Mark 8–10

“Lesson 13: Mark 8–10,” New Testament Teacher Manual (2018)

Introduction and Timeline

Chapters 8–10 represent a turning point in the Gospel of Mark. Up to this point in the Savior’s ministry, most people had failed to understand who He was—the Pharisees had called Him a blasphemer, the scribes had accused Him of having the power of the devil, and the Gadarenes had feared Him and asked Him to leave their territory (see Mark 2:7; 3:22; 5:15–17). Though many followers regarded Jesus as a powerful teacher or one who could work miracles (see Mark 1:40; 5:23, 28; 6:56), even those closest to Him were slow to understand Him (see Mark 1:22; 4:41; 6:2, 51–52). This confusion regarding Jesus’s identity can indicate a “spiritual blindness,” sometimes seen in the Gospel of Mark, among those whom the Savior taught. The events and teachings recorded in chapters 8–10 show how people gradually came to see Jesus Christ as the Messiah who would ultimately overcome man’s spiritual enemies through His atoning suffering and death.

Mark 8–10 records three occasions when the Savior taught His disciples about His impending suffering, death, and Resurrection (see Mark 8:31–33; 9:30–32; 10:32–34). After each foretelling, the Savior clarified the “vision” of His disciples by teaching them more about their own role. Just as Jesus Christ’s mission involved humility, suffering, and death, the missions of His disciples would involve taking up their crosses, losing their lives for His sake, and becoming servants of all (see Mark 8:34–38; 9:32–37, 43–48; 10:35–45).

New Testament Student Manual : Religion 211-212

Chapter Overviews

Mark 8

The Savior fed a multitude of four thousand people. He healed a blind man in two phases. Peter testified that Jesus is the Christ. After Jesus foretold His suffering, death, and Resurrection, Peter rebuked Him. Jesus taught that His followers must take up their crosses and lose their lives.

Mark 9

Jesus Christ was transfigured on a mount. He healed a child whose father pleaded, “Help thou mine unbelief.” Jesus again foretold His death and Resurrection and taught His disciples about being humble servants.

Mark 10

Jesus taught about marriage, blessed young children, and counseled the rich young man. He led His disciples toward Jerusalem, once again foretelling what would happen to Him there. When James and John asked for positions of honor, Jesus taught the disciples about service and leadership. Jesus healed a blind man named Bartimaeus.

Suggestions for Teaching

Mark 8:18–33

The Gradual Healing of a Blind Man and Peter’s Rebuke of the Savior

Ask students if they have ever failed to recognize someone they know or failed to see something they should have seen. You might ask one or two students to relate their experiences briefly. Ask them to explain why they think they failed to see clearly.

Briefly summarize Mark 8:1–19, which describes the Savior’s miraculous feeding of four thousand people, the Pharisees’ asking the Savior for a sign, and the Savior’s rebuke of His disciples when they failed to understand His command to beware of the leaven—meaning the doctrine—of the Pharisees. Then ask a student to read Mark 8:18, 21.

  • How is it possible for people to have eyes but not “see”? How were the Pharisees acting like people who have eyes but do not see?

  • What word in Mark 8:21 has a meaning similar to “see”? (“Understand.”)

As recorded in verses 18 and 21, the Savior was teaching His disciples that they were guilty of spiritual blindness. Spiritual blindness means that people have been taught a spiritual truth, but they are unwilling to accept the truth or they have not made an effort to understand it.

The next two events recorded by Mark further develop the theme of spiritual blindness. The first is a miracle in which the Savior healed a man of physical blindness; the second is an occasion when spiritual blindness prevented clear understanding.

Ask a student to read Mark 8:22–25. Then point out that the man was healed in two stages, rather than all at once. Ask students to briefly respond to this question:

  • What lessons can we learn from the fact that this man was not completely healed at first?

Ask students to read the statement by Elder Bruce R. McConkie in the student manual commentary for Mark 8:22–25. Consider writing this gospel truth on the board: The Savior’s healing of our infirmities sometimes occurs gradually as we grow in faith. Emphasize the last sentence of Elder McConkie’s statement: “Men also are often healed of their spiritual maladies by degrees, step by step as they get their lives in harmony with the plans and purposes of Deity.” Then help students to explain the gospel principle by asking:

  • What are some ways people are gradually healed of their spiritual problems as they develop greater faith in the Savior? (Possible answers: Disbelief is slowly changed to belief; bitterness toward another person is gradually turned to acceptance and love; someone slowly overcomes an addictive behavior; sin is overcome step by step.)

To help students begin studying Mark 8:27–33, write the following questions on the board:

What did Peter understand, or “see,” about Jesus?

What did he not yet understand, or “see,” clearly?

Ask students to study Mark 8:27–33 silently, looking for answers to the questions. If needed, refer students to the student manual commentary for Mark 8:27–32. After students have had time to study, ask them to answer the two questions on the board. (Peter understood that Jesus was the Christ—the Messiah. Peter did not yet understand that Jesus Christ had to suffer and die as part of His atoning mission.)

  • How was Peter like the blind man in Mark 8:22–25? (Peter was like the blind man who was healed in stages. Peter came to “see” the truth gradually. He had faith in the Savior, but his understanding of the Savior’s mission developed step by step.)

  • What do you think the Savior meant when he rebuked Peter, as recorded in Mark 8:33? What do you think the word “savourest” means in this context? How do you think the Savior’s rebuke might apply to us?

Remind students of the truth just discussed: The Savior’s healing of our infirmities sometimes occurs gradually as we grow in faith. Invite them to testify of this principle by asking:

  • How has the Lord helped you or someone you know to gradually “see” truth more clearly?

After student responses, it might be helpful to point out that we rarely understand a spiritual truth completely at first. The Lord reveals things to us incrementally, line upon line (see 2 Nephi 28:30).

Mark 8:31–38; 9:31–37, 43–48; 10:32–45

The Will of the Father for Jesus Christ and His Disciples

Write the following scripture references on the board: Mark 8:31–33; 9:31; 10:32–34. Explain to the students that in addition to the Savior’s prophecy concerning His death and Resurrection recorded in Mark 8:31–33, which they have just studied, Mark recorded two additional occasions when the Savior foretold what was going to happen to Him. Ask a student to read these in Mark 9:31; 10:32–34. You might want to have students mark all three foretellings in their scriptures.

  • From these three passages, how do we know that Jesus was determined to fulfill His atoning mission? (Possible answers: Jesus rebuked Peter when Peter protested that He did not have to suffer and die. He knew what would happen to Him in Jerusalem, but He still went there.)

Write on the board (or have a student write) the following portion of Elder Robert D. Hales’s statement in the student manual commentary for Mark 8:31–33; 9:30–32; 10:32–34:

“Jesus knew who He was—the Son of God. He knew His purpose—to carry out the will of the Father through the Atonement.”

  • How do the Savior’s words recorded in Mark 10:45 show that He knew His purpose?

  • How does it help you to know that He was determined to do the will of the Father?

Explain to the students that as the Savior willingly accepted the will of the Father in His life, He also taught His disciples more about the will of the Father in their lives. Add to the statement on the board:

“Jesus knew who He was—the Son of God. He knew His purpose—to carry out the will of the Father through the Atonement.”

What is God’s will for you as a follower of Jesus Christ?

Ask students to look for what the Savior taught as they read Mark 8:34–38 and the student manual commentary for Mark 8:34–38.

Select some of the following questions to help your students analyze and discuss these verses:

  • What are some things people might have to “lose” in order to follow Jesus Christ? What might some people give today in exchange for their souls?

  • How could each of the following be an example of what Jesus taught in Mark 8:34–38? A mother raising children, a young adult on a full-time mission, an individual who magnifies his or her calling in the Church.

  • How could the Savior’s example, found in Mark 8:32–34, guide you if a friend were to suggest that you did not need to keep a commandment or follow a Church standard?

  • What do you think Mark 8:35 means? (You might consider having students read the student manual commentaries for Mark 8:34–38 and for Mark 8:38.)

As a result of this discussion, make sure that students understand the following truths: Following Jesus Christ means denying ourselves of all ungodliness and keeping His commandments. Those who willingly lose their lives to follow Jesus Christ will save their lives.

Assign half the class to individually study Mark 9:43–48 and the other half to study Mark 10:35–45, looking for further truths the Savior taught His disciples about what it means to follow Him. (You could also choose to divide students into pairs, with one student in each pair studying Mark 9:43–48 and the other studying Mark 10:35–45.) Encourage students also to study the student manual commentary for their assigned verses (the commentary for Mark 9:33–37; 10:35–45; for Mark 9:42–48; and for Mark 10:38–39). After students have had sufficient time to study on their own, have them explain what they learned. If you made assignments to two groups, conduct this discussion as a class; if you made assignments to pairs of students, have them turn to each other and report what they learned to their partner.

You might ask some of the following questions to encourage students to explain and apply the Savior’s teachings:

  • How do these teachings help you understand what it means to “take up [your] cross” and “lose [your] life for my sake”? (Mark 8:34–35). (If students need help answering this question, you might refer them to the student manual commentary for Mark 8:34–38.)

  • What did the Savior mean when He spoke of cutting off a hand or foot? What are some ways we might apply that teaching in our day?

  • How was Jesus Christ an example of the service He taught His disciples to give, as recorded in Mark 10:42–45? When have you seen someone serve in the way Jesus taught?

  • What are some adjustments you might make in your life to better follow the Savior’s example as you strive to take up your cross or lose yourself for His sake?

Mark 9:14–29

“Help Thou Mine Unbelief”

Ask students to think quietly about the following questions; pause as you ask each question to allow time for students to ponder:

  • When have you felt that you should believe the gospel more strongly than you do?

  • When have you wished that you had greater faith than you do?

  • When have you felt the need for the Lord’s intervention in your life?

Explain to the students that the account in Mark 9:14–29 can help them understand how to receive greater help from the Lord. These verses record the experience of a man who desperately sought the Savior’s help.

Ask students to silently read Mark 9:14–18 and summarize the problem described there.

Call on students to read aloud Mark 9:19–24, looking for details that help them understand what the father was feeling. Then ask:

  • What details recorded in Mark 9:19–24 help you understand what the father was feeling? (Possible answers: He spoke of his son having been afflicted since childhood; he asked Jesus for help even though the disciples had not been able to heal his son, showing that he was trying very hard to have hope; he cried out with tears; he said, “I believe,” but he also acknowledged some doubt with the words, “Help thou mine unbelief.”)

  • What do you think the father meant when he said, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief”?

To see what the Savior did after the father asked Him for help, ask students to read Mark 9:25–29.

As a result of discussing this question, students should understand this principle: Fasting combined with prayer can increase our power to accomplish the Lord’s work. Consider writing this principle on the board. Then ask:

  • When have fasting and prayer helped you increase your faith?

  • What steps could you take to improve your fasting and prayers so that your faith and power to serve might increase?

To help students consider additional truths in this account, you might ask them to read the statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland in the student manual commentary for Mark 9:17–29 and look for insights into this truth: The Lord can help us overcome unbelief. After the reading, ask students to share the insights they have gained.

As you conclude the lesson, you might ask one or more of the following questions to encourage students to apply today’s lesson:

  • Today we have studied about how the Savior helped His disciples gradually come to “see” spiritual truths and how He taught them about their mission to “take up their crosses” and “lose themselves.” How does the account of the man who asked, “Help thou mine unbelief,” teach us how we can develop better understanding of spiritual truths? How we can take up our own crosses?

  • Sometimes good people who are trying to follow the Savior feel discouraged about their imperfections. Or they may sense that they do not yet fully understand the gospel, and they may have occasional doubts. What have you learned in these chapters that would give hope and encouragement to such people?

  • What aspects of your life could you “lose” or improve that would help you develop greater faith and become a stronger follower of Jesus Christ? (This might work well as a writing assignment that is not intended to be turned in or shared with other students.)