Mark 8:11-12 (ESV)
“The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. 12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.”
Give us a Sign!
The Pharisees ask for a sign because they wanted proof that Jesus was sent from God. This is odd because many so-called signs were given to those same people. Yet, those Jesus is here addressing may not have themselves witnessed those signs. They are calling for Him to do good indicating they will follow if He does. However, like the passages that follow in this chapter of Mark, Jesus acts in good ways as a way of showing He is worthy of being followed. He will lead. They should follow.
The Pharisees were saying in effect, “do our will in God’s name.” That does not work for Jesus. No sign was given because unlike a false prophet that would give a sign and then lead them away from God, Jesus was in fact the fulfillment of God’s promise. Jesus will always only lead us to God. They demand signs when God had sent His very Son. No sign was given (on-demand no less) because that generation got so much more. They got the Incarnation in whom God’s Name dwelled. He would do the leading.
Mark 8:25 (ESV)
Then Jesus laid His hands on his eyes again, and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.
Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him out. Then healed him. They were away from the people/crowd because Jesus cares, but did not want to reveal too much of Himself yet. He had come to save from sin’s power not just do good deeds and heal. Jesus was aware that God the Father was in control of His timetable and it would be in fact God the Father that would reveal Jesus as king by the giving of His life. Jesus was not seeking to win over people just by religious of political favor and so he told the man healed from blindness, “do not even enter the village.” For like the blind man, it is by a personal spiritual encounter that God the Father reveals His Son to people and opens their eyes to His saving grace.
Mark 8:33 (ESV)
But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
Get behind Me Satan?
Let us never forget Jesus was tempted in all ways as we are. Peter points to the fact that Jesus is good and says (I am paraphrasing), “nothing bad should ever come on You Lord.” Jesus knows that He is good and without sin, but the fact is He alone must die. He says to Peter, “Get behind Me Satan.” Jesus is to stand firm against opposition to what God sent Him to do which was suffering, death, and resurrection.
Peter’s intention was most likely to honor Jesus and seems right. However, here we have an example of leading by good character beyond good moral tradition. Jesus shows the wisdom of God and has the grand scope of creation’s order in mind. Jesus Christ lived by the Spirit and not the letter of the law. That should be our aim. It means to follow Jesus and not just want what is good or socially agreed as good.