Mark 6:1 ¶ And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him.
Mark 6:2 And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?
Mark 6:3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.
In Mark’s next snapshot we find Jesus and His disciples in His hometown of Nazareth. When the Sabbath day came, He went to the synagogue to teach. Again, the people were surprised at the wisdom He shared. They wondered at the miracles He was able to do. After all, they knew Him. He was the son of Mary, the brother of James, Joses, Juda and Simon; they also knew His sisters. Instead of receiving Jesus proudly as one of their own, they didn’t like Him. They just couldn’t accept that the lowly carpenter, a man just like them that they all knew, could teach them anything.
This is one of the places in scripture that proves that Mary had other children, contrary to Catholic belief. We are told that Jesus had both brothers and sisters.
Mark 6:4 But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.
Mark 6:5 And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.
Mark 6:6 And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.
Jesus declared a sad truth; a prophet’s ministry is least likely to be accepted in his own country and among his own family. I am certainly not comparing myself to a great prophet, but I know from experience this principle to be true.
Because of their unbelief, Jesus was not able to do a mighty work in His hometown; He was only able to lay hands on and heal a few who were sick. Jesus was surprised by their unbelief, especially in light of the miracles He did I think.
He then continued teaching in the surrounding villages.
Mark 6:7 ¶ And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits;
Mark 6:8 And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse:
Mark 6:9 But be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats.
Mark 6:10 And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place.
Mark 6:11 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.
In this snapshot, Jesus called His 12 disciples and sent them out on a training mission, giving them authority (through the Holy Spirit) over unclean spirits. He commanded them not to take anything with them—no leather pouch for food, no bread, no money. They were only to carry a staff and wear a pair of sandals and one coat. They were to stay in one home during their stay in each city. If the people of the city did not receive them, they were to shake the dust off their feet as they left, giving testimony against them. Jesus then declared that it would be “more tolerable” for Sodom and Gomorrha in the “day of judgment” than for that city.
I think this experience was like a period of on-the-job training for the disciples in preparation for their ministry after Jesus’ resurrection.
It’s significant to note that the LORD wanted them to go out in faith that He would supply their needs. In the process, they were also to learn to be content with whatever He provided—be it much or little.
Guzik provided an interesting insight: “There was a rule from the Jewish rabbis that you could not enter the temple area with a staff, shoes, or a moneybag, because you wanted to avoid even the appearance of being engaged in any other business than the service of the Lord. The disciples are engaged in such holy work (preaching the gospel and bringing God’s healing) that they can’t give the impression that they have any other motive.”
The last part of verse 11 seems to be making reference to degrees of punishment for those consigned to an eternity in hell apart from the presence of Jesus. I think the day of judgment is a reference to the great white throne judgment, the place where sinners are condemned to eternal punishment.
Mark 6:12 And they went out, and preached that men should repent.
Mark 6:13 And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.
The disciples then went on their ways, preaching that men should repent of their sins. They were able to cast out many devils and relieve those suffering from possession. They also anointed many who were sick with oil and healed them.
We have not been told that Jesus anointed people with oil when He healed them. Maybe the disciples were told to do this to show that the source of the healing was distinct from the disciples. It testified to their faith in the LORD to provide healing through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
Mark 6:14 ¶ And king Herod heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad:) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.
Mark 6:15 Others said, That it is Elias. And others said, That it is a prophet, or as one of the prophets.
King Herod eventually heard about Jesus and reasoned that it must be John the Baptist resurrected from the dead with the ability to perform miracles. Others thought that He was Elijah; still others thought that He was a prophet like the prophets of old.
Mark 6:16 But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead.
Mark 6:17 For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife: for he had married her.
Mark 6:18 For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife.
Mark 6:19 Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him; but she could not:
Mark 6:20 For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.
Herod was convinced that Jesus was the resurrected John the Baptist whom he had beheaded. We are told that Herod had imprisoned John to please his wife; John had made her furious when he told Herod that he had broken the law by marring his brother’s (Philip’s) wife. Herodias would have killed him if she could have. Herod had a healthy fear of John because he knew that he was a just and holy man, so he preserved his life.
Herod was intrigued by what John had to say. Several other translations are worded similar to the ESV, “When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet he heard him gladly.”
Mark 6:21 And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee;
Mark 6:22 And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee.
Mark 6:23 And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom.
Mark 6:24 And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist.
Mark 6:25 And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist.
Mark 6:26 And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath’s sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her.
Mark 6:27 And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison,
Mark 6:28 And brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother.
Mark 6:29 And when his disciples heard of it, they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb.
Mark notes that Herodias got her revenge on Herod’s birthday. He celebrated by inviting his lords, high captains and some of the leading men of Galilee to dinner. The daughter of Herodias (evidently his niece) came in to dance for them, pleasing Herod and his guests. The king rashly told her she could ask for whatever she wanted as a reward—up to the half of his kingdom. The girl decided to ask her mother’s advice, and she immediately told her to ask for the head of John the Baptist. The girl went back to the king and did just that. It grieved Herod that he had made such a rash promise, but pride compelled him to do as she asked. He sent an executioner to the prison to behead John and bring his head to the girl; he did and the girl took it to her mother.
When John’s disciples heard what had happened, they came and took his body and buried it.
I will never cease to be amazed and horrified at the atrocities that men and women can perpetrate against other human beings.
Mark 6:30 ¶ And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught.
Mark 6:31 And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.
Mark 6:32 And they departed into a desert place by ship privately.
“apostles” = a delegate; specially, an ambassador of the Gospel; officially a commissioner of Christ (“apostle”) (with miraculous powers): — apostle, messenger, he that is sent.
This snapshot shows the 12 disciples, now referenced as apostles, back with Jesus and telling Him all about what they had done and what they had taught. He told them to come with Him to a desert place so that they could rest a while. He wanted to get them away from all the people interrupting them to the point that they couldn’t even enjoy a meal. So they departed by ship hoping to enjoy some quiet time together in a wilderness area.
Mark 6:33 And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and outwent them, and came together unto him.
Mark 6:34 And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.
It was not to be. Several people who recognized Jesus saw them leave; they saw where the ship was headed and outran the ship and were waiting for Him at the other side. When Jesus got off the ship and saw the multitude, He was moved with compassion for them. The Greek for “compassion” indicates that His heart yearned for them in sympathy. He saw them as sheep without a shepherd, and He began to teach them many things.
I am reminded that Jesus had the heart of a shepherd; He even called Himself a shepherd, one who cares for His sheep so deeply that He was willing to die for them.
John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”
Mark 6:35 And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed:
Mark 6:36 Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat.
Mark 6:37 He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat?
Mark 6:38 He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes.
Mark 6:39 And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass.
Mark 6:40 And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties.
Mark 6:41 And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all.
Mark 6:42 And they did all eat, and were filled.
Mark 6:43 And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes.
Mark 6:44 And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men.
After a long day of teaching, the disciples came to Jesus and reminded Him that they were in a wilderness area. They suggested that He send the people away so that they could go and find something to eat in the nearby villages. I am sure that they were surprised when Jesus told them to provide food for the people.
Even after all the miracles they had seen Jesus do, and had done themselves, their first thought was: Do you want us to go and buy food for them with the money that we have?
Jesus told them to find out how much bread they could find among the people. They came back and told him that there were five loaves of bread and two fish. John’s gospel tells us that this was a little boy’s lunch.
John 6:8–9 “One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?”
Jesus then commanded them to make the people sit down on the green grass in groups of 100s and 50s. He took the five loaves and two fish and looked up to heaven and blessed God (in faith, thanking Him in advance for His provision). Next, He broke the loaves of bread and divided the two fish, giving some to each disciple. They were able to sufficiently feed the whole crowd of 5000 men (plus women and children) and had twelve baskets of leftovers.
Matthew 14:20–21 “And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.”
I liked this application from Ironside: “We are all too quick to measure God’s ability to meet our needs by that which our eyes can see; instead we should remember that we are dealing with One who created a universe from nothing and sustains it by the word of His power.”
Mark 6:45 ¶ And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people.
Mark 6:46 And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.
Mark 6:47 And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land.
Mark 6:48 And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.
Mark 6:49 But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out:
Mark 6:50 For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.
Mark 6:51 And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.
Mark 6:52 For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.
After this amazing miracle, Jesus compelled His disciples to get back into the ship and go to Bethsaida while He sent the people away. He then went alone to a mountain to pray. As evening approached, Jesus saw the disciples working hard to row against a contrary wind.
I liked this application Guzik quoted from Spurgeon: “The Christian man may make little or no headway, and yet it may be no fault of his, for the wind is contrary. Our good Lord will take the will for the deed, and reckon our progress, not by our apparent advance, but by the hearty intent with which we tug at the oars.”
During the 4th watch of the night (between 3-6 a.m.) He came walking on the sea toward them and would have passed them had they not seen Him and cried out in fear. They thought they were seeing a ghost. Jesus immediately assured them that it was just He; they had no need to be afraid. He then went up into ship, and the wind stopped blowing. They were completely amazed! Instead of making a connection with the miraculous feeding of the 5000 and the fact that they had seen Him calm the winds and waves once before and responding with greater understanding, their hearts were hardened. The Greek was pretty pointed; it inferred that they were “rendered stupid or callous.”
We know from Matthew’s account (chapter 14) that this was when Peter walked on the water, if only for a few steps, before taking his eyes off Jesus. Just like Peter, if we take our eyes off Jesus and focus on all the effects of sin around us, we will find ourselves sinking with doubt as we try to navigate the storms of this life. Thankfully, just like Peter, the Lord is ever ready to reach out and carry us through those storms if we but ask.
Matthew also tells us that the disciples finally declared that they now knew Jesus was the Son of God.
Matthew 14:33 “Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.”
Mark 6:53 And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore.
Mark 6:54 And when they were come out of the ship, straightway they knew him,
Mark 6:55 And ran through that whole region round about, and began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was.
Mark 6:56 And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole.
They made shore at Gennesaret, a place that Easton’s Dictionary identifies as “the Paradise of Galilee”; it was located between Capernaum and Magdala. The people recognized Jesus and quickly spread the news that He was there, so they began bringing the sick to Him. Everywhere He went, they brought the sick and laid them in the streets and asked permission to touch just the border of His garment so that they could be healed. Everyone that touched Him was healed.
I think it is important to recognize that Jesus never turned anyone away that came to Him for physical healing. That established a principle that is just as true for everyone that comes to Him for spiritual healing. He will never turn anyone away that comes to Him in faith and repentance.