Gospel of Mark Bible Study
Gospel Of Mark Bible Study
Brother Todd  

Gospel Of Mark Bible Study

The Gospel of Mark Bible Study

Mark 8:14-21

In this Bible Study from the Gospel of Mark we ask the question “What’s for lunch”? 

The Gospel of Mark Bible Study

The Gospel of Mark was the first Gospel written so it is worth studying. It’s believed that Matthew and Luke used Mark’s Gospel as an outline or reference for the Biblical accounts of the Life of Jesus that they wrote. There is something intrinsically foundational about the Gospel of Mark to help us understand the whole Gospel. Today I have a question for you. And that question is…” What’s for lunch?” Does anybody want to tell me what’s for lunch? I might be coming over if you say the right thing. A lot of us during church are usually thinking about lunch. There’s a certain point during a church service where you just start thinking about food. I know because I have been there, especially at around the 40–50-minute mark your stomach starts to turn, and you start thinking about where you are going to eat. 

The main questions are, “What’s for lunch”? “Is God enough”? “Is God always enough”? Mark 8: 14-21 is the main text for this study. To get the whole picture we are going to have to cover a couple of chapters to grasp a fuller picture of the context. 

Now they had forgotten to bring bread and they had only one loaf with them in the boat.” Have you ever forgotten your lunch before? I forgot my lunch many times in high school. I think the lunch ladies had pity on me as I would go up to the end of the cafeteria line and say, “I forgot my lunch money” and somehow, I always ate. On days where I took lunch, it would normally be peanut butter and jelly. Some days I made it and forgot to take it. Some days I forget to make it in the first place. 

How many of you tell your kids that you had to walk to school, in the snow, uphill, and… barefoot? In my case, I truly did walk to school, uphill, and in the snow. However, I wasn’t barefoot. When I tell my kids that story most of it is true. Except for the barefoot part. I forgot my lunch a lot because I always had to get myself to school. There wasn’t a bus that stopped in front of my house. That’s my excuse. 

Gospel of Mark Bible Study: Disciples, Jesus

In this Gospel of Mark Bible Study, we read that the disciples had forgotten to bring bread. Now, where were they? They were on a boat. Now if we back it up to verse 13, The Bible says. “He left them, got into the boat again, and went to the other side. And they had forgotten to bring bread and only had one loaf in the boat with them.” For 13 guys that’s hardly enough for communion! “Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.” Jesus knew they had only brought one loaf of bread. Jesus is always teaching. Jesus used every single moment as a teaching opportunity. When Jesus flipped over the tables, it says He was teaching them as he went. (Mark 11:17)

Jesus again uses this moment as a teaching moment to warn them about the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod. And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. The disciples didn’t seem to care about what Jesus was warning them about regarding the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod. They were just concerned that they didn’t have enough lunch. Sometimes our physical senses can override everything, don’t they? Sometimes our senses, our physical needs, override our ability to hone in on the lord and discern what He’s saying. See Jesus here wants to talk about bread in the spiritual sense, but the disciples only want to talk about bread in the physical sense. They just want to fill their stomachs. Jesus, being aware of this said, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread?” 

Is it not reasonable to talk about food? You get a couple of people in the kitchen and they’re going to talk about food. They might ask “what’s for lunch?” We could also ask what’s for breakfast, What’s for dinner? I looked in the fridge this morning and saw no eggs. Do you believe that? I saw no eggs and had to ask my wife, “What’s for breakfast”? And she replied, “Whatever you make.” I’m going to tell you a secret, you don’t get this stomach from having a wife that doesn’t feed you. Amen?

 “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see and having ears you do not hear, and do you not remember when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand how many baskets of broken pieces did they take up? They said to him ‘twelve’ and the seven for the four thousand how many baskets of broken pieces did you take up, and they said to him ‘seven’. Jesus said to them, ‘Do you not yet understand?’” 

Sometimes our senses blind us. Sometimes our needs, our physical needs blind us from the things that we really should be concentrating on. Do you remember when Jesus said, “Don’t worry” don’t worry about what you wear, don’t worry about what you eat? “I care for the birds of the air,” Jesus said, “how much more will I take care of you?” But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.

You see, Jesus was trying to get them to understand that our needs are more than just what we feel, think and see. The scripture says that a man who controls his emotions is greater than a man who takes a city. Today I want to dive in and discuss what the disciples were supposed to perceive, and what they were supposed to understand.

It’s if ironic here that if we look at Mark 6:30 we have the account of Jesus feeding the 5000, and Jesus feeds 5000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish. Everyone there ate and was full. Something about this story is incredible because Jesus fed 5000 people with five loaves and two fish. It’s hard to imagine. The disciples say to him before he feeds the 5000, “Jesus, we don’t have anything to give them to eat.” The disciples are worried about how they are going to feed all the people and how they will pay for it. So Jesus simply said to them, “You give them something to eat!” As the disciples gave from what they had, just five loaves and two fish more were given.

Isn’t it amazing? As we give, God gives more! As we step out and we obey him and give out what he has given us, he gives more! He doesn’t give it all to us at once. Sometimes we look at people and think they either have it or they don’t have it. Right? The Biblical principle is this: The more you use it the more he gives you. Remember the parable of the talents? The more he gives the more we should give. If you want to grow in the gifts of the spirit, it’s the same thing. You got to first step out and open your mouth.

The Gospel of Mark Bible Study: Herod and the Pharisees 

If you want to preach it’s the same thing. My first sermon was terrible. My first sermon was dry, trying to be a know-it-all. But as you do it, you grow. Jesus feeds 5000 people here and then what’s amazing is just a few paragraphs later, in the Gospel of Mark 8:1 he feeds 4000 people, He does it again! Do you see that? Now with the twelve when they fed the 5000 there were twelve baskets left over. When he fed the 4000 there were seven baskets left over. Remember the question is God enough? GOD is more than enough! Twelve basketfuls were leftover, one for each disciple. Think about what they learned there! They learned right then and there that not only is God going to provide what they need to minister to others, but God’s also going to provide for them too. 

They should’ve learned because they saw this firsthand. Then they saw it again with the seven leftover baskets. Then they get on a boat with one loaf of bread, and they start discussing what are we going to do here if we only have one loaf of bread. Like hello? Did you not just see what happened before? Do you not realize that you have the bread of life in the boat with you

That’s what Jesus called himself in John 6:35, “I am the bread of life.” The disciples had the very bread of life with them in the boat. All they can talk about is how they don’t have bread to eat. 

What was Jesus referring to when he asked the disciples “do you not understand”? What are their hearts hardened from? 

The Gospel of Mark Bible Study: Yeast of Herod

Why did Jesus turn this into a lesson about the yeast of the Pharisees and Herod? It is because Jesus wants them to be concerned about genuine threats to their faith. The yeast of the Pharisees and Herod was more of a danger than them going hungry at that moment on the boat. Jesus would feed them miraculously if necessary. They needed to be concerned more with who was on the boat, than what was on the boat. 

Well first if we back up to verse 11 here it says, “the Pharisees came and began to argue with him seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said why does this generation seek a sign? surely, I say to you no sign will be given to this generation. And he left them and got into the boat and went to the other side”. 

The Pharisees here are demanding a sign. Can they not see? Did they not see 5000 people get fed from five loaves and two fish? Did they not see or at least hear of it? What about the 4000 that God fed on the other side of the lake? They knew of that miracle as well. Not to mention they heard of many miracles and had some performed right in front of their faces. 

They knew it. They wanted a sign because the Pharisees were trying to test Jesus. If you want a sign from God, I want to encourage you to first be able to enjoy the testimony of GOD in other people’s lives. I want you to enjoy and rejoice and praise God in the testimony of other people’s lives. And as you do that, I believe God is going to begin to show you where he has already been faithful to you. He’ll show you where he has already saved your life from the snares of death, those times when he has broken addictions from your life and saved you from temptation.

He’s going to show you those times and show you that he is faithful. Sometimes, the signs have already happened! That’s not to say he can’t do a sign today because he does, he’s still a miracle-working God. That doesn’t mean that we can’t expect great things for tomorrow, we can. 

But we must look to the past to see the future. We need to see the whole picture to see the goodness of God. We will see that God is always working. He’s always doing incredible things. We can see here that Jesus is upset at the Pharisees’ demand for a sign. Jesus didn’t give them a sign, no but he did give them a SIGH! The Bible says Jesus sighed deeply in His Spirit. 

What is the yeast of the Pharisees, and the yeast of Herod? Yeast in the Bible sometimes means sin. In this case, I believe it means the sin of unbelief. We have the Pharisees here wanting a sign even though they have had plenty of signs. We have the disciples here wanting some bread when they have already seen bread made from nothing. They have the very bread of life in the boat with them and yet they are just not believing. They shouldn’t have been asking where the bread is or why didn’t we bring bread. What are we going to do?

They should just be asking Jesus. Hey Jesus, what’s for lunch? With expectancy. The expectation is that it’s going to be something good because He is good. 

Maybe it’s going to be some bacon avocado toast. You know some pho noodles. Maybe it’s something great you know? 

The yeast here is interesting because Jesus says to beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod. The Pharisees wanted a sign. Is it possible that demanding a sign from God is the yeast of the Pharisees? Maybe. We do know that the Pharisees were full of unbelief. Ultimately it comes back to the sin of unbelief not wanting a sign. People want a sign sometimes because they don’t believe and if they get no sign at that moment, it affirms their disbelief. Even though they probably have seen signs already. 

Many times, we ask God for a sign just to respond to His Word. For example, If God just drops those million dollars in my lap, then I will be generous. It’s the “If God does this for me, then I will do that” mentality. That’s not how it works in God’s kingdom. You have to step out of the boat and walk on some water. You have to first believe, walk out of that belief, and then see God’s response to your faith. Jesus is always telling us, “You give them something to eat.” We can trust that as we give, more will be given. 

The yeast of the Pharisees is unbelief, but the Pharisees’ yeast is a sin of the flesh, the sin of a false and fake religion. The Bible describes the Pharisees as being very religious. We know in another place that Jesus calls the yeast of the Pharisees “hypocrisy” Luke 12:1. There is a whole lot we can take away. Religious hypocrisy is another sin the Pharisees were guilty of. 

What about the yeast of Herod? Herod was not religious. No, quite the opposite. Herod was like a playboy. Herod was a LICENTIOUS guy that lived in all sorts of fornication and debauchery. It was all about him. The interesting thing is that Jesus compared the two yeasts of religiosity and licentiousness. You know a fake, hypocritical lifestyle and a licentious lifestyle both miss the mark. Living under the grace of God, however, fully believing in Jesus as Lord and Savior is always the right target. Living as one who believes in the identity of Jesus Christ and the Messiah, the anointed King, will reveal to you your true identity. 

In Luke 23:6-16 we see that Herod also wanted a sign. He wanted a sign for his entertainment. When Jesus wouldn’t perform a sign, they treated him with contempt and mocked Him. It was all fun and games to Herod, even dressing Jesus up as a royal. Little did He know, He was mocking the King of Kings, and one day will kneel before Him. 

The Pharisees and Herod did not believe in who Jesus was. They did not believe He was the son of God. They didn’t want their world disrupted. For both the Pharisees and Herod, life was all about themselves. Both Herod and the Pharisees were show-offs. They didn’t truly care about others. They held a lot of power. The Pharisees made a lot of money through their religion. Both the Pharisees and Herod had their power from the same source: Rome. The Roman government was the symbol of worldliness, the symbol of debauchery, adultery, greed, and all sorts of corruption. They both got their power from that source. Neither wanted that power disrupted. They didn’t believe in Jesus because they knew he was he could disrupt things. 

Jesus was coming to disrupt things in a much more powerful way. You know power that doesn’t come from God tries to grasp to stay right where it’s at. Grasping power doesn’t like to be disrupted. These kinds of powers know their time is limited. 

This portion of scripture shows God’s mission in a way that’s more profound than I’ve ever seen before in these stories. First, the numbers twelve and the number seven are significant. There were twelve basketfuls from when Jesus fed 5000 people on the Jewish side of the Sea of Galilee, twelve is the number of the tribes of Israel. On just the other side of the lake was the Gentile side. Just on the other side of the Sea of Galilee where there were seven basketballs left over. Why is the number seven significant? Because there were seven Gentile people groups in that area. Jesus is saying just through this act that both Jews and Gentiles are included in the Kingdom He is preaching. Jesus knew Israel’s calling was to be a light to the Gentiles. 

And so now we know because Jesus got in a boat, and he crossed from the Jewish side to the Gentile side. Just that act in and of itself helps prove my point. On the Gentile side is where the Syrophoenician woman begged Jesus to heal her child. This is also in the Gospel of Mark Bible Study. 

The Syrophoenician Women

 The Gospel of Mark Bible Study: Mark 7:24 “Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre.[a] He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it, yet he could not keep his presence secret.25, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an impure spirit came and fell at his feet.26 The woman was a Greek, born in Syria Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.” 27 “First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

28 “Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”

Did you notice that we are still talking about bread here? 

Some said Jesus called her a dog to test her. Some people say it’s more of a cute exchange than a mean thing because the word for dog used in this text means pet or puppy. I believe it was a parable about how Israel was the children and Gentiles were the dogs. Jesus knew this woman believed and he was setting her up for a great lesson to his disciples, who were so dull. She got the parable. 

What was truly noteworthy about this story is how she answered Jesus. By saying that even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs she was saying that even a crumb of bread that was meant for someone else is enough. And he said to her for this statement you may go home and find the demon has left your daughter.

The Syrophoenician woman had great faith. The Word says that Jesus commended her great faith She wasn’t a disciple of Jesus. She wasn’t following Jesus like the 12 disciples. But she did know the bread of life was right there with her. This woman got it! She understands more so than the disciples of Jesus did. 

She understands that this is her bread of life. She understands that even if she can just get a crumb then that’s enough. So is God enough? What’s for lunch? Is a crumb enough? In this case, a crumb is enough. Her daughter was set free. The fame of Jesus spread amongst the Gentiles. The Kingdom of God came upon her child. (Matthew 12:28). 

Many believe that that’s why so many people went out to hear Jesus when he fed the 4000. Because Jesus was healing all, even the Gentiles. This story is about missions. It is about the mission of God. The very mission of God is about taking the Jewish King and making him known in the whole world. Making him known to all the Gentiles. To all nations, to all people. Today I want to encourage you that Jesus will provide for you. His disciples were people just like us. Sometimes we are more concerned about not having enough, but I want to encourage us to believe that God is always enough. 


I want to encourage you to not live in unbelief. Unbelief is disappointing. Unbelief will leave you disappointed. Unbelief is distracting. How many people have set their life back a couple of years by periods of unbelief? I know I have. Unbelief is disillusionment about how good God is. I want to encourage you to not eat the yeast of the Pharisees or Herod. They didn’t believe in Jesus. Religion or licentiousness didn’t help them at all. Their selfishness and show-off lifestyles only made them the subject matter of Jesus’ teaching. Put your faith in Jesus and follow him today! Respond to His call to change your mind, turn from sinful ways, and believe Jesus is your Lord and Savior. 

If you liked this Gospel of Mark Bible Study from Mark 8:14-21 please check out more studies from the gospel of Mark:

The Syrophoenician Women

What Is A Denarius?

Love The Lord Your God: Mark Bible Study

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