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Small Group Discussion Questions:
1) Unlike the disciples (Mark 8:1-7), Jesus had compassion for both the 5,000 and 4,000. Instead of being indifferent, He engaged them and drew near to their need.
2) Ironically, despite having just miraculously fed 4,000 people, Jesus is accosted by the Pharisees who demand a sign from Him to legitimize His authority. Jesus responds by declaring that no sign will be given to this generation. In Matthew and Luke’s parallels, Jesus adds an exception: the sign of Jonah, foreshadowing His crucifixion and resurrection. Despite their unbelief and disrespect, Jesus firmly but lovingly points them to the only sign needed for their salvation.
3) In Mark 8:15, Jesus warns His disciples to beware the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod, speaking of two kinds of opposition to Jesus’ kingdom: religious and irreligious unbelief. His warning addresses our struggle today with religious hypocrisy and secular materialism (think: consumerism and worldly ambitions), which are both efforts to satisfy ourselves apart from of Jesus.