ). Pointedly telling the crowd to join the disciples, Jesus warns that, like himself, his followers must also be prepared to suffer martyrdom for the gospel, the cause of the kingdom.

34 :

Take up their cross, the Romans used crucifixion as a gruesome means of terrorizing subject peoples by hanging rebels and agitators from crosses for several days until they suffocated to death. They required condemned provin cials to carry the crossbeam on which they were about to be hung.

38 :

How the followers stand toward Jesus and his gospel when facing trial will determine how the Son of Man will stand toward them when, in God's final condemnation of the oppressive empire, he comes in judgment as well as restoration of the people (cf. Mk 13.26–27; 14.62; Dan 7.13–14 ).

9.1 :

The kingdom of God will come with power already during their lifetime.

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