Chapter 8

Jesus miraculously feeds 4,000 and heals a blind man. When Jesus asks us who we think he is, I answer correctly, "You are the Christ."

Not many days later the crowd that was following us realized they had run out of food. So Jesus said to us, his disciples, “I am so sorry for these people because they have been with us now for three days and have nothing left to eat. Some of them have come so far that if I send them away hungry they will collapse on the way home.”

“But how could we possibly come up with enough food in this deserted place to feed so many?” we queried.

“How many loaves do you have?”

“Seven,” we answered.

So Jesus told the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then he took our seven loaves and, after giving thanks to God, handed them back to us and we distributed them among the crowd. We also had a few pieces of fish, so after Jesus had blessed them, we passed them out as well. The crowd of about four thousand had all they wanted to eat, and when we picked up what was left over we filled seven good sized baskets. Then Jesus sent the crowd on their way, and without waiting got into the boat with us. We headed northwest across the lake to the district of Dalmanutha. (1-10)

Upon landing, some local Pharisees showed up and challenged Jesus. “Show us some miraculous sign,” they insisted. “Make God respond from heaven so we can be convinced of your authority.”

Hearing this, Jesus gave a deep sigh and said, “Why is it that you people keep demanding yet another miracle? I tell you the truth, no further evidence will be given.” Then Jesus left the gathering, got into the boat and headed back with us to the other side of the lake. (11-13)

We had forgotten to bring a supply of food and had only a single loaf of bread. As we were crossing, Jesus warned us in no uncertain terms, “Beware of the yeast (the powerful influence) of the Pharisees! Watch out for Herod as well.”

We said to one another, “He must be talking about yeast because we forgot to bring bread.”

Aware of our confusion, Jesus asked, “Why are you discussing the lack of bread? Don’t you understand what I am talking about? Are you clueless? You’ve got eyes — can’t you see? And ears — can’t you hear? Or have you forgotten what happened when I fed five thousand people with five loaves? How many baskets did you fill with those scraps?”

“Twelve,” we answered.

“And when I satisfied the hunger of four thousand with only seven loaves, how much did you pick up?”

“Seven baskets-full,” we confessed.

“So,” concluded Jesus, “can’t you see what God is doing right now in your midst?” (14-21)

When we landed near Bethsaida some people brought a blind man to Jesus. They wanted desperately for Jesus to touch him so he could see again. Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. After spitting in the man‘s eyes and touching them with his hands, he asked him, “Do you see anything yet?”

Looking around, the man said, “I see what seems to be people walking around; they look like trees.” Once again Jesus touched the man’s eyes with his hands. This time the blind man’s eyesight was perfectly restored and everything became clear and distinct. Jesus sent him home but warned him to by-pass the village. (22-26)

From there we set out to visit the various villages around the regional capital of Caesarea Philippi. As we were on our way, Jesus asked us, “Tell me, who do people say I am?”

“Some say you are John the Baptizer,” we answered. “Others say you are Elijah or one of the other prophets.”

“But you,” he asked; who do you say I am?”

I, Peter, spoke up and said, “You are the Christ, the promised Messiah.” Jesus warned us not to tell this to anyone. (27-30)

At this point Jesus began to teach us that the Son of Man, was destined to suffer greatly. He said, “I will be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of religious law. They will go so far as to put me to death, but after three days I will rise again.”

Since Jesus was speaking quite openly about this new stage in his ministry, I took him aside and began to rebuke him for what he said. Jesus turned so as to look at all of us then, reprimanding me, said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are thinking like a man of this world, not like a citizen of heaven.” (31-33)

When the crowd had joined us, Jesus began to teach, saying, “Whoever would be a follower of mine must renounce his life, take up his cross and join me on the road to execution. Whoever lives his life for himself will lose it, but whoever sacrifices it for my sake and the sake of the gospel, will save it. Think about it: What good would it be to win the whole world if it cost you your life? There is nothing as valuable as life. If a person is ashamed of me in this rebellious and sinful world, then I will be ashamed of them  when I am gloriously enthronement in heaven. (34-38)