Mark 6 Commentary

 
  John Mark

MARK: THE SERVANT JESUS


Click chart to enlarge
Chart from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission
Another Chart from Charles Swindoll-right side of page

THE LIFE OF CHRIST SHOWING COVERAGE BY MARK (SHADED AREA)


Click chart to enlarge
Chart from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission
Swindoll's Intro and Chart

Mark 6:1 Jesus went out from there and came into His hometown; and His disciples followed Him.

NET  Mark 6:1 Now Jesus left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him.

GNT  Mark 6:1 Καὶ ἐξῆλθεν ἐκεῖθεν καὶ ἔρχεται εἰς τὴν πατρίδα αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἀκολουθοῦσιν αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ.

NLT  Mark 6:1 Jesus left that part of the country and returned with his disciples to Nazareth, his hometown.

KJV  Mark 6:1 And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him.

ASV  Mark 6:1 And he went out from thence; and he cometh into his own country; and his disciples follow him.

CSB  Mark 6:1 He went away from there and came to His hometown, and His disciples followed Him.

NKJ  Mark 6:1 Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him.

NRS  Mark 6:1 He left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him.

NRS  Mark 6:1 He left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him.

YLT  Mark 6:1 And he went forth thence, and came to his own country, and his disciples do follow him,

NAB  Mark 6:1 He departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples.

NJB  Mark 6:1 Leaving that district, he went to his home town, and his disciples accompanied him.

GWN  Mark 6:1 Jesus left that place and went to his hometown. His disciples followed him.

BBE  Mark 6:1 And he went away from there, and came into his country; and his disciples went with him.

Parallel Passage: Matthew 13:54-58

Matthew 13:54 He came to His hometown and began teaching them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers? (See parallel commentary)

COMMENT - Some writers also see Lk 4:16-31+ as a parallel account, especially because of similar reactions in the same locale. However the differences between the two accounts strongly support that they are separate events in Nazareth - Luke's version is at beginning of Jesus ministry in Galilee (Lk 4:14+), Luke makes no mention of the disciples accompanying Jesus (Mk 6:1). In the first visit they did not just express unbelief but attempted to kill Him (Lk 4:28-29+). Matthew clearly notes two separate visits to Nazareth (Mt 4:13+ and Mt 13:54-58+). After Jesus' second visit to Nazareth, He began another tour of Galilee and this visit seems later than that in Luke 4:16–31+.


Jesus' Hometown-Nazareth

JESUS' FINAL VISIT TO 
UNBELIEVING NAZARETH

Or we could entitle it "Opposition of the Nazarenes to the Nazarene!"

Hiebert introduces Mark 6:1-6 - This paragraph again throws the shadow of stark unbelief over the triumphant ministry of Jesus. It reveals that the rejection of Christ has no basis, except in men’s blindness and sin. (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Simple Outline on Mark 6 - Jesus Teaching, Sending, Mourning, Feeding, Walking and Touching

  1. Mark 6:1-6 Jesus' Teaching Astonished and Scandalized = Unbelief in Nazareth
  2. Mark 6:7-13 Jesus Sends Twelve in Pairs Giving them Instructions and Authority
  3. Mark 6:14-29 John the Baptist Beheaded Fate
  4. Mark 6:30-44 - Jesus Feeds Five thousand
  5. Mark 6:45–52 Jesus Walks on the water
  6. Mark 6:53–56 Jesus Heals by Touching

Brian Bell - This is a chapter filled with opportunities, some of which were missed because of unbelief, some of which were enjoyed because of faith. Strap on your sandals we’re walking 20 miles with Jesus and His disciples on Jesus’ last visit to His hometown. Then, He will launch us out 2x2 to go live out our faith. Archeologist tell us Nazareth was nothing more than a hamlet, on a rocky hillside, with no more than 500 people living there.  The people in His hometown had tried to kill Jesus, their homegrown boy, just a year before (Lk 4:29+), but He graciously returned and gave them another opportunity to get to know Him.

Daniel Akin - As we consider how Jesus was treated by His own hometown, His own family and friends, it might be good for us to reflect upon how we see Jesus, how we treat this Servant-King, how we respond to the One who was rejected by those who were certain they knew Him best. It is critically important we see Jesus as He truly is, as He is revealed in Scripture; not as we might hope, wish or want Him to be. That is not our call to make! (Sermon)

Mark 6:1-6 might be labeled "Hometown Boy Makes Good, but He's Not God!" Mk 6:5 says "And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them." As Warren Wiersbe says "Two things astonished these people: His mighty works and His wonderful wisdom. Actually, Jesus did not do any mighty works while He was there, so the people must have been referring to the reports they had heard about His miracles (see Mark 1:28, 45; Mk 3:7–8; Mk 5:20–21). In fact, their unbelief hindered Jesus from having a greater ministry among them." (BEC)

Jesus went out from there and came into His hometown - The NAS omits translation of the conjunction (kai) which can be translated "and" or as the NET version's "now" with the thought that this introduces a new topic. Went out from refers to Capernaum, the site of His previous "double miracle." The hometown (literally "his native place") Boy returns home to Nazareth (cf Mk 1:9, 24+) about 20 miles southwest (see map above) from His ministry base camp in Capernaum. There is no doubt this is a reference to Nazareth and In Mk 1:24; Mk 10:47; and Mk 16:6 he referred to Jesus  as “Jesus of Nazareth” and in Mk 14:67 as “Jesus the Nazarene.” 

Akin Nazareth was a no where town made up of nobodies (EXCEPT THE GREAT "SOMEBODY"!). It is estimated the population was between 150-200. So insignificant was this small town that it is never mentioned in the Old Testament, Apocrypha or rabbinic literature. It only receives scant attention in the New Testament. Little wonder that Nathaniel said in John 1:46, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (Jn 1:46+) (Sermon)

James Brooks has an interesting thought on the Greek word patris translated hometown, noting "Inasmuch as the word can also mean homeland, there may also be an allusion to the rejection of Jesus by the entire nation." (NAC-Mk)

Hometown (3968)(patris) is literally one's native country and so fatherland, homeland (Jn 4:44; fig. Heb 11:14). It also can refer as in the present passage to one's home town, one's own part of the country (Mt 13:54, 57; Mk 6:1, 4; Lk 2:3, 4:23f) Leon Morris notes that hometown is "patris is strictly the feminine of patrios, but it is used to mean one’s “fatherland,” “home land,” or, as here, “hometown.” (PNTC-Mt) (ED: Think "patriotic") BDAG adds patris is "a relatively large geographical area associated with one’s familial connections and personal life." or "a relatively restricted area as locale of one’s immediate family and ancestry, home town."

With Jesus "Classroom" was always in session!

And His disciples (mathetes) followed (akoloutheo) Him - This "entourage" indicates Jesus was returning to minister not to visit His family, as the context shows (began to teach). With Jesus "Classroom" was always in session! And so where Jesus would go, the men who were to learn His ways followed Him. This is the Master's Plan for making disciples (See Robert Coleman's online work The Master Plan of Evangelism). Recall that follow (akoloutheomeans to walk the same road as another. 

In the scene in Nazareth the following disciples would begin to see the response by many to Jesus' message! They will begin to learn about counting the cost of following Him, for as He Himself would later tell them "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?" (Mk 8:34-36+) They would begin to understand the words they later heard in the Upper Room before His crucifixion "If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. 20 “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 “But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. 22 “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin." (Jn 15:18-22)

Hiebert - The presence of the disciples plays no role in the story, but it did prepare them for the mission Jesus gave them in Mk 6:7–13. (Ibid)

Followed (190)(akoloutheo from a = expresses union with, likeness + keleuthos = a road, way) means to walk the same road (Ponder that simple definition dear believer - Am I willing to walk the same road as Jesus?) Literally to follow (like the crowds followed Jesus) and in a figurative sense to follow Jesus as a disciple. To follow (closely) and was used of soldiers, servants and pupils. To go after someone or something (not as a true disciple however as we see with the crowds who physically followed Jesus, following however without a willingness to commit wholly to Him! cf John 6:60-65, 66) Early in the history of the Greek language akoloutheo came to mean to imitate or follow someone's example. This dual meaning colored the New Testament use of our word akoloutheo. Most of the uses of akoloutheo are in the Gospels and thus this verb is firmly linked with the life of Jesus, for He is the One to follow. When Jesus issued a call to "Follow Meakoloutheo was always in the present imperative indicating that Jesus is calling for this to be one's lifelong path, ultimately one which can only be successfully trodden by yielding to His Spirit who enables us to obey that command as our lifestyle (not perfection, but general direction). There is a big difference between the disciples who followed Jesus in Mt 4:20, 22 and the crowds following Him (Mt 4:25, 8:1, etc) for the former left their possessions (nets, boat), while the latter left nothing. Some claimed they wanted to follow Him but were not willing to count the cost (Mt 8:19, 22). Mark's uses of akoloutheo = Mk. 1:18; Mk. 2:14; Mk. 2:15; Mk. 3:7; Mk. 5:24; Mk. 6:1; Mk. 8:34; Mk. 9:38; Mk. 10:21; Mk. 10:28; Mk. 10:32; Mk. 10:52; Mk. 11:9; Mk. 14:13; Mk. 14:54; Mk. 15:41

Disciples (3101)(mathetes from manthano = to learn) describes a person who learns from another by instruction, whether formal or informal. Another sources says mathetes is from from math- which speaks of "mental effort that thinks something through" and thus describes is a learner; a follower who learns the doctrines and the lifestyle of the one they follow. Discipleship includes the idea of one who intentionally learns by inquiry and observation (cf inductive Bible study) and thus mathetes is more than a mere pupil. Mathetes itself has no spiritual connotation, and it is used of superficial followers of Jesus as well as of genuine believers. The Lord calls everyone to grow as a disciple (a learner of Christ; cf. also Mt 11;29,30), one who lives in faith, who lives in and by His Word in the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Related Resources:

Alan Carr has an interesting introduction to Mark 6:1-6 -  Thomas Wolfe wrote a novel entitled “You Can’t Go Home Again”. The book is about a man named George Webber. He is an author who has written a successful book about his hometown. When he returns home, he expects to receive a hero’s welcome. Instead, he is driven out of town by his own friends and family. They feel betrayed by what he has written about them in his book. Webber is shaken by their reaction to his work and leaves his hometown behind to go find himself. George Webber discovered that those who know you best tend to respect you the least. Our text finds Jesus returning to Nazareth. He is going home again. Our Lord’s return to His hometown does not go the way one might expect it to. After all, Jesus is something of a celebrity by this time. He has been going around the countryside preaching, teaching, healing the sick, casting out demons, raising the dead and controlling the forces of nature. He has proven that there is something very special and very different about Him. Of course, the last time Jesus was in Nazareth things didn’t go too well for Him. He went to the synagogue and preached from Isa. 61. (Luke 4:16-20) In that service, Jesus proclaimed Himself to be the Jewish Messiah. The people of Nazareth rejected His message and tried to kill Him by throwing Him over a cliff! He left Nazareth and preached in other places in Galilee. Now, a year later He returns to the very place He was so cruelly rejected. He wants to give His family, His friends and His neighbors another chance to receive Him and His message. That is grace! (Ill. I am amazed that God would give you and me one chance, much less opportunity after opportunity to believe in Him and His Gospel! Thank God for His good grace!) When Jesus arrives in Nazareth, He is not greeted by anxious crowds. It seems that they ignored Him until the Sabbath Day came and they all went to the synagogue. I want to consider our Lord’s visit to Nazareth today. What happened there has something to say to those who are saved and to those who do not know the Lord. What is of real interest is the people’s reaction our Lord’s preaching and His person. Their reaction cost them His power. (Sermon You Can’t Go Home Again)

Here is Carr's outline (see sermon for discussion of each point)...

  • THE PEOPLE WERE SHOCKED BY HIS PREACHING - Mark 6:2
  • THE PEOPLE STUMBLED OVER HIS PERSON - Mark 6:3
  • THE PEOPLE WERE SHUNNED BY HIS POWER - Mark 6:4-6

J D Jones - The Second Chance.

 He made this second visit, says: one of the baldest and driest of commentators, with the twofold purpose of renewing His relations with His mother and His brothers, and endeavouring again to commend Himself to His fellow-townsmen. That is exactly it. He went back, to give them all a second chance. You remember how the prophet, in the name of God, apostrophises Israel. Israel has sorely grieved God, and rebelled against Him, and done despite to His law, yet He yearns over Israel, "How shall I give thee up, Ephraim?" He cries, "Mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together" ( Hosea 11:8). And the heart of Jesus yearned over Nazareth, over His townsmen, over His old playmates, over His kinsfolk according to the flesh. This second visit to the town that had rejected Him was just the outcome of that yearning compassion and love.

The love that believes in the second chance is characteristic of Jesus. "Let us go into Judæa again," He said one day to His disciples. And the bare suggestion staggered them. "Rabbi," they protested, "the Jews of late sought to stone Thee, and goest Thou thither again?" ( John 11:8). Again—back to the stones; to the men who had sought to kill Him? Yes, again, to give them another chance. What love this is! that after men have cast Him out, and sought to kill Him, will come back again! Yet you and I need it all! My hope of acceptance and salvation lies here—that though I have stoned Christ and cast Him forth, He comes back again. By act and word we reject Christ, and repudiate Him, and rebel against Him, and bid Him depart! But, thank God, He does not leave us to our fate. He comes back again. He gives us another chance. The long-suffering of the Lord is our salvation. And I am tempted to add this word before I pass on—this belief in the second chance that characterised Jesus, characterises all who really possess His spirit. You remember the treatment Paul received at Lystra. This is what I read,—they "stoned Paul, and drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead" ( Acts 14:19). What a reception to meet with! Paul hereafter will surely eschew a city that treated him so cruelly! Yet what I read in the next verse but one is this, "And when they had preached the Gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra!" ( Acts 14:21). Back to the people who had stoned and well-nigh killed him, to give them another chance! And that is the spirit that will characterise all who have truly learned of Jesus. We shall always be eager to go again to those who have repelled and rebuffed us. (Commentary)

Mark 6:2  When the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, "Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands?

Wuest - And when the Sabbath had come, He began to be teaching in the synagogue. And the many hearing, were completely flabbergasted, saying, From where does this one get these things? And what wisdom is this which has been given to this fellow? Even such great exhibitions of power take place through the medium of His hands?

Parallel Passage:

Matthew 13:54 He came to His hometown and began teaching them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?  (See parallel commentary)

TEACHING ON
THE SABBATH

When the Sabbath came - Did Jesus teach in Nazareth prior to the Sabbath? There is no record here and presumably the synagogue teaching was His first in Nazareth on this second visit, even as it had been at His first visit when "He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read." (Lk 4:16ff+). 

Sabbath (4521)(sabbaton from shabath - 07676 = to cease from work, intermission -  shabath) literally means a rest, a cessation from labor. Here Sabbath, refers to the seventh day of the week,  kept originally by a total cessation from all labor, rest from worldly toil. The Sabbath was a sign between the Lord and the nation of Israel—the sign of the Old Covenant (the Law)—that they might know He is the Lord Who sanctifies them, sets them apart. The 4th commandment in Ex 20:8-11; Dt 5:12-15 enjoins no specific religious service, except generally to keep it holy. The custom of reading the Scriptures in public assemblies and synagogues appears to have been introduced after the exile (cf. Neh 8:1ff; Lu 4:16). After the captivity arose the school of the Pharisees, and by them the attractive character of the Sabbatical observances was destroyed. In place of the joy, they imposed upon the people the yoke of a scrupulous, slavish sabbatarianism which made the Sabbath an END instead of a MEANS, hampered the spirit of true worship, and laid greater stress upon a punctilious obedience to mere human regulations than upon God's commands in the Law. 

Resources on Sabbath:

He began to teach in the synagogue - This is probably the very synagogue Jesus had sat in and been taught as boy! Began is the verb archo which literally means to be first and in the middle voice (as here) means to begin, start or initiate an action, in this case teaching. Jesus had His priorities straight! The use of Mark's word began is a bit ironic (and tragic) as this is the last record in Mark of Jesus either teaching in a synagogue or even attending a synagogue. This is the place the Jews received their teaching primarily, but having rejected the Teacher of teachers, He no longer will teach in this venue. Be careful of rejecting the teaching of Jesus (or anything you read in the Word that convicts and/or reproves you), for if you reject too often, the Spirit of Jesus will be grieved and you will not likely experience the same degree of illumination as you did when you experienced your first love (read Rev  2:4-5+). Brooks comments that "The synagogue had become a place of rejection. (cf Mk 3:1-6+) Later in the narrative the emphasis is placed on teaching in houses (Mk 7:17, 24; Mk 9:33; Mk 10:10; cf. Mk 6:10).”

Robertson - The ruler of the synagogue (archisunagogos) would ask someone to speak whensoever he wished. The reputation of Jesus all over Galilee opened the door for him.

Teach (present tense) (1321)(didasko from dáo= know, teach; Eng = didactic) means to provide instruction or information in a formal or informal setting. Didasko means to teach a student in such a way that the will of the student becomes conformed to the teaching taught. So the teacher teaches in such a way that as the student is taught, he now changes his mind saying in essence ''I won't do it this way, but I will do it this way because I've learned this doctrine or this teaching.'' Doctrine determines direction of our behavior, conformed to world or to God? (cf Ro 12:1+) Teaching that Scripture finds significant is not that which gives information alone but which produces (Spirit enabled) transformation (2 Cor 3:18+), making disciples (learners) who seek to live supernaturally (enabled by the Spirit - Eph 5:18+) in loving obedience to the will of our Father Who art in Heaven. MacArthur adds that "the root meaning carries with it the idea of systematic teaching or systematic training. It is the word that is used to refer to a choir director who trains a choir over a long period of rehearsals until they are able to perform. The gift of prophecy could be a one-time proclamation of Christ, but the gift of teaching is a systematic training problem to take a person from one point to another. What is the curriculum for the teacher? The Bible, the Word of God. The gift is to teach systematically the truth of God." Didasko in Mark - Mk. 1:21; Mk. 1:22; Mk. 2:13; Mk. 4:1; Mk. 4:2; Mk. 6:2; Mk. 6:6; Mk. 6:30; Mk. 6:34; Mk. 7:7; Mk. 8:31; Mk. 9:31; Mk. 10:1; Mk. 11:17; Mk. 12:14; Mk. 12:35; Mk. 14:49

Synagogue (4864)(sunagoge from sunago = lead together, assemble or bring together) refers to a group of people “going with one another” (sunago) literally describes a bringing together or congregating in one place. Eventually, sunagoge came to mean the place where they congregated together. The word was used to designate the buildings other than the central Jewish temple where the Jews congregated for worship. Historically, the Synagogues originated in the Babylonian captivity after the 586 BC destruction of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar and served as places of worship and instruction. Synagogues should have been (and frequently were) a place of teaching and proclamation of the Gospel (Mt 4:23, 9:35, 12:9, 13:54, Mk 6:2, Lk 4:15, 16, Lk 4:44, 6:6, 13:10, Jn 6:59, 18:20, Acts 9:20 = Paul immediately "began to proclaim Jesus," Acts 13:5 = Paul proclaimed "the word of God," Acts 14:1 = place Paul, et al, spoke and where "a large number of people believed," Acts 17:17, 18:4, 18:19, 19:8 = Paul, et al reasoned with various audiences in synagogues). Sadly many synagogues became hotbeds of hypocrisy (Mt 6:2), assemblies for arrogant display (a form of hypocrisy) (Mt 6:5, Mk 12:39, Lk 11:43, 20:46).

And the many listeners were astonished - Many indicates this was a sizeable crowd. Early Jesus used this same word for listeners (akouo) in Mark 4:9+ warning "He has ears to hear (akouo), let him hear (akouo)." (cf Mk 4:12, 23, 24+) The listeners listened but did not understand, but were like "the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear (akouo), immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them." (Mk 4:15+). Dear reader, to be astonished with Jesus' teaching is not enough! 

They were astonished (imperfect tense - continued to be astonished which means they were struck so forcibly that their astonishment was to the point of losing control of themselves. Yes they were struck our of their sense and did not "come to their senses" regarding this hometown Boy for they were not convicted or convinced by His teaching. Why? Because their hearts were hardened by their steadfast unbelief (Mk 6:6). Note the reactions of the Teacher amazed (Mk 6:6) at the unbelief of His astonished listeners! The Nazarenes questioned not so much Jesus' authority (the very thing the Pharisees questioned, cf Mt 21:23) but His qualifications to be able to speak and act as He did. 

Wuest adds "Their astonishment was so great that their self-possession was exhausted. In the language of Webster, they were completely flabbergasted."

Hiebert Astonished is the same strong verb used in Mark 1:22+, but here the conclusion drawn from the impact is quite different. Their feeling of astonishment, upon further reflection, gave way to a different attitude. The questions they asked themselves indicate their mounting agitation as they thought about the identity of the speaker. They knew that as “a home town boy” He had not studied under any rabbi, hence lacked the proper credentials for such a ministry. 

Astonished (1605)(ekplesso from ek = out + plesso = strike) (imperfect tense) means strike out, expel by a blow, drive out or away, force out or cast off by a blow. Wuest quips that "The prefixed preposition ek meaning “out,” shows an exhausted state of affairs. It reminds one of an automobile tire that has been deflated." English word astonish is derived from the Latin  extonare meaning to strike with thunder! What a picture of Jesus' radical message which must have struck His hearers like thunder! Figuratively ekplesso means to drive out of one's senses by a sudden shock or strong feeling, or "to be exceedingly struck in mind". In sum, it means to cause one to be filled with amazement to the point of being overwhelmed and encompasses the ideas of wonder, astonishment or amazement. Matt. 7:28; Matt. 13:54; Matt. 19:25; Matt. 22:33; Mk. 1:22; Mk. 6:2; Mk. 7:37; Mk. 10:26; Mk. 11:18; Lk. 2:48; Lk. 4:32; Lk. 9:43; Acts 13:12

Daniel Akin - their amazement again turns to skepticism and ridicule. In rapid fire succession Mark records 5 questions they began to banter about among themselves: 1) Where did this man get these things? (6:2) 2) What is the wisdom given to him? (6:2) 3) How are such mighty works done by his hands? (6:2) 4) Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? (6:3). 5) And, are not his sisters here with us? (6:3) These are meant as slights, disparaging questions. Note, they did not deny he was saying and doing these things. This makes their rejection all the more amazing and them all the more culpable and responsible. Is there at least an echo of Mark 3:22? If He did not get these things from God, if this wisdom does not come from God, if these mighty works He performs are not done by God, then who? How? They chose to leave the question open. Application: In his day some chalked up what He said and did to Satan. In our day some chalk up what He said and did to a superior intellect and a witty disposition. His teachings should astonish all of us, but that is not enough. Even those who deny the supernatural, His miracles and His resurrection can applaud His teaching. (Sermon)

Saying, "Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom (sophia) given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands? - They had seen Him for 30 years as a citizen of Nazareth and never heard or seen anything in Him like they were seeing now! So in some ways it is not hard to see how the locals might wonder about Him now. Notice they refer to Him contemptuously as this man instead of by His Name (they knew Who he was because they knew His mother and siblings!) Their derogatory description of Jesus will change in Php 2:9-11+!. What are these things? NET says "these ideas." In context these things refer to His teaching, which was teaching that was with godly wisdom, "for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes." (Mt 7:29+) What is astonishing is that these people challenge both His wise words and His wonderful works! While Mark says only that He was teaching, the townspeople would have been well aware of the miracles He had performed at Capernaum for it was less than a days journey away. 

Wuest on miracles (KJV - "mighty works") - The word is dunamis, a word used in the NT, to speak of miracles from the standpoint of the supernatural power exerted in their performance. This word is used in Romans 1:16+ where Paul speaks of the Gospel as the power (dunamis) of God resulting in salvation. (ED: EVERY NEW BIRTH IS AN INCREDIBLE MIRACLE, A MIGHTY WORK OF GOD!) Here Jesus was back home among the people who had known Him for almost thirty years as the son of Mary and Joseph, one of their own number. They saw the miracles and noted the wisdom which was not of this world (James 3:17, 18+), but wondered where both had come from.

Robertson on "Where did this man get these things?" - Laconic and curt. With a sting and a fling in their words as the sequel shows....They felt that there was some hocus-pocus about it somehow and somewhere. They do not deny the wisdom of his words, nor the wonder of his works, but the townsmen knew Jesus and they had never suspected that he possessed such gifts and graces.

J D Jones - If Mark 6:3 is the Nazarenes" testimony to our Lord"s real and normal humanity, Mark 6:2 is their testimony to His absolutely unique greatness. The three questions that leaped to their lips emphasize three separate aspects of the greatness of Christ. "Whence hath this Man these things?" is the first question, i.e. these things that He is saying. Here is their testimony to the wonder of the speech of Christ. "Never man spake like this Man" ( John 7:46) was the testimony of the officers who were sent to seize Christ, but who returned with their errand unfulfilled. That is to all intents and purposes the testimony of these Nazarenes. They "wondered," Luke says, in his account of His first visit, "at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth" ( Luke 4:22+). There was a charm and a winsomeness about Christ"s speech that not even the most callous and insensible could fail to feel. Even the "publicans and sinners drew near for to hear Him." Even the "common people heard Him gladly." And not only was Christ"s speech marked by grace and charm. It had the note of authority in it too. Perhaps this was the most astonishing thing about it. "He taught them as one having authority." He spoke as one who had the right to command. He preached as one who had power to supersede even Moses. There was a whole universe between Jesus and every other teacher the land contained. (Commentary)

Jones on The Wisdom of Our Lord. - "What is the wisdom that is given unto this Man?"—this was the second question. He never "guessed at truth." He declared the truth as one who knew. There was no "perhaps," or "if" or "it may be," in His speech. The note of certitude rang through it all. And as Jesus declared His Gospel men recognised its truth. Truth always has a self-evidencing power. And even these prejudiced Nazarenes could not fail to see that Jesus had a grip of truth, a knowledge of God, a familiarity with the eternal, that no prophet or psalmist had ever possessed. And it left them speechless with amazement. "What is the wisdom that is given unto this man?" they said. (Commentary)

Hiebert adds "They felt a sharp contrast between the man, long known to them, and the things He said. Compelled to admit His obvious authority, they asked themselves concerning the source of the change. They seemed unwilling to entertain the thought that He had been divinely commissioned.

Miracles (1411)(dunamis from dunamai = to be able, have power) power especially achieving power, intrinsic power or inherent ability to carry out some function. In this context dunamis refers to supernatural manifestations of power Dunamis in Mark - Mk. 5:30; Mk. 6:2; Mk. 6:5; Mk. 6:14; Mk. 9:1; Mk. 9:39; Mk. 12:24; Mk. 13:25; Mk. 13:26; Mk. 14:62;

Daniel AkinHis miracles may captivate you but that is not enough. 6:2 At this point in Mark’s gospel the miracles are at who can say, and growing! 1) Peter’s mother-in-law (Mk 1:29-31) 2) Many more in Capernaum (Mk 1:32-34) 3) A leper (Mk 1:40-45)  4) A paralyzed man (Mk 2:1-12) 5) A man with a deformed hand (Mk 3:1-6) 6) Many again (Mk 3:7-12) 7) Calmed the storm and sea (Mk 4:35-41) 8) Delivered the Gerasenes demoniac (Mk 5:1-20) 9) Healed the woman who bled for 12 years (Mk 5:25-34) 10) Raised Jarius’ daughter form the dead (Mk 5:35-43) His hometown does not deny all these things, but it does not bring them to faith. They simply cannot reconcile what He has done with who they think He must be! Deny His miracles? No! Receive Him as Messiah? No! This is the Christ? This one we have known all our lives is the Son of God? Are you kidding? Are you serious? We may not be able to explain His miracles but we know who He is. He is nothing and a nobody, of that we are certain. Application: Apart from the eyes of faith, no one will see Jesus for who He truly is. Miracles can only take you so far, but in and of themselves, they are not enough. His teachings point to Him. His miracles point to Him. They are divinely ordained signs, billboards, declaring in BOLD LETTERS this one is the Christ, the Son of God! Believe Him! Trust Him! Follow Him!  (Sermon)


Alan Carr - They immediately began to speak among themselves and talk about three areas of the Lord’s ministry that amazed them.

His Words – When Jesus preached, He did so with grace and charm. His words were filled with divine authority. He did not speak like the local rabbis. They quoted other rabbis and had no sense of certainty in their words. When Jesus spoke, He did so with the sense that He knew what He was talking about. He left no doubt in the minds of His hearers that His words must either be accepted or rejected. He left His hearers no wiggle room. In fact, when some officers were sent from the Pharisees to hear what Jesus had to say, they came back and said, “Never man spake like this man”, John 7:46. When the people of Nazareth heard Jesus speak, they were amazed.

His Wisdom – When Jesus spoke, His words were filled with truth. The people heard Him declare old truths in new ways. They listened as He taught spiritual truth by using the common everyday things around them. While His illustrations may have called on the common, the truth He preached was anything but common. The Lord’s wisdom left them shaking their heads in disbelief.

His Works – The Lord’s fame had preceded Him to Nazareth. They had heard about the miracles He had performed elsewhere. They could not believe that a young man from their own town could do the miracles that were attributed to Him.

The people of Nazareth could not believe what they were hearing and Who they were hearing it from. They heard what Jesus had to say and they were left with their mouths hanging open. Our Lord’s message still affects people that way. When you read the Bible and study the message of the Gospel, it can cause you to be astonished. Consider some of the claims of the Bible.

  • All people are sinners – Rom. 3:10-20, 23; Gal. 3:22
  • All sinners are headed to a place called Hell – Psa. 9:17; Rom. 2:8-9
  • There is only one way to be saved from sin and its penalty – Acts 4:12; 1 John 2:23; 5:12
  • All other religions in the world are false religions and they all lead to Hell – John 3:18, 36
  • The only way for anyone to be saved is for them to place their faith in a man Who lived, died and rose again from the dead 2,000 years ago – John 14:6; 10:9

Those are amazing claims because they condemn much of the world to a lost eternity. When people in our day hear the claims of the Gospel, they react in anger. They reject the message and attack the messenger, just as they did in Jesus’ day. What do you think when you hear the claims of the Gospel? Do you rejoice in its truth, knowing that it has saved you soul? Or, do you hear it and reject its message, thinking you know a better way? Ill. Pro. 16:25 (Sermon)

Mark 6:3  "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?" And they took offense at Him.

Wuest - Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, and Joses, and Jude, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us? And they saw in Him that of which they disapproved and which kept them from acknowledging Him.

  • this - Mt 13:55,56 Lu 4:22  Joh 6:42 
  • carpenter- Isa 49:7 53:2,3 1Pe 2:4 
  • James - Mk 15:40 Mt 12:46 1Co 9:4 Ga 1:19 
  • Judas - Joh 14:22 Jude 1:1 
  • Simon - Mk 3:18 Ac 1:13 
  • took offense - Mt 11:6 13:57 Lu 2:34 4:23-29 7:23  Joh 6:60,61 1Co 1:23 
  • James HastingsMark 6-3 The Carpenter
  • Mark 6 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Parallel Passage:

Matthew 13:55 “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 “And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57 And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.”  (See parallel commentary)

NAZARENES SCANDALIZED BY
"THIS MAN," THE NAZARENE

To scandalize means to offend the moral sensibilities of someone. 

Is not this the carpenter  - The is the only place Jesus is expressly called the carpenter. Remember that Jesus spent more time as a carpenter than doing anything else in his 33 years on earth. “Is not this the carpenter’s son?" (Mt 13:55+) Their referring to Him as carpenter was not a compliment! Indeed the people of Nazareth may have owned things Jesus had built for them and this man of wood had become a man of words and works! After all what famous rabbi had He sat under? None that they knew about! And yet now they see a Man they knew as a carpenter in Nazareth taking center stage in the synagogue and they are scandalized! The townspeople may have been saying something like "You are no better than we are! Why should we listen to you?”

Vincent (quoting Farrar) comments that the description of Jesus as a carpenter "throws the only flash which falls on the continuous tenor of the first thirty years, from infancy to manhood, of the life of Christ.” Robertson counters Vincent says "That is an exaggeration for we have Luke 2:41–50 and “as his custom was” (Luke 4:16), to go no further."

Brian Bell quips that "Jesus a blue-collar worker. Now there’s a fit place for Jesus, as He came to earth to build a ladder from earth to heaven! Jn.1:51+ Most assuredly, I say to you (Nathanael), hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man. The ladder that Jacob saw, was now replaced by the Son of man. Gods link with earth. One day the townsfolk found a sign on the door to the carpenter shop Closed. The doors locked. No longer in business. a) Jesus left that shop & walked out into the world. No longer to build plows, yokes, & chairs, but to build lives. More than a Carpenter. (Sermon)

ILLUSTRATION - In ancient Rome, there was a terrible persecution under the Emperor Julian (Julian the apostate). At that time, a philosopher mocked a Christian, asking him “What do you think the carpenter’s son is doing now?” The Christian wisely answered, “He is building a coffin for Julian.” (Guzik)

Guzik has some interesting applicational thoughts on Jesus as a Carpenter -   It is wonderful to think that our Lord—of all the professions He could have been—chose to be a carpenter. God is a builder, and He knows how to build in our lives—and He knows how to finish the job.. A few things Jesus learned as a carpenter: (1) He learned that there is a lot of potential in a log. (2) He learned it takes work and time to make something useable. (3) He learned that the finest things are made from the hardest wood.

Hiebert - Their designation of Him by trade placed Him on a level with themselves. They rejected any thought that He was better than they. (Ibid)

THOUGHT - I cannot write about Jesus the Carpenter without thinking of a book God used greatly in my life some 36 years ago - Josh McDowell's "More Than a Carpenter." Indeed, He was! 

Carpenter (5045)(tekton kindred with teúchō = to fabricate, and tíktō = to produce, bear, bring forth)  was used of the worker in wood or the builder with wood like our carpenter. Then it was used of any artisan or craftsman in metal or stone, and even of sculpture work. So the picture of carpenter is broader than just one who works with wood and conveyed the sense of “a builder. Gilbrant adds that "In classical Greek tektōn meant a craftsman in wood, stone, or metal. In the Septuagint the word translates chārāsh which refers to craftsmen in general. The Jews, unlike the Greeks and Romans, held a high regard for manual labor and a deep respect for those who worked skillfully." 

Twice in the NT - Matt. 13:55; Mk. 6:3. 

Tekton in the Septuagint - 1 Sam. 13:19; 2 Sam. 5:11; 1 Ki. 7:14; 2 Ki. 12:11; 2 Ki. 22:6; 2 Ki. 24:14; 2 Ki. 24:16; 1 Chr. 4:14; 1 Chr. 14:1; 1 Chr. 22:15; 2 Chr. 24:12; 2 Chr. 34:11; Ezr. 3:7; Pr 14:22; Isa. 40:19; Isa. 40:20; Isa. 41:7; Isa. 44:12; Isa. 44:13; Jer. 10:3; Hos. 8:6; Hos. 13:2; Zech. 1:20;

Robertson - What the people of Nazareth could not comprehend was how one with the origin and environment of Jesus here in Nazareth could possess the wisdom which he appeared to have in his teaching (edidasken). That has often puzzled people how a boy whom they knew could become the man he apparently is after leaving them. They knew Joseph, Mary, the brothers (four of them named) and sisters (names not given). Jesus passed here as the son of Joseph and these were younger brothers and sisters (half brothers and sisters technically).

Alan Carr - We are told that they were “offended in Him”. The word “offended” has the idea of “to cause to stumble or to be repelled to the point of abandonment”. Because these people could not explain Jesus, they refused to listen to Jesus. They could not see past the carpenter; and they refused to receive their theology from a common carpenter. These people did what all people do when they cannot understand someone. They resorted to ridicule! Ridicule is the final refuge of a small mind! They called Him “the son of Mary”. This was never done in that society! A male was always referred to as the son of his father, even if his father was dead. To call a boy the son of his mother was to imply that is mother had played the harlot. The people were calling the birth of Jesus into question. Of course, the people of that day rejected the notion that Jesus was born by supernatural means through a virgin womb. They consistently called His birth into question, John 8:41; John 9:29. (Sermon)

J D Jones - This is a testimony from the Nazarenes to Jesus" true and normal humanity. He was made in all things "like unto His brethren" ( Hebrews 2:17+), the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews says, and here these Nazarenes place their seal to that great and comforting statement. Jesus was a true and genuine man. He had a normal and human development. As far as His humanity was concerned, the Nazarenes, it is clear, believed that Jesus was just like any one of themselves....As far as outward circumstances were concerned, there was nothing to differentiate Jesus from any other Jew of humble birth. (Commentary)

The son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon - Only place Jesus is called the son of Mary. No mention of Joseph suggests he had passed on by now. Jesus clearly had siblings which clearly refutes the false teaching of the so-called Immaculate Conception. Mary did not remain a virgin after Jesus was born. Believe what God says, not what men say! One must distinguish this James from another James who was a disciple of Jesus and later became James the apostle (aka James the son of Alphaeus). This James, the half-brother of Jesus, was never one of the twelve disciples, but after initially expressing unbelief in Jesus (Jn 7:5+), later became a believer (cf Acts 1:14+) and a leader in the early church of Jerusalem (Acts 15:13+) as well as the author of the Epistle of James, where he referred to himself not as Jesus' half-brother, but as "a bond-servant (doulos) of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ." (James 1:1+)  Judas (Jude) wrote our brief Epistle of Jude (Jude 1:1+ = "Jude, a bond-servant [doulos] of Jesus Christ, and brother of James"). Simon is otherwise unknown.

Guzik on son of Mary - This also was not a compliment. “The additional phrase ‘the son of Mary’ is probably disparaging. It was contrary to Jewish usage to describe a man as the son of his mother, even when she was a widow, except in insulting terms. Rumors to the effect that Jesus was illegitimate appear to have circulated in his own lifetime and may lie behind this reference as well.” (Lane) “How much of suspicion and contempt may have lurked behind that particular description of Him?” (Morgan)

Brian Bell on Son of Mary - Ouch, another sting. If you were a Catholic you might read this as a compliment. But sons were always identified by their fathers, even after their death. They were in effect calling his mother a whore and Him illegitimate offspring. When asked, Is Jesus...Lord, a Lunatic, or a Liar? They chose liar, and a demonized one at that!

Related Resources:

Are not His sisters here with us?" - His sister's names are never given. The phrase here with us indicates that they lived in Nazareth as accepted members of the community. They are not mentioned in Acts 1:14+, so we have to say that we do not know if they ever became believers in Jesus as did their brothers.  

Mark's description of the townspeople of Nazareth's assessment of Jesus clearly indicates that His childhood and early adult life were nothing abnormal and certainly not characterized by miraculous works as described in the so-called apocryphal gospels. Christians would be very wise to avoid these uninspired works and focus on the four inspired Gospels! 

Related Resources:

And they took offense at Him - “They were deeply offended and refused to believe in Him.” (NLT) Mark uses a strong verb skandalizo which "denotes that the people of Nazareth took mortal offense at Jesus, became fatally ensnared because of their unbelief." (Hiebert) The citizens of Nazareth were scandalized by Jesus. They shocked and horrify by Jesus unseemly, disreputable (in their eyes) words and actions. This makes me think of the question we occasionally hear -- "Who does He think He is? Our homeboy has gotten a bit big for His britches hasn't He!"

Daniel Akin comments on their taking offense at Him - Like the rocky ground in Mark 4:16-17+ they have an initial response that is positive but it does not last long at all. Initially proud, they quickly became embarrassed. In spite of overwhelming evidence they would not believe H e was the Christ, the Son of God. The whole thing is just too scandalous. A crucified Jew from nowhere murdered unjustly 2000 years ago is the Savior and only Savior of the world? Impossible! No way! I am offended. You are not the first. (Sermon)

Brooks on  skandalizo - “Mark’s choice of the word is further evidence that he saw in the event a typical Jewish rejection of Jesus." (NAC-Mk)

Wuest  on why they took offense - The contrast between a peasant of Galilee who had earned His daily bread by the sweat of His brow for the first thirty years of His life, with the Person who delivered those wonderful discourses and performed those miracles, was too much for His townspeople. They were offended with Him. The word is skandalizo, “to put a stumbling block or impediment in the way upon which another may trip or fall, to cause a person to begin to distrust one whom he ought to trust and obey”; in a passive sense, “to find occasion of stumbling in a person, to be offended in a person, to see in another what one disapproves of and what hinders one from acknowledging his authority.”

They could not explain Him, so they rejected Him
-- Kenneth Wuest

Hiebert observes that the Jews "Unable to explain Him, they rejected Him. “Shut out His Divinity, and Jesus becomes a stumblingblock.” Paul alludes to the stumbling block of the Messiah about whom the OT prophesied...

Romans 9:33+ (Quoting Isaiah 28:16)  just as it is written (AND IS FULFILLED), “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STONE OF STUMBLING (offence) AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE (skandalon), AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”

Romans 11:9+  And David says, “LET THEIR TABLE BECOME A SNARE AND A TRAP, AND A STUMBLING BLOCK (skandalon) AND A RETRIBUTION TO THEM. 

1 Cor 1:23  but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block (skandalon) and to Gentiles foolishness,

1 Peter 2:7-8+ This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, “THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone,”  8 and, “A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE” (skandalon) ; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed. 

As discussed below the verb took offense (skandalizo) conveys the sense of to cause someone to stumble. The Jews in Nazareth "stumbled" over their "Hometown Boy!" The reaction by the Jews in Nazareth is in a sense a fulfillment of Messianic prophecy in Isaiah 8...

"Then He (MESSIAH) shall become a sanctuary; But to both the houses of Israel, a Stone to strike and a Rock to stumble over (cf "be scandalized by"), And a snare and a trap for the inhabitants of Jerusalem." (Isaiah 8:14+)

Took offense (4624)(skandalizo from skandalon = a trap = put a snare or stumbling block in way; English = scandalous) means to put a snare, a stumbling block or an impediment in one's way, upon which another may trip and fall. In this context Jesus furnished an occasion for the people of Nazareth to stumble in the sense of being shocked and/or offended. One could also say they were provoked by this Carpenter's words and works! Skandalizo in NT - Matt. 5:29; Matt. 5:30; Matt. 11:6; Matt. 13:21; Matt. 13:57; Matt. 15:12; Matt. 17:27; Matt. 18:6; Matt. 18:8; Matt. 18:9; Matt. 24:10; Matt. 26:31; Matt. 26:33; Mk. 4:17; Mk. 6:3; Mk. 9:42; Mk. 9:43; Mk. 9:45; Mk. 9:47; Mk. 14:27; Mk. 14:29; Lk. 7:23; Lk. 17:2; Jn. 6:61; Jn. 16:1; 1 Co. 8:13; 2 Co. 11:29

Related Resource:

SKANDALON

The seers and the prophets had foretold it long ago
That the long awaited One would make men stumble
But they were looking for a king to conquer and to kill
Who'd have ever thought He'd be so weak and humble

Chorus
He will be the truth that will offend them one and all
A Stone that makes men stumble
And a Rock that makes them fall

Many will be broken so that He can make them whole
And many will be crushed and lose their own soul
Along the path of life there lies a stubborn Scandalon
And all who come this way must be offended
To some He is a barrier, To others He's the way
For all should know the scandal of believing

Chorus

It seems today the Scandalon offends no one at all
The image we present can be stepped over
Could it be that we are like the others long ago
Will we ever learn that all who come must stumble
Repeat Chorus


Mark 6:3 - THE CARPENTER Is not this the carpenter...? Mark 6:3. With only thirty-three years to spend on earth, my Lord spent thirty of them, the hidden years at Nazareth, preparing for three years of public ministry; He did not visit world capitals in a spectacular career. How different would His life have been if it had been planned by a manager and a public relations expert! For the first thirty years, the Carpenter glorified the ordinary. The Christian life is not a hectic round of sensational mountaintop experiences. It is living by the Spirit in the will of God day by day in home and shop, plying the daily task with busier feet because the secret soul a holier strain repeats. (Vance Havner)


I KNEW YOU BACK WHEN “I knew you back when . . .” Statements beginning with those words typically make me cringe. That declaration usually leads to a story I’d prefer to forget, and the person speaking those words usually wears a devilish smile or is shaking his or her head—or both. One thing’s for sure: The people who knew us “back when” aren’t impressed with who we are or what we have become now. They remember when we were young, vulnerable, ignorant, or foolish, overtaken by flaws and shortcomings. They witnessed our foolish childhood years, our irresponsible teenage years, our most humbling learning experiences. Interestingly, they are never asking for our autograph! That’s why returning to your childhood home can be difficult—even for Jesus, who didn’t have an embarrassing past. He didn’t do things wrong—not even once. He simply grew up. Unfortunately, people are unwilling to see greatness in the people they know best. Consequently, hometown people are less likely to applaud someone they knew “back when.” (Swindoll's Living Insights New Testament Commentary – Mark.)

Mark 6:4 Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household."

Parallel Passage:

Matthew 13:57 And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.”  (See parallel commentary)

Related Passages:

Matthew 13:57+  And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.”

Luke 4:24+ And He said, “Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown.

John 4:44+ For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country.

A POPULAR PROVERB
OF AN UNPOPULAR PROPHET

Jesus said to them - Said is in the imperfect tense which gives us a picture of whenever the townspeople expressed their criticism (also implying their criticism was repeated - recall their barrage of questions), Jesus would respond with this pithy proverb. As Hiebert explains the reaction of the Nazarenes "illustrated a general principle which was so common as to be proverbial." (Ibid)

Hiebert - Jesus compared Himself to a prophet, a role commonly accorded Him (Matt. 21:11, 46; Mark 6:15; 8:28; Luke 7:16; 24:19; John 6:14; 7:40; 9:17). As such, He sustained a unique relationship to them. He did not evoke further opposition by claiming to be the Messiah." (Ibid)

Alan Carr - The people rejected Jesus and they rejected His message. His response to their unbelief is to quote a common proverb. In summary, the proverb Jesus told them simply means “familiarity breeds contempt”. ILLUSTRATION - Preachers who grow up in a church experience this problem all the time. The people in the church know you. They have watched you grow up. They have seen you succeed and they have watched you fail. They cannot get past what they know about to hear what you are preaching. If you are a preacher, the hardest place you will ever preach is your home church! You will find less acceptance there than you will anywhere else. (Sermon)

ILLUSTRATION Michel de Montaigne [16th cent] French Philosopher, Politician, and one of the most influential writers of the French Renaissance said, “at home he was considered just a scribbling country proprietor, in the neighboring town a man of recognized business ability, and farther away a noted author.” The greater the distance, the greater he became!

In spite of close proximity you may dishonor Him.
--Daniel Akin

A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household - NLT = "A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family." First note that Jesus is obviously attesting to the fact that He is a prophet (cf Deut 18:15, 18) Wuest adds that Jesus "had already claimed to be the Jewish Messiah (John 4:26, Luke 4:21+), the Son of Man with power of God (Mk 1:10+, Mt. 9:6+, Lk 5:24+), the Son of God (John 5:22)." A parallel passage is John 1:11+ for "He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him." But initially not even His brothers and sisters believed in Him! One has to wonder what went through Mary's mind as she saw this unbelief, because surely she could hardly forget her famous song of praise, the Magnificat

Is this proverbial statement not a commentary on Isaiah's prophetic description of the Messiah....

For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.  3 He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, (Hebrew = bazah = despise; Lxx = atimos) and we did not esteem Him.  (Isa 53:2-3+)

Hiebert - “But in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house”—three decreasing circles of persons to whom the prophet is related. Their rejection of Him was explained by the commonly observed fact that those who know the prophet best think least of him. Their intimate acquaintance with His private life led them to fear that there was something unreal about His public position.  (Ibid)

Gilbrant on without honor - The “lack of respect” held for Jesus by the townspeople of Nazareth was a tangible expression of their lack of faith (Mk 6:6). 

Chris Benfield - Jesus gives a solemn word to those in Nazareth. They had witnessed His works, heard His words, and yet rejected Him. He was received in other places, but not in His hometown. The people had rejected Jesus, but they would be accountable for the Light they had denied.  We too will give account for the Light we have received. I believe we are accountable for every time we meet. Rom.14:12 – So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. God has given us much and He expects much of us. Luke 12:48b – For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. Do we give Jesus the honor He deserves? Do our lives testify of the faith we have in Him? If anyone should honor and lift up the name of Jesus, we should! (Sermon

The Jews should have recognized Him because Moses had prophesied that the Messiah would be a Prophet and warned Israel to listen to Him because God would put His words in His mouth. “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like (Lxx = prophetes) me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. 18 ‘I will raise up a prophet (Lxx = prophetes) from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him." (Deut 18:15, 18)

Prophet (4396)(prophetes from pró = before, in front of, forth, on behalf of + phemí = speak, tell) is primarily a forth-teller or one who speaks out God’s message, primarily to their own generation, usually always calling the people to God's truth for them at that moment, often using the phrase "Thus saith the Lord." The prophet is one who speaks before in the sense of proclaim, or the one who speaks for, i.e., in the Name of (God). The prophet as a predictor of future events is only incidental the main function. Jesus is called a prophet - Mt 13:57; Mt 16:14; Mt 21:11, 46; Mk 6:4, 15; Mk 8:28; Lk 4:24; Lk 7:16, 39; Lk 9:8, 19; Lk 24:19; Jn 4:19, 44; Jn 6:14; Jn 7:40, 52; Jn 9:17).

Without honor (820)(atimos from a= negates thus without + time = value, honor) means literally without honor, unhonored, dishonored, despised , of low character or reputation. Another nuance is less respectable, more insignificant (1Cor 12.23) BDAG - pert. to being considered relatively unimportant, insignificant of things that do not elicit special admiration or attention, comp. held in less esteem  1 Cor 12:23 (of parts of the body also Aristot., Part. An. 3, 672b, 21 ‘more esteemed … less esteemed’, a distinction made in terms of dependency, lower members being at the service of upper ones."

Liddell-Scott - (1) unhonoured, dishonoured, Il., Trag.; Comp.  less honourable, Xen.; c. gen. without the honour of. . , not deemed worthy of. . , Aesch.; also,  no unworthy return for. . , Id. 2. at Athens, deprived of privileges, Thuc.; deprived of the right of advising, Dem. II. without price or value, thou devourest his substance without payment made, Od. 2. unrevenged, Aesch. III. Adv. dishonourably, ignominiously, Id., Soph."

Atimos - 4x in NT - less(1), less honorable(1), without honor(3). Matt. 13:57; Mk. 6:4; 1 Co. 4:10; 1 Co. 12:23

Atimos in Septuagint - Job 30:4; Job 30:8; Isa. 3:5; Isa. 53:3 Job uses it of “dishonorable” names in apposition to “foolish sons”.

Brian Bell - Jesus’ hearers were ice sculptors. Are you too familiar with Jesus? - Maybe you grew up “knowing” Him. At home, in church, maybe even Christian school. The Bible, Jesus, Christianity, Christian things, have become too familiar to you. Have you become Numbed to certain bible verses you’ve heard so many times. Desensitized to how special the Bible is because you now have 12 bible's in written form in digital format on your iMac, iPhone, iPod, iPad, and soon to be on iGlasses. Anesthetized by hearing people's salvation story. Do you feel Frozen in your faith, or Immobilized by spiritual insomnia.  I think this is the plague of our youth in modern day North American Christianity. They know Him too well, or so they think. M. Are you too familiar with Christian things that you have lost a sense of wonder or expectancy?

Daniel Akin - Sometimes we can get so close to something we no longer see it. We spend so much time with someone we no longer appreciate them. For those of us raised in a Christian environment, this is certainly an ever present danger we must guard against. In a sense, we should never get completely comfortable with Jesus. His goal is never to make us comfortable. His goal is to bring us to repentance and faith, humbly falling at His feet confessing Him as Lord and God. He is not your homeboy, your buddy, your soul mate or a puppet on a string you pull and he does your bidding. He is not your genie in a bottle obligated to grant you every wish. Nor is He some ordinary guy who lived 2000 years ago who stirred things up for a few years and got nailed to a cross for His troubles. His hometown got it wrong. His relatives, at least for a while, got it wrong. The religious leaders of the day got it wrong. Rome got it wrong. And still today people get Him wrong! Do you see Him for who He truly is and call Him Lord, Savior, Master, King? Do you let Jesus set the agenda for your life? And as Mark 8 says, for your death? (Sermon)


Misunderstood

Read: Mark 6:1-6; 8:27-31

A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives. —Mark 6:4

It’s easy to be misunderstood. My wife and I still laugh about her first impressions of me when we were in college. She saw my natural shyness as aloofness. I think we’ve got that straightened out now. Somehow, I hadn’t communicated well to her.

When we’re misunderstood, we haven’t communicated properly. For instance, the person who wrote this ad for a car fix-it shop didn’t mean to convey what he did: “Auto Repair Service. Free pick-up and delivery. Try us once and you’ll never go anywhere again.” That’s not exactly a confidence builder.

Jesus was misunderstood during His ministry, but unlike the examples mentioned above, it wasn’t His fault. Even the people who lived with Him and observed Him closely didn’t understand His mission. For a long time, they didn’t see that He was the God-sent Messiah. That’s why His question in Mark 8:29 is so vital. There He asked His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?”

“You are the Christ,” Peter replied. At last, he saw clearly who Jesus was—the Messiah, the Savior, the Son of God. When people misunderstand Him today, it’s not because He hasn’t made clear who He is and what His mission is. By Dave Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Peter finally understood. Do you?

Our Savior was the God-sent One;
Though He was scorned, misunderstood,
His love would not avoid the cross
To bear our sins and make us good.
—DJD

Jesus is Good because He is God!

Mark 6:5  And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.

Wuest - And He was not able there to do even one work of power, except that He laid His hands on a few sickly ones and healed them.

Parallel Passage:

Matthew 13:58 And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief. (See parallel commentary)

IMPEDING THE POWER
OF JESUS

Impede means to retard or obstruct the progress of something. To hinder. 

Hiebert explains that Jesus "felt it morally impossible to exercise His beneficent power in their behalf in the face of their unbelief (Matt. 13:58 = "He did not..."). It closed the door against the operation of His power. He refused to force Himself upon those who did not want Him. “God and his Son could do anything, but they have chosen to limit themselves in accordance with human response.… The statement clarifies that Jesus was not the kind of miracle worker whose primary purpose was to impress his viewers.”

“A sin (unbelief) of that venomous nature, that it transfuseth,
as it were, a dead palsy into the hands of omnipotency.”
-Puritan writer John Trapp

Guzik on no miracles (no mighty works - KJV) - His work was limited in this climate of unbelief. In this sense, Jesus’ power was limited by the unbelief of His countrymen. This was in respect to God’s principle of partnership with man. God may work with no belief, but not with unbelief.

Chris Benfield on He could do no miracle there - These words gripped my heart. I know that God is sovereign and will accomplish what He desires, but God’s people have an impact on His work. Their doubt and unbelief hindered the work of Christ.  A spirit of unbelief is contagious. If we never show genuine faith, then likely others never will. Those here tonight are the backbone of the church. We must not hinder the work of the Lord by grieving the Spirit. I fear we will be sorely disappointed as we stand before Jesus and understand all that could have been accomplished if we had only been obedient in faith. I don’t want to be a hindrance to the work of my Lord. I don’t want to be the reason a lost man never got saved. May our eyes be opened to the things of God! Let’s continue for the Lord as long as we live! This passage has certainly challenged my heart to live closer to the Lord. If we would be honest, Jesus is not always welcome as He should be. He wants to do so much through our lives, but we must be willing to welcome Him. Has God spoken to your heart? Are there issues you need to bring before Him? Seek Him that you might live pleasing unto Him!

Alan Carr - Let’s get one thing straight now; their unbelief did not hinder His power. Jesus was and is absolutely sovereign. He could have done anything there that He wanted to do. He possessed the power, but He refused to demonstrate His power in the face of blatant unbelief. The hands of Jesus were not tied. A few people came to Him in faith and those people received His help. The rest rejected Him and were rejected by Him.

THOUGHT - There is a word here for the health and wealth crowd. There is a word here for those who promote the cult of prosperity. People who have embraced the prosperity cult doctrine believe that God only responds to our faith. In other words, if you have enough faith, you will be healed. If you have enough faith you will have plenty of money. If you have the faith you can enjoy endless health, wealth and blessing. This way of thinking holds God captive to the will of man! I would remind you that we serve a sovereign God! He can do what He pleases, when He pleases and to whom He pleases. Our faith, or the lack thereof, does not pose a problem for Him. In this case, Jesus refused to “cast His pearls before the swine”. (Mt 7:6+) They refused the message, thus they forfeited the miracles. God’s best blessings are not the works of healing, multiplying your loaves and fishes, or meeting your needs. The greatest work of God is saving, sealing and securing lost souls! If you are saved, you have experienced the greatest of our Lord’s works.) (Carr

Related Resources:

He could not because He would not in the face of blatant unbelief.
-- Daniel Akin

Daniel Akin Unbelief is one thing that limits Jesus. Mk 6:5 (1) Jesus did no mighty works in His hometown. (2) He healed just a few. This verse again is simple and clear but has raised many troubling questions. How could the omnipotent Son of God be bound, limited by the unbelief of Nazareth? Of anyone? I believe the answer is this: He could not because He would not in the face of blatant unbelief. The parallel account in Matt 13:58 clarifies the issue: “And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.” Morally and spiritually He was constrained not to reveal His power in such an environment of rejection and unbelief. Come to Him in faith like Jarius and the woman who bled for 12 years and He will heal your body and bring your only daughter back from death (5:21-43). Reject Him in unbelief and you provide an environment where he not only does not do for you what He does for others, you also send Him on His way in search of those who will listen to His kingdom/gospel message and embrace Him as Lord. Tim Keller is helpful here: “Jesus’ miracles were not “magic tricks” designed to prove how powerful he was, but “signs of the kingdom” to show how his redemptive power operates. His miracles always healed and restored and delivered people in ways that revealed how we are to find him by faith and have our lives transformed by him…He “could” not do a deed that would not redeem” (Keller notes, (62). So, there was no public display with His supernatural power. More likely, quietly and privately, “he laid hands on a few sick people and healed them.” Oh, but imagine what He would have done in the presence of faith! 10 Hebrews 11:6 reminds us, “And without faith it is impossible to please him [God], for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”

Stephen Olford - What an amazing, yet solemn, verse this is! Purge me, O Lord, that I may never be guilty of such unbelief!  Notice that the verse does not say, “He could not,” but rather that “He did not.” It was not a case that His power was limited on this particular occasion, but rather that Christ does not work in the presence of blatant or open unbelief.  Unbelief is the preeminent fruit of the flesh. It is that which emanates from man's corrupt nature. “The carnal mind is enmity against God” (Rom. 8:7).  Give me the grace to crucify the natural man in me, Lord, until all unbelief is removed. Amen

David JeremiahTHE DANGER OF UNBELIEF - Unbelief is the greatest obstacle to the expression of faith in the life of Christians. Unbelief has ruined the vision of more people than any other single characteristic. One of the reasons so many churches settle for mediocrity is because they are limited by their unbelief. We ought to pray every day, both corporately and as individuals, that God would never limit us through our own unbelief. Sometimes we set barriers on our lives because we won’t believe great things. Matthew 13:58 tells of Jesus coming to Nazareth and not doing many miracles “because of their unbelief.” The greatest problem we face in churches is the problem of unbelief. Doubt creeps into the hearts of those who should be walking in faith and trusting God for His provision. Unbelief settles into their lives like a dark cloud, wiping out God’s plan and destroying the opportunity for His miracle-making power to take place. There will always be confrontation with unbelief for anyone willing to do great things for God. (Sanctuary)

And He could do no miracle there - Mark says could not suggesting He was weak, but that is not the case for Matthew says "He did not," indicating that Jesus made the choice to not do miracles. And yet clearly healing sick people indicates He did perform some miracles. The idea is that relative to other places where He had done many miracles, He chose to do few in His hometown. (cf Jesus' warning on the danger of rejecting the Truth revealed - Mt 11:22-24+).

D L Moody - UNBELIEF is as much an enemy to the Christian as it is to the unconverted. It will keep back the blessing now as much as it did in the days of Christ. We read that in one place Christ could not do many mighty works because of unbelief. If Christ could not do this, how can we expect to accomplish anything if the people of God are unbelieving? I contend that God’s children are alone able to hinder God’s work. Infidels, atheists, and sceptics cannot do it. Where there is union, strong faith, and expectation among Christians, a mighty work is always done.

Could (1410)(dunamai) conveys the basic meaning of that which has the inherent ability to do something or accomplish some end. 

Miracles (1411) see dunamis Tyndale Bible Dictionary defines a miracle as "A divine act by which God reveals himself to people." They had received more than enough revelation and thus would receive no more. 

Except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them - Apparently only a few sick were brought to Him so yes He healed a few, but contrast Mt 4:23+ where "Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom (cf Jn 3:3, 5+), and healing (therapeuo) every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people." Earlier Mark recorded "And He healed (therapeuo) many who were ill with various diseases." (Mk 1:34+, cf Mk 3:10+) Similarly Luke describes Jesus healing not few but many recording "While the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and laying His hands on each one of them, He was healing (therapeuo) them." (Lk 4:40+, cf Lk 5:15+, Lk 7:21+)

Hiebert - only a few opportunities for the exercise of His healing power were offered Him. Those healed were apparently inconspicuous individuals who did not share the prevailing attitude of their neighbors. The laying on of His hands gave visible evidence that the healings came directly from Him. (Ibid)

Wuest - A few sick folk. The word “sick” is arrostos “without strength, weak, sick.” This is sickness regarded as constitutional weakness. Expositors remarks that the people of Nazareth were so consistently unbelieving that they would not even bring their sick to Him to be healed.

Utley comments that " Luke 7:11–14+ shows that Jesus did not always demand a faith response, but it was the normal prerequisite. Faith in God and in Jesus opens the door to the spiritual realm. How much faith is not as important as in whom it is placed!

Sick (732)(arrostos from a = without + rhṓnnumi = to strengthen,make firm) means strictly without strength; hence sickly, infirm, disabled; invalid. BDAG says literally "powerless." Liddell-Scott adds "weak, sickly:-Adv.,to be ill, Aeschin. 2. in moral sense, weak, feeble (of soul - Xen)." Arrostos - 5x -sick(3), sick people(2). Matt. 14:14; Mk. 6:5; Mk. 6:13; Mk. 16:18; 1 Co. 11:30

Healed (cured)(2323)(therapeuo from therapon = an attendant, servant) means primarily to care for, to wait upon, minister to. It has two main senses in the NT, one speaking of rendering service (Acts 17:25) but more commonly describing medical aspects such as to taking care of the sick, including providing healing miraculously  (Mt. 4:23, 24; Mt 10:1, 8; Acts 4:14) Therapeuo in Mark -  Mk. 1:34; Mk. 3:2; Mk. 3:10; Mk. 6:5; Mk. 6:13


LAYING ON OF HANDS - Bob Utley
This gesture of personal involvement is used in several different ways in the Bible.

A. Passing on the family leadership (cf. Gen. 48:18)
B. Identifying with the death of a sacrifice as a substitute

1. priests (cf. Ex 29:10, 15, 19; Lev. 16:21; Nu 8:12)
2.laypersons (cf. Lev. 1:4; 3:2, 8; 4:4, 15, 24; 2 Chr. 29:23)

C. Setting persons aside to serve God in a special task or ministry (cf. Nu 8:10; 27:18, 23; Dt. 34:9; Acts 6:6; 13:3; 1 Ti 4:14; 5:22; 2 Ti 1:6)
D. Participating in the judicial stoning of a sinner (cf. Lev. 24:14)
E. Receiving a blessing for health, happiness, and godliness (cf. Mt. 19:13, 15; Mk 10:16)
F. Relating to physical healing (cf. Mt. 9:18; Mk 5:23; 6:5; 7:32; 8:23; 16:18; Lk 4:40; 13:13; Acts 9:17; 28:8)
G. Receiving the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 8:17-19; 9:17; 19:6)


Question: "Laying on of hands - what does the Bible say?"

Answer: "Laying on of hands" is a biblical action; however, there is no biblical mandate requiring the physical laying on of hands for a particular spiritual ministry. Jesus certainly laid His hands on many of those He healed; however, He also healed without laying His hands on people. In fact, there were times when He was nowhere in the vicinity of those He healed. Matthew 8:8+ describes Jesus healing the servant of the centurion without going near the centurion’s house.

Here are two instances to consider: in one case the Holy Spirit bestows the gift of speaking in tongues with the act of an apostle’s laying on of hands, and in the other case He does so without the laying on of hands, but simply through the apostle’s preaching.

"Paul said, ‘John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.’ On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied" (Acts 19:4-6+).

"While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God" (Acts 10:44-46+).

First Timothy 5:22 says, "Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure." The thought here is not so much in cautioning the physical action of laying on of hands but to urge care in bestowing the responsibility of spiritual leadership (however it is done). It is not to be done "suddenly" or without due consideration.

Undoubtedly, the laying on of hands in the early church was a means of connecting the message with the messenger, or the spiritual gift with the gifted giver. It provided a "sign" authenticating him through whom the physical manifestation of a spiritual gift was bestowed. We need to understand very carefully that there are no magical biblical formulas for the ministry of the church. Laying on of hands has no power in itself. Laying on of hands is only used by God when it is done in agreement with God’s Word. (Source - GOTQUESTIONS)


Give God A Chance

He could do no mighty work there. . . . And He marveled because of their unbelief. —Mark 6:5-6

Today's Scripture: Mark 6:1-6

A child once asked, “What does God do all day?” If the answer to that question depended on how much we allow God to do in our individual lives, some of us would have to reply, “Not much!” In difficult situations, it’s easy to say we trust God and yet try to handle things ourselves without turning to Him and His Word. This is masked unbelief. Although God is constantly working, He allows us to set a limit on the degree of work He does on our behalf.

We see this truth demonstrated in Mark 6 when Jesus tried to do mighty things in His hometown. Because the people saw Him merely as a carpenter’s son and not as God’s Son, they limited what He could do for them (v.5). So Jesus moved on to other towns.

During my younger years, I tried hard to be a strong Christian, seldom revealing my weaknesses. Then, through a rock-bottom experience, I made this dynamic discovery: Strong Christians are those who unashamedly admit their weaknesses and draw on Christ’s power. The more I learned to depend on God, the more opportunity this gave Him to be active in my life. Now, whenever I face a daunting task, I say, “Joanie and Jesus can do it!” So can you and Jesus. By:  Joanie Yoder (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

I am trusting Thee, Lord Jesus;
Never let me fall;
I am trusting Thee forever,
And for all.
—Havergal

We must admit our weakness to experience God's strength.

Mark 6:6  And He wondered at their unbelief. And He was going around the villages teaching.

Wuest - And He marvelled because of their unbelief. And He kept going around the villages in the encircling country, teaching.

NET  Mark 6:6 And he was amazed because of their unbelief. Then he went around among the villages and taught.

NLT  Mark 6:6 And he was amazed at their unbelief. Then Jesus went from village to village, teaching the people.

ESV  Mark 6:6 And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went about among the villages teaching.

NIV  Mark 6:6 And he was amazed at their lack of faith. Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village.

GNT  Mark 6:6 καὶ ἐθαύμαζεν διὰ τὴν ἀπιστίαν αὐτῶν. Καὶ περιῆγεν τὰς κώμας κύκλῳ διδάσκων.

KJV  Mark 6:6 And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.

  • He wondered at their unbelief - Isa 59:16 Jer 2:11 Mt 8:10 Joh 9:30 
  • He was going around the villages teaching - Mt 4:23 9:35 Lu 4:31,44 13:22 Ac 10:38 
  • Mark 6 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

JESUS ASTONISHED
BY THEIR UNBELIEF

And He wondered at their unbelief  TEV = “He was greatly surprised, because the people did not have faith." Wondered is in the imperfect tense implying His repeated response! Jesus was astonished again and again! Their rejection and unbelief did not cause Jesus to have a "pity party", but instead prompted Him to be amazed at their unbelief. Indeed, we too wonder at their unbelief in view of the fact that they had heard and seen the Creator of the Universe! They were blinded to truth from the One Who Himself is The Truth (Jn 14:6), because even though they heard they could not hear internally with their heart and seeing they could not see the Holy One of Israel standing in their midst! This is indeed amazing, but it speaks to the profound power of unbelief. Sadly, they were not like the unbelieving man who "cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24). However,  lest we be too critical, we need to remember that in Mark 16:14 when Jesus after His resurrection from the dead "appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table; and He reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart (sklerokardia), because they had not believed those who had seen Him after He had risen." Notice that here we see unbelief is a heart issue, reflecting a hard heart. As His disciples have we at times not manifested this same unbelief and hardness of heart? (That's a rhetorical question!) 

Limiting God - Is it not a frightening truth that the free will of a bad man can resist the will of God? For He has, after a fashion, restricted His own Omnipotence by the very fact of creating free creatures; and we read that the Lord was not able to do miracles in some place because people's faith was wanting. —C.S. Lewis in a letter to Don Calabria (Letters, ed. Martin Moynihan). Christianity Today, Vol. 34, no. 5.

Brian Bell - Scary, a person can be amazed with Jesus & yet still have unbelief. What does this warn us against?

Utley - In the presence of great truth, even miraculous signs (cf. Mk 6:2), they refused to believe.

Wiersbe asks that "What was their problem? Why were they unable to trust Him and experience the wonders of His power and grace as had others? They thought that they really knew Him. After all, He had been their neighbor for nearly thirty years, they had seen Him at work in the carpenter’s shop, and He appeared to be just another Nazarene. He was a “commoner” and the people saw no reason to commit themselves to Him! “Familiarity breeds contempt” is a well-known maxim that goes all the way back to Publius the Syrian, who lived in 2 B.C....Phillips Brooks said it best: “Familiarity breeds contempt, only with contemptible things or among contemptible people.” The contempt shown by the Nazarenes said nothing about Jesus Christ, but it said a great deal about them! A tourist, eager to see everything in the art gallery, fled from picture to picture, scarcely noticing what was in the frames. “I didn’t see anything very special here,” he said to one of the guards as he left. “Sir,” the guard replied, “it is not the pictures that are on trial here—it is the visitors.” A carpenter was a respected artisan in that day, but nobody expected a carpenter to do miracles or teach profound truths in the synagogue.  (BEC)

Chris Benfield - Our churches have lost much of their faith. I remember a day when saints of God exercised their faith through prayer and God honored their faith. Mark 9:23 – If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. Where is our faith? Do we truly believe God can save our loved ones, that He can bring revival, and all things are possible in Him? We must believe!(Sermon

Carr -  Jesus is said to have “marveled” only twice. Both times His amazement was over faith. He marveled at the great faith of a centurion, Luke 7:1-10. Here, Jesus marveled at the lack of faith among His own people. Jesus was amazed that these people had heard the truth, seen the truth and still turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to that truth. As a result, He left Nazareth, and there is no record that He ever returned there. Their rejection of Jesus was total and He abandoned them to their choice!  That is what the Lord does! He sends out a call for people to believe the Gospel and be saved, John 1:9. When people reject the truth of the Gospel and the message of salvation through Jesus, there is no more hope for them. He might call them again and He might not. Regardless, there will come a point where the Lord will call them no more and they are abandoned to their choice, Ro 1:18-33; Ro 9:18-24.(Sermon)

Guzik - Jesus only marveled at Jewish unbelief and Gentile faith (Luke 7:9+). Would Jesus marvel at your faith or your unbelief? “Unbelief must needs be a monstrous sin, that puts Christ to the marvel.” (Trapp) We never read that Jesus marveled at art or architecture or even the wonders of creation. He never marveled at human ingenuity or invention. He didn’t marvel at the piety of the Jewish people or the military dominance of the Roman Empire. But Jesus did marvel at faith—when it was present in an unexpected place, and when it was absent where it should have been.

Hiebert - “He marvelled because of their unbelief”—not at the fact but at the cause of their unbelief, because they thought they knew all about Him. He saw its paralyzing effect. It was an astonishing reaction. Even the rejection at Kersa (Mk 5:17) had not prepared Him to expect such unreceptiveness in His native town. The inhabitants’ unbelief caused Him to leave Nazareth, apparently never to return. Only on two occasions do the Gospels record that Jesus marvelled. Here at Nazareth, among His own people Jesus “marvelled because of their unbelief” (Mk 6:6). It offers a striking contrast to the other occasion when Jesus marvelled. In Matthew 8:5–10 we have the account of a Roman centurion who came to Jesus and told Him that his servant at home lay grievously ill; when Jesus offered to go with him and heal him, the centurion replied that Jesus need not come but “speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed,” assuring Jesus that he understood the power of true authority. At this expression of faith in the power of His word, Jesus marvelled and said to those with Him, “I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” What a sad contrast!

Wuest on wondered -  Expositors says: “Jesus marvelled at the faith of the centurion. Nazareth supplied the opposite ground of astonishment. There Jesus found an amount of stupid unreceptivity for which His experience in Decapolis and elsewhere had not prepared Him.” The fact that our omniscient Lord marvelled at the unbelief of His fellow-towns-people, gives us a measure of understanding of His human limitations. As Deity, He would not marvel at anything. Yet in His humanity, He expected a different reception at Nazareth than He received. And He was disappointed.

Adrian Rogers - One of the saddest verses in all of the Bible: "And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching" (Mark 6:6). It was because of their unbelief that He could do no mighty work there. Their unbelief had fettered the hands, and chained the work, of the Lord Jesus Christ. And, one of the other Gospels makes it very clear: "He could do no work there because of their unbelief" (Matthew 13:58). And, this verse in Mark says that he marveled at their unbelief. Now, if He were to look at you today, or look in my heart, I wonder if the Lord Jesus would be somewhat perplexed at the lack of faith that we have. He marveled. He was astonished that they had such unbelief. Now, the fact that they had unbelief was rooted in the fact that they knew Him. And, they said, "Is not this the carpenter?

Robertson - Jesus had divine knowledge and accurate insight into the human heart (cf Jn 2:24-25+), but he had human limitations in certain things that are not clear to us. He marvelled at the faith of the Roman centurion where one would not expect faith (Matt. 8:10+ = Luke 7:9+). Here he marvels at the lack of faith where he had a right to expect it, not merely among the Jews, but in his own home town, among his kinspeople, even in his own home. One may excuse Mary, the mother of Jesus, from this unbelief, puzzled, as she probably was, by his recent conduct (Mark 3:21, 31+). There is no proof that she ever lost faith in her wonderful Son. (Word Pictures)

Related Resources:

The Jews at Nazareth were in a sense fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 6:9–10+ 

He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand.’  10 “Render the hearts of this people insensitive (cf HARDENED), Their ears dull, And their eyes dim, Otherwise they might see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their hearts, And return and be healed.” 

Amazed (astonished)(2296)(thaumazo from thauma [from thaomai = to wonder] = wonder, admiration) means to wonder, marvel, be struck with admiration or astonishment. To be surprised by the unexpected, in this case in the sense of regretful even as Paul was in Gal 1:6+ "I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel." Thaumazo in the Gospels - Mt. 8:10; Mt. 8:27; Mt. 9:33; Mt. 15:31; Mt. 21:20; Mt. 22:22; Mt. 27:14; Mk. 5:20; Mk. 6:6; Mk. 15:5; Mk. 15:44; Lk. 1:21; Lk. 1:63; Lk. 2:18; Lk. 2:33; Lk. 4:22; Lk. 7:9; Lk. 8:25; Lk. 9:43; Lk. 11:14; Lk. 11:38; Lk. 20:26; Lk. 24:12; Lk. 24:41; Jn. 3:7; Jn. 4:27; Jn. 5:20; Jn. 5:28; Jn. 7:15; Jn. 7:21;

Unbelief (570)(apistia from a = without + pistós = believing, faithful) means literally not believing = faithlessness, distrust, lack of belief. It describes an unwillingness to commit oneself to another or respond positively to the words or actions, in this case the words of the One Who was Himself the Living Word! Apistia - Mt 13:58; Mk 6:6; Mk 9:24; Mk 16:14; Ro 3:3; Ro 4:20; Ro 11:20; Ro 11:23; 1 Ti 1:13; Heb 3:12+; Heb 3:19+ = "So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief (apistia)." Now read Hebrews 3:18+ and notice what parallels with unbelief. Did you see it? Unbelief equates with disobedient (apeitheo). True belief is obedient! See Obedience of faith. "Unbelief is what locked the doors of the Promised Land to the children of Israel. For all the grumbling, bad attitudes, and discontentment that characterized their demeanor after leaving Egypt, it was their unbelief that kept them at a distance from God's promised reward. Jesus, too, allowed the people's unbelief to tie His hands on His ministry visit to His hometown. The Bible clearly says, "He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief" (Matt. 13:58). The sovereign God has limited Himself to work according to the faith and belief of the people of God." (Adrian Rogers)

THOUGHT - Unbelief and faith are opposites. “If faith is the capacity to receive what God wants to give, unbelief is the willful refusal to receive what God wants to give.” They erected a barrier of unbelief…Have you? In all unbelief there are these two things: a good opinion of one's self and a bad opinion of God. [Horatius Bonar]  A. W. Tozer said, “Every man will have to decide for himself whether or not he can afford the terrible luxury of unbelief.” 

Unbelief is stubborn. You can have the cleverest argument of all, but if unbelief wants to reject your message it will regardless of the logic of your argument. Unbelief paid no attention to John's righteousness. Unbelief loves its sin and does not accept that which would condemn their sin. In my early ministry, I thought the people of the church would be appreciate the holiness of my conduct. Also I thought the soundness of my message would be appreciated by those working in a large denominational office. I was wrong on both counts. Being righteous and having the right message gains the approval of God, but not necessarily the approval of man. (John Butler)

Unbelief PEOPLE WHO DENY OR REFUSE TO BELIEVE what God has revealed about Himself and eternal life are in a state of unbelief. In describing unbelief the New Testament writers looked back to Old Testament events. Though no specific word for unbelief is used in the Old Testament, there are many illustrations of it. The people in Noah's day were in unbelief and rebellion (Gen. 6:5-7), and so God destroyed them by the Flood. Peter said these people in unbelief were “ungodly” (2 Pet. 2:5). Unbelief was attributed to the Israelites, whom God had delivered out of Egypt, when they hardened their hearts and rebelled against God (Heb. 3:19). They had failed to respond to what they had seen God do on their behalf (3:9; Ps. 95:9). Jude stated that God took the lives of those Israelites who did not believe (Jude 5). At the root of their problem was an unbelieving heart (Heb. 3:12).

Unbelief is the condition of all those who are without Christ, those who have not believed in the salvation provided by Christ through His death on the cross (John 3:36). As unbelievers they are blinded to the light of the gospel (2 Cor. 4:4). This unbelief need not be permanent, as illustrated in the life of Paul. This was not something he overcame by his own efforts. Instead, through God's grace and mercy his heart was opened to receive the message about Christ (1 Tim. 1:13-16). Later Paul reminded believers that the unbelief of Israel is not permanent (Rom. 11:20-23).

Unbelief was also the reason people rejected Christ's miracles during His earthly ministry (Matt. 13:58; Mark 6:6). The word unbelief was used by a father whose son was possessed by a demon. The man asked the Lord to help him overcome his unbelief (9:24). His request did not come because of a rebellious spirit, for he was humbled in the presence of the Lord. But he did sense his need for divine assistance to believe, possibly because of the power of Satan that had been so evident in his son's life for such a long time. Christians may face difficult challenges in life, but God promises victory because of our faith in Christ (1 John 5:4-5) (Wendell Johnson - Theological Wordbook)

JESUS' "OUTGO" MARKS THE 
"OUTCOME" OF HIS TIME IN NAZARETH

Parallel Passages :

Matt. 9:35–11:1

Luke 9:1–6.

And He was going around the villages teaching - More literally “He went round about the villages in a circle.”  Going about is in the imperfect tense picturing one village, then another. Jesus put into practice what He taught them in Mk 6:11 and since the citizens of Nazareth did not receive or believe His teaching, He in essence shook off the dust from His shoes and moved on to the next village. Matthew 9:35+ gives a fuller picture of this tour.

Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. 

THOUGHT - Jesus did not let rejection deter Him from His assignment to preach and teach and neither should we beloved. I was actively teaching some who ended up rejected me. It deterred me for a time, but I later began teaching again at another church we had moved to. I wish I had understood this passage when I experienced rejection by men who knew my heart and had sat under my teaching for several years! 

This passage will be a segue into the ministry of the twelve disciples.

Robertson - A good illustration of the frequent poor verse division. An entirely new paragraph begins with these words, the third tour of Galilee. They should certainly be placed with verse 7. The Revised Version would be justified if it had done nothing else than give us paragraphs according to the sense and connection. “Jesus resumes the role of a wandering preacher in Galilee” (Bruce).

Around (surrounding, round about)(2945) (kuklo from kúklos = a circle) literally means in a circle or from the circle and so all around or round about. So as an adverb kuklo is used in the sense of going around in an arc or a curve.

Teach (present tense) (1321) see above on didasko


Daniel Akin - Conclusion:

1) The preacher Phillips Brooks (1835-1893) was an American pastor who well said, “Familiarity breeds contempt, but only with contemptible things or among contemptible people” (Wiersbe, 59). The contempt shown by the citizens of Nazareth said nothing about Jesus. However, it said a lot about them!

2) What about you? What about me? Do you show contempt towards the Jesus revealed in Scripture? Do you allow the biblical evidence to slay your biases, reshape your preconceived notions of who Jesus must be for you to accept Him? Believe in Him? Trust Him?

3) Are you “scandalized” by the simplicity of His gospel? The unfairness of its message that says a child-molester or even a serial rapist and murderer on death row can be made right with God by child-like faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God?

4) Or, have you become so familiar with Him having been raised in church all your life that His words no longer convict? His miracles no longer astonish? His death on the cross for you no longer strikes the cord of “Amazing Grace?”

5) Familiarity can blind us to the greatness and glory of a Savior if we are not careful. Spiritually inoculated at some point in life, we become immune to the real thing! I have seen it far too many times. You do not come to Jesus on your terms. You come to Jesus on His! This prophet was without honor in His own hometown! Please, do not make the same mistake in your heart. The consequences are of an eternal nature. (Sermon)


Donald Cantrell - "When the Work Is Hindered"

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.

In this passage our Lord had just returned to his own country, the little place called Nazareth. In this country the people knew who Jesus was, at least who they thought that he was, to them he was the carpenters son. The people were very familiar with his earthly family, Mary, the sisters, and his brothers, to them there seemed to be nothing special about this man called Jesus. The people questioned his wisdom, his healing powers, his reputation, they questioned to the point that they literally got mad at him.

It would do all of us good to remember that familiarity breeds contentment, often times it difficult to allow the normal to become abnormal. The Saviour realized that a prophet would receive no honor from his own people, they would easily write him off. The Lord only healed a few sick folk in his own backyard, then he did something that most of us overlook, he went, he moved on down the road. Upon being rejected he would move on until someone was ready to receive a blessing.

The text reveals to us that their unbelief was so great that the Lord himself marveled at them. Unbelief is the greatest of all sins, unbelief will keep a person out of heaven, unbelief will send a person to heal, unbelief will shut down a church, it will destroy every fiber of faith that a person has stored up. It would help us greatly to pray and ask our Lord to expand our faith and expose our unbelief, upon exposing it, we need to extract it from our life, get rid of it, and do it today!!!

    1. Unbelief Hinders the Work—Realize It Immediately 
    2. Unbelief Hinders the Word—Recognize It Infinitely 
    3. Unbelief Hinders the Worker—Remove It Individually 

I wonder if we have allowed unbelief into our heart, have we let it set up residence, have we given it a foot hold in our life. We need to strongly resist the desire to doubt the power of God, we must reject the very thought of disbelieving any portion of the word of God. The word of God will bring to fruition the work of God, his will can only come to pass when one has total belief in his might word, in his wonderful works. In the space below ask God to help grow your faith and remove all unbelief from your life


Adrian Rogers -  The measure of your success or your failure as a Christian is your faith. For the Bible clearly and plainly says, "According to your faith be it unto you" (Matthew 9:29). Now, we meet one another, and we say, "How are you feeling?" We ought to say, "How are you faithing?" Right? How are you faithing? Because how you faith is a lot more important than how you feel. It is not according to how you feel; it is not according to your fame; it is not according to your fortune; it is not according to your fate; not according to your friends; but, "according to your faith be it unto you."


UNBELIEF PROCEEDS FROM

  • An evil heart Hebrews 3:12
  • Slowness of heart Luke 24:25
  • Hardness of heart Mark 16:14 ; Acts 19:9
  • Disinclination to the truth John 8:45,46
  • Judicial blindness John 12:39,40
  • Not being Christ's sheep John 10:26
  • The devil blinding the mind 2 Corinthians 4:4
  • The devil taking away the word out of the heart Luke 8:12
  • Seeking honour from men John 5:44
  • Impugns the veracity of God 1 John 5:10

R A Torrey - Topics

QUOTES ON 
UNBELIEF

If you are an unbeliever when you die, Christ did not die for you.  - Ambrose

Living without faith is like driving in a fog.  -   Anon.

Unbelief in the face of evidence is either stupidity or sin. -  Anon.

All unbelief is the belief of a lie.  -   Horatius Bonar

In all unbelief there are these two things: a good opinion of one's self and a bad opinion of God.  -   Horatius Bonar

Can any man perish more justly than they who refuse to be saved?  -  John Calvin

Infidelity is always blind.  -   John Calvin

Our own unbelief is the only impediment which prevents God from satisfying us largely and bountifully with all good things.  -   John Calvin

The blindness of unbelievers in no way detracts from the clarity of the gospel; the sun is no less bright because blind men do not perceive its light.  - John Calvin

Unbelief... is always proud.  -  John Calvin

Unbelief makes us rebels and deserters.   John Calvin

Unbelieving and irreligious men have no ears.  -   John Calvin

As faith is the greatest grace, so that which is opposite to it must be the greatest sin.  -   Stephen Charnock

Is not he as much guilty of his own death that rejects a medicine as he that cuts his own throat?  -    Stephen Charnock

Unbelief was the first sin, and pride was the first-born of it. -    Stephen Charnock

When God is not believed we must needs give credit to the devil.  -   Stephen Charnock

Christ distinguished between doubt and unbelief. Doubt says, 'I can't believe.' Unbelief says, 'I won't believe.' Doubt is honest. Unbelief is obstinate. - Henry Drummond

Disobedience and unbelief are two sides of the same coin. - Ronald Dunn

What loneliness is more lonely than distrust? - George Eliot

Alongside getting faith out of a heart that is utterly hostile and unbelieving, making a silk purse out of a sow's ear or getting blood from a turnip is child's play. - John H. Gerstner

Unbelief is always conceited. - Richard Glover

Unbelief in the biblical view is not passive, an innocent but inaccurate view of the world that has unfortunately 'got it wrong' at a few points. Rather, unbelief is active, driven by a dark dynamism - Os Guinness

God excludes none if they do not exclude themselves. -  William Guthrie

Gospel light is justly taken away from those that endeavour to extinguish it. - Matthew Henry

None so blind as those who will not see. . - Matthew Henry

Nothing is more offensive to God than disbelief of his promise and despair of the performance of it because of some difficulties that seem to lie in the way. -  Matthew Henry

There are those who will trust Christ no further than they can see him...; as if he were tied to our methods, and could not draw water without our buckets. -  Matthew Henry

Unbelief is apt to mistake recruits for enemies, and to draw dismal conclusions even from comfortable premises. - Matthew Henry

Unbelief is at the bottom of all our staggerings at God's promises. - Matthew Henry

Unbelief is at the bottom of what sinners do ignorantly. - Matthew Henry

Unbelief is the great obstruction to Christ's favours. - Matthew Henry

Unbelief may truly be called the great damning sin, because it leaves us under the guilt of all our other sins; it is a sin against the remedy. - Matthew Henry

Unbelief, or distrust of God, is a sin that is its own punishment. - Matthew Henry

Unbelief is the shield of every sin. - William Jenkyn

Unbelief... makes the world a moral desert, where no divine footsteps are heard, where no angels ascend and descend, where no living hand adorns the fields, feeds the birds of heaven, or regulates events. -   F. W. Krummacher

Unbelief is a matter not only of the head but of the heart. The unbeliever's trouble is that his heart is not right with God. -  R. B. Kuiper

Unbelief is radically all other disobedience. -   Robert Leighton

The Bible itself gives us one short prayer which is suitable for all who are struggling with the beliefs and doctrines. It is: Lord I believe, help Thou my unbelief. - C. S. Lewis

When you are arguing against God you are arguing against the very Power that makes you able to argue at all. -  C. S. Lewis

No difficulty in believing the gospel is intellectual, it is always moral. - D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Incredulity robs us of many pleasures and gives us nothing in return. - James Russell Lowell

As no one can give himself faith, neither can he take away his unbelief. -  Martin Luther

What greater rebellion, impiety, or insult to God can there be than not to believe his promises? -  Martin Luther

Birds lack faith. They fly away when I enter the orchard, though I mean them no ill. Even so do we lack faith in God. - Martin Luther

Unbelief is the mother of sin, and misbelief the nurse of it. -   Thomas Manton

Ultimately, the acceptance of the gospel is a moral problem not an intellectual problem. -  Will Metzger

Unbelief is not failure in intellectual apprehension. It is disobedience in the presence of the clear commands of God. -  G. Campbell Morgan

The natural man does not want to believe that God has spoken. -   Tom Nettles

For the most part we live upon successes, not promises. Unless we see and feel the print of victories we will not believe. -   John Owen

Unbelief makes God a liar and, worse still, a perjurer, for it accounts him as not only false to his word, but to his oath. -     A. T. Pierson

Unbelief is far, far more than entertaining an erroneous conception of God's way of salvation: it is a species of hatred against him. -         A. W. Pink

Unbelief is not simply an infirmity of fallen human nature, it is a heinous crime. -    A. W. Pink

No maniac ever reasoned more illogically than the unbeliever. -   William S. Plumer

What sends people to hell today? It is not lying, not murder, not rape, not arson. It is not sexual perversion, not pride, not arrogance. It is this: unbelief! You see, Jesus died for all those other sins. Those sins have been paid for with His blood. It is unbelief—and unbelief alone—that shuts the door to heaven. In the spiritual realm, nothing is possible if you do not believe, but "everything is possible to the one who believes" (Mark 9:23). Just as you live physically by breathing, you live spiritually by faith. As the Bible says, "The righteous will live by faith" (Rom. 1:17).  - Adrian Rogers

Unbelief...is our greatest stumbling block in life. Unbelief is the chief wickedness. Unbelief is the mother sin, the father sin, the parent sin. It is the sin of all sins. Unbelief caused Eve to sin against God in the Garden of Eden. She failed to believe the Word of God. - Adrian Rogers

Unbelief is wickedness. Unbelief makes God a liar. Unbelief comes from an evil heart. Grace is released by faith. Grace is taken prisoner by unbelief. - Adrian Rogers

The errors of faith are better than the best thoughts of unbelief. -   Thomas Russell

If men do not have eternal life it is never because God did not love them, or because Christ was not given for them, but because they did not believe on Christ. - J. C. Ryle

No sin makes less noise, but none so surely damns the soul, as unbelief. -  J. C. Ryle

The difficulties of Christianity no doubt are great; but depend on it, they are nothing compared to the difficulties of infidelity. -  J. C. Ryle

Unbelief about the existence and personality of Satan has often proved the first step to unbelief about God. - J. C. Ryle

We can never be too much on our guard against unbelief. It is the oldest sin in the world. -  J. C. Ryle

God . . . has created us perfectly free to disbelieve in him as much as we choose. If we do disbelieve, then he and we must take the consequences in a world ruled by cause and effect. - Doroty Sayers

Those who deny God are bound to bestow all his attributes on flesh and blood. -  Isaac Bashevis Singer

The revelation of the gospel is to a world that is already under indictment for its universal rejection of God the Father. - R. C. Sproul

Those who spurn the gospel challenge not the power of the church but the sovereignty of God. - R. C. Sproul

There are no infidels anywhere but on earth. There are none in heaven and there are none in hell. - C. H. Spurgeon

Unbelief calls itself 'honest doubt', and not without cause, for we should not have known it to be honest if it had not labelled itself so. - C. H. Spurgeon

Unbelief will destroy the best of us. Faith will save the worst of us. -  C. H. Spurgeon

Unbelief is so deeply rooted in the human heart that when God performs miracles on earth, unbelief doubts whether he can perform them in heaven, and when he does them in heaven, whether he can do them on earth. -  Friedrich Tholuck

If the way to heaven is so narrow, and so few seek it, what will become of those who never seek it? - William Tiptaft

Every man will have to decide for himself whether or not he cannot afford the terrible luxury of unbelief. -   A. W. Tozer

Human unbelief cannot alter the character of God. -   A. W. Tozer

I do not believe there is anybody who ever rejects Jesus Christ on philosophical grounds. The man who continues in his rejection of Christ has a pet sin somewhere—he's in love with iniquity. -  A. W. Tozer

It is unbelief that prevents our minds from soaring into the celestial city, and walking by faith with God across the golden streets. - A. W. Tozer

Every man will have to decide for himself whether or not he can afford the terrible luxury of unbelief  - A. W. Tozer

A great many believers walk upon the promises at God's call in the way to heaven even as a child upon weak ice, which they are afraid will crack under them and leave them in the depth. - Robert Traill

Infidelity is the mother of apostasy. - John Trapp

Faith unlocks the divine storehouse, but unbelief bars its doors. -  Curtis Vaughan

Unbelief is the foul medley of all sins, the root and receptacle of sin. -  Thomas Watson

Unbelief is the root of apostasy. -  Thomas Watson

The root of all apostasy is the primal sin of unbelief. -  Geoffrey B. Wilson

Sources - Complete Gathered Gold, Draper's Quotes


Limiting God  Psalm 78:41KJV -  Wade H Horton

INTRODUCTION: God's wise and benevolent purposes are often frustrated. There are many things God would do for men, but there are things that hinder or limit God.
    I. INCONSISTENT CHRISTIAN LIVING LIMITS GOD. 
         A. "Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you" (Jeremiah 5:25). 
      B. "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear" (Isaiah 59:1, 2). 
    II. LACK OF FAITH LIMITS GOD. 
         A. Jesus "did not many mighty works... [in Nazareth] because of their unbelief" (Matthew 13:58). 
         B. "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed... nothing shall be impossible unto you" (Matthew 17:20). 
    III. SHALLOW AND SELFISH PRAYERS RESTRICT OR LIMIT GOD. 
         A. "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts" (James 4:3). 
         B. The Pharisee in his prayer exalted his own goodness; but it was a selfish, self-centered prayer, and he received no answer (Luke 18:10-14). 
    IV. A STUBBORN WILL LIMITS GOD. 
         A. "He came unto his own, and his own received him not" (John 1:11). 
         B. God extends His gifts, but we must accept them. 
         C. Jesus invites us to come, but He does not compel us to come (Matthew 11:28-30). 
         D. He says, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock" (Revelation 3:20). But we must open the door. 
         E. The key is on our side. We should by all means let Him in because He is the heavenly visitor. 
         F. And He is the best visitor we will ever have. For His visit will not be for a day, a month or a year, but for all eternity. 
CONCLUSION: Let us quit limiting our heavenly Father; let us simply trust Him to do as He has promised


CAN GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, BE LIMITED? - Al Bryant

And [they] limited the Holy One of Israel (Ps. 78:41).

God’s wise and benevolent purposes are often frustrated. There are many things God would do for men if permitted.

1. Inconsistent Christian living limits God. “Your iniquities have separated” (Isa. 59:2). “Your sins have withholden” (Jer. 5:25).

2. Lack of faith limits God. We limit the Holy One of Israel by distrust. Jesus at Nazareth “did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief” (Mt. 13:58). Many of us lack an adventurous faith. We are afraid to “launch out into the deep” (Luke 5:4). When you say, “My sins are too many to be forgiven,” you have limited God. You have put your sins above His grace.

3. Shallow and selfish prayers limit God. They restrict Him. “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss” (James 4:3). See the parable of the Pharisee and the publican. We often limit God by the narrowness of our prayers. Also by our lack of praying.

4. A stubborn will limits God. “He came to his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:11). “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem … how often would I have gathered thy children … and ye would not” (Matt. 23:37).

To limit God is to set bounds to His operations, to circumscribe or confine Him in His ability to effect certain purposes or works. The penitent sinner often does this when he doubts God’s willingness and ability to save. The Christian in trouble often does this in confining God to a certain mode of deliverance. God extends His gifts, but we must accept them. Jesus invites us to come, but He can’t compel us to come. Jesus stands at the door and knocks, but we must open the door. The key is on our side.


LIMITING GOD - Flawed Memory (Read Psalm 78:40-53) The older we get, the more we forget. This is especially true when it comes to our relationship with God. The people of Israel often remembered what they should have forgotten and forgot what they should have remembered! "They did not remember His power: the day when He redeemed them from the enemy, when He worked His signs in Egypt, and His wonders in the field of Zoan" (Psalm 78:42,43). How amazing. The Jews had seen God perform ten miracles on their behalf in Egypt. Moses even pointed out that this was the hand of the Lord, yet they forgot all about it. After they were delivered from Egypt and living in the desert, the first time they were thirsty, they complained. The first time they were hungry, they complained. Their constant cry was, "Let's go back." What did they remember about Egypt? The bondage? The taskmasters? Being beaten and whipped? Carrying the heavy burdens? They didn't remember those things. They remembered the leeks and the onions and the garlic and the cucumbers. They remembered the things that satisfied their stomachs. They did not remember the spiritual victories that God had given, His deliverance or His guidance. He had fed and led them, protected and provided for them; and they forgot about it. The same is often true of us. We forget what God has done for us, and when we forget, we start to go backward. Forgetfulness has consequences. "Yes, again and again they tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel" (Psalm 78:41KJV). Imagine--feeble, unbelieving man limiting Almighty God! But that's what happens when we forget Him. Don't limit God in your life today. He has unlimited wisdom and unlimited power, and your life has unlimited potential in His hands. Don't turn back. Look ahead. Don't test Him. Trust Him and remember his mercies. The same God who worked miracle after miracle for Israel is the One who is working for you today. Don't live with a flawed memory. Meditate on God's faithfulness and goodness. (Warren Wiersbe)

  • Beware in your prayer, above everything, of limiting God, not only by unbelief, but by fancying that you know what he can do. —Andrew Murray

Related Resources:

Mark 6:7 And He summoned the twelve and began to send them out in pairs, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits;

  • the twelve - Mk 3:13,14 Mt 10:1-4 Lu 6:13-16 9:1-6 10:3-12 
  • pairs - Ex 4:14,15 Ec 4:9,10 Rev 11:3 
  • authority - Mk 16:17 Lu 10:17-20 
  • Mark 6 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Simple Outline on Mark 6 - Jesus Teaching, Sending, Mourning, Feeding, Walking and Touching

  1. Mark 6:1-6 Jesus' Teaching Astonished and Scandalized = Unbelief in Nazareth
  2. Mark 6:7-13 Jesus Sends Twelve in Pairs Giving them Instructions and Authority
  3. Mark 6:14-29 John the Baptist Beheaded Fate
  4. Mark 6:30-44 - Jesus Feeds Five thousand
  5. Mark 6:45–52 Jesus Walks on the water
  6. Mark 6:53–56 Jesus Heals by Touching

SENDING THE 12 IN PAIRS

SENDING OF THE TWELVE
INTO JESUS' HARVEST

Parallel Passages:

Matthew. 9:35–10:4+ Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness (NOTE HIS PRIORITY - TEACHING BEFORE SIGNS).  36 Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then He *said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38 “Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” 10:1 Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.  2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these (See parallel passages in Mark 3:16-19+; Luke 6:13-16+): The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him. :5 These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans;

Matthew 10:9-14 “Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts, 10 or a bag for your journey, or even two coats, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support. 11“And whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it, and stay at his house until you leave that city. 12 “As you enter the house, give it your greeting. 13 “If the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace. But if it is not worthy, take back your blessing of peace. 14 “Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet.

Luke 9:1-6+ - And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. 2 And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing. 3 And He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, neither a staff, nor a bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not even have two tunics apiece. 4 “Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that city. 5 “And as for those who do not receive you, as you go out from that city, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” 6 Departing, they began going throughout the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere. 

This is a poor verse division - Mark 6:6b should be at the beginning of Mark 6:7 - 

And He was going around the villages teaching...

And He summoned the twelve and began to send them out in pairs - Going in pairs was a common Jewish practice and was the pattern in Acts (Acts 13:1–3+; Acts 15:39–40+). In the present instance it perhaps establishes the truthfulness of the message (cf. Deut 17:6). The verb for send as noted  below is apostello which is the root of the word apostle, which is in effect was their function (see Mk 6:30+). 

Wiersbe - Jesus sent them out in pairs because it is always easier and safer for servants to travel and work together. “Two are better than one” (Ecc. 4:9), and the Law, as previously observed, required two witnesses to verify a matter (Deut. 17:6; 19:15; 2 Cor. 13:1). They would not only help each other; they would also learn from each other.

Send (649) (apostello from apo = from, away from + stello = to withdraw from, avoid) means to send off, to send forth, to send out. To send out; to commission as a representative, an ambassador, an envoy. The idea is to send forth from one place to another. But the meaning of apostello is more than just to send because as in the present context it means "to send off on a commission to do something as one’s personal representative, with credentials furnished" (Wuest)  Three things are true of the person sent from God. (1) He belongs to God, who has sent him out. (2) He is commissioned to be sent out. (3) He possesses all the authority and power of God, who has sent him out. (Practical Word Studies)

God’s commandments always include His enablements.

Paul alluded to the truth that a servant of God as always dependent on the supply from God writing

Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, Who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Cor 3:5-6+)

And gave them authority over the unclean spirits - In Matthew we read "Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness." (Mt 10:1) Luke says Jesus "gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases." Note that Luke distinguishes between authority over demons and diseases. In other words diseases are not necessarily related to demonic activity. These supernatural manifestations of authority over the unseen world would serve to authenticate or validate the message they preached. Unclean spirits refers to the demonic spirits and is a term used 4x in Mark (Mk. 1:27; Mk. 3:11; Mk. 5:13; Mk. 6:7)

Wiersbe - Jesus gave these twelve men both the apostolic authority and the divine ability to do the job He sent them to do. They were not “on their own”; they represented Him in all that they did and said. (BEC)

Authority (1849)(exousia from éxesti = it is permitted, it is lawful) means the power to do something and was a technical term used in the law courts, of a legal right. "Authority or right is the dominant meaning (of exousia) in the New Testament." (Vincent) Exousía refers to delegated authority and combines the idea of the "right and the might", in the present context these attributes having been granted to the disciples by Jesus. One thing is made clear at the beginning of Jesus' ministry is that (1) His teaching had AUTHORITY (exousia) (Mk 1:22+) and (2) He had AUTHORITY (exousia) over the unclean spirits (Mk 1:26-27+), and thus over the forces of darkness. This of course is the reason He could bestow such AUTHORITY on His 12 disciples.

Unclean (169)(akathartos from a = without + kathaíro = cleanse from katharos = clean, pure, free from the adhesion of anything that soils, adulterates, corrupts, in an ethical sense, free from corrupt desire, sin, and guilt; See also akatharsia) in a moral sense refers to that which is unclean in thought, word, and deed. It can describe a state of moral impurity, especially sexual sin and the word foul is an excellent rendering. The idea is that which morally indecent or filthy. Given this definition, it is not surprising that akathartos is applied to filthy demonic spirits in the Gospels.  Matt. 10:1; Mk. 1:27; Mk. 3:11; Mk. 5:13; Mk. 6:7; Lk. 4:36; Lk. 6:18

Vine - "Demons" are the spiritual agents acting in all idolatry. The idol itself is nothing, but every idol has a "demon" associated with it who induces idolatry, with its worship and sacrifices,1Corinthians 10:20,21 ; Revelation 9:20 ; cp. Deuteronomy 32:17 ; Isaiah 13:21; 34:14; 65:3,11. They disseminate errors among men, and seek to seduce believers, 1Ti 4:1 . As seducing spirits they deceive men into the supposition that through mediums (those who have "familiar spirits," Leviticus 20:6,27 , e.g.) they can converse with deceased human beings. Hence the destructive deception of spiritism, forbidden in Scripture, Leviticus 19:31 ; Deuteronomy 18:11 ; Isaiah 8:19 . "Demons" tremble before God, James 2:19 ; they recognized Christ as Lord and as their future Judge, Matthew 8:29 ; Luke 4:41 . Christ cast them out of human beings by His own power. His disciples did so in His name, and by exercising faith, e.g., Matthew 17:20. Acting under Satan (cp. Revelation 16:13,14 ), "demons" are permitted to afflict with bodily disease, Luke 13:16 . Being unclean they tempt human beings with unclean thoughts, Matthew 10:1 ; Mark 5:2 ; 7:25 ; Luke 8:27-29 ; Revelation 16:13 ; 18:2 , e.g. They differ in degrees of wickedness, Matthew 12:45 . They will instigate the rulers of the nations at the end of this age to make war against God and His Christ, Revelation 16:14 . (Demon, Demoniac - Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words)

THOUGHT -  As Kent Hughes says "Typically, those under the sway of demons descend to filthy living, both physically and morally. It is not at all incidental that the rise of occultism and Satanism in recent years has been accompanied by increasing drug abuse, pornography, and obscenity." (Preaching the Word – Luke) One does not have to be demon possessed to be in church dressed in your Sunday best, all the while hiding your moral worst! How many pastors have preached with filthy hearts! The number of pastors falling into immorality is just the tip of the "morally depraved iceberg" for the sheep are usually not following behind the shepherd! (See Tim Challies For the Pastor Knee-Deep in Immorality)

Robert Morgan paraphrases Jesus' instructions to the disciples - "Now, you’ve been sitting around listening to me long enough. I want you to go out knocking on some door and trying your hand at preaching. Yes, I know it’s a little threatening. Yes, I know it’s outside your comfort zone. No, I’m not going to give you a lot of training in public speaking. I just want you to travel light—don’t take too many clothes with you because you’ll have a hard time lugging around that suitcase. Just show up and say a word for me and if they listen to you, that’s great. And if you fall flat on your face, just dust yourself off and go to the next town and try again.”

Related Resources:


Question - What are unclean spirits? Are unclean spirits demons?

Answer: An unclean spirit is simply a New Testament synonym, a more descriptive Jewish term, for a demon. The terms unclean spirit and demon seem to be interchangeable in Scripture. There is no clear difference in their definitions. Some translations refer to them as “impure spirits.”

Throughout the New Testament, the term unclean spirits (akathartos in the Greek language) is mentioned over twenty times. Throughout those passages we read that unclean spirits can possess people and cause them sickness and harm (Matthew 10:1; 12:43; Mark 1:26; Luke 4:36; 6:18; Acts 5:16; 8:7), that they are searching for someone to possess if they are not currently possessing someone (Matthew 12:43), that some are more unclean or evil than others (Luke 11:26), that unclean spirits can interact with one another (Mark 5:1–20; Matthew 12:45), and that unclean spirits are under God’s authority and must submit to Him (Mark 1:27; 3:11; 5:8, 13).

An unclean spirit or demon is “unclean” in that it is wicked. Evil spirits are not only wicked themselves, but they delight in wickedness and promote wickedness in humans. They are spiritually polluted and impure, and they seek to contaminate all of God’s creation with their filth. Their foul, putrid nature is in direct contrast to the purity and incorruption of the Holy Spirit’s nature. When a person is defiled by an unclean spirit, he takes pleasure in corrupt thoughts and actions; when a person is filled with the Holy Spirit, his thoughts and actions are heavenly.

Some people hold the idea that unclean spirits or demons are deceased humans who may or may not have been evil while alive. However, we know the unclean spirits mentioned in the Bible are not referring to the dead, for several reasons. One, humans are never called “spirits” when the word spirit is used as a stand-alone term, without a possessive. In Scripture, men are said to have a spirit/soul (saying “his spirit” in Proverbs 25:28 and 1 Corinthians 5:5), but men are not called “spirits.” Another reason is that, once a person dies, he immediately goes either to eternal life with the Lord or to eternal darkness in hell (Hebrews 9:27; 2 Corinthians 5:6–8; Matthew 25:46). Human spirits, therefore, do not and cannot wander on earth in their spirit bodies. Any unclean spirit that wanders around, taking up residence in places or people or interacting with people in any way, is a fallen angel—a demon (Matthew 12:44). All unclean spirits mentioned in Scripture are demons, and all demons are definitely unclean, unholy, impure, evil spirits doomed to an eternity in hell (Matthew 25:41). (Source: gotquestions.org)


Lack Nothing

God is able to bless you abundantly, so that . . . you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8

Today's Scripture & Insight: Mark 6:7–12

Imagine going on a trip without luggage. No basic necessities. No change of clothing. No money or credit cards. Sounds both unwise and terrifying, doesn’t it?

But that’s exactly what Jesus told His twelve disciples to do when He sent them out on their first mission to preach and heal. “Take nothing for the journey except a staff,” said Jesus. “No bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra shirt” (Mark 6:8–9).

Yet later on when Jesus was preparing them for their work after He was gone, He told His disciples, “If you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one” (Luke 22:36).

So, what’s the point here? It’s about trusting God to supply.

When Jesus referred back to that first trip, He asked the disciples, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?” And they answered, “Nothing” (v. 35). The disciples had everything they needed to carry out what God had called them to do. He was able to supply them with the power to do His work (Mark 6:7).

Do we trust God to supply our needs? Are we also taking personal responsibility and planning? Let’s have faith that He will give us what we need to carry out His work. By:  Poh Fang Chia (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

You are good, Lord, and all You do is good. Help us in our endeavors to pray and to plan and to trust You.

God’s will done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply. Hudson Taylor, founder of China Inland Mission

Mark 6:8 and He instructed them that they should take nothing for their journey, except a mere staff--no bread, no bag, no money in their belt--

BGT  Mark 6:8 καὶ παρήγγειλεν αὐτοῖς ἵνα μηδὲν αἴρωσιν εἰς ὁδὸν εἰ μὴ ῥάβδον μόνον, μὴ ἄρτον, μὴ πήραν, μὴ εἰς τὴν ζώνην χαλκόν,

NET  Mark 6:8 He instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a staff– no bread, no bag, no money in their belts–

NLT  Mark 6:8 He told them to take nothing for their journey except a walking stick-- no food, no traveler's bag, no money.

ESV  Mark 6:8 He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff-- no bread, no bag, no money in their belts--

KJV  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:

NIV  Mark 6:8 These were his instructions: "Take nothing for the journey except a staff--no bread, no bag, no money in your belts.

Wuest And He commanded them not to be taking even one thing for the road except only a walking stick, not bread, nor a begging-bag, nor money in their belt,

Parallel Passages:

Matthew 10:9-14+ “Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts, 10 or a bag for your journey, or even two coats, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support. 11 “And whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it, and stay at his house until you leave that city. 12 “As you enter the house, give it your greeting. 13 “If the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace. But if it is not worthy, take back your blessing of peace. 14 “Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet.

Luke 9:1-6+ - And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. 2 And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing. 3 And He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, neither a staff, nor a bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not even have two tunics apiece. 4 “Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that city. 5 “And as for those who do not receive you, as you go out from that city, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” 6 Departing, they began going throughout the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere. 

Luke 10:4+  “Carry no money belt, no bag, no shoes; and greet no one on the way.

JESUS SAYS
"TRAVEL LIGHT!"

Jesus is not sending His ambassadors on an adventure trip or a sightseeing tour, but a ministry trip.

Kenneth Wuest on the difference in the Gospel accounts of what the disciples were to take with them -  Both Matthew and Luke quote our Lord as forbidding the disciples to take a staff, and the former quotes Him as forbidding shoes, while Mark quotes Him as telling the disciples to take a staff and sandals. Robertson suggests that the difficulty probably is solved by the fact that the three Gospels speak of “two,” and that this applies to the staff and shoes or sandals. He quotes Gould: “In general, these directions are against luxury in equipment, and also against providing themselves with what they could procure from the hospitality of others.”

Hiebert explains it this way - According to Matthew 10:9–10, the disciples were not to get, or “acquire,” a staff, not to go to the trouble of providing a new one. This explanation, which is strictly grammatical, removes the supposed contradiction between Mark and the other synoptics. This pertains also to the sandals; no new ones were to be procured....According to Matthew, they were instructed not to procure a new or extra pair of shoes. 

NET Note - Neither Matt 10:9–10 nor Luke 9:3 allow for a staff. It might be that Matthew and Luke mean not taking an extra staff, or that the expression is merely rhetorical for "traveling light," which has been rendered in two slightly different ways.

And He instructed them - Instructed is translated commanded in KJV, which is not a bad rendering for the verb paragello is a strong verb. It is more than a suggestion but conveys what is necessary to be done and was used in secular Greek for a physician giving a prescription for something that was necessary for the person's health. In some secular contexts, paragello was used like our modern subpoena and and to disregard it made a person liable to severe punishment. It was used as a military term in which the soldier was bound to obey the orders of his superior (good picture of disciples going out to give the Gospel, the ultimate warfare, spiritual warfare!). The main idea is that of binding the hearer or recipient in a way that they make the proper response to the charge or instruction. This background helps us understand the sense of Jesus' words in this section as He sends the twelve out into the spiritually dark world. They needed to obey His instructions.

Instructed (3853)(paraggello or parangello from para = beside, alongside, near by, at the side of + aggelos = messenger, angello/aggello = to announce) means to hand on or pass on an announcement from one to another who is at one's side, such as to what must be done, usually with the idea of a command or charge. As noted above Paraggello often was used in the context of a military command and demanded that the subordinate obey the order from the superior and required unhesitating and unqualified obedience. (cp Lk 5:14, 8:29, Lk 9:21KJV, Acts 1:4, 4:18; 5:28KJV; Acts 15:5KJV; 1Th 4:11). It is like a mandate (an authoritative command) or a call to obedience from one in authority. In other contexts the main idea was that the announcement was in the form of an instruction (cp Lk 8:56, 1Cor 7:10, 11:17). Instruction can simply represent the impartation of knowledge as to how something should be done, but when this English word translates paraggello, it indicates directions calling for compliance.

Jesus wanted them to be adequately supplied, but not to the point of ceasing to live by faith.
--Warren Wiersbe

That they should take nothing for their journey, except a mere staff - Luke 9:3+ seems to contradict Mark having “Take nothing for your journey, neither a staff" (See discussion below). The staff was a common walking stick, and was used by most ancient travelers.The mention of except a mere staff reminds one of the accoutrements of Moses as he was preparing for spiritual battle with Pharaoh and the spiritual forces that he would encounter, God telling him "you shall take in your hand this staff with which you shall perform the signs." (Ex 4:17+), "So Moses took his wife and his sons and mounted them on a donkey, and returned to the land of Egypt. Moses also took the staff of God in his hand." (Ex 4:20+)

THOUGHT - Of course the purpose of the staff for the disciples was not the same as it was for Moses, but it is nevertheless an interesting parallel for both were sent by God and both were entering the spiritual battle of a lifetime. When God uses a man, He does not need anything but the man. Wholly His instrument, holy, set apart, useful to Him and prepared for every good work (2 Ti 2:21+). Are you that man or woman? If He calls and commands, then go, for you will be entering into the adventure of a lifetime. Today we go not with dependence on a staff, but in complete dependence on the supernatural power of God's grace (1 Cor 15:10+) and the Spirit of Jesus (Acts 1:8+, cf Col 1:29+), Who gives us everything necessary for life and godliness (2 Pe 1:3+) to accomplish the will of our Father (Jn 4:34+). 

NET Note on staff - Mark 6:8 allows one staff (Mt 10:9 says "a staff"). It might be that Matthew's summary (cf. Luke 9:3+ = “Take nothing for your journey, neither a staff,") means not taking an extra staff or that the expression is merely rhetorical for "traveling light" which has been rendered in two slightly different ways. (See more below)

No bread, no bag, no money in their belt - No money in their belt is is literally “no copper into the girdle." Expositors writes that "no mention of gold or silver, brass the only money the poor missionaries were likely to handle.” The bag (pera) was "a leather pouch used by travelers." (BDAG), a sack with a strap, used by travelers for carrying food provisions 

Daniel Hill - The prohibition against carrying a bag is interesting in that normally the word was used for a bread bag. Common in the ancient world. But the Lord already said, no bread, making the prohibition against a bag for the bread redundant. But the bread bag was also used by beggars to hold out like the tin cup, so this prohibition is against going about begging. In all this the lord is going to teach the disciples that He can care for them even when He is not with them. This is one way to teach Christ centered dependency. There are many ways the Lord will use to get believers to realize that they can depend upon Him. Sometimes He may send us out with nothing and we will see that "Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." (2 Corinthians 3:5-6+) These disciples would learn what we must also learn, that even though absent, the Lord provides for us. And we can depend upon Him. (Mark Commentary)

Hiebert - the three items form a climax: no food, no bag for carrying any provisions for the trip, no money to buy necessities on the trip. The wallet was the common leather traveler’s bag, generally thrown over the shoulder while walking. It has been suggested that the term here denotes the beggar’s bag, used for collecting alms. Such a bag was a part of the equipment of an itinerant Cynic preacher. This would mean that they were not to go around collecting money, either for their own support or for their Master. But there is no evidence that Jesus or His disciples ever traveled as mendicants.

Barclay - “He was once again speaking words which were very familiar to a Jew. The Talmud tells us that: ‘No one is to go to the Temple Mount with staff, shoes, girdle of money, or dusty feet.’ The idea was that when a man entered the temple, he must make it quite clear that he had left everything which had to do with trade and business and worldly affairs behind.”

Money (5475)(chalkos - Eng chalcography = art of engraving copper) refers to the metal itself such as copper, brass (alloy of copper and zinc - 1 Cor 13:1), bronze (alloy of copper and tin) (Rev 18.12). Chalkos was used of anything made of this metal, such as gong (1Cor 13.1), copper coins (Mt 10.9); more generally money (Mk 12.41) Moulton and Milligan speak of chalkos as a word meaning “bronze-money.” From two quotations of the second and third centuries, it appears that the word was used of money in general.

Chalkos -bronze(1), copper(1), gong(1), money(2).  Matt. 10:9; Mk. 6:8; Mk. 12:41; 1 Co. 13:1; Rev. 18:12

Chalkos in the Septuagint often translating bronze - Gen. 4:22; Ex 25:3; Exod. 27:2; Exod. 27:6; Exod. 31:4; Exod. 35:5; Exod. 35:24; Exod. 35:32; Exod. 38:29; Num. 31:22; Deut. 8:9; Deut. 33:25; Jos. 6:19; Jos. 6:24; 1 Sam. 17:5; 2 Sam. 8:8; 2 Sam. 21:16; 1 Ki. 7:14; 1 Ki. 7:47; 2 Ki. 25:13; 2 Ki. 25:16; 1 Chr. 18:8; 1 Chr. 22:3; 1 Chr. 22:14; 1 Chr. 22:16; 1 Chr. 29:2; 1 Chr. 29:7; 2 Chr. 2:7; 2 Chr. 2:14; 2 Chr. 4:9; 2 Chr. 4:16; 2 Chr. 4:18; 2 Chr. 24:12; Ezr. 8:27; Job 28:2; Job 41:27; Isa. 60:17; Jer. 6:28; Jer. 52:17; Lam. 3:7; Ezek. 1:7; Ezek. 16:36; Ezek. 22:18; Ezek. 22:20; Ezek. 24:11; Dan. 2:35; Dan. 2:39; Dan. 2:45; Dan. 10:6

Related Resources:


IS JESUS A JEWISH CYNIC? - Because of these instructions and because of teachings in which he criticizes materialism and vanity, a few scholars think Jesus was a Jewish Cynic. Are Jesus’ instructions here in Mark 6 (and parallels in Matt 10 and Luke 9) in step with the Cynic dress code? No, these instructions in fact do not agree with Cynic dress and conduct; they contradict them. The very things Jesus tells his disciples not to take with them (no bag, no tunic—and no staff either, if we follow the version in Matthew and Luke) are the characteristic markers of the true Cynic, as one observer from late antiquity put it: “What makes a Cynic is his purse and his staff and his big mouth” (Epictetus 3.22.50; cf. Lucian, Peregrinus 15; Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers 6.13; Psuedo-Diogenes 30.3). There is nothing Cynic in Jesus’ instructions to his disciples.The only parallel with Jesus is simply in giving instructions with regard to what to wear and what to take on one’s journey. The only specific agreement is taking the staff (if we follow Mark; if we do not, then there is no agreement at all). The staff, however, is hardly distinctive to Cynics. On the contrary, in the Jewish context the staff has a long and distinguished association with the patriarchs, such as Jacob and Judah (Gen 32:10; 38:18), and the great lawgiver Moses and his brother Aaron (Exod 4:4; 7:9). Moreover, the staff is also a symbol of royal authority, figuring in texts that in later interpretation take on messianic and eschatological significance (e.g., Gen 49:10; Isa 11:4; Ezek 19:14). (Holman Apologetics Commentary)


Rod Mattoon on the Pilgrim Life - What is the life of a pilgrim like?

A. Pilgrims travel light. They are not bogged down with great weight.

B. Their encounters are difficult with beasts and dangerous terrain.

1 Peter 5:8-Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

C. A pilgrim has no permanent home on earth.

Philippians 3:20-For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

D. Wilderness life also has times of quietness, beauty, and meditation about the Lord.

E. The pilgrim is ready to travel at a moment's notice. As Christians, we are to be ready for the Rapture of the church when we will be removed within the blink of an eye. This could happen today.

1 Corinthians 15:52-In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (Exodus Commentary)


David Holwick on Traveling LIght - The time is short.
Jesus demands a rapid mission. a) No heavy support, just go. b) In effect, they would live off the land.  Being a military brat, I often heard stories about the war in Vietnam. One of my neighbors had been a military advisor to the South Vietnamese. As they hiked through the jungle, the soldiers would grab a handful of tea leaves and boil them for lunch. Their meal was a cupful of rice. A few tons of supplies could keep his division of thousands of men functioning. American Army divisions, however, needed hundreds, even thousands of tons of supplies each day. Ammo, fuel, C-rations, vehicles, toilet paper...Jesus says his disciples would be more like the South Vietnamese. Travel light, travel fast. There was a whole nation to reach!


Were the Twelve to Take a Staff? - When we read Mark 6:8–9, Jesus’ instructions seem clear enough: the only item that the Twelve are to take with them on their missionary journey is a staff. Yet then we read Matthew 10:9–10 and Luke 9:3, which prohibit the taking of a staff.

The first piece of information that we notice is that although Matthew seems to know Mark quite well in other places, here only his mention of copper is in common with Mark (the word for “money” in Mark means “copper,” while the word in Luke means “silver”). The rest of Matthew’s version has more in common with Luke. Since Matthew has many other passages in common with Luke which Mark does not have at all (commonly called Q passages from the German word for “source,” Quelle), the lack of common vocabulary with Mark looks like here Matthew is drawing on his common source with Luke more than on Mark. We also notice that Matthew says “no sandals,” although Mark tells them to wear sandals. Thus we conclude that in this case Matthew and Luke follow a common source rather than Mark.

The second thing that we notice is that despite the differences there is general agreement among the accounts. The Twelve are not to take money, bread, a bag (in which to carry their provisions and into which to put anything they were given) or a second tunic (this was the inner garment, so it indicates a change of clothing). Thus all of the accounts agree that either the trip was so urgent or their dependence on God was to be so radical that the disciples were not to take the normal necessities for a journey with them. Luke’s absolute “Take nothing for the journey” is certainly how the Twelve felt. They were setting out on a trip totally unprepared, without even food or money to buy food. They were also setting out quite differently from the wandering Cynic and Stoic philosophers of Greece, who traveled simply but were permitted to carry food with them and to take up collections in their begging bag. By way of contrast, if Jesus’ followers had been given anything beyond what they could eat or put on there on the spot, they could not have carried it with them, for they had no bag to carry it in.
The third thing we notice is that these instructions were taken seriously by Christian missionaries throughout the New Testament period. The one place we find anyone shaking off the dust of their feet against a city is not in the Gospels but in Acts 13:51, where Paul and Barnabas do it outside Pisidian Antioch. Nor is there any indication in either Acts or his letters of Paul’s carrying supplies of any type with him, although this is an argument from silence. We do note that when he comes to Corinth and needs to work he does not set up his own stall but joins in another man’s workshop (Acts 18:3). The point is that these passages were put in the Gospels because they were relevant to missionaries throughout the New Testament period. The concern was not simply to record commands given to the Twelve that were irrelevant for later missions.

What, then, can we say about these three passages? It is possible that a corruption has crept into the text and that Mark originally read “no staff” (which was used for self-defense as well as an aid to walking), but that is unlikely. There is no solid manuscript evidence for that, nor would that explain the problem of the sandals as well. The sandals are mentioned twice in the Mark passage (once in Mk 6:9 and then later in shaking the dust off the sandals), while Matthew is consistent in saying no sandals and then telling them to shake the dust off their feet rather than off their sandals.

One solution is to suggest that it is possible that there were two such commands by Jesus and Mark has one and Matthew another. However, Luke, who agrees with Matthew, clearly identifies his account as the sending of the Twelve, not the Seventy, and there is no evidence that Jesus sent the Twelve out on more than one major trip of this type. This solution would be inventing trips simply to save us problems. It may have happened that way, but it is unlikely given the shortness of Jesus’ ministry.

What seems more likely is that there were two traditions transmitting these instructions of Jesus. Both traditions have the same essence, that the disciples were to travel light, without the normal supplies needed for a journey, resulting in their total dependence  on God, but they differed in their exact wording. Perhaps this was a difference in the understanding of Jesus’ Aramaic (since the Gospels were written in Greek), or perhaps this was the result of an adaptation of the traditions to local missionary circumstances (in some areas one might need sandals or the assistance of a staff, while in others it might be more feasible to go without sandals and a staff). Whatever the reason for the differences in the traditions, Mark followed one (perhaps one he received directly from Peter) and Matthew and Luke followed the other (we have no idea who the source of their common tradition was).

These differences remind us that in the Gospels we have the meaning of Jesus, his voice, so to speak, transmitted to us, but not his exact words. None of the Gospels were written in the Aramaic he spoke and none of the Synoptic Gospels, with the possible exception of Mark, were written by eyewitnesses. Thus we are not surprised when the meaning and thrust of the words of Jesus is the same, but the exact wording is different. Only if one has a very legal mind is there a significant difference. Surely early missionaries reading Matthew’s version would not feel guilty if while walking up a steep hill they picked up a stout stick to assist them on their way. They were traveling simply, not prepared for the normal problems of travel, and they just accepted assistance which was lying there to be taken, probably with thanksgiving to God. Jesus normally speaks in the hyperbole of a wisdom teacher, not the legal precision of a Pharisee.

These passages are also another reminder to us that we do not have all of the answers. There are issues which may have a perfectly good explanation if we could gather Mark and Matthew and Luke together, but for which we will not have an answer short of such a gathering.

Finally, these passages call us not to lose the forest for the trees. Jesus called his missionaries to travel simply, without the normal provisions for a journey. They had to depend on God for their support. What does that mean for us who call ourselves disciples of Jesus in our security-conscious age? When we would not think of setting off on any mission, ordered by God or not, without ten times the normal provision that Jesus prohibited (credit card as well as money; a suitcase of clothes, not just a change), the issue of whether or not sandals or a staff were or were not permitted to the Twelve fades into insignificance. (Hard Sayings of the Bible) (See related discussion on Matthew 10:10)

Mark 6:9 but to wear sandals; and He added, "Do not put on two tunics."

Wuest And He commanded them not to be taking even one thing for the road except only a walking stick, not bread, nor a begging-bag, nor money in their belt, but to wear sandals, and not to clothe themselves with two undergarments.

Parallel Passages:

Matthew 10:9-10+ “Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts, 10 or a bag for your journey, or even two coats (TUNICS), or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support. 11 “And whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it, and stay at his house until you leave that city. 12 “As you enter the house, give it your greeting. 13 “If the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace. But if it is not worthy, take back your blessing of peace. 14 “Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet.

Luke 9:1-6+ - And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. 2 And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing. 3 And He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, neither a staff, nor a bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not even have two tunics apiece. 4 “Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that city. 5 “And as for those who do not receive you, as you go out from that city, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” 6 Departing, they began going throughout the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere. 

Luke 10:4+  “Carry no money belt, no bag, no shoes; and greet no one on the way.


DON'T BE
ENCUMBERED

The writer of Hebrews alludes to traveling light in our Christian race....

"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus (THE GOAL, THE PRIZE), the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. ." (Heb 12:1-2+)

But - Term of contrast. Hiebert says this contrast "indicates a concession, in case any of them might be barefooted at the time."

To wear sandals - These sandals consisted only of a sole, fastened about the foot and ankle with straps. Yes the disciples were to wear sandals, but I would submit they were also to in effect wearing "Nike" (from nikao) brand sandals where the Greek word nikao means overcome. Paul used nikao in Ro 12:21+ charging disciples "Do not be overcome (nikao - present imperative with a negative see need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) by evil, but overcome (nikao - present imperative  see need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) evil with good."  And so while the disciples of Jesus were to have shod their feet with literal sandals, even more important they were to have "shod (THEIR) FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE." (Eph 6:15+). And so too should we, dear fellow follower of Christ! What "brand" of sandals are you wearing?

And He added, "Do not put on two tunics" - Two tunics was the badge of the well-to-do. One tunic was sufficient as an important outer garment that served both as overcoat and blanket. The tunic was an undergarment worn next to the skin. It was fine to have one tunic, but two was excessive. It was a "luxury." In fact well to do people would often wear two tunics as evidence of their worldly wealth. Jesus wanted His disciples to begin their journey with an "other worldly" (eternal) mindset, exactly the attitude He desires for all of His disciples, "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ." (Php 3:20+). This  reminds me of the command by Paul to "Set your mind (present imperative see need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) on the things above, not on the things that are on earth." (Col 3:2+). (See also the concept I like to call Vertical Vision).

THOUGHT - Do the words of Jesus and Paul describe your mindset dear disciple? If not, perhaps you need to "reboot" and ask God to give you "Vertical Vision" so that you might be better able to "Redeem the Time," while you still have time to redeem! Are you seeking (and even praying) for temporal trinkets on earth when you could be storing up for yourself eternal treasures in Heaven (see below)? See Give Me An Undivided Heart.

 Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name. 
(Psalm 86:11)

How hard it is to focus on the treasures of life!
How easy to mistake the trinkets for treasures!
-- Ray Pritchard

Tunic (garment) (5509)(chiton) s a masculine noun. which refers to a close–fitting inner vest, an inner garment, an undergarment or in some contexts to any garment. At times two tunics seem to have been worn, probably of different materials for ornament or luxury (Mt. 10:10; Mk 6:9; Lu 3:11; 9:3). The high priest rent his clothes (Mk 14:63). In the Septuagint chiton is used of Adam's garment of skin (Ge 3:21+). Chiton is used 5x in Genesis to describe Joseph's "varicolored tunic." (Ge 37:3, 23, 31-33) Jesus uses both chiton and himation in (Lk 6:29). In Mk 14:63 the high priest tore "his clothes" referring to an outer cloak, which in this context was equivalent to himationWebster on tunic - a simple slip-on garment made with or without sleeves and usually knee-length or longer, belted at the waist, and worn as an under or outer garment by men and women of ancient Greece and Rome.

Related Resources:

  • Holman Bible Dictionary Outer Tunic Tunic
  • Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible Tunic
  • Hastings' Dictionary of the NT Tunic
  • 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica Tunic

Related Resources:


Fleeting earthly comforts and worldly trinkets! (J. R. Miller, "Miller's Year Book — a Year's Daily Readings")

"Unto Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think!" Ephesians 3:20+

God often does better for us — than we ask.
We go to Him — with our little requests.
We are in need — and ask for temporal relief.
We are suffering — and ask that our pain may cease.
We are poor — and ask Him for more money.

We are just like the beggar, holding out our hands for paltry alms to eke out the day's need. Then God looks down upon us and says, "My child, are these little trifles all you want Me to give to you — daily bread, clothing, fuel for your fire, medicine for your sickness, comfort for your grief? The small things to supply your common needs — are these the only gifts and blessings you want and ask from the hand of your heavenly Father, who has infinite treasures to give to you?"

Yet thousands never get beyond just such requests in their praying! Bowing daily before a God of infinite power and love, in whose hands are unsearchable riches — they never ask for anything but fleeting earthly comforts and worldly trinkets! They ask only for things for their bodies, or to beautify their homes — making no requests for the heavenly and spiritual gifts that God has for their souls! We should learn to ask for the best things in all God's treasure house!

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things!" Colossians 3:1-2

Mark 6:10  And He said to them, "Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave town.

HOW A DISCIPLE IS TO
CONDUCT HIMSELF

Parallel Passages:

Matthew 10:11-13+ “And whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it, and stay at his house until you leave that city. 12 “As you enter the house, give it your greeting. 13 “If the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace. But if it is not worthy, take back your blessing of peace.

Luke 9:4+ -  “Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that city. 

And He said to them - This was a frequent phrase by Mark to identify a transition, in this case a transition to another aspect of the instructions. 

And He said to them - Mk. 2:25; Mk. 3:4; Mk. 4:13; Mk. 4:40; Mk. 6:10; Mk. 6:31; Mk. 6:38; Mk. 7:6; Mk. 7:18; Mk. 9:12; Mk. 9:29; Mk. 10:11; Mk. 10:36; Mk. 12:16; Mk. 14:20; Mk. 14:24; Mk. 14:34; Mk. 16:6; Mk. 16:15

"Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave town - Matthew 10:11 adds "city or village." Jesus' informs the disciples that some households will accept them as invited guests. In the ancient world the practice was to offer hospitality to strangers. The passage in Matthew says "And whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it, and stay at his house until you leave that city."  (Mt. 10:11) In other words, the disciples were not to enter a village and select a household at random but were to make inquiry of which household might be most appropriate for preachers of the Gospel. 

In Matthew 10:9; 10+ Jesus adds "Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts, or a bag for your journey, or even two coats, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support." What is He saying here? Basically He is saying we are not to get rich preaching the Gospel! As an aside the phrase "the worker is worthy of his support"is quoted by Paul in 1 Timothy 5:18, the only place where a New Testament writer quotes another New Testament passage as "Scripture." This gives incidental confirmation of the New Testament--Luke in particular--as being on a par with the Old Testament Scriptures. 

Wuest - The injunction to remain in the home where one has been welcomed and to stay there until he leaves the village, Robertson says: is “to avoid a restless and dissatisfied manner and to take pains in choosing a home.” 

Mark 6:11  "Any place that does not receive you or listen to you, as you go out from there, shake the dust off the soles of your feet for a testimony against them."

NET  Mark 6:11 If a place will not welcome you or listen to you, as you go out from there, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them."

NLT  Mark 6:11 But if any place refuses to welcome you or listen to you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate."

ESV  Mark 6:11 And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them."

Parallel Passages:

Matthew 10:14+  “Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet.

Luke 9:5+ - “And as for those who do not receive you, as you go out from that city, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” 6 Departing, they began going throughout the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere. 

LEAVE SOME DUST AS
A SIGN OF REJECTION

Any place that does not receive you or listen to you - Receive is the verb dechomai which means something akin to putting out the welcome mat for someone. Here the Jewish hearers are in effect pulling out the "welcome mat" from beneath the feet of the evangelists, feet which have been shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace" (Eph 6:15+)! The idea inherent in listen is not just to hear to to hear so as to respond or obey. In this case the good news of the traveling evangelists in effect goes "in one ear and out the other!", a modern idiom that means what was heard was immediately dismissed, ignored or forgotten after being heard. John records of Jesus that "He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him." (Jn 1:11+) Like Master, like students!

As they ministered from place to place,
they would encounter both hospitality and hostility,
both friends and enemies.
--Warren Wiersbe

As you go out from there, shake the dust off the soles of your feet for a testimony against them -  It is like saying "You have had an opportunity to hear the Gospel of salvation, but you have rejected it and you will receive a just retribution for your rejection." In short "If a house or a village did not receive them, they had His permission to declare God’s judgment on those people." (Wiersbe)  And the witness that the prosecution will call against that village is in effect "dust!" The NLT has a good paraphrase "shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate." The action was shaking dust and the purpose was for a testimony against them "reminding them of the greatness of their guilt in rejecting the message of the King and His kingdom." (Hiebert)

MacArthur comments on shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them - "When they came back into Israel from a Gentile country, many Jews would literally shake as much dust off their feet as possible in order not to bring pagan soil into their homeland. For the apostles to shake the dust off their feet while leaving a Jewish house or town would be to treat the inhabitants like Gentiles—whom most Jews considered to be out of God's reach. When the leaders of the synagogue in Pisidia of Antioch drove Paul and Barnabas out of their district, the two men "shook off the dust of their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium." (Acts 13:51+). Of the unbelieving Jews there Paul had declared, "It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; since you repudiate it, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles." (Mt 10:46; cf. Mt. 7:6). It is not that we are to turn away from those who reject the gospel at first hearing or even after several hearings. Had that practice been followed, many believers would not be in the kingdom today. Through Paul, the Lord Himself entreated unbelieving Corinthians to "be reconciled to God." (2 Cor. 5:20). Were God not marvelously patient and long-suffering with fallen mankind, He would have destroyed the world long ago. He is infinitely patient with sinners, Peter tells us, "not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." (2 Pet. 3:9). Jesus was not speaking of those who are slow to understand or believe but of those who, after hearing a clear testimony of the gospel and seeing dramatic and irrefutable signs of confirmation, continue to resist and oppose it. When a person's mind is firmly set against God, we should turn our efforts to others. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Matthew 8-15)

Hiebert on shake the dust off - This symbolic act denoted a complete disavowal of further fellowship with them because of their rejection and a renunciation of all further responsibility for those who refused their message. Perhaps it was also intended to imply that the inhabitants by their rejection had rendered themselves unclean.

Wuest - The act of shaking off the travel dust that has accumulated on one’s sandals, is symbolic of extreme contempt for another, and the refusal to have any further verbal intercourse with him. 

THOUGHT - Have you heard the Gospel dear reader, but you have ignored it, been indifferent toward it or even angered by it? Be very careful for the day may come when the Holy Spirit "shakes the dust off of His feet" and no longer allows the Gospel to be presented to you!


QuestionWhat does it mean to shake the dust off your feet? 

Answer: The command to “shake the dust off your feet” appears only four times in the New Testament. In each case the command is spoken by Jesus to His disciples when He sent them out two by two (Matthew 10:14; Luke 9:5). In Mark 6:11 Jesus says, “And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” In the Matthew 10 account, Jesus clarifies His meaning: “Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town” (verse 15).

Shaking the dust off one’s feet conveys the same idea as our modern phrase “I wash my hands of it.” Shaking the dust off the feet is a symbolic indication that one has done all that can be done in a situation and therefore carries no further responsibility for it. In the scriptural examples, Jesus was telling His disciples that they were to preach the gospel to everyone. Where they were received with joy, they should stay and teach. But where their message was rejected, they had no further responsibility. They were free to walk away with a clear conscience, knowing they had done all they could do. Shaking the dust off their feet was, in effect, saying that those who rejected God’s truth would not be allowed to hinder the furtherance of the gospel. Even the dust of those cities that rejected the Lord was an abomination and would not be allowed to cling to the feet of God’s messengers.

Embedded within this symbolic gesture was the implication that God also saw the dust-shaking and would judge people accordingly. There was a spiritual significance to a disciple of Jesus shaking the dust off his feet. It was a statement of finality about people who had been given the truth and who had rejected it. On their first missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas put Jesus’ words into practice. They had been preaching in Pisidian Antioch, but some of the Jewish leaders of that city stirred up persecution against the missionaries and had them expelled from the region. “So they shook the dust off their feet as a warning to them and went to Iconium” (Acts 13:51+). Antioch may not have welcomed the gospel as they should have, but that didn’t keep the message from spreading to other areas. Paul and Barnabas had done all they were sent to do, and the responsibility was now on the shoulders of those in Antioch. The apostles had proclaimed truth boldly. Some had accepted it eagerly; some had rejected it with violence. The apostles were not responsible for the Antiochians’ level of acceptance, only for their own obedience to God.

There are situations in our lives where God calls us to stand firm, proclaim truth, and give patient testimony. Sometimes we need to continue until we see the results of that testimony. Other times God gives us the freedom to move on. We figuratively “shake the dust off our feet” when, under the Holy Spirit’s direction, we surrender those people to the Lord and emotionally let go. We have the freedom then to move into the next phase of ministry. Jesus’ instruction to “shake the dust off our feet” reminds us that we are only responsible for our obedience to God, not for the results of that obedience.(Source: GotQuestions.org

Mark 6:12 They went out and preached that men should repent.

Wuest - And having gone out, they made a proclamation to the effect that they should be repenting. 

  • preached - Mk 1:3,15 Eze 18:30 Mt 3:2,8 4:17 Mt 9:13 11:20 Lu 11:32 13:3,5 Lu 15:7,10 24:47 Ac 2:38 3:19 11:18 20:21 26:20 2Co 7:9,10 2Ti 2:25,26 
  • Mark 6 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passage:

Luke 9:6+ -   Departing, they began going throughout the villages, preaching the gospel (euaggelizo/euangelizo) and healing everywhere. 

PREACH THE MESSAGE
OF REPENTANCE

They went out - This describes the 12 going forth after receiving their commission. They left that place to traverse to other places which Jesus presumably had not had time to visit. 

And preached that men should (hina - in order to - expresses purpose of preaching) repent -  Preached (kerusso) means they made a public proclamation with such gravity, formality, and authority as must be heeded with grave consequences (in the final judgment) if the message were rejected (cf Mt 10:15+). The content of their message was that the hearers should repent. Like Master, like bondservants.

In Mark 1:15+ Jesus began His ministry in Mark declaring “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel," where repent and believe are both commands in the present imperative. Repent (metanoeo) which calls for a changed lifestyle as evidence of their changed attitude.

Luke's parallel passage (Luke 9:6+) tells us the disciple's message was not only to repent but to repent and believe because Luke uses euangelizo in place to metanoeo.

Preached (proclaimed) (2784kerusso from kerux/keryx = a herald - one who acts as the medium of the authority of one who proclamation he makes; kerugma = the thing preached or the message) means to proclaim (publicly) or to herald or act as a public crier - the town official who would make a proclamation in a public gathering. Kerusso was used of the official whose duty it was to proclaim loudly and extensively the coming of an earthly king, even as our gospel is to clearly announce the coming of the King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev 19:16+)! The Imperial Herald would enter a town in behalf of the Emperor, and make a public proclamation of the message which his Sovereign ordered him to give, doing so with such formality, gravity, and authority as to emphasize that the message must be heeded! (Think about this in regard to the Gospel of God instead of the decree of a man! cf 1Th 2:13+). He gave the people exactly what the Emperor bade him give, nothing more, nothing less. He did not dare add to the message or take away from it. Should this not be the example and pattern every preacher and teacher of the holy gospel of God seeks and strives to emulate, yea, even doing so with fear and trembling! ("not as pleasing men but God, who examines our hearts" see 1Th 2:4+Kerusso in Mark - Mk. 1:4, 7, 14, 38 39, 45; 3:14; 5:20; 6:12; 7:36; 13:10; 14:9; 16:15, 20;

Lenski - The point to be noted is that to preach is not to argue, reason, dispute, or convince by intellectual proof, against all of which a keen intellect may bring counterargument. We simply state in public or testify to all men the truth which God bids us state. No argument can assail the truth presented in this announcement or testimony. Men either believe the truth, as all sane men should, or refuse to believe it, as only fools venture to do” (The Interpretation of St. Matthew’s Gospel [Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1964], p. 168).

John Ruskin remarked "Preaching is 30 minutes in which to raise the dead."

Hunter writing on kerusso says that…In the New Testament the verb does not mean ‘to give an informative or hortatory or edifying discourse expressed in beautifully arranged words with a melodious voice; it means to proclaim an event

Wuest on repent - Our word “gospel” means a message of good news. The proclamation of the disciples was that men should repent. The word is metanoeō to change one’s mind about one’s previous life and course of action.” Since one’s previous life could only be sinful, the only change of attitude would be in the direction of the good. The New Testament meaning of the word therefore is “a change of mind regarding one’s previous sinful life and the determination to be done with it.” This proclamation would not be good news to the sinner, unless it were accompanied with the announcement of a salvation from sin provided by God. This was included in the message of John the Baptist, our Lord, and the disciples, as shown by the word Luke used.


"About Face"

The command "About Face" is describes the act of pivoting 180 degrees, especially in a military formation (see diagram above). Another English definition says it is "a reversal of direction, of attitude, behavior, or point of view."  This is a good picture of repentance that Jesus commands. Jesus continues the call to repentance made by John in Mark 1:4+

Repentance is to leave
The sins we loved before,
And show that we in earnest grieve,
By doing so no more.

Listen to Jesus' words

Mark 1:15+ and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent (present imperative = calls for this to be one's lifestyle = a believer is a "repenter"!) and believe (present imperative = calls for this to be one's lifestyle) in the gospel."

Repent (present tense - calls for a lifestyle of repentance)(3340)(metanoeo from meta = with, among + noeo = to think, exercise the mind <> from nous = mind; cf metanoia) means to have another mind. Friberg says it literally means to "perceive afterward, with the implication of being too late to avoid consequences." (Analytical Lexicon). Metanoeo means to change one's mind (one's heart) in respect to sin, God, and self. To turn to God and from sin (Luke 15:7,10+ = "one sinner who repents", cf illustration of repentance = 1 Th 1:9-note). While repentance involves an intellectual decision, it is more than that because the intellectual decision must produce a change in one's behavior.

Related Resource:

  • Discussion of repentance in notes on Acts 17.

Repentance is aptly depicted by the military command "About, face!" The repentant person in effect turns around 180 degrees and goes the other direction. And keep in mind that the spiritual dynamics of true repentance are enabled by the Holy Spirit (cf Acts 5:31+, Acts 11:18+, 2 Ti 2:25+). In other words repentance is a work of grace and not merely a human effort, although it does require the repentant individual to make a volitional choice. Repentance then involves the mysterious interaction of God's sovereignty and man's responsibility. Further, this change of mind may, especially in the case of Christians who have fallen into sin, be preceded by sorrow (2 Cor 7:8, 9, 10, 11); but sorrow for sin, though it may cause repentance, is not repentance. Darrell Bock writes "the point is that repentance involves a reorientation of perspective, a fresh point of view. When dealing with God's plan, it means to see that plan in a new way and to orient oneself to it. Luke demonstrates the fruit of repentance expresses itself concretely (Lk 3:10-14+). Repentance expresses itself in life, especially in how one treats others."  (Gulp!) There can be no genuine conversion without genuine repentance.

"This word (repent) was the message of the Baptist, of Jesus, of Peter, of Paul, this radical change of attitude and life." (Robertson)

God uses at least four factors to prompt repentance = (1) The knowledge of God's Truth should prompt repentance (Mt 11:21-24 - where Chorazin, et al refused to repent at the Truth; cp Lk 16:30-31 which also illustrates the sufficiency of the Truth to prompt repentance.) Note the deadly deception - one can have Truth (as well as #2 sorrow) without true repentance! Beware! (2) Sorrow for sin can lead to repentance (2Cor 7:9-10), but the sorrow per se should NOT be confused with true repentance. E.g., Judas felt sorrow for betraying Jesus but did not repent. (3) God's kindness prompts (leads to) repentance (Ro 2:4). (4) Fear of final judgment (as discussed here in Acts 17:30-31) can motivate one to true repentance. Indeed, realization that there is no other way of escape but through Jesus, should cause any "rational" person to repent.

Repentance is not an act separate from faith, but saving faith includes and implies the true change of mind which is called repentance. As noted in the use of the present imperative (see uses below), to repent is not just an event at the time of conversion, but represents an ongoing lifestyle -- we sin daily, and sometimes we get caught in a "rut" (habit) of sin, and so we are daily in desperate need of God's gracious gift of repentance. In the parable of the two sons, our Lord Jesus Christ gives a beautiful illustration of what true repentance looks like (Read Mt 21:28-31 = notice second son changed his mind and his behavior!). As Albert Barnes wisely said "False repentance dreads the consequences of sin; true repentance dreads sin itself."

William Barclay - There is the word repent. Now repentance is not so easy as sometimes we think . The Greek word metanoeo literally means to change one's mind. We are very apt to confuse two things--sorrow for the consequences of sin and sorrow for sin. Many a man is desperately sorry because of the mess that sin has got him into, but he very well knows that, if he could be reasonably sure that he could escape the consequences, he would do the same thing again. It is not the sin that he hates; it is its consequences. Real repentance means that a man has come, not only to be sorry for the consequences of his sin, but to hate sin itself. Long ago that wise old writer, Montaigne, wrote in his autobiography, "Children should be taught to hate vice for its own texture, so that they will not only avoid it in action, but abominate it in their hearts--that the very thought of it may disgust them whatever form it takes." Repentance means that the man who was in love with sin comes to hate sin because of its exceeding sinfulness. (Mark 1 - William Barclay's Daily Study Bible)

Mark 6:13  And they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them.

Wuest - And demons, many of them, they were casting out, and they were anointing with oil many who were sick, and were healing them.

CASTING, ANOINTING
AND HEALING

And they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them - Casting out, anointing and healing are all in the imperfect tense indicating this was happening over and over. Note the repetition of many...many indicating that this must have been a significant number of people who experienced these miracles. But remember, the miracles were not the message, but they did potentially open the door for presentation of the message of salvation, which of course for all of us who have experienced it, is the far greater miracle than exorcision or healing! 

Casting (throw, send, drive, take, put) (1544)(ekbállō from ek = out + bállō = to cast, throw, drive) means to cast, throw out often with the idea of force (Mt. 8:12; 15:17; 25:30; Acts 16:37, 27:38; Lxx - Lev. 14:40). To throw out of an area or object, throw out, jettison (Mt 21:39 Acts 27:18). Frequently used of casting out demons  (Mt 7:22, Mt 8:16, 31,9:34, 10:1, etc). Used of casting or throwing unbelievers into outer darkness (hell). In Luke 6:22 ekballo means to scorn one's name ("cast it out" so to speak). Mark 1:12 "Immediately the Spirit impelled Him (Jesus) to go out into the wilderness." Ekballo in Mark - Mk. 1:34; Mk. 1:39; Mk. 1:43; Mk. 3:15; Mk. 3:22; Mk. 3:23; Mk. 5:40; Mk. 6:13; Mk. 7:26; Mk. 9:18; Mk. 9:28; Mk. 9:38; Mk. 9:47; Mk. 11:15; Mk. 12:8; Mk. 16:9; Mk. 16:17; 

Anointing (218)(aleipho) means to rub, to cover over, besmear (Mtt. 6:17; Mark 6:13; 16:1; Luke 7:38, 46; John 11:2; 12:3; James 5:14; Sept.: Gen. 31:13; Ezek. 13:10–12). Again Luke's use of the imperfect tense adds to the vivid picture of this scene.Aleipho is used in Septuagint in Ge 31:13 of Jacob's anointing of a pillar in Bethel where he made a vow to God. Used of anointing the priests in Ex 40:15 (Nu 3:3) which also uses the word chrisma (anointing). Ruth was to anoint herself before going to meet Boaz (Ru 3:3). David anointed himself after his illicit son with Bathsheba died (2 Sa 12:20).Aleipho - 9x in 8v -Matt. 6:17; Mk. 6:13; Mk. 16:1; Lk. 7:38; Lk. 7:46; Jn. 11:2; Jn. 12:3; Jas. 5:14

Wuest on anointing -  The papyri give us examples of its usage. We have a letter from the second century in which a man whose wife had gone away a month before, writes that he has not bathed or anointed himself. There is a third-century inscription in honor of a gymnasiarch (head of a gymnasium) which speaks of him as the beloved anointer. In James 5:14, directions are given for the elders to anoint the sick person with oil. In Luke 10:34, the Samaritan treated the wounds of the man with oil and wine. Olive oil was a common remedial agent of the ancients and was used internally and externally. At a time when the healing art was in its infancy, and medicines were few, olive oil was a panacea for many ills. Here, the disciples are directed to use it in the healing of the sick. In the case of James 5:14, it is prayer and medicine, God working directly, and through the medicine, which resulted in the healing of the sick person. In this instance in Mark it is the same, but with this difference, that up to the time of the close of revelation with the writing of The Book of the Revelation, God performed miracles of healing through the apostles. This was for the purpose of attesting their messages as from Him. Since then, there is no need of this. Hence, God heals directly in answer to prayer now, not through individuals. The normal procedure now is prayer, the doctor, and the use of medicine and other means as God may direct. Where the two latter are not obtainable, God does heal without means when it is in His wisdom to do so.

Sick (732)(arrostos from a = without + rhṓnnumi = to strengthen,make firm) means strictly without strength; hence sickly, infirm, disabled; invalid. BDAG says literally "powerless." Liddell-Scott adds "weak, sickly:-Adv.,to be ill, Aeschin. 2. in moral sense, weak, feeble (of soul - Xen)." Arrostos - 5x -sick(3), sick people(2). Matt. 14:14; Mk. 6:5; Mk. 6:13; Mk. 16:18; 1 Co. 11:30

Healing (2323)(therapeuo from therapon = an attendant, servant) means primarily to care for, to wait upon, minister to. It has two main senses in the NT, one speaking of rendering service (Acts 17:25) and the more common use describing medical aspects such as to take care of the sick, to heal, to cure (Matt. 4:24; 12:10; Mark 1:34; Luke 6:7; 10:9),  to recover health, to restore. Therapeúō means to heal miraculously in Matt. 4:23, 24; 10:1, 8; Acts 4:14. Providing care to improve a situation. Uses of therapeuo in Mark - Mk. 1:34; Mk. 3:2; Mk. 3:10; Mk. 6:5; Mk. 6:13

Related Resources:


Steven Cole on what is the role of divine healing, signs and wonders today -

In our day, there are segments of the church that argue that we are to emphasize divine healing along with the gospel. The late John Wimber, founder of the Vineyard movement, claimed that the “greater works” that Jesus predicted that His followers would do after receiving the Holy Spirit (Jn 14:12) include signs and wonders. If we are not regularly seeing God use us to perform miracles, then we are not proclaiming the gospel as we ought.

What shall we say to this? First, God is just as able to perform miracles through His servants today as He always has been. We must be careful not to limit God’s power because of our unbelief (Mk 6:5, Mar 6:6). But, having said that, we must also be careful to understand the place of miracles in God’s working. While there are miracles reported throughout the Bible, they mainly occur in clusters around the time of the exodus, during the ministries of Elijah and Elisha, and during the time of Christ and the apostles. The purpose of those increased miracles was to authenticate the word of God or His messengers during critical times in the history of His people. But once the purpose for the miracles had been accomplished, the miracles decreased in frequency.

For example, the Book of Hebrews was written to a second-generation church of mostly Jewish Christians who were tempted to go back to Judaism. The author is trying to convince them of the superiority of Jesus. In Heb 2:3-4, he states, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.” He is saying that the truth of the gospel was authenticated by these miracles performed by those who had been with Jesus, namely, the apostles.

But—here’s the point—if signs and wonders were still common in the church, why didn’t he appeal to their current experience? It would have been a much stronger argument to appeal to their common experience of miracles as a proof of Christianity than to appeal to miracles they had not even seen. Or, if the Hebrews were not experiencing such miracles, but should have been, he would have exhorted them to believe God for such things in their midst. But apparently such miracles had generally ceased. His appeal was to the authenticating nature of such signs as performed by the apostles and reported to these people as evidence of the true identity of Jesus as both Lord and Christ.

Another reason I do not believe that we should be emphasizing signs and wonders when we proclaim the gospel is that both Jesus and Paul censured those who sought for such things. The Jews saw Jesus multiply the loaves and fishes and yet they challenged Him to perform more signs (Jn 6:2, Jn 6:26, Jo 6:30). But they would not submit to Him or believe in Him. Paul said, “The Jews ask for signs, and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Co 1:22-24).

The real issue of the gospel is sin, righteousness, and judgment (Jn 16:8). People can gawk at miracles, but if they are not convicted about their sin and need for a Savior, they will not be saved from God’s judgment. The miracles that Christ and the apostles performed authenticate Jesus as the promised Savior. While we can pray that God would graciously heal a person of some disease, and He may do it miraculously, our emphasis should be on the person’s need of a Savior from sin. Jesus is the powerful Lord who can save every person who believes in Him. (Sermon on Luke 9:1-9)


Question -  What does the Bible say about anointing oil?

Answer: Anointing oil, mentioned 20 times in Scripture, was used in the Old Testament for pouring on the head of the high priest and his descendants and sprinkling the tabernacle and its furnishings to mark them as holy and set apart to the Lord (Exodus 25:6; Leviticus 8:30; Numbers 4:16). Three times it is called the "holy, anointing oil," and the Jews were strictly forbidden from reproducing it for personal use (Exodus 30:32-33). The recipe for anointing oil is found in Exodus 30:23-24; it contained myrrh, cinnamon and other natural ingredients. There is no indication that the oil or the ingredients had any supernatural power. Rather, the strictness of the guidelines for creating the oil was a test of the obedience of the Israelites and a demonstration of the absolute holiness of God.

Only five New Testament passages refer to the practice of anointing with oil, and none of them offer an explanation for its use. We can draw our conclusions from context. In Matthew 6:17 Jesus mentions the everyday practice of anointing oneself with oil. In Mark 6:13 the disciples anoint the sick and heal them. In Mark 14:3–9 Mary anoints Jesus’ feet as an act of worship. In James 5:14 the church elders anoint the sick with oil for healing. In Hebrews 1:8–9 God says to Christ as He returns triumphantly to heaven, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever,” and God anoints Jesus “with the oil of gladness.”

Should Christians use anointing oil today? There is nothing in Scripture that commands or even suggests that we should use similar oil today, but neither is there anything to forbid it. Oil is often used as a symbol for the Holy Spirit in the Bible as in the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13). Christians have the Spirit who leads us into all truth and “anoints” us continually with His grace and comfort. “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth” (1 John 2:20).(Source: Gotquestions.org)


Question -  Can a Christian today perform an exorcism? What does the Bible say about casting out demons?

Answer: Exorcism (commanding demons to leave other people) was practiced by various people in the Gospels and the Book of Acts—the disciples as part of Christ’s instructions (Matthew 10); others using Christ’s name (Mark 9:38); the children of the Pharisees (Luke 11:18-19); Paul (Acts 16); and certain exorcists (Acts 19:11-16).

It appears that the purpose of Jesus’ disciples performing exorcisms was to show Christ’s dominion over the demons (Luke 10:17) and to verify that the disciples were acting in His name and by His authority. It also revealed their faith or lack of faith (Matthew 17:14-21). It was obvious that this act of casting out demons was important to the ministry of the disciples. However, it is unclear what part casting out demons actually played in the discipleship process.

Interestingly, there seems to be a shift in the latter part of the New Testament regarding demonic warfare. The teaching portions of the New Testament (Romans through Jude) refer to demonic activity, yet do not discuss the actions of casting them out, nor are believers exhorted to do so. We are told to put on the armor to stand against them (Ephesians 6:10-18). We are told to resist the devil (James 4:7), be careful of him (1 Peter 5:8), and not give him room in our lives (Ephesians 4:27). However, we are not told how to cast him or his demons out of others, or that we should even consider doing so.

The book of Ephesians gives clear instructions on how we are to have victory in our lives in the battle against the forces of evil. The first step is placing our faith in Christ (2:8-9), which breaks the rule of “the prince of the power of the air” (2:2). We are then to choose, again by God’s grace, to put off ungodly habits and to put on godly habits (4:17-24). This does not involve casting out demons, but rather renewing our minds (4:23). After several practical instructions on how to obey God as His children, we are reminded that there is a spiritual battle. It is fought with certain armor that allows us to stand against—not cast out—the trickery of the demonic world (6:10). We stand with truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith, salvation, the Word of God, and prayer (6:10-18).

It appears that as the Word of God was completed, the Christians had more weapons with which to battle the spirit world than the early Christians did. The role of casting out demons was replaced, for the most part, with evangelism and discipleship through the Word of God. Since the methods of spiritual warfare in the New Testament do not involve casting out demons, it is difficult to determine instructions on how to do such a thing. If necessary at all, it seems that it is through exposing the individual to the truth of the Word of God and the name of Jesus Christ. (Source: Gotquestions.org)

Mark 6:14  And King Herod heard of it, for His name had become well known; and people were saying, "John the Baptist has risen from the dead, and that is why these miraculous powers are at work in Him."

Wuest - And the king, Herod, heard, for His name became known, and they were saying that John the Baptist had been raised out from among those who were dead, and because of this, the powers are operative in him.

NET  Mark 6:14 Now King Herod heard this, for Jesus' name had become known. Some were saying, "John the baptizer has been raised from the dead, and because of this, miraculous powers are at work in him."

NLT  Mark 6:14 Herod Antipas, the king, soon heard about Jesus, because everyone was talking about him. Some were saying, "This must be John the Baptist raised from the dead. That is why he can do such miracles."

ESV  Mark 6:14 King Herod heard of it, for Jesus' name had become known. Some said, "John the Baptist has been raised from the dead. That is why these miraculous powers are at work in him."

NIV  Mark 6:14 King Herod heard about this, for Jesus' name had become well known. Some were saying, "John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him."

  • King Herod heard of it Mk 6:22,26,27 Mt 14:1,2 Lu 3:1 9:7-9 13:31 23:7-12 
  • for His name - Mk 1:28,45 2Ch 26:8,15 Mt 9:31 1Th 1:8 
  • Mark 6 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Simple Outline on Mark 6 - Jesus Teaching, Sending, Mourning, Feeding, Walking and Touching

  1. Mark 6:1-6 Jesus' Teaching Astonished and Scandalized = Unbelief in Nazareth
  2. Mark 6:7-13 Jesus Sends Twelve in Pairs Giving them Instructions and Authority
  3. Mark 6:14-29 John the Baptist Beheaded Fate
  4. Mark 6:30-44 - Twelve Return and Jesus Feeds Five thousand
  5. Mark 6:45–52 Jesus Walks on the water
  6. Mark 6:53–56 Jesus Heals by Touching

Parallel Passages:

Matt. 14:1–3; At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the news about Jesus, 2 and said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”  3 For when Herod had John arrested, he bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip.

Luke 9:7-9+  Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was happening; and he was greatly perplexed, because it was said by some that John had risen from the dead, 8 and by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the prophets of old had risen again. 9 Herod said, “I myself had John beheaded; but who is this man about whom I hear such things?” And he kept trying to see Him. 

JESUS' NAME WAS 
SPREADING LIKE WILDFIRE

Note that Mark 6:14-29 is divided into Herod's reaction to the preaching of Jesus (Mk 6:14-16) and the explanation of John the Baptizer's beheading. (Mk 6:17-29), which in turn can be divided into the events leading up to his death (Mk 6:17–20) and the plot resulting in John’s death (Mk 6:21–29).

Taylor points out that this is the only narrative in Mark “not in some sense or other a story about Jesus.

And King Herod (Herod the tetrarch or Antipas - see Lk 3:1+) heard of it - King Herod was not really a king but was Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great, and he ruled over Galilee from 4 BC to AD 39, overlapping with Jesus’ entire ministry. When his father Herod died in 4 b.c., the kingdom was divided among three of the sons, Archelaus, Antipas, and Philip, and a man named Lysanias.

Luke 9:7+ adds that Herod "was greatly perplexed" ("was very confused" = diaporeo) which is not surprising because " a natural man (UNREGENERATE LIKE HEROD) does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised." (1 Cor 2:14+). 

Hiebert -  Bruce points out that “it was natural for Mark writing for the Roman world to use this title ("KING"), as it was applied freely in Rome to all eastern rulers.”  Antipas’s ambition to secure for himself the official title of “king” resulted in his downfall under Caligula.

NET Note - Herod was technically not a king, but a tetrarch, a ruler with rank and authority lower than a king. A tetrarch ruled only with the approval of the Roman authorities. This was roughly equivalent to being governor of a region. In the NT, Herod, who ruled over Galilee, is called a king (Matt 14:9, Mark 6:14–29), reflecting popular usage rather than an official title.

Wuest on king - Matthew and Luke speak of Herod as a tetrarch, namely, as one of the four men who ruled Palestine at that time. The word “tetrarch” means “a rule by four.” But Mark is entirely correct in calling him a king, for he was writing for the Roman world, and this title was applied freely in the Roman world to all eastern rulers. This tour of Galilee by the disciples had resulted in the dissemination of the news about Jesus until even the palace heard about him. As Bengel says; “A palace is late in hearing spiritual news.”

For (gar) is a term of explanation. Mark explains how King Herod had heard about Jesus. His Name was spreading throughout the region. Mark 1:28+ says "Immediately the news about Him spread everywhere into all the surrounding district of Galilee." (See also Mk 1:45+).

His name had become well known - His refers to Jesus and so the NET has "Jesus' name had become known." Keep the context in mind for Mark 6:13  had just stated Jesus' disciples "were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them." But here we see that Jesus' "name had become well known." So what's the point? The point is that in some manner as the disciples accomplished the miraculous works they continually pointed the people to Jesus and not to themselves. 

THOUGHT - This is a good pattern for all of us when we experience any degree of success in the ministry in which He has placed us. We should be quick to point the people to Jesus! Anything we are privileged to accomplish which is good (i.e., abides eternally) is because we have abided in the Vine Christ Jesus, the Source (Jn 15:5), so that it is only fitting we continually exalt the Name above all names! Amen? Amen! (O Jesus, Crowned with all Renown).

O Jesus, crowned with all renown,
Since Thou the earth hast trod,
Thou reignest, and by Thee come down
Henceforth the gifts of God.
Thine is the health and Thine the wealth
That in our halls abound,
And Thine the beauty and the joy
With which the years are crowned.

Hiebert notes that "The king’s reaction indicates that the exciting news reaching him centered on Jesus Himself rather than on the Twelve. The Twelve exalted their Master in their preaching and miracle-working ministry."

J D Jones - THE mission of the Twelve and the excitement caused by the works of power wrought through their hands (to which we find a reference in the closing sentence of the preceding paragraph) naturally spread abroad the name and fame of Jesus. For we may be sure that the Apostles made it clear to the people, as Peter and John did at a later day (see below), that it was not by their own wisdom, or skill, or power, that they accomplished these wonderful cures, but in the name of “Jesus of Nazareth.” And thus all Galilee rang with talk about this Jesus, so that at last it reached the palace and the ears of the King. “King Herod heard thereof.”

Acts 4:8-10+ Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people, 9 if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead–by this Name this man stands here before you in good health.

And people were saying, "John the Baptist has risen from the dead - In Mt 14:2 Herod tells his servants this same thing. The subsequent passages (Mk 6:22,26,27) describe John's beheading at the hands of Herod and behest of evil Herodias. Why would the people equate Jesus with John because John did not perform miracles? The context answers this question, implying that John had been resurrected and because of that had supernatural powers. There is also another similarity between Jesus and John and it was their similar messages shown especially in the Gospel of Matthew - compare Mt 3:2+ and Mt 4:17+.where they both proclaimed a call to repentance for the kingdom of Heaven/God was near (at hand). 

Wuest explains that "Herod’s explanation of our Lord and His miracles was that John the Baptist had risen from the dead, that while John had not performed any miracles, yet death had put him into touch with the unseen world and had enabled him to utilize its powers....Nestle’s text gives, not “he said,” but “they said,” referring the estimate of Jesus to the court talk, not alone to Herod. It seems evident though that it started with Herod and was taken up by his courtiers, for Expositors says; “The theory that John was risen looks more like the creation of a troubled conscience than the suggestion of light-minded courtiers.” Matthew reports the above, the estimation of Herod, Luke, that of the court at large."

Vincent - As Dr. Morison observes, “A snatch of Herod’s theology and philosophy.” He knew that John wrought no miracles when alive, but he thought that death had put him into connection with the unseen world, and enabled him to wield its powers.

James Morison on miraculous powers are at work in Him - This is a snatch of Herod’s theology and philosophy. He knew that the Baptist had in his natural lifetime wrought no miracles; but he thought that, in consequence of his connection with the unseen world, he had now become a prominent subject and agent of the occult forces of the universe. He knew not what these forces were; but he was sure that they were. He had too a wholesome dread of them, and was uneasy when the idea took possession of him that one of their terrestrial centres of operation was in the resuscitated person of his old faithful adviser, whom he had so unrighteously put out of the way. (Mark Commentary)

And that is why these miraculous powers are at work in Him - There was indisputable evidence of supernatural power at work. And this statement would support Wuest's interpretation, that the One (Jesus) they were saying was John had the powers because of his resurrection from the dead. 

At work (1754)(energeo from en = in + érgon = work. English = energetic) means to work effectively to cause something to happen. To energize, to operate, to work effectually in. It means power in exercise, and is used only of superhuman power. To work energetically, effectively and/or efficiently. To put forth energy. To be at work. To produce results. Energeo describes active, efficient, effective working. Paul is saying that the power of God's word exerts effective, energetic power in believers. This activity put forth in an individual energizes him to the doing of certain things intended by the one who is doing the energizing. Energeo in the NT virtually always describes supernatural activity, principally God's energizing.  Matt. 14:2; Mk. 6:14; Rom. 7:5; 1 Co. 12:6; 1 Co. 12:11; 2 Co. 1:6; 2 Co. 4:12; Gal. 2:8; Gal. 3:5; Gal. 5:6; Eph. 1:11; Eph. 1:20; Eph. 2:2; Eph. 3:20; Phil. 2:13; Col. 1:29; 1 Th. 2:13; 2 Thess. 2:7; Jas. 5:16 In Classical Greek, energes, energeia (energy), and energeo to be at work, seem to have been used almost exclusively as medical terms referring to medical treatment and the influence of medicine.

Miraculous powers (1411) see dunamis a word which speaks of supernatural power, power to accomplish that which cannot be accomplished naturally in human strength. Today believers have as a result of the indwelling Spirit (Lk 24:49+ fulfilled in Acts 1:8+, Eph 3:16+, Micah 3:8+) and while we may not be able to perform miracles like Jesus did, we can perform miracles in the spiritual sense of such things as loving others (sometimes who are very "unlovable!") selflessly, forgiving fully and freely those who have hurt us, returning kindness for evil, and many other similar things that are just as miraculous as physical miracles!


KIND DISAPPROVAL - Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.--Ephesians 5:11

How should we as Christians relate to people who are living contrary to biblical standards?

I faced this question recently in a shopping mall when I met two people who had left their mates and children and were living together without getting married. They were friendly, and I greeted them politely. I did not berate them, but neither did I imply that I approved of what they had done and were doing.

On another occasion a father told me that his son had declared himself to be a practicing homosexual. "I know you are a preacher," said the father, "but I hope you are enlightened enough to understand." I told him that I didn't despise his son or feel any ill-will, but that God says such conduct is sinful.

John the Baptist told King Herod that he had no right to have Herodias as his wife, because she had divorced her husband to marry him (Mark 6:17, 18). Although the Bible doesn't tell us John's manner, I think he was respectful but firm. If his rebuke had unduly antagonized Herod, the king would not have continued to respect and listen to John.

Let's be kind toward those who live in sin, but let's always make it clear that God hates sin, and that there are serious consequences for those who don't repent. H V Lugt. Our Daily Bread.

The sad world with all its repining,
Its bitterness, care, and tears,
Needs the wealth of your lovingkindness
To sweeten the sin-soiled years.
--Hall

True kindness warns and rescues.


J C Ryle on Mark 6:14-29 - 

THESE verses describe the death of one of the most eminent saints of God. They relate the murder of John the Baptist. Of all the evangelists none tells this melancholy story so fully as St. Mark. Let us see what practical lessons the passage contains for our own souls.

We see, in the first place, the amazing power of truth over the conscience. Herod “fears” John the Baptist while he lives, and is troubled about him after he dies. A friendless, solitary preacher, with no other weapon than God’s truth, disturbs and terrifies a king. Every body has a conscience. Here lies the secret of a faithful minister’s power. This is the reason why Felix “trembled,” and Agrippa was “almost persuaded,” when Paul the prisoner spoke before them. God has not left Himself without witness in the hearts of unconverted people. Fallen and corrupt as man is, there are thoughts within him accusing or excusing, according as he lives,—thoughts that will not he shut out,—thoughts that can make even kings, like Herod, restless and afraid. None ought to remember this so much as ministers and teachers. If they preach and teach Christ’s truth, they may rest assured that their work is not in vain. Children may seem inattentive in schools. Hearers may seem careless in congregations. But in both cases there is often far more going on in the conscience than our eyes see. Seeds often spring up and bear fruit, when the sower, like John the Baptist, is dead or gone.

We see, in the second place, how far people may go in religion, and yet miss salvation by yielding to one master-sin. King Herod went further than many. He “feared John.” He “knew that he was a just man and a holy.” He “observed” him. He “heard him, and did many things” in consequence. He even “heard him gladly.” But there was one thing Herod would not do. He would not cease from adultery. He would not give up Herodias. And so he ruined his soul for evermore. Let us take warning from Herod’s case. Let us keep back nothing,—cleave to no favourite vice,—spare nothing that stands between us and salvation. Let us often look within, and make sure that there is no darling lust or pet transgression, which, Herodias-like, is murdering our souls. Let us rather cut off the right hand, and pluck out the right eye, than go into hell-fire. Let us not be content with admiring favourite preachers, and gladly hearing evangelical sermons. Let us not rest till we can say with David, “I esteem all Thy commandments concerning all things to be right, and I hate every false way.” (Psalm. 119:128.)

We see, in the third place, how boldly a faithful minister of God ought to rebuke sin. John the Baptist spoke plainly to Herod about the wickedness of his life. He did not excuse himself under the plea that it was imprudent, or impolitic, or untimely, or useless to speak out. He did not say smooth things, and palliate the king’s ungodliness by using soft words to describe his offence. He told his royal hearer the plain truth, regardless of all consequences,—“It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife.” Here is a pattern that all ministers ought to follow. Publicly and privately, from the pulpit and in private visits, they ought to rebuke all open sin, and deliver a faithful warning to all who are living in it. It may give offence. It may entail immense unpopularity. With all this they have nothing to do. Duties are theirs. Results are God’s. No doubt it requires great grace and courage to do this. No doubt a reprover, like John the Baptist, must go to work wisely and lovingly in carrying out his master’s commission, and rebuking the wicked. But it is a matter in which his character for faithfulness and charity are manifestly at stake. If he believes a man is injuring his soul, he ought surely to tell him so. If he loves him truly and tenderly, he ought not to let him ruin himself unwarned. Great as the present offence may be, in the long run the faithful reprover will generally be respected. “He that rebuketh a man, afterwards shall find more favour than lie that flattereth him with his tongue.” (Prov. 28:23.)

We see, in the fourth place, how bitterly people hate a reprover, when they are determined to keep their sins. Herodias, the king’s unhappy partner in iniquity, seems to have sunk even deeper in sin than Herod. Hardened and seared in conscience by her wickedness, she hated John the Baptist for his faithful testimony, and never rested till she had procured his death. We need not wonder at this. When men and women have chosen their line, and resolved to have their own wicked way, they dislike any one who tries to turn them. They would fain be let alone. They are irritated by opposition. They are angry when they are told the truth. The prophet Elijah was called a “man that troubled Israel.” The prophet Micaiah was hated by Ahab, “because he never prophesied good of him, but evil.” The prophets and faithful preachers of every age have been treated in like manner. They have been hated by some, as well as not believed. Let it never surprise us when we hear of faithful ministers of the Gospel being spoken against, hated, and reviled. Let us rather remember that they are ordained to bear witness against sin, the world, and the devil, and that if they are faithful they cannot help giving offence. It is no disgrace to a minister’s character to be disliked by the wicked and ungodly. It is no real honour to a minister to be thought well of by everybody. Those words of our Lord are not enough considered,—“Woe unto you when all men speak well of you.”

We see, in the fifth place, how much sin may sometimes follow from feasting and revelling. Herod keeps his birthday with a splendid banquet. Company, drinking, dancing, fill up the day. In a moment of excitement, he grants a wicked girl’s request to have the head of John the Baptist cut off. Next day, in all probability, he repented bitterly of his conduct. But the deed was done. It was too late. This is a faithful picture of what often results from feasting and merry-making. People do things at such seasons from heated feelings, which they afterwards deeply repent. Happy are they who keep clear of temptations, and avoid giving occasion to the devil! Men never know what they may do, when they once venture off safe ground. Late hours, and crowded rooms, and splendid entertainments, and mixed company, and music, and dancing, may seem harmless to many people. But the Christian should never forget, that to take part in these things is to open a wide door to temptation.

We see, finally, in these verses, how little reward some of God’s best servants receive in this world. An unjust imprisonment and a violent death, were the last fruit that John the Baptist reaped, in return for his labour. Like Stephen and James and others, of whom the world was not worthy, he was called to seal his testimony with his blood. Histories like these are meant to remind us, that the true Christian’s best things are yet to come. His rest, his crown, his wages, his reward, are all on the other side of the grave. Here, in this world, he must walk by faith and not by sight; and if he looks for the praise of man, he will be disappointed. Here, in this life, he must sow, and labour, and fight, and endure persecution; and if he expects a great earthly reward, he expects what he will not find.—But this life is not all. There is to be a day of retribution. There is a glorious harvest yet to come. Heaven will make amends for all. Eye hath not seen, and ear hath not heard the glorious things that God has laid up for all that love Him. The value of real religion is not to be measured by the things seen, but the things unseen. “The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed.” “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” (Rom. 8:18; 2 Cor. 4:17.)

Mark 6:15  But others were saying, "He is Elijah." And others were saying, "He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old."

Wuest - But others kept on saying that it was Elijah. But others were saying that it was a prophet like one of the prophets.

  • He is Elijah - Mk 8:28 9:12,13 15:35,36 Mal 4:5,
  • Elijah, Mt 16:14 Mt 17:10,11 Lu 1:17 9:8,19 Joh 1:21,25 
  • He is a prophet - Mt 21:11 Lu 7:16,39 Joh 6:14 7:40 9:17 Ac 3:22,23 
  • Mark 6 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

But others were saying, "He is Elijah." - Recall that Elijah had also boldly rebuked an evil king appearing suddenly in 1 Kings 17:1 to challenge King Ahab who ruled the northern kingdom of Israel from 874 to 853 BC. Elijah prophesied that a drought would come upon the whole land as consequence for King Ahab's evil (read 1 Ki 17:1–7). And similar to the situation with John the Baptizer, Elijah's life was sought by a wicked queen Jezebel, but unlike Herodias who was successful, Jezebel was unable to kill Elijah (see the story of Ahab and Jezebel). Saying is in the imperfect tense which suggests this identification was being put forth repeatedly by the people.

THOUGHT - What seems so strange and sad to me is that the one possible identification that the Jews did not suggest was that this might actually be their long expected Yeshua Hamashiach (Jesus the Messiah)! How spiritually blind the first century Jewish people were to their own Old Testament messianic prophecies! But is this not what we encounter today whenever we try to share Yeshua with a Jewish person? You do speak to your Jewish friends about Yeshua, don't you? Just asking! Brethren, let me encourage you to speak this eternal truth to your dear Jewish friends, because you may just be surprised when the Spirit uses your testimony of Messiah to open their eyes and sweep them into eternity with you! Be encouraged and motivated as you take a few minutes to be blessed by some of these salvation stories by Jewish men and women who finally met Yeshua Hamashiach!

Elijah was was expected to reappear on the earth, to prepare the way for the establishment of the kingdom of heaven

 “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. (Mal. 4:5+).

Comment from Morison - It was assumed by those who mooted this opinion regarding the Galilean Rabbi, that He could not be the Messiah himself. The Messiah was to be a great and glorious King, and would be found in some palace, surrounded with courtiers and generals and armies.

Related Resource:

Jones - The report about Jesus was, I imagine, good news to the mass of the people of Galilee. If any were sick or had dear ones sick, the report about this Man who could cleanse the leper, cast out devils, give sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and life to the dead, must have opened a door of hope for them.  And, quite apart from sickness, the advent of a One in whom such mighty works manifested themselves must have made the people at large realise that God had come near them. For when they heard of Jesus, they said, “This is Elijah,” and others, “He is a prophet even as one of the prophets”—that is to say, as true a prophet as Isaiah or Jeremiah, or Amos or Hosea, or any one of the recognised order of prophets, of whom they boasted, and in whom they took such great pride. They did not, it is true, rise to the great faith that Jesus was Messiah Himself. But the report of His doings filled them with a solemn joy; they felt the Kingdom of God had come near to them.

And others were saying, "He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old (cf Mt 16:14) - Elijah of course was a prophet; but he stood apart on a pedestal as ‘the forerunner,’was thus pre-eminently ‘the prophet.’

Considering that the One Whom they were actually describing was Jesus, this was the most accurate description, for  Jesus was a prophet, however not just "a prophet," but in fact "the prophet" the One Whom Moses had predicted declaring "The LORD your God will raise up for you (ADDRESSING THE NATION OF ISRAEL) a Prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen (HE WILL BE JEWISH), you shall listen to Him...‘I (JEHOVAH) will raise up a Prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him." (Dt 18:15, 18 - see Was Jesus a prophet?) "A prophet in the Old Testament was someone who was used by God to communicate His message to the world. Prophets were also called “seers” because they could “see,” spiritually speaking, as God gave them insight (1 Samuel 9:9).(See What was a prophet in the Old Testament?)

Prophets (4396)(prophetes from próphemi = literally to tell beforehand in turn from pró = before, in front of, forth, on behalf of + phemí = speak, tell) is primarily a forth-teller or one who speaks out God’s message, primarily to their own generation, usually always calling the people to God's truth for them at that moment, often using the phrase "Thus saith the Lord." The prophet is one who speaks before in the sense of proclaim, or the one who speaks for, i.e., in the Name of (God). "As distinct from the sacral figures of pagan antiquity the biblical prophet is not a magician. He does not force God. On the contrary, he is under divine constraint. It is God Who invites, summons, and impels him--e.g., Jer 20:7" (Lamorte and Hawthorne) Although we commonly think of the prophet as predicting future events (foretelling) generally this was secondary to his work of forth-telling. When they functioned as predictors or prognosticators, the Biblical prophets foretold the future with 100 percent accuracy. And so if they were correct on the first coming of Messiah, they will be correct on His second coming and on the coming of the antichrist. In sum, forth-telling dealt with current events and fore-telling with future events, but in both the goal is the same -- to call us to trust the Lord and submit to His will for our lives, living in conformity with His Word. Lexham Bible - Prophetes is someone who is specially endowed or enabled to receive and deliver direct revelation of God's will.

Uses in Mark - Mk. 1:2; Mk. 6:4; Mk. 6:15; Mk. 8:28; Mk. 11:32;

Simply put, prophetes in Scripture is one who speaks for God, as His mouthpiece so to speak (referring of course to true not false prophetes) to men, communicating His truth to them.

MacArthur - Prophetes is "one who speaks out." We think of a prophet as somebody who says "In three weeks the sky is going to fall." It actually wasn't until medieval times that the word prophet became connected with the idea of prediction in the English language. It was always connected with the idea of speaking forth. The prophet was someone who gave God a voice in the world.

Related Resources:


Question:  Was John the Baptist really Elijah reincarnated? 

Answer: Matthew 11:7–14 declares, “Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: ‘What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.” I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.’” Here Jesus quotes from Malachi 3:1, where the messenger appears to be a prophetic figure who is going to appear. According to Malachi 4:5+, this messenger is “the prophet Elijah,” whom Jesus identifies as John the Baptist. Does this mean that John the Baptist was Elijah reincarnated? Not at all.

First, Jesus’ original hearers (and Matthew’s original readers) would never have assumed Jesus’ words to refer to reincarnation. Besides, Elijah did not die; he was taken to heaven in a whirlwind as he rode in a chariot of fire (2 Kings 2:11). Arguing for a reincarnation (or a resurrection) of Elijah misses that point. If anything, the prophecy of the Elijah “to come” would have been viewed as Elij ah’s physical return to earth from heaven.

Second, the Bible is quite clear that John the Baptist is called “Elijah” because he came in the “spirit and power of Elijah” (Luke 1:17), not because he was Elijah in a literal sense. John the Baptist is the New Testament forerunner who points the way to the arrival of the Lord, just as Elijah filled that role in the Old Testament (and might again in the future—see Revelation 11).

Third, Elijah himself appears with Moses at Jesus’ transfiguration after John the Baptist’s death. This would not have happened if Elijah had changed his identity into that of John (Matthew 17:11–12).

Fourth, Mark 6:14–16 and Mk 8:28 show that both the people and Herod distinguished between John the Baptist and Elijah.

Finally, proof that this John the Baptist was not Elijah reincarnated comes from John himself. In the first chapter of John the Apostle’s gospel, John the Baptist identifies himself as the messenger of Isaiah 40:3, not as the Elijah of Malachi 3:1. John the Baptist even goes so far as to specifically deny that he was Elijah (John 1:19–23).

John did for Jesus what Elijah was to have done for the coming of the Lord, but he was not Elijah reincarnated. Jesus identified John the Baptist as Elijah, while John the Baptist rejected that identification. How do we reconcile these two teachings? There is a key phrase in Jesus’ identification of John the Baptist that must not be overlooked. He says, “If you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah.” In other words, John the Baptist’s identification as Elijah was not predicated upon his being the actual Elijah, but upon people’s response to his role. To those who were willing to believe in Jesus, John the Baptist functioned as Elijah, for they believed in Jesus as Lord. To the religious leaders who rejected Jesus, John the Baptist did not perform this function. (From Got Questions - Highly Recommended)

Mark 6:16 But when Herod heard of it, he kept saying, "John, whom I beheaded, has risen!"

Wuest - But Herod, having heard, kept on saying, Him whom I decapitated, John, this man was raised.

NET  Mark 6:16 But when Herod heard this, he said, "John, whom I beheaded, has been raised!"

NLT  Mark 6:16 When Herod heard about Jesus, he said, "John, the man I beheaded, has come back from the dead."

ESV  Mark 6:16 But when Herod heard of it, he said, "John, whom I beheaded, has been raised."

NIV  Mark 6:16 But when Herod heard this, he said, "John, the man I beheaded, has been raised from the dead!"

GNT  Mark 6:16 ἀκούσας δὲ ὁ Ἡρῴδης ἔλεγεν, Ὃν ἐγὼ ἀπεκεφάλισα Ἰωάννην, οὗτος ἠγέρθη.

KJV  Mark 6:16 But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead.

YLT  Mark 6:16 And Herod having heard, said -- 'He whom I did behead -- John -- this is he; he was raised out of the dead.' 

THE VOICE OF A MAN WITH
A TROUBLED CONSCIENCE

But when Herod heard of it He kept saying, "John, whom I beheaded, has risen!" - Good tidings for the people of Galilee was not "good news" to Herod the murderer of John the Baptist. Indeed, his conscience was pricked with a grave concern that the man by whom these miraculous deeds were being wrought was the man he had executed! That would not be good news for Herod! One can imagine he was having a difficult time sleeping! Not the verb kept saying is in the imperfect tense as if picturing Herod muttering this over and over out loud! Each time someone would suggest another possibility such as "Eliah" or one of the names of the OT prophets, Herod's response would be "He whom I did behead-John-this is he!!!" Risen is in the perfect tense which could be rendered “was raised and is now alive and active!" Herod is convinced these reports were the resurrected John! 

Notice that while the people were postulating Elijah or the prophets, wicked, guilty Herod made this emphatic pronouncement - here is the literal rendering = "He whom I did behead -- John -- this is he; he was raised out of the dead." Imagine Herod's recollection of John's head on a gold platter dripping blood on the palace floor! 

Hiebert - Mark’s account stresses the strange conviction which Herod reached concerning Jesus. Verse 16 makes it clear that it was prompted by his troubled conscience rather than by the rumors which he had heard about Jesus.

Do you have any ghosts in your past?
Any skeletons in your closet?
-- Brian Bell 

James Morison writes that “the guilty monarch’s conscience was haunted by ghastly reminiscences and weird forebodings.” (Mark Commentary)

J D Jones gives us an animated description which is probably very close to what happened in Herod's house -- "The report about Jesus fell upon him like a clap of doom. It terrified him. It flung him into a perfect panic of fear. When he heard about Jesus and His wonderful works, his knees shook and his face blanched. He saw ghosts, and he gasped out, “John, whom I beheaded—he is risen from the dead!” Thereupon the Evangelist proceeds to tell us why it was that Jesus suggested John, and why it was that the thought of John filled this King Herod’s heart with mortal terror." 

Vincent notes that "The he (houtos) is emphatic. This one. This very John." (KJV has "he (houtos) is risen from the dead.")

Mark 6:17 For Herod himself had sent and had John arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, because he had married her.

Wuest - For this Herod himself, having commissioned an official representative, apprehended this aforementioned John and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, the wife of Philip his brother; 

NET  Mark 6:17 For Herod himself had sent men, arrested John, and bound him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, because Herod had married her.

NLT  Mark 6:17 For Herod had sent soldiers to arrest and imprison John as a favor to Herodias. She had been his brother Philip's wife, but Herod had married her.

ESV  Mark 6:17 For it was Herod who had sent and seized John and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, because he had married her.

NIV  Mark 6:17 For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, whom he had married.

Related Passages:

Matthew 14:3  For when Herod had John arrested, he bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. 4 For John had been saying to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” 

Luke 3:19; 20+  But when Herod the tetrarch was reprimanded by him because of Herodias, his brother’s wife, and because of all the wicked things which Herod had done, Herod also added this to them all: he locked John up in prison.

MARK'S "FLASHBACK"
RECOUNTING JOHN'S FATE

Flashback is a literary device in which an earlier event is inserted into the normal chronological order of a narrative. Mark 6:17-29 is Mark's recounting John the Baptist's horrible fate, and is the most detailed account of his death in the synoptic Gospels (Matthew has a lengthy account in Mt 14:3-12). As Morison says this section "constitute a long and intensely ‘sensational’ paragraph. Its ‘sensationalism,’ however, is the quiet efflorescence of truth, not the noisy effervescence of fiction. It is ‘truth stranger than fiction’: deeply instructive truth moreover, giving glimpses into scenes behind the curtain of court life, and revealing the hollowness of the pleasures that are founded on immorality. At the bottom of these pleasures there is an opening into an abyss of disappointment and woe." 

As noted above Mark 6:17-29 can be subdivided into

  1. the events leading up to his death (Mk 6:17–20)
  2. the plot resulting in John’s death (Mk 6:21–29).

For (gar) is an interesting term of explanation, because here Mark uses it to introduce the lengthy explanation of John's fate.

Herod himself - This reflexive pronoun (himself) emphasizes that this was Herod's own act and no one else (presumably not even Herodias was involved in this evil act)!

Had sent and had John arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, because he had married her - NLT says Herod did this "as a favor to Herodias." 

Herod laid hold on John, because John’s word laid hold on Herod.
-- Brian Bell

Hiebert recounts the sordid tale of Herod's lust "Herodias was the daughter of Aristobulus, a half-brother to Antipas, thus his niece. She had married her uncle, here called Philip, and they had had a daughter named Salome. Philip had been disinherited by his father, Herod the Great, and lived with Herodias in Rome as a private citizen. While visiting his brother in Rome, Antipas became enamored with Herodias, who, as an ambitious woman, agreed to marry Antipas on the condition that he would divorce his wife, a daughter of the Nabataean king Aretas IV. Upon learning of the treacherous intentions of her husband, his wife of many years fled to her father at whose hands Antipas later suffered a humiliating military defeat. “For he had married her”—the evil plan was carried out. Ambitious to be the wife of a ruler, Herodias deserted her husband, or got a Roman divorce, and as the wife of Antipas became the mistress of the palace at Tiberias."

John was imprisoned in the grim fortress of Machaerus, situated on the barren heights of Moab above the Dead Sea. John’s disciples had access to him while he was confined there, for Luke 7:18+ records "The disciples of John reported to him about all these things (e.g., Lk 7:11-17)."

J D Jones - It is a ghastly story. You know it well, and I scarcely need repeat it. Herod’s shameful and incestuous union with Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife; John the Baptist’s plain and unvarnished rebuke of the monarch’s sin; his consequent imprisonment in the castle of Machærus; Herod’s birthday feast; Salome’s degrading and lascivious dance; the King’s drunken vow to the girl who had so disgraced her sex; her demand for John the Baptist’s head, and the murder of the prophet to glut a woman’s hate—these are the steps in the lurid and awful story. It was a story Herod was for ever trying to forget. For he had been rushed into a crime he loathed by the stronger will of his wicked and cruel wife. He knew John for a just man and a holy. He reverenced him. He heard him gladly. The suggestion that he would ever imbrue his hands in the Baptist’s blood would have shocked Herod. “Is thy servant a dog,” he would have said, “that he should do this thing?” But he had done it. Driven by false shame and false pride, and the stronger will of the malignant Herodias, he had done the very thing he loathed. And ever since he had done it he had been trying to forget it. He had been trying to bury the ghastly crime out of sight. But it would not be buried. Here we see the wretched king confronted by his terrible sin. The report about Jesus did this for Herod—it conjured up the ghost of the murdered John. “John!” he cried, and you can almost hear the sentence come in jerky gasps from his ashen lips—“John, whom I beheaded,—he is risen from the dead.”

Mark 6:18  For John had been saying to Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife."

Wuest -  for John had been saying to Herod, It is not lawful for you to be having the wife of your brother.

NET  Mark 6:18 For John had repeatedly told Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife."

NLT  Mark 6:18 John had been telling Herod, "It is against God's law for you to marry your brother's wife."

ESV  Mark 6:18 For John had been saying to Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife."

NIV  Mark 6:18 For John had been saying to Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife."

GNT  Mark 6:18 ἔλεγεν γὰρ ὁ Ἰωάννης τῷ Ἡρῴδῃ ὅτι Οὐκ ἔξεστίν σοι ἔχειν τὴν γυναῖκα τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ σου.

KJV  Mark 6:18 For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife.

Related Passages:

Matthew 14:3  For when Herod had John arrested, he bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. 4 For John had been saying to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.”

Leviticus 18:16  ‘You shall not uncover the nakedness of your brother’s wife; it is your brother’s nakedness.

Leviticus 20:21  ‘If there is a man who takes his brother’s wife, it is abhorrent; he has uncovered his brother’s nakedness. They will be childless. 

For John had been saying to Herod - Had been saying is in the imperfect tense, again and again. John was filled with the Spirit and the result was a "holy boldness." 

"It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife." -  In short this was an entangled incestuous web! Robertson adds this was unlawful "While the brother was alive (Lev. 18:16; Lev 20:21). After a brother’s death it was often a duty to marry his widow." 

Hiebert - John’s denunciation was based on the fact that it was not lawful, was contrary to the Mosaic law to which Antipas, a professed convert to Judaism, was subject (Lev. 18:16; 20:21). His marriage to Herodias was a crime against his brother as well as against his own wife. This bold denunciation of sin wherever he found it was characteristic of John (cf. Matt. 3:7–10).

Mark 6:19  Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death and could not do so;

Wuest - But Herodias set herself against him, and was desiring to kill him, but she was unable to do so.

NET  Mark 6:19 So Herodias nursed a grudge against him and wanted to kill him. But she could not

NLT  Mark 6:19 So Herodias bore a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But without Herod's approval she was powerless,

ESV  Mark 6:19 And Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death. But she could not,

NIV  Mark 6:19 So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to,

GNT  Mark 6:19 ἡ δὲ Ἡρῳδιὰς ἐνεῖχεν αὐτῷ καὶ ἤθελεν αὐτὸν ἀποκτεῖναι, καὶ οὐκ ἠδύνατο·

KJV  Mark 6:19 Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him; but she could not:

HERODIAS "HAD IT IN"
FOR JOHN B!

"Had it in for him" means to  persistently try or desire to harass, criticize, cause harm to, or harass someone, especially due to a grudge. 

Herodias had a grudge against him - NET translates it with another idiomatic saying = "nursed a grudge against him" which means to harbor persistent and continual resentment or ill feelings toward one, especially for some slight or wrongdoing one committed in the past. Had a grudge is in the imperfect tense which means that "Herodias never let up on this fury of hers toward the Baptist for daring to denounce her private relations with Herod, but waited her time for revenge." (Wuest) Hiebert adds "The imperfect tense pictures the protracted feeling; she harbored an undying hatred against John. But the open-ended imperfect also prepares for something to happen because of that hatred."

Robertson - The tense is imperfect and aptly described the feelings of Herodias towards this upstart prophet of the wilderness who had dared to denounce her private relations with Herod Antipas. Gould suggests that she “kept her eye on him” or kept up her hostility towards him. She never let up, but bided her time which, she felt sure, would come.

Had a grudge (1758)( enecho  from en = in + echo = to hold) means literally to hold in or hold upon and came to mean ensnare and then by implication to hold a grudge. To be enraged with, set one’s self against."With the dative: to urge, press upon one (Luke 11:53), to have a quarrel, to spite or have resentment against one, very close to hatred (Mark 6:19; Sept.: Ge. 49:23). In the passive = enéchomai, to be held in or by anything, metaphorically meaning to be entangled in, subject to, followed by the dative (Gal. 5:1)." (Zodhiates) Friberg says enecho means "strictly hold fast to, hold within; (1) active, of having hostile feelings hold a grudge against, feel resentful toward, colloquially have it in for (Mk 6.19); absolutely be very hostile to, harass violently, press on fiercely (Lk 11.53); (2) passive with the dative let oneself be entangled in, be subject to, be under the control of (Gal 5.1) Enecho - 3x. There are only 3 uses in the Septuagint - Ge 49:23, Ezek 14:4, 7. Galatians 5:1+ "It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke (figuratively represents the burdensome nature of slavery) of slavery."

And wanted to put him to death and could not do so - Notice that Mt 14:5 says "Herod wanted to put him to death." For Herodias this seems like more than a grudge to me! It does make the point that how we think in our heart comes out eventually -- watch out for grudges (resentments, feelings of ill will) because they can fester into "open sores" of hatred that may lead to sinful actions! If we have a grudge against anyone, can I suggest you stop reading right now, confess it to the Lord and repent! Herodias had the desire but (initially at least) did not have the power (authority). Swete says, “The power was wanting, not the will.” Wanted (desired) is in the imperfect tense (it pairs nicely with her grudge in the imperfect tense), was desiring over and over, again and again. "Her demand for John’s murder was the result of a long-cherished wish." (Vincent) 

THOUGHT - As a pathologist I know that cancer is most curable when we remove it in its earliest, even pre-cancerous stages. Once it has been allowed to grow and metastasize, it becomes life-threatening. Herodias pre-cancerous grudge grew into a metastasis that ate up her entire soul and became life-threatening for John, eventually taking his life! As I said above, confess those "pre-cancerous" grudges before the metastasize and cause irreparable damage! 

Mark 6:20 for Herod was afraid of John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. And when he heard him, he was very perplexed; but he used to enjoy listening to him.

Wuest - For Herod was in a continual state of fearing John, knowing him to be a man, righteous and holy; and he kept him constantly out of harm’s way, and, having heard him, he was in a continual state of perplexity, and he was in the habit of hearing him with pleasure.

NET  Mark 6:20 because Herod stood in awe of John and protected him, since he knew that John was a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard him, he was thoroughly baffled, and yet he liked to listen to John.

NLT  Mark 6:20 for Herod respected John; and knowing that he was a good and holy man, he protected him. Herod was greatly disturbed whenever he talked with John, but even so, he liked to listen to him.

ESV  Mark 6:20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet he heard him gladly.

NIV  Mark 6:20 because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him.

GNT  Mark 6:20 ὁ γὰρ Ἡρῴδης ἐφοβεῖτο τὸν Ἰωάννην, εἰδὼς αὐτὸν ἄνδρα δίκαιον καὶ ἅγιον, καὶ συνετήρει αὐτόν, καὶ ἀκούσας αὐτοῦ πολλὰ ἠπόρει, καὶ ἡδέως αὐτοῦ ἤκουεν.

KJV  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 afraid of John - Mk 11:18 Ex 11:3 1Ki 21:20 2Ki 3:12,13 6:21 13:14 2Ch 24:2,15-22 2Ch 26:5 Eze 2:5-7 Da 4:18,27 5:17 Mt 14:5 21:26 
  • And when he heard him - Mk 4:16 Ps 106:12,13 Eze 33:32  Joh 5:35 
  • Mark 6 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

HEROD FEARED
JOHN THE BAPTIST

Related Passages:

Matthew 14:5 Although Herod wanted to put him to death, he feared the crowd, because they regarded John as a prophet.  

For Herod was afraid of John - Was afraid is imperfect tense indicating he was in a continual state of fear! What a horrible way to live! Robertson adds that "He feared John and also Herodias. Between the two Herod vacillated." 

Jones writes this "is an illustration of the supremacy of character. It is a testimony to the essential greatness of John. The king and his prisoner seemed to have changed places. It is not the prisoner who fears the king, it is the king who fears the prisoner." “Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous man and a holy.” But if you look at that sentence for a moment, you will begin to see in it more than a tribute to the kingliness of John’s character—as the commentators point—you will begin to see that to a certain extent it is a testimony to Herod himself. Whatever Herod became in later days—and it was something terrible enough, seeing that he was able without a qualm to make a mock of Christ Himself—at this stage in his career his case was not hopeless. He was sensitive to goodness. He could feel the appeal of the beauty of holiness....Herod had hardened his heart and seared his conscience by his sin with Herodias, but there was still a tender spot left, and John touched it.

God sent many voices to warn Herod.
Especially the voice of Conscience and the voice of a Prophet.
-- Brian Bell

Knowing that he was a righteous (dikaios) and holy (hagios) man - Knowing is eido indicating Herod knew beyond a shadow of doubt about John's character. "Herod’s reaction was inspired by his instinctive recognition of John’s moral excellence." (Hiebert) The point is that Herod knew John was innocent of any wrongdoing. Righteous (dikaios) speaks of John's blameless relation to other men and holy (hagios) speaks to his total separation to the Holy One. 

And he kept him safe - The irony is that the safest place Herod could find from the sinister Herodias was a prison cell! Kept him safe is in the Imperfect tense meaning again and again, over and over. Herod maintained a constant watch over John. In other words Herod continually protected John from the murderous intentions of his wife Herodias (talk about marital disharmony)!  The NET translation says "Herod stood in awe of John and protected him." Notice that Mt 14:5 says "Herod wanted to put him to death" but he was restrained because he was afraid of what the Jews would do or how they would react. 

Kept him safe (4933)(suntereo from sun/syn = with + tereo = guard, keep) means to keep closely together, keep close, “to preserve a thing from perishing or being lost, to guard one, to keep him safe. It is used of the preservation of wineskins (Mt 9:17+). Luke 2:19+ Mary "treasured (suntereo) all these things in her heart"  

And when he heard him, he was very perplexed but he used to enjoy ("gladly, with pleasure") listening to him - “He was in perplexity about many things.” Perplexed is in the  imperfect tense picturing a continual state of perplexity, continual serious state of anxiety! Used to enjoy listening is in the imperfect tense, speaking of repeated visits of Herod to see John in the prison of Machaerus. But his visits to John, his life with Herodias, his guilty conscience, and the insistent demands of his wife, brought him to his wit’s end, perplexed, knowing not which way to turn. “He was in perplexity about many things,” the Greek has it.

Hiebert adds that "the interviews evoked tangled, conflicting feelings in Herod, leaving him at a loss as to what to do. He was torn with indecision between the voice of conscience and his passion for Herodias. The statement pictures his moral weakness" (but) "He found the message of John bracing and refreshing to his jaded mind. He could appreciate the unpretentious grandeur of John’s character, while the vigor and purity of his mind, which moved on quite a different level from that which Herod daily encountered in his court, appealed to his better nature." 

To tamper w/conscience is like killing the watchdog while the burglar is breaking in.
-- F B Meyer 

A T Robertson on used to enjoy listening to him - This is the way that Herod really felt when he could slip away from the meshes of Herodias. These interviews with the Baptist down in the prison at Machaerus during his occasional visits there braced “his jaded mind as with a whiff of fresh air” (Swete). But then he saw Herodias again and he was at his wits’ end (ēpore], lose one’s way, ([a] privative and [poros], way), for he knew that he had to live with Herodias with whom he was hopelessly entangled.

J D Jones - Looking at the narrative, I think that the real root reason is to be found in Herod’s weak and vacillating will. In a sense Herod was not a deliberately wicked man, but he was a weak man, and, through his weakness, he allowed himself to be swept into this awful wickedness. He is in the New Testament what Ahab is in the Old Testament. Both of them were weak and sensual men. Neither, however, if left to himself, would have steeped his hands in blood. But they both had queens of masterful will. Driven by this stronger will of their queens, both these weak men committed great and awful wickedness. Look at that expression, “He was much perplexed” (ver. 20, R.V.). The whole secret of Herod’s tragic failure is there. It gives us a picture of a weak and irresolute man. He could not make up his mind what to do. Between the Baptist and his own conscience on the one side, and his wicked queen upon the other, “he was much perplexed.” He was torn by conflicting impulses. And so he temporised and procrastinated until that shameful day came when Herodias’ cunning trapped him with the crime which in his sober moments he had steadfastly refused to commit. Yes, at the root of Herod’s awful and tragic lapse lies his weakness and timidity and cowardice. Herod had not the strength of will to do the right thing in scorn of consequences. He could not rise above what the old Book calls “the fear of men.” That was Herod’s curse all his life through. He was weak-willed—was swept into crime he abhorred by wicked associates of stronger will than himself.

Perplexed (639)(aporeo/aporeomai from alpha privative + poros = a way,) means literally to be without a way. Figuratively it means not to know which way to turn, to be at a loss, to be uncertain, to be "dazed and confused", to be in doubt, to be disturbed. The cognate noun aporia is used once in the NT in the context of perplexity of the signs in the sky in the days preceding the return of the Messiah (Lk 21:25). Vine says aporeomai is literally “to be without a way in which to go,” and so to be puzzled, to be at a loss as to what to think or what to do as Jacob was about his brother Esau (Genesis 32:7 = Lxx use of aporeomai which renders "distressed") All uses in NT - Mk. 6:20; Lk. 24:4; Jn. 13:22; Acts 25:20; 2 Co. 4:8; Gal. 4:20


He began by neglecting John; he ended by mocking Christ.
-- J D Jones

J D Jones offers a poignant commentary on the changing character of Herod - We cannot here pass without thought or comment Herod’s Fate. His promise and his failure are in this paragraph. His fate you may read for yourselves in Luke 23, when it is said, “And Herod with his soldiers set Him (i.e. Jesus) at nought, and mocked Him.” Contrast these two facts, Herod feared John—Herod set Jesus at nought and mocked Him. In the contrast you see the calamitous issue of sin. This chapter is full of the most tremendous teaching about sin. The way in which it breeds—for all this tragedy sprang from Herod’s unholy passion for Herodias. The way in which it haunts the conscience, as illustrated in Herod’s terror-stricken outcry. The solemn fact of personal responsibility, “John, whom I beheaded.” And the tragic doom of sin, “The wages of sin is death.” It is no empty threat. It is no theological bogey. It is the inexorable law. See it working itself out. He feared John; but in a few months he had become so dead to purity and holiness that he could make a mock of Christ. You remember the sequence Paul traces in Romans 1—lusts of the heart, vile passions, a reprobate mind. It is illustrated in Herod’s case. That was his doom, his fate, a reprobate mind. There is no whittling sin away, or minimising its awful consequence. We make mistakes when we even postpone the punishment of sin to some future judgment. The punishment takes place here and now. The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The worst and most dreadful punishment of sin is the havoc it works in character—the loss of sensitiveness, the seared and hardened conscience. When faith is lost and honour dies, the man is dead. It came to that with Herod. He began by neglecting John; he ended by mocking Christ. He refused to have God in his knowledge, and this was the tragic result. God gave him up to a reprobate mind.

That is the final and dread issue of persistent neglect of conscience and repeated sin—a deadened conscience, a reprobate mind. The most terrible punishment of sin is that man ceases to feel it is sin. “Ephraim is turned to his idols,” says God by the lips of one of His prophets. “Let him alone.” “Let him alone!” What a sentence of dread and doom and despair that is! There is no hope left when God despairs, when the Lord says, “Let him alone.” It has not come to that with any one of us. But do not neglect the warning; a neglected conscience is a seared conscience, a life of sin may issue in the reprobate mind. Therefore, if you hear the call, do not put it off or procrastinate. But listen to it and obey it.

If Herod had only listened to John, what a different life-story his might have been! For though he had committed a terrible and awful sin, it was not an unpardonable sin. David, the man after God’s own heart, had committed a sin every whit as black. But David, when Nathan rebuked him, and brought his sin to his remembrance, listened, and humbled himself, and repented in dust and ashes, and cried, “Be merciful to me, O God.” And Herod might have been where David is; he might have sat at the same King’s table as David does; he might have worn the white robe which David does; he might have joined in the song which David sings; he might have been called “a man after God’s own heart,” as David is—if only he had listened to John and humbled himself and repented. But though he listened and was much perplexed, he failed to repent, and so he makes his bed in hell. With Herod’s fate before me, I proclaim the old message, “Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation.” And I issue the old appeal, “To-day, if ye will hear My voice, harden not your hearts.”

Mark 6:21  A strategic day came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his lords and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee;

Wuest - And a strategic day having come, when Herod on his birthday made a supper for his great men, and his military commanders, and the chief men of Galilee.

NET  Mark 6:21 But a suitable day came, when Herod gave a banquet on his birthday for his court officials, military commanders, and leaders of Galilee.

NLT  Mark 6:21 Herodias's chance finally came on Herod's birthday. He gave a party for his high government officials, army officers, and the leading citizens of Galilee.

ESV  Mark 6:21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his nobles and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee.

NIV  Mark 6:21 Finally the opportune time came. On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee.

GNT  Mark 6:21 Καὶ γενομένης ἡμέρας εὐκαίρου ὅτε Ἡρῴδης τοῖς γενεσίοις αὐτοῦ δεῖπνον ἐποίησεν τοῖς μεγιστᾶσιν αὐτοῦ καὶ τοῖς χιλιάρχοις καὶ τοῖς πρώτοις τῆς Γαλιλαίας,

KJV  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;

  • A strategic day came when - Ge 27:41 2Sa 13:23-29 Es 3:7 Ps 37:12,13 Ac 12:2-4 
  • his birthday gave a banquet - Ge 40:20 Es 1:3-7 2:18 Pr 31:4,5 Da 5:1-4 Ho 7:5 1Pe 4:3 Rev 11:10 
  • Mark 6 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

A CONVENIENT DAY
FOR A CRUEL CRIME!

Related Passages:

Matthew 14:6 But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod,

A strategic day came - This was the "day of opportunity" for Herodias, the favorable occasion to allow her to act against John the Baptist. She was not about to miss her "opportunity!" In Texas we have seasons for deer hunting and dove hunting and all other times are illegal. In this case it was "in season" for "John the Baptist hunting" (so to speak)!

Strategic (2122)(eukairos rom eu = good + kairos = season, opportune time, "window of opportunity") is an adjective that means well timed, suitable, favorable, at the right time. BDAG says it "pertains to time that is considered a favorable occasion for some event or circumstance." The only other NT use (as an adjective) is in Hebrews 4:16 "help in time of need."

Wuest - Herodias chose Herod’s birthday as the strategic moment to spring her trap and force him to put John to death. This was the propitious, auspicious time that promised the attainment of her murderous plans. 

Hiebert points out that "Jews generally disapproved of such birthday festivals as being pagan, but the Herods followed the Romans in the practice." 

When Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his lords and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee - "Those invited to the birthday-banquet were the lords (megas = great ones), the high captains (chiliarchos) commander of a thousand soldiers, a Roman cohort), and chief estates of Galilee (prōtos) the first-ones of Galilee, or the chief men - "The first men of social importance and prominence" - Robertson). This was a notable gathering, composed of men from governmental, military, and civil life." (Wuest) 

MacArthur on birthday...banquet - The Jews viewed birthday celebrations as pagan festivities that they generally avoided. But, for the Romans, birthday parties were excuses for uninhibited revelry, often characterized by overindulgence, gluttony, drunkenness, and sexual deviance. Such was certainly true of the orgiastic festival to which Herod invited his nobles, the political elite of Galilee. His dinner guests, limited to men only...The party itself was a lecherous affair as evidenced by the erotic entertainment that amused those in attendance. (MNTC-Mark)

Hiebert on  for his lords and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee — three groups of distinguished guests. The lords, “the great ones,” were the dignitaries holding high civil offices under Antipas. The high captains (chiliarchs), commanders over a thousand men, here denote the military officials of high rank. Their presence may imply that Antipas at this time was consulting with them concerning his collection of forces to meet Aretas, the father of his repudiated wife. The chief men of Galilee were the important social leaders of the province. The mention of the third group would seem to suggest that the gathering was at Tiberias, but to hold it at the fortress of Machaerus would give it a distinctive image. Further, it seems doubtful that Herod could have gathered “the chief men of Galilee” (ASV) for this birthday party if it was held in Tiberias since Josephus tells us that pious Jews avoided that city because it had been built on a cemetery (Antiquities 18. 2. 3).

Birthday (1077)(genesia from genesis = origin, lineage) was originally a day observed on the birthday of a deceased person; in the NT birthday feast or celebration. Robertson adds that the "earlier Greeks used the word genesia for funeral commemorations (birthdays of the dead), genethlia being the word for birthday celebrations of living persons. But that distinction has disappeared in the papyri. The word genesia in the papyri is always a birthday feast." The only other use is Mt 14:6 in the same story of Herod and John. 

Banquet (supper, dinner)(1173)(deipnon) was the main meal of the day, eaten at evening and in this context denotes a luxurious banquet (used again in Mk 12:39). 

Vincent - The Roman satirist, Persius, alludes to a festival known as “Herod’s Day,” and pictures a banquet on that occasion.

    “But when
    Comes Herod’s day, and on the steaming panes
    The ranged lamps, festooned with violets, pour
    The unctuous cloud, while the broad tunny-tail
    Sprawled o’er the red dish swims, and snowy jars
      Swell with the wine.”
                                    Sat. v. 180–183.

Mark 6:22 and when the daughter of Herodias herself came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests; and the king said to the girl, "Ask me for whatever you want and I will give it to you."

Related Passages:

Matthew 14:6 But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod, 7 so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. 

and when the daughter of Herodias herself came in and danced - This is Herod's stepdaughter. Notice it does not say necessarily that Herod invited her. He may have, but alternatively Herodias may have realized this was her chance to set a trap for Herod by having her daughter perform what was in effect a "striptease!"

Robertson adds "Herodias stooped this low to degrade her own daughter like a common hetaira in order to carry out her set purpose against John. The maudlin group lounging on the divans were thrilled by the licentious dance of the half-naked princess.The maudlin group lounging on the divans were thrilled by the licentious dance of the half-naked princess.

Gould writes "“Such dancing was an almost unprecedented thing for women of rank, or even respectability. It was mimetic and licentious, and performed by professionals”

She pleased Herod and his dinner guests - This is a banquet and wine was undoubtedly flowing freely which always clouds one's judgment. In this case Herod yielded to his fleshly instincts by being pleased by his own stepdaughter's dance! This man was morally sick!

BDAG on pleased (aresko) says "Salome, daughter of Herodias, pleases Herod and his company, and in keeping w. Mediterranean reciprocity system receives her award, in this instance a grisly one." 

MacArthur suggests that pleased is "a euphemism for “sexually aroused." That is possible and when combined with an inebriated state explains his rash, foolish statement that follows. 

and the king said to the girl - As noted this girl is Salome, daughter of Herodias. 

Hiebert has a fascinating comment on the daughter's dance - The climax of the entertainment was a solo dance by the daughter of Herodias herself. The expression indicates the unusual fact. Such solo dances were grossly suggestive pantomimic representations, comparable to a striptease act in a modern nightclub. They were regularly performed by professional entertainers of low moral character, and it was an almost unprecedented thing for Salome to perform such a dance before Herod’s guests. Some have indeed questioned the accuracy of the biblical account, but Rawlinson replies that the occurrence is “not wholly incredible, however outrageous, to those who know anything of the morals of Oriental courts, or of Herod’s family in particular.”

Ask me for whatever you want and I will give it to you - Ask is a command in the aorist imperative signifying ask without delay. The snare of the trap had sprung and Herod was trapped. The qualification of whatever opened the "trap door!"

Morison - A most extravagant promise, in which one can easily trace the infatuating effect of voluptuous indulgence, and vanity, and ostentation.

Stein points out that "The latter recalls the words of King Ahasuerus to Esther in Esther 5:3, 6; 7:2 (cf. also 1 Kings 13:8; Luke 19:8). The language is surely hyperbolic, but it does imply that Herod would grant just about anything that the girl asked. " (BECT-Mk)

Lenski - Although he was not even a dependent king but only a tetrarch, only called a king by the favor of the people, this man tried to ape the real kings by a grandiose display in the most magnificent royal style. He promised the girl that he would give her whatever she wanted.

Robertson - The drunken Tetrarch had been caught in the net of Herodias. It was a public promise.

Related Resources:

Mark 6:23 And he swore to her, "Whatever you ask of me, I will give it to you; up to half of my kingdom."

HEROD'S 
FOOLISH OATH

Related Passages:

Esther 5:3+ Then the king said to her, “What is troubling you, Queen Esther? And what is your request? Even to half of the kingdom it shall be given to you.”

Esther 7:2+ And the king said to Esther on the second day also as they drank their wine at the banquet, “What is your petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to half of the kingdom it shall be done.”

And he swore to her - Herod seals his pretentious promise with a foolish oath! In other words Herod put himself under oath in front of all his prominent guests! One wonders what the Roman emperor would have thought had he heard Herod's offer?

Lenski remarks "Morally, even only a blank promise, no matter how it has to be fulfilled, is sinful and silly at the same time. An oath to such a promise is worse and is directly prohibited in Lev. 5:4, etc. No promise or oath of this kind is morally or legally binding; when it is made, it must be confessed as sin and retracted, and pardon must be sought of God." 

"Whatever you ask of me, I will give it to you; up to half of my kingdom."- Herod was not really a king. He was a wannabe king. And so he did not have a kingdom to give Salome! It is interesting that the girl did not answer. It suggests that the mother Herodias had forseen Herod's stupid, vain move and instructed the daughter to return before accepting a reward from Herod. 

MacArthur points out that "Herod’s magnanimous offer was nothing more than sheer braggadocio. In reality, he did not have anything to give, since he ruled his territory only as a proxy of Rome. Motivated by foolish pride and sexual perversion, Herod took an oath in the hearing of his guests and bound himself to the fancies of his stepdaughter." 

Hiebert - when Salome apparently hesitated to express her request, Herod confirmed his rash promise with an oath, making it irrevocable. It was a further attempt to display his royal grandeur.

Mark 6:24 And she went out and said to her mother, "What shall I ask for?" And she said, "The head of John the Baptist."

  • said - Ge 27:8-11 2Ch 22:3,4 Eze 19:2,3 Mt 14:8 
  • The head - Job 31:31 Ps 27:2 37:12,14 Pr 27:3,4 Ac 23:12,13 
  • Mark 6 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Matthew 14:8 Having been prompted by her mother, she *said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”

And she went out and said to her mother "What shall I ask for?" - Hiebert says this implies "that no advance agreement had been made between mother and daughter." Robertson agrees that "The fact that she went and spoke to her mother proves that she had not been told beforehand what to ask." 

Lenski - Herodias had counted on Herod’s vanity and was certain that he would reward the girl for her exhibition by some gift or other. It was at this point that she hoped to carry through her murderous intent. It would, of course, all depend on what Herod would offer the girl as a reward. The scheme of Herodias might fail after all. She had to take that chance. But Herod could not have played into her hands more completely than he did. Glowing with pride, the daughter rushed out to her mother to learn what her mother wanted her to ask for herself. Among the Jews women did not recline at table with men, so Herodias was not in the dining hall. When he was making his offer the king used the active αἰτεῖν, when she accepted the offer the girl used the middle αἰτεῖσθαι. When, as here, the voices are used in marked contrast, the active is used to indicate ordinary requests, the middle requests in business transactions. The point to be brought out is that after Herod invited the girl’s request, she proceeded as one who had business to transact with him—she asked to have her rightful claim met; see B.-D. 316, 2; R. 805.

And she said - "the aorist tense implies a prompt, premeditated reply." (Hiebert)

The head of John the Baptist." - The trap had finally caught Herodias enemy John. Notice evil Herodias did not just ask to have John executed but wanted clear evidence that the dirty deed had been accomplished. John's head dripping with blood would be clear evidence!

Mark 6:25 Immediately she came in a hurry to the king and asked, saying, "I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter."

NET  Mark 6:25 Immediately she hurried back to the king and made her request: "I want the head of John the Baptist on a platter immediately."

NLT  Mark 6:25 So the girl hurried back to the king and told him, "I want the head of John the Baptist, right now, on a tray!"

ESV  Mark 6:25 And she came in immediately with haste to the king and asked, saying, "I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter."

NIV  Mark 6:25 At once the girl hurried in to the king with the request: "I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter."

GNT  Mark 6:25 καὶ εἰσελθοῦσα εὐθὺς μετὰ σπουδῆς πρὸς τὸν βασιλέα ᾐτήσατο λέγουσα, Θέλω ἵνα ἐξαυτῆς δῷς μοι ἐπὶ πίνακι τὴν κεφαλὴν Ἰωάννου τοῦ βαπτιστοῦ.

KJV  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.

ASV  Mark 6:25 And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou forthwith give me on a platter the head of John the Baptist.

CSB  Mark 6:25 Immediately she hurried to the king and said, "I want you to give me John the Baptist's head on a platter-- right now!"

NKJ  Mark 6:25 Immediately she came in with haste to the king and asked, saying, "I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter."

NRS  Mark 6:25 Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, "I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter."

YLT  Mark 6:25 and having come in immediately with haste unto the king, she asked, saying, 'I will that thou mayest give me presently, upon a plate, the head of John the Baptist.'

Related Passages:

Matthew 14:8+ Having been prompted by her mother, she *said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” 

SALOME WANTS HER
WANTON WISH AT ONCE!

Immediately (euthusshe came in a hurry to the king and asked - One can see her run back into the dining hall. It is as if she wanted to ask before Herod became sober. Hurry is spoude describes swiftness of movement and thus means with haste (used of a virtuous woman in a hurry in Lk 1:39+). Spoude describes a quality of extraordinary commitment as well as zeal and eagerness. In this case her zeal was to consummate a great evil as quickly as possible! 

Morison - Immediately, without loss of time; with haste, with alacrity in her steps, and unhesitating determination in her bearing. 

saying, "I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter." - In v22 Herod had asked her to determine the gift and now she speaks her wish. This shocking request would have undoubtedly caught Herod by surprise. The idea of at once would be evidence to all the dinner guests that Herod had kept his word. 

Hiebert on at once - stresses that she demanded her ghastly reward without delay. Her manner betrays a callous brashness that equals that of her mother.

Lenski adds that "When the devil pulls his noose, he pulls it tight. She demands “the head” of John, the absolute evidence of John’s death and no mere word on the part of an executioner that John has been executed. Herodias does not trust the man who stole his own brother’s wife." 

Mark 6:26 And although the king was very sorry, yet because of his oaths and because of his dinner guests, he was unwilling to refuse her.

NET  Mark 6:26 Although it grieved the king deeply, he did not want to reject her request because of his oath and his guests.

NLT  Mark 6:26 Then the king deeply regretted what he had said; but because of the vows he had made in front of his guests, he couldn't refuse her.

ESV  Mark 6:26 And the king was exceedingly sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her.

NIV  Mark 6:26 The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her.

GNT  Mark 6:26 καὶ περίλυπος γενόμενος ὁ βασιλεὺς διὰ τοὺς ὅρκους καὶ τοὺς ἀνακειμένους οὐκ ἠθέλησεν ἀθετῆσαι αὐτήν·

KJV  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.

ASV  Mark 6:26 And the king was exceeding sorry; but for the sake of his oaths, and of them that sat at meat, he would not reject her.

CSB  Mark 6:26 Though the king was deeply distressed, because of his oaths and the guests he did not want to refuse her.

NKJ  Mark 6:26 And the king was exceedingly sorry; yet, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he did not want to refuse her.

NRS  Mark 6:26 The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her.

HEROD'S FATAL
"BUT"

Related Passages:

Matthew 14:9 Although he was grieved, the king commanded it to be given because of his oaths, and because of his dinner guests. 

Brian Bell on "And the king was exceedingly sorry, BUT (ESV) - How easily influenced -- Influenced by his: cunning concubine, his dancing daughter, his careless covenant, and his beer-drinking buddies. Afraid of the jeers, Herod are you too religious to put away a Prophet? The fear of being thought weak, proved that he was weak indeed. THOUGHT - Who influences you? Actually, every friend influences you for the good or the bad. How do each of your friends influence you? Wicked Oaths ought to be repented of, not acted out. In the sight of heaven it was Herod who perished not John.

The fear of man brings a snare,
But he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted.
-- Proverbs 29:25

And although the king was very sorry - As indicated by the use of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mt 26:38, Mk 14:34), this is a very strong term describing one who is deeply grieved and saddened, even afflicted beyond measure. The "peri" in perilupos means "AROUND" and thus pictures Herod as if he were surrounded by grief, to the point of being engulfed or drowning in distress! Sadly, though this emotion was strong and surrounding, it was not sufficient to counter his pride and vanity at having given his oath before his esteemed guests. Even in this reaction notice that it is all about Herod, and there is no expression of pity, compassion or sorrow for John! Herod is like the little boy who was caught with his hand in the cookie jar! All Herod was sorry about was that he had been trapped into carrying out this dastardly deed! He may have had a touch of remorse, but not an ounce of repentance! Paul's words were "prophetic" for Herod when he wrote "the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death!" (2 Cor 7:10) Indeed, there were 2 deaths. The temporal death of John, but the far worse eternal death of Herod! 

MacArthur comments that "He was filled with regret, but his sorrow had no connection to true repentance. Though he realized that he had been trapped by his wife, Herod obliged the wicked request of his stepdaughter in order to avoid personal humiliation."

Very sorry (very sad) (4036)(perilupos from peri = about + lupe = sorrow, cf lupeo) describes one's emotional state as very sad, exceedingly sorrowful, deeply distressed/grieved, or characterized by affliction beyond measure. Cain's countenance in Ge 4:6, soul's despair in Ps 42:5, 11, 43:5, Jesus in Garden of Gethsemane in Mt 26:38, Mk 14:34, your ruler in Lk 18:23, Jesus in Lk 18:24. 

Lenski - Neither Matthew nor Mark says that Herod grieved for John. The context makes plain what made him feel so sorry; Herodias had gained her will; he was forced to act contrary to his fears; he had maneuvered himself into a terribly false position. The murder involved was an entirely minor matter to the king. What forced the hand of the king was his moral impotency coupled with his silly pride. He had made a grand gesture as if he were a magnificent independent monarch, and now, when he is called on to live up to the pretense, he lacked the manhood and good sense to acknowledge his folly. 

Yet - A sad term of contrast! Too proud to change his decision!

ILLUSTRATION - A missionary teacher in Africa related that his students, when studying this story, found it almost unbelievable that Herod did not talk himself out of the trap. When asked what they would have said, the reply was, “I would have said, ‘The head of John the Baptist is not that half of the kingdom which I promised you.’ ”

Because of his oaths and because of his dinner guests - Two reasons are given, both weak and indicative of a weak man! 

Broadus on oaths in the plural (as in Mt 14:9) -  We may conclude that Herod had several times repeated his tipsy promise to the girl, with various oaths. He was superstitious about his oaths, as many very wicked men are, and was ashamed not to keep the promise he had so frequently made, and so solemnly confirmed before the assembled dignitaries. But a grossly wicked promise is better broken than kept, especially when no one will really lose thereby. As to the general subject of oaths, see commentary on Matthew 5:33-37. (Commentary)

MacArthur - Herod’s motivation for keeping his promise had nothing to do with personal integrity and everything to do with keeping up appearances. In the ancient Near East, promises made with an oath were regarded as especially binding and inviolable (cf. Matt. 5:33). Having made such a promise in the presence of his dinner guests—many of whom were political supporters and military dignities—Herod could not go back on his word without losing face. 

Lenski -  What moved him was his oaths and the presence of his guests. We take the two together; they were now to witness whether he would live up to the oaths he had made in their presence or not.

Hiebert - Moral cowardice made him afraid to break his word in the presence of those reclining with him. But Herod would certainly have stood taller, even in the eyes of his fellow revelers when they regained their full sobriety, had he refused to go through with his promise. “Timidity, which takes the form of false pride, is accountable for the moral failure of thousands.”

He was unwilling to refuse her - Unwilling is literally (absolutely) did not want to set aside his offer, in effective regarding it as nothing. A spineless man who laced sufficient courage to reverse his promise even though the promise resulted in an unjust murder of a just man! 

Reject (set aside, nullify)(114)(atheteo from áthetos = not placed from a = without + thetós = placed) means to do away with what has been laid down, to set aside and thus to regard as nothing, to declare invalid, thwart the efficacy of a thing. Atheteo literally means to displace what had been placed, when used with a person means to break faith with, to disappoint. In the papyri atheteo was used of loans which were repaid and cancelled and for the rejection of certain officials who were described as inefficient and incapable of doing their duty. Atheteo was also used of grain rejected by the inspector as unfit for food.

Mark 6:27 Immediately the king sent an executioner and commanded him to bring back his head. And he went and had him beheaded in the prison,

Related Passages:

Matthew 14:10 He sent and had John beheaded in the prison. 

Immediately - Herod had gone to far now. The dirty deed had to be carried out posthaste. So quick was his decision that surely Salome was still present in the banquet hall. Although Herod was not a true king he did have authority to carry out the death penalty. 

The king sent an executioner and commanded him to bring back his head - Executioner is spekoulator used only here and representing a Latin loan word that originally literally meant a spy or scout and when attached to a ruling official meant member of a bodyguard or executioner. The executioner was merely an instrument in the hands of Herod, Matthew writing "He (Herod) sent and had John beheaded in the prison." In short, the blame and guilt for John's beheading fell on Herod's head! This recalls David's murder of Uriah through his order to draw the troops back. David and Herod were both guilty even though they did not personally carry out the execution. God's justice is peerless and perfect! The guilty will not escape in this life nor the next! 

Hiebert - "Roman tribunes customarily surrounded themselves with such bodyguards, and Herod adopted the custom."

Wuest adds on spekoulator - We get our word “speculator” from it. The word itself means “a watcher.” It was used to designate a guardsman whose business it was to watch or spy out. It came gradually to denote one of the armed bodyguard of the Roman emperor. Suetonius says that Claudius did not dare to attend banquets unless his speculatores with their lances surrounded him. Seneca uses the word in the sense of an executioner. Herod imitated the custom of the Roman emperor and had a company of speculatores around him. It was one of these that he sent to behead John.

Robertson - A spy, scout, lookout, and often executioner. It was used of the bodyguard of the Roman emperor and so for one of Herod’s spies. He was used to do errands of this sort and it was soon done. It was a gruesome job, but he soon brought John’s head to the damsel, apparently in the presence of all, and she took it to her mother. This miserable Tetrarch, the slave of Herodias, was now the slave of his fears. He is haunted by the ghost of John and shudders at the reports of the work of Jesus.

And he went and had him beheaded in the prison - The executioner manifested unhesitating obedience to carry out this evil deed. 

Brian Bell - No miracles were brought about for John’s deliverance. Never be shocked that good christians die. So our friend John left his prison for paradise, by 1 sudden strike of the sword. Which still happens today in the persecution of Christians around our world. (See the persecuted church or Voice of Martyrs)

MacArthur points out that "Though the setting of John’s head on a platter was a presentation fit for cannibals, such an act was not uncommon in the barbaric world of antiquity because it guaranteed that the execution had been carried out."

Herodias wanted swift action (so Herod would not have time to change his mind) and she also wanted unequivocal evidence his execution had been carried out and John's head would fill her evil heart's desire. .

Hiebert - According to the ancient Roman historian Cassius Dio, when the head of Cicero (d. 43 B.C.) was brought to Mark Antony’s wife, Fulvia, she pulled out his tongue and repeatedly stabbed it with her hairpin. Her violent assault on his tongue was intended as a poetic act of final vengeance against Cicero, because he had delivered powerful speeches that attacked Mark Antony. The fifth-century church father Jerome (d. 420) suggested that Herodias similarly mutilated the severed head of John the Baptist. Though such cannot be verified, it would certainly fit with the spiteful rage that characterized the vulgar queen.

Mark 6:28 and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother.


Feast of Herod, Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1531

JOHN'S HEAD ON
A PLATTER

Related Passages:

Matthew 14:11 And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother.

On earth his head may have been on a platter, but in heaven there would be a crown on his head! 

and brought his head on a platter - So clearly the banqueting hall was not far from the prison (most likely Machaerus). One wonders if any of the dinner guests developed "spiritual indigestion" that night? Hiebert comments that "Machaerus, located on a ridge about a mile long and overlooking a deep ravine, had a palace at one end and a prison at the other." 

MacArthur- Presumably, with one deft stroke of the executioner’s blade, John the Baptist entered into his glorious eternal rest, to receive his full reward for uncompromising faithfulness to God. He was not only the greatest and last of the Old Testament prophets, he was also the first martyr for Jesus Christ. His entire life pointed to the coming Messiah. Even in death, he remained faithful to his God-given task.

and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother - Morison quips this was "A fit presentation for cannibals, or other savages, whether living in a palace or" not.

Mark 6:29  When his disciples heard about this, they came and took away his body and laid it in a tomb.

JOHN'S DISCIPLES 
BURY HIS BODY

Related Passages:

Matthew 14:12+ His disciples came and took away the body and buried it; and they went and reported to Jesus

When his disciples heard about this - This refers to John's disciples, so they clearly were not with him when he was beheaded. Just imagine their agony and grief that this man who had taught them was lying headless on a prison floor. Notice that Matthew's account says John's disciples "went and reported to Jesus." 

MacArthur - As noted above, it was not until after John the Baptist was killed that Herod began to pay attention to the ministry of Christ. Fearful that John may have come back from the dead, Herod sought to see Jesus. But that meeting would not take place until just a few hours before the Lord’s crucifixion. (see Lk 23:6-11+). In the end, Herod saw Jesus. The king was undoubtedly relieved that He was not John risen from the grave. He was in truth far more, but to Herod Jesus seemed like far less—nothing more than a novelty whom he ridiculed and sent back to Pilate.

Constable - The parallels between John’s burial and Jesus’ are also striking (cf. Mk 15:42–47). John died alone; his disciples were not with him. The same was true of Jesus with the exception of His disciple John and some of His female disciples. Herod gave John’s disciples permission to bury his corpse as Pilate permitted Joseph of Arimathea to bury Jesus. The disciples of each man gave their teacher an honorable burial in a tomb. This pericope shows that people who preach repentance and point to Jesus as the Messiah can expect opposition, persecution, imprisonment, and perhaps a martyr’s death. This is a comfort for disciples who suffer for their witness for Jesus. It does not relieve them of their suffering or hold out the hope of escape, but it does enable them to see that they are in the best of company. This is some encouragement. Historically martyrs have found strength in remembering that they are part of a large company who have shared the sufferings of their Savior.

they came and took away his body and laid it in a tomb - Took away is the verb airo which means to lift up or pick up and carry away. Picture John's headless body lying on the floor of his prison cell with blood everywhere -- a gruesome scene for sure! Body is ptoma  which means that which has fallen and in this context John's corpse. Rest assured his severed head will be united with his glorified body throughout eternity! And be just as assured that Herod, Salome and Herodias will suffer unspeakable torment forever and ever in the Lake of fire! The gears of God's justice may grind slowly but they grind surely. 

Body (4430)(ptoma from pipto - to fall) what has fallen; of people and other animated creatures corpse,  a dead body: animal or human, (dead) body, corpse, esp. of one killed by violence. LS - metaph. a fall, calamity, Thayer -  1. in Greek writings from Aeschylus down, a fall, downfall; metaphorically, a failure, defeat, calamity; an error lapse, sin.  2. that which is fallen; hence, with the genitive of a person or with nekrou/ added, the (fallen) body of one dead or slain, a corpse, carcass;

Ptoma - body(3), corpse(1), dead bodies(3). Matt. 14:12; Matt. 24:28; Mk. 6:29; Mk. 15:45; Rev. 11:8; Rev. 11:9

Ptoma in the Septuagint - Jdg. 14:8; Job 15:23; Job 16:14; Job 18:12; Job 20:5; Job 31:29; Job 33:17; Job 37:16; Ps. 110:6; Prov. 16:18; Isa. 8:14; Isa. 30:13; Isa. 30:14; Isa. 51:19

John MacArthur analyzes Herod - In his interactions with both John the Baptist and Jesus, Herod Antipas stands like Judas as a monumentally tragic figure in history. He had the greatest man who had ever lived, the most honored prophet of God in his hands, and he locked him in a dungeon until he had him executed. More importantly, he had an audience with the King of kings, and he mocked Him and turned Him away. Such wasted opportunity was the result of his insidious love for sin, his arrogant unwillingness to believe, and his cowardly fear of the truth. Herod claimed to rule over others, but in reality he was a man controlled by the fear of man. His fear of the people initially kept him from killing John. His fear of his friends finally compelled him to authorize John’s execution. His fear of John made him anxious when he heard about Jesus. But his fear turned to scorn when he finally had an audience with the Son of God. Herod feared everyone except the Lord, and he lost his soul as a result. (MNTC-Mk) 

R C H Lenski - While this account of John’s tragic death explains Herod’s superstitious idea about Jesus (v. 14), it evidently intends to do more. It reveals the entire attitude of the ruler of Galilee toward John and toward Jesus and thus involves one of the reasons Jesus withdrew himself more and more. The time was about a year before Jesus’ own death. Jesus died at the Passover, and this was just prior to the preceding Passover, John 6:4. John’s bloody death pointed forward to that of Jesus.

Stier (“Words of Jesus”) says of Herod: “This man, whose inner life was burnt out; who was made up of contradictions, speaking of his kingdom like Ahasuerus, and yet the slave of his Jezebel; willingly hearing the prophet, and unwillingly killing him; who will be a Sadducee, and yet thinks of a resurrection; who has a superstitious fear of the Lord Jesus, and yet a curiosity to see him.”

Brian Bell - At the end of most true story TV shows and movies, it tells what happened w/the key people: Herod: lost his prestige and power. His armies were defeated by the Arabs. His appeals to be made a real king (urged by his wife) were refused by Emperor Caligula. Herod was banished to Gaul (France) and then to Spain, where he died

Mark 6:30 The apostles gathered together with Jesus; and they reported to Him all that they had done and taught.

  • the apostles - Mk 6:7-13 Lu 9:10 10:17 
  • reported to Him all that they had done - Ac 1:1 20:18-21 1Ti 4:12-16 Tit 2:6,7 1Pe 5:2,3
  • Mark 6 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Simple Outline on Mark 6 - Jesus Teaching, Sending, Mourning, Feeding, Walking and Touching

  1. Mark 6:1-6 Jesus' Teaching Astonished and Scandalized = Unbelief in Nazareth
  2. Mark 6:7-13 Jesus Sends Twelve in Pairs Giving them Instructions and Authority
  3. Mark 6:14-29 John the Baptist Beheaded Fate
  4. Mark 6:30-44 - Jesus Feeds Five thousand
  5. Mark 6:45–52 Jesus Walks on the water
  6. Mark 6:53–56 Jesus Heals by Touching

CONCLUSION OF THE APOSTOLIC
MISSION OF THE TWELVE

Related Passages:

Matthew 14:13 Now when Jesus heard about John (JOHN'S DEATH), He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself; and when the people heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities.

Luke 9:10 When the apostles returned, they gave an account to Him of all that they had done. Taking them with Him, He withdrew by Himself to a city called Bethsaida.

John 6:1  After these things Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (or Tiberias).

This section describes the feeding of the 5000. For feeding of the 4000 see Mark 8:1–9; Matt 15:32–38. 

Keep the chronological context in mind for much had happened over the recent months - John the Baptist had been beheaded and his body buried and the disciples had ministered two  by two throughout the region.

The apostles gathered together with Jesus - This event follows their being sent out (Mk 6:7-13+, see also Mt 10:6-15+) This is the only place Mark calls the twelve disciples "apostles." (Apostle also only once in Matthew = Mt 10:2+). Keep in mind that the disciples had been sent out (apostello) and so some feel that the word apostles (apostolos) is not used in the technical sense that it takes on later. Wuest says here it refers  to "those who had been sent off on a commission to represent the one sending them and to perform a certain mission.

A T Robertson says gathered together is a "Vivid historical present." In other words gathered together is in the present tense which is the historical present which describes a past event as though it were actually taking place. The idea is that the present tense in this context is a pictorial tense, displaying the action vividly before our eyes. In English we often use the historical present when recounting personal experiences such as "then he says to me" (describing something said in the past but expressing it as if in the present). The Gospel of Mark frequently uses historical present - see peculiarities of Mark

and they reported to Him all that they had done and taught  They had done would refer to the signs and wonders God allowed them to perform. Taught refers to the preaching of the Gospel to repent and believe.Mark 6:13+ says "they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them." How long had they been teaching the word and performing miracles? None of the Gospels tell us. This must have been an exciting time as they reported to Jesus their deeds and doctrine. Lenski quips " Jesus no doubt heard them patiently." (cf "of ALL that they had done" - Lk 9:10+).

THOUGH - The disciples had experienced great success in their assignment. As His disciples today, this truth should give us great encouragement. The upshot is that when Jesus authorizes and empowers us as His disciples (cf His command to "make disciples" based on His authority - Mt 28:18,19+), we can anticipate God’s blessings in what we do. We must simply believe and go.

Mark Akin - They now return to debrief, evaluate their successes as well as their failures. This was how our Lord mentored His men. Teach them Send them out  Have them return  Report and evaluate. I doubt we can improve on this model of discipleship and training.


They told Him all things, whatsoever they had done, and taught.(r.v.)

Talking things over with Jesus! It is a precious secret! When one has been out in the world, it is delightful to talk over what has happened in the seclusion of the home. We have read of a wife who reserved one room in the house, which no one was permitted to enter but her husband and herself; and there they interchanged their mutual confidences. So it is a blessed habit to talk over everything with Jesus, and to review the events of the past beneath the light of his loving eyes.

“We have had much success, Master,” “we cry; the cities were moved; the devils were subject; the crowds followed us everywhere.” Ah, children, He seems to say, Those who cry “Hosanna” today will cry “Crucify” tomorrow: the real work of God is not done amid congratulating crowds, but in the heart’s depths, and in the ante-chamber. See that ye dwell not on the excitement of the outward reception, lest you attribute vent success to something in yourselves, and pride yourselves upon it, and become unsuitable for my use. All success comes from above.

“We have been greatly persecuted, and our mission seems to have been a failure, Master,” we cry at another time. “Who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?” Care not for it, the same wise Counsellor replies: I at least am satisfied; I will see to it that your reward is according to your faithfulness, if not to your success; and there shall be a remnant of good soil that shall repay one hundredfold.

Thus his loving words extract the poison from success, and rally us from despondency. Oh, Christian workers, get into the secret of his presence, that He may correct, criticize, or encourage, as He please. Meyer, F. B. Our Daily Homily


Only the resurrection and the feeding of the 5000 are found in all 4 Gospels. Clearly feeding of the 5000 is very significant and one of the main points is that this miracle (largest number of people affected by one miracle) was clear demonstration that Jesus was God and not only God but Creator! In addition, in the Gospel of John, this miracle set the stage for the profound teaching that Jesus Himself was the bread of life (John 6:25-70). John MacArthur has an interesting statement that "In each gospel account this miracle is placed at the climax of the Lord’s ministry."

THE FEEDING OF FIVE THOUSAND PLUS

NOTE: Words in Bold are unique to that Gospel's account.


 GOSPEL
 
 Matthew 14:12–24 Mark 6:30–46 Luke 9:10–17 John 6:1–14
THE SETTING
TWO REPORTS
His disciples came and took away the body and buried it; and they went and reported to Jesus. - Mt 14:12+ The apostles gathered together with Jesus; and they reported to Him all that they had done and taught.- Mk 6:30+ When the apostles returned, they gave an account to Him of all that they had done. Lk 9:10a+ After these things  Jn 6:1a+
 
WITHDRAWAL
TO REST
Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself - Mt 14:13a+ He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.They went away in the boat to a secluded place by themselves.- Mk 6:31,32+ Taking them with Him, He withdrew by Himself to a city called Bethsaida Lk 9:10b+

Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (or Tiberias). Jn 6:1b+

REST
"ARRESTED"
When the people heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities - Mt 14:13b+ The people saw them going, and many recognized them and ran there together on foot from all the cities, and got there ahead of them. Mk 6:33+ But the crowds were aware of this and followed Him; Lk 9:11a+

A large crowd followed Him, because they saw the signs which He was performing on those who were sick. . Jn 6:2a+

LARGE
CROWD
When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd- Mt 14:14a+ When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd Mk 6:34a+  

Then Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat down with His disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was near. Jesus, lifting up His eyes and seeing that a large crowd was coming to Him Jn 6:3-5+

COMPASSION He felt compassion for them and healed their sick - Mt 14:14b+ He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things. Mk 6:34b+ Welcoming them, He began speaking to them about the kingdom of God and curing those who had need of healing. Lk 9:11b+  
THE TIME
WAS LATE
When it was evening...the hour is already late, Mt 14:15a+ When it was already quite late...already quite late Mk 6:35a+ Now the day was ending Lk 9:12a+  
SEND THEM
AWAY
The disciples came to Him and said, “This place is desolate...so send the crowds away, that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.”.- Mt 14:15b+ His disciples came to Him and said, “This place is desolate...send them away so that they may go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”" Mk 6:35b-36+ The twelve came and said to Him, “Send the crowd away, that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside and find lodging and get something to eat; for here we are in a desolate place.” Lk 9:12b+  
THE TEST
(FAITH NOT SIGHT)
Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!” Mt 14:16+ He answered them, “You give them something to eat!” Mk 6:37+ He said to them, “You give them something to eat!” - Lk 9:13a+ Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?” This He was saying to test him, for He Himself knew what He was intending to do. Jn 6:5b-6+
THEIR SOLUTION
(SIGHT NOT FAITH)
  They said to Him, “Shall we go and spend 200 denarii on bread and give them something to eat?”  Mk 6:37b+ Unless perhaps we go and buy food for all these people.” Lk 9:13c+ Philip answered Him, “200 denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little.” Jn 6:7+ (cf Jn 6:9b+)
WHEN LITTLE
IS ENOUGH

They said to Him, “We have here only 5 loaves and 2 fish.”Mt 14:17+

He said, “Bring them here to Me.” Mt 14:18+

He said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go look!” And when they found out, they said, “5 and 2 fish.”  Mk 6:38+ They said, “We have no more than 5 loaves and 2  fish Lk 9:13b+ One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, “There is a lad here who has 5 barley loaves and 2 fish, but what are these for so many people?”  Jn 6:8-9+


JESUS
SEATS
THE GUESTS

 

Ordering the people to sit down on the grass Mt 14:19a+

 

He commanded them all to sit down by groups on the green grass. They sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties. Mk 6:39-40+

 

 

He said to His disciples, “Have them sit down to eat in groups of about fifty each. - Lk 9:14b+

They did so, and had them all sit down. - Lk 9:15+

 

Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. Jn 6:10a+
JESUS
GIVES
THANKS
He took the 5 loaves and the 2 fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food Mt 14:19b+ He took the 5 loaves and the 2 fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food Mk 6:41a+ He took the 5 loaves and the 2 fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed them Lk 9:16a+ Jesus then took the loaves, and having given thanks, Jn 6:11a+
NOURISHMENT

Breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds, - Mt 14:19c+

 

He broke the loaves and He kept giving them to the disciples to set before them; and He divided up the two fish among them all.  Mk 6:41b+

He broke them, and kept giving them to the disciples to set before the people. Lk 9:16b+ He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted. Jn 6:11b+
SATISFACTION They all ate and were satisfied  - Mt 14:20a+ They all ate and were satisfied, Mk 6:42+ And they all ate and were satisfied; Lk 9:17a+ When they were filled Jn 6:12+
FAR MORE
ABUNDANT

They picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, 12 full baskets. - Mt 14:20+

 

They picked up 12 full baskets of the broken pieces, and also of the fish. Mk 6:43+ 

The broken pieces which they had left over were picked up, 12 baskets full.  Lk 9:17b+ He said to His disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost.” So they gathered them up, and filled 12 baskets with fragments from the 5 barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. Jn 6:12-13+
MIRACULOUS
NUMBERS
FED
There were about 5000 men who ate, besides women and children.Mt 14:21+ There were 5000 men who ate the loaves. Mk 6:44+ There were about 5000 men - Lk 9:14a+ So the men sat down, in number about 5000. Jn 6:10b+
PROPHET
BUT NOT
MESSIAH 
      When the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Jn 6:14+
JESUS
SENDS 
DISCIPLES AWAY
Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. - Mt 14:22+  Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the crowd away. Mk 6:45+    
JESUS 
PRAYS
 After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.Mt 14:23+ After bidding them farewell, He left for the mountain to pray.  Mk 6:46+   So Jesus, perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone. Jn 6:15+

Mark 6:31  And He said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while." (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.)

Wuest - And He says to them; Come here, as for you, yourselves, into the privacy of an uninhabited place, and rest yourselves a little. For there were those who were coming and those who were going, many of them, and not even did they have an opportune time to eat.

Related Passages:

Matthew 14:13+  Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself; and when the people heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities. 

Luke 9:10+ When the apostles returned, they gave an account to Him of all that they had done. Taking them with Him, He withdrew by Himself to a city called Bethsaida.

John 6:1+  After these things Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (or Tiberias).

And He said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while (oligos = a little) - At this time they were in the area of Capernaum (see map above). Note that Mt 14:13 says "by Himself" but Mark explains that this includes His disciples who we see are invited to come away with Him. One reason for going to the other side was to rest, and another was the news about the death of John the Baptist (Mt 14:13), although it was not because Jesus feared death. Thirdly, the next phrase suggests Jesus sought a quiet place where they would have time to eat. Notice Jesus' command rest  (aorist imperative = Do this now! It is urgent!) a while or a little (short in duration) indicating it would be a short lived rest, His words in a sense proving prophetic as the crowds soon discovered their location

If we don’t come apart and rest - we’ll come apart.
-- Vance Havner

Mark Akin - Some people “rust out” in ministry because they are lazy. Others “burn out” because they never rest or take a break. They need some “down time,” a “break in the action,” much needed R&R. If there is not time even to eat, there was no time to relax, rest, and recuperate. It was not a sin for them to take a brief sabbatical. It would have been a sin for them not to. The same is true for us! In fact, the greater the demands, the greater “our need to find time alone with Jesus.” Several practical insights can be gleaned from just these few verses...

  1. There is a time to work (cf. John 9:4). Laziness has no place in the Christian life.
  2. We should have periods of rest because Jesus tells us to. Being a workaholic is not spiritual and can be sinful. Some make ministry an idol.
  3. Rest is best when accompanied both by solitude and companionship.
  4. Rest is for a specific period of time. It is not permanent.
  5. Even while resting, be prepared for ministry if necessary. A devoted follower of Jesus is never off duty.

Henry Morris - Jesus indicates the need for at least occasional rest for His zealous and concerned followers. No matter how urgent the need of Christian witness and service, the worker must also provide for his own (1 Ti 5:8) and "give attendance to reading" (1 Ti 4:13), especially to provide spiritual food and guidance for himself and his family.

Phillips - The Lord, sensing the pressure, suggested to His disciples that they take a holiday. It was a sensible suggestion. The Lord "knoweth our frame" (Ps. 103:14). We can become too busy, even in the Lord's work. God, however, is never in a hurry; neither does He expect us to be constantly on the run. After He had poured out His energy in six days of creative activity, He "rested" the seventh day-obviously, not because He was tired. A God who can lock enough energy into an atom to destroy a city and who can power a hundred billion stars in a hundred billion galaxies evidently is not a God who gets tired. He ceased from His activity because He had finished what He set out to do and because He wanted to enjoy the fruits of His labor....One reason Elijah became overwrought when he fled from Jezebel was that he was worn out. "The journey is too great for thee," the angel said as he made provision for the exhausted prophets physical and emotional needs (1 Kings 19:4-8).(Exploring Mark)

Brian Bell - Every weary Christian worker needs to hear those words by Christ. It is important that we get alone from time to time to hear God’s voice and refresh ourselves physically and mentally. We need times when we smooth out the wrinkles of our soul, get alone w/ God, refresh our bodies, & then get ready to serve the Lord again.

Rest (refresh) (373)(anapauo from ana = again + pauo = cease or give rest) means to cause someone to gain relief, refreshment, intermission from toil. In Mt 11:28+ is speaks of spiritual rest. The literal idea is to "rest up." While it refers to a period of relaxation, it does not mean compete cessation from activities. "This is one of the needed lessons for all preachers and teachers, occasional change and refreshment. Even Jesus felt the need of it." (Robertson) " For continued effectiveness, every worker must now and then stop to take a breath and relax a little." (Hiebert)

For - Term of explanation, explaining why they needed to find a secluded place. 

There were many people coming and going - Both verbs are in the imperfect tense picturing this streams of people as occurring again and again. Presumably as one group would be going, another group would be coming.  So much for a little rest! There was no rest. John 6:4+ gives another reason that there were so many people, writing that "the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was near." So pilgrims on the way to the Passover would have been coming and going.

And they did not even have time to eat - When the pressure keeps you from even eating, you know the pressure is too great! Mark 3:20+ records a similar description when "He came home, and the crowd gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal.." Time is the rare verb eukaireo (Acts 17:21, 1 Cor 16:12) meaning to have a convenient time, a favorable time in this case to partake of food. The imperfect tense indicates that this was a recurring problem (cf Mk 3:20+). 


Coming Apart July 25

Jesus spoke these words of today’s reading, thinking not just of his disciples but of his vast army who would occupy subsequent Christian history. We all need little “Sabbaths” now and again to keep us healthy. “If we don’t come apart,” Vance Havner once quipped, “we will come apart.”

Many learn this the hard way. Asahel Nettleton, for example, was an assiduous preacher in the early 1800s whose ministry was nearly cut short by an attack of exhaustion and typhus fever.

Nettleton had been converted during the Great Revival of 1800, and, after graduating from Yale, became a revivalist himself. From his first sermons, Nettleton began winning crowds of people to Christ; and he was in great demand throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York. But his exacting schedule brought him to the gates of death in 1822, and for two years he was laid aside from ministry. He never fully recovered his health. Though he resumed preaching in 1824, he never regained his strength.

Once while resting in the Catskills, he wrote to a theological student about the physical and spiritual benefits of rest: Every itinerant preacher, especially if he has been engaged in a revival of religion, must feel the need of this direction, “Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest awhile,” or suffer greatly if he long neglect it. I could not advise any one to be employed in a powerful revival more than three months, without retiring into solitude for a short time, to review the past, and to attend to his own heart. He will find much to lament, and much to correct; and it is by deep and solemn reflection upon the past, and by this only, that he can reap the advantages of past experience.

As it turned out, Nettleton still had a number of years left, and before he died in his early 60s, he won vast numbers to the Lord. Much of his latter success came from pacing himself, by “doing more by doing less.” (Rob Morgan - From this Verse)


THE IMPORTANCE OF WORKERS, OR THOSE IN TROUBLE GETTING ALONE WITH THE LORD. MARK 6:31 - James Smith

Prayer Study No. 7.

Introduction

1. How familiar are the words of our text.
2. We remember them in times of sickness, when we note with thankfulness that it is “Come,” not “Go,” suggesting He is there to greet us.
3. But there are two classes suggested by the events of the context.
4. And we particularly remember our text in relation to waiting on God.

I. There is Sorrow, Because of Bereavement or Other Losses.

1. By St. Matthew 14 we learn that these words were said immediately after our Lord heard of John the Baptist’s martyrdom.
2. He wanted to get away from the bustling crowd.
3. There is nothing like solitude with God for healing our soul trouble.
4. Strange, often we feel least inclined for Him at such times.

II. Christian Workers, After Public Service, Require Loneliness.

1. The Apostle had returned after a successful missionary and evangelistic campaign.
2. They were jubilant.
3. He calmed them by taking them aside.
4. We will soon get flat if we do not have our times of solitude.
5. And we will soon begin to think unduly of ourselves if we do not seek for solitude.

III. Even as Christians we Need Such Solitude to Regain Lost Brilliancy.

1. An archduchess possessed some of the most magnificent pearls in existence.
2. Having been left unworn for a long time, the gems lost their colour and became, as the authorities declared, sick.
3. Experts declared that the only way to restore their original brilliancy was to submit them to a prolonged immersion in the depths of the sea.
4. At the foot of a cliff, under the windows of a Castle, at a depth of 80 feet below the surface of the Adriatic’s clear waters, in a cage fixed by divers, they lay for years.
5. We lose colour and become sick through wear and tear, and lack of solitude with Him.


Mark 6:31 - Human Race - Read: Mark 6:7–13, 30–32 | [Jesus] said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31

The alarm clock goes off. Too early, it seems. But you have a long day ahead. You have work to do, appointments to keep, people to care for, or all this and more. Well, you are not alone. Each day, many of us rush from one matter to another. As someone has wittily suggested, “That’s why we are called the human race.”

When the apostles returned from their first mission trip, they had a lot to report. But Mark did not record Jesus’s evaluation of the disciples’ work; rather, he focused on His concern that they rest awhile. Jesus said, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mk 6:31).

Lord, I thank You today for all You have given me to do.

Ultimately, we find true rest through recognizing the presence of God and trusting Him. While we take our responsibilities seriously, we also recognize that we can relax our grip on our work and careers, our families and ministry, and give them over to God in faith. We can take time each day to tune out the distractions, put away the tense restlessness, and reflect in gratitude on the wonder of God’s love and faithfulness.

So feel free to stop and take a breath. Get some real rest.

Lord, I thank You today for all You have given me to do. Help me to truly rest in You—physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

We do not rest because our work is done; we rest because God commanded it and created us to have a need for it. Gordon MacDonald

INSIGHT: When Jesus asked His disciples to go to a quiet place and rest (Mark 6:31), He was telling them to do something that He had often done with them. Jesus had withdrawn with His disciples to the lake (Mk 2:13; 3:7) or up on the mountain (Mk 3:13). Jesus was also in the habit of withdrawing from the crowds to a solitary place to rest and to spend time talking with His Father (Matt. 14:13,23; 26:36; Mark 1:35; 6:46; Luke 4:42; 6:12; John 6:15). The gospel of Luke tells us, “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Mk 5:16). By Poh Fang Chia (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)


GETTING AWAY - "Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while." - Mark 6:31

I'm not writing this article from my usual office location. Most of the time when I talk to you through the pages of Our Daily Bread, I'm hidden behind the walls of my office, routinely going about another workday.

Today, though, I've decided to get away from all that. I've taken my computer to a campground where I can hear birds singing and feel a warm breeze. It's amazing how the change makes it easier to read the Bible and pray.

It wasn't my idea. My daughter Julie needed a getaway day -- far from the rigors of school and the pressures of junior-high life. So she brought her bike and I tagged along. While she is rejuvenating by the lake, I am finding how mind-clearing it is to escape into the quiet.

Of course, the idea of getting away is not original with Julie. Jesus did it too. He took time to escape. He went to the desert to rest and think about the death of John the Baptist,and He went to the mountain to pray (Mk. 6:14-31,46).

When God speaks, we listen more attentively, it seems, if there are fewer distractions. That's why it's good to carve out some time to get away. Even if the retreat is a city park or a booth at a restaurant, take time to escape. Then talk with God and let Him lift your spirit. -- J. David Branon, Our Daily Bread.

Alone with God, the world forbidden,
Alone with God, O blest retreat!
Alone with God, and in Him hidden,
To hold with Him communion sweet.

Those who wait on the Lord renew their strength.


Related Resources: Multiple devotionals 


Aesop Riddle - According to a Greek legend, in ancient Athens a man noticed the great storyteller Aesop playing childish games with some little boys. He laughed and jeered at Aesop, asking him why he wasted his time in such frivolous activity. Aesop responded by picking up a bow, loosening its string, and placing it on the ground. Then he said to the critical Athenian, “Now, answer the riddle, if you can. Tell us what the unstrung bow implies.” The man looked at it for several moments but had no idea what point Aesop was trying to make. Aesop explained, “If you keep a bow always bent, it will break eventually; but if you let it go slack, it will be more fit for use when you want it.” - Our Daily Bread, June 6, 1992


Mark 6:34 - Compassion - Mark 6:34 And when He went ashore, He saw a great multitude, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things.

The difference between Christianity and paganism is well illustrated in the actions of one religious sect in India that hires people to pick up unwanted or dying insects! They are then fed and cared for. This is in a country where people starve to death on the streets every night! Christianity teaches that all that exists was created for the use of people. Their needs must concern us, not the needs of insects.

In the fishing villages along the coast of France are many little chapels. Most of them display plaques with this phrase inscribed on them: "To the Castaways." The plaques list the names of sailors lost at sea, or perhaps the names of others saved from shipwreck who have built a memorial to their deliverance. Every church ought to be dedicated to the castaways; the spiritual castaways, the social castaways, the economic castaways.

A few years ago the Associated Press carried the story of a dramatic rescue in Allentown, Pennsylvania. An eight-year-old boy had fallen into a creek and been sucked into a large drainpipe. His whole body was submerged in the pipe and he was in danger of drowning. His twelve-year-old playmate extended his hand. Though the playmate could not get him out, he held the boy safely until help came and he was rescued. The church may be thought of as the extended arm of Christ to a world badly needing to be rescued.

Pictures we take sometimes disappoint us. The eye edits out things that the camera leaves in—poles and wires and trees and traffic. So compassion edits out some of the bad we see in others so that we may focus on the good.


Self-Care - Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest. Mark 6:31

After my husband underwent emergency heart surgery, I spent an anxious night by his hospital bed. Mid-morning, I remembered a scheduled haircut. “I’ll have to cancel,” I said, raking my fingers distractedly through my straggly hair.

“Mom, just wash your face and go to your appointment,” my daughter said.

Sometimes self-care means allowing others to help carry our burdens.

“No, no,” I insisted. “It doesn’t matter. I need to be here.”

“I’ll stay,” Rosie said. “Self-care, Mom. . . . Self-care. You’re of more use to Dad if you take care of yourself.”

Moses was wearing himself out serving alone as judge over the Israelites. Jethro cautioned his son-in-law Moses: “You will only wear [yourself] out. The work is too heavy . . . you cannot handle it alone” (Ex. 18:18). He then explained ways that Moses could delegate his work and share his heavy load with others.

Though it may seem paradoxical for the Christian, self-care is essential for a healthy life (Matt. 22:37-39; Eph. 5:29-30). Yes, we must love God first and love others as well, but we also need to get adequate rest to renew our body and spirit. Sometimes self-care means stepping away and graciously allowing others to help us with our burdens.

Jesus often slipped away to rest and pray (Mark 6:30-32). When we follow His example, we will be more effective in our relationships and better able to give care to others.

Dear Lord, refresh my spirit today. Help me to bring balance to my life as I juggle my responsibilities. Thank You for Your love and care.

Don’t try to do everything—take time to refresh your body and spirit.

INSIGHT: It is hard to imagine the complexity and variety of tasks Moses faced as he led the Hebrew slaves to freedom. The Israelites had been gone from Egypt less than three months (see Ex. 19:1) when the load was already too great for one person to bear. This prompted Jethro’s wise counsel that Moses share the load with others. By Cindy Hess Kasper


Rest "Come ye yourselves apart...and rest a while" (Mark 6:31) is a must for every Christian. If you don't come apart, you will come apart—you'll go to pieces! I have no sympathy with those who say the devil never takes a vacation. I am not following the devil but the Lord, who said, "Come ye yourselves apart...and rest a while." If we cannot go away for a vacation, we can take an "inside vacation" and find grace to help in time of need. God gives more rest than time will allow! Some of us would do more for the Lord if we did less. The Christian in particular and the Church in general both need to stop chopping wood long enough to whet the blade. Hours out for the Word and prayer and a week out from regular church work to revive the saints is a wise investment. The psalmist wrote, "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty" (Ps. 91:1). We cannot rest in God until we nest in God. To nest is to settle, to abide. "Our eyes are upon thee." We know not what to do, but He knows. No sleeping pill can rest a man like knowing that! The Lord Jesus knew how to rest for God, a forgotten art. Many a Christian would best glorify his Lord by a fishing trip. Maybe fishing in the creek would improve our fishing for men. We can get closer to people by getting away from them for awhile. (Vance Havner)


"Come Ye Apart" - "Come ye yourselves apart... and rest a while." Mark 6:31 If you don't come apart, you will come apart—you'll go to pieces! Some of us would do more for the Lord if we did less. We have gone in for quantity production but the quality suffers. Keeping everlastingly at it brings only high blood pressure. Our Lord did not undertake to do personal work with everybody or to heal everyone in Galilee. Elijah must hide himself (1 Kings 17:3) before he could show himself with power (1Ki 18:1). We do not hide ourselves nowadays and when we go out to show ourselves, all that we do show is ourselves; the Spirit of God works not in us. The Lord Jesus knew how to rest for God—a forgotten art. Many a Christian would best glorify his Lord by a fishing trip. Maybe fishing in the creek would improve our fishing for men. We can get closer to people by getting away from them for awhile. Martha gets overwrought in the kitchen and needs to turn to Mary and sit awhile at the feet of the Lord. So much church work is like a squirrel in a circular cage, plenty of activity but no progress. Statisticitis is developed with symptoms not unlike St. Vitus' dance. There is plenty of speed in Isaiah 40:31: We shall fly, run, walk; but it follows "waiting upon the Lord." "Study to be quiet"! (1 Thess. 4:11) (Vance Havner)


According to tradition, when the apostle John was overseer in Ephesus, his hobby was raising pigeons. It is said that on one occasion another elder passed his house as he returned from hunting and saw John playing with one of his birds. The man gently chided him for spending his time so frivolously. John looked at the hunter's bow and remarked that the string was loose.

"Yes," said the elder, "I always loosen the string of my bow when it's not in use. If it stayed tight, it would lose its resilience and fail me in the hunt."

John responded, "And I am now relaxing the bow of my mind so that I may be better able to shoot the arrows of divine truth."

We cannot do our best work with nerves taut or frayed from being constantly under pressure. When Jesus' disciples returned from a strenuous preaching mission, their Master recognized their need for rest and invited them to come with Him to a quiet place where they could be refreshed. Jesus invites you too. —D. J. De Haan. Our Daily Bread

If we are to function our best, time is needed to rest.


THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT - "Come ye yourselves apart, and rest awhile: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat."—Mark 6:31.

THERE IS something in our blood which cries out at certain times for |rest and change. We may love our home, our work, and chance of doing our share in the toil of this work-a-day world, but when the summer comes we long to escape from the crowded city, the arduous toil, and pine for respite and rest. The love of Nature is a sacred heritage from the love of God, and it is His voice that calls to us: "Come, My children, Be glad with Me, breath the scented air which I have flavoured in its passage through clover-fields, gorse, and heather; rejoice in the woods and flowers, golden sunsets and purple mountains; the glory of the ocean and the sea-shore."

But we must be unselfish, if we would really enjoy our holiday. It is difficult to resist the temptation to obtain the best possible return for our money, and a little over, even at the expense of others. Always think of some one else--the short Zacchaeus who cannot see over your shoulder! The child who loves to look out of the carriage window; the invalid who cannot stand the draught! the tired mother with the restless children! Look out for daily opportunities for showing the gentleness, sweetness, and unselfishness of the Lord Jesus.

Make time to be alone sometimes. It is a mistake always to be in the presence of another. The soul must be still and quiet. There are accents in the voice of God so deep and still, that the breathing of a companion may make them inaudible. But it is delightful to have a choice friend and companion with whom you can hold sweet fellowship, and "there is a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother." He will draw near and walk with you, and as He talks with you by the way, your hearts will bum within you.

Remember those who are in poverty, in sickness, and in need, and amidst your own gladness and joy, send a portion unto them for whom nothing is prepared (Neh 8:10, 11, 12).

PRAYER - What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits to me?I will praise, and bless, and give thee Thanks, all the days of my life. Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power. AMEN - F B Meyer. Our Daily Walk.

RELATED RESOURCES:

Mark 6:32 They went away in the boat to a secluded place by themselves.

Hiebert - They departed into a desert place by ship privately

Wuest - And they went off in the boat to the privacy of an uninhabited place.

BGT  Mark 6:32 Καὶ ἀπῆλθον ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ εἰς ἔρημον τόπον κατ᾽ ἰδίαν.

NET  Mark 6:32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to some remote place.

NLT  Mark 6:32 So they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone.

ESV  Mark 6:32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves.

NIV  Mark 6:32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.

Related Passages:

Matthew 14:13+ Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself; and when the people heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities. 

Luke 9:10+ When the apostles returned, they gave an account to Him of all that they had done. Taking them with Him, He withdrew by Himself to a city called Bethsaida.

John 6:1+  After these things Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (or Tiberias). 


Bethsaida
(Article)

JESUS TAKES 
A HOLIDAY

Mark Akin - Fyodor Dostoevsky said, “The most pressing question on the problem of faith is whether a man as a civilized being can believe in the divinity of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, for therein rests the whole of our faith.” 2) Perhaps no story in the Bible, other than the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, confronts us with this reality of our Lord’s deity more directly than the feeding of the 5,000. Only God could do what occurred on that remarkable day in Israel. This story, so popular and captivating for children and, yes, adults, is so important in the life and ministry of Jesus that it is the only miracle, outside of the resurrection, that is recorded in all 4 gospels (Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-13). Mark also will record a 2nd feeding miracle in 8:1-10, the feeding of the 4,000 on that occasion. 3) John 6:15 informs us that this miracle made such an impact on the crowd that they attempted to take Jesus “by force to make him king.” Our Lord would refuse their advance, withdraw by himself to pray (Mark 6:46), and stay the course to the cross as was His divine destiny. 4) So many lessons are contained in this story one hardly knows where to begin.

They went away in the boat to a secluded place by themselves - The set off for the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. John 6:1+ says the other side of the Sea and Luke 9:10+ says this is Bethsaida, which is on the East (really northeast) side of the Sea of Galilee. Their private time with Jesus was in the boat on the sea.  Boat is ploion which was a generally large seafaring vessel, big enough for 13 men. 

Hiebert on the boat - The boat was the same boat (definite article "the" before "ship") they had used before (Mk 5:1–2+). It shows that they assembled by the seashore, and Capernaum, as Jesus’ headquarters, would be the natural place

Phillips - So, off they went, across the lake by boat, for a little holiday. How very human Jesus was! Mark shows us the Lord Jesus, as God's Servant, busy from morning to night. He also tells us how He took a holiday. Holidays are a great idea. How we look forward to them! Some of our happiest memories are linked to our holidays. A holiday usually is associated with a change of location and a change of occupation. God is a great believer in holidays. He took one Himself, when He had completed His work of creation, to enjoy the fruits of His labor. In the Mosaic Law, He instituted various feasts and Sabbaths for the benefit and blessing of His people. Several of the feasts called for joyous pilgrimages to Jerusalem. So, we are not surprised to learn that Jesus and the disciples went off on a holiday.

Secluded (desolate, desert, solitary, remote) (2048)(eremos) means lonesome, solitary, wilderness = uninhabited, lonely, uncultivated region translated “wilderness” 32x in the KJV. Used several times in the description of the Feeding of the 5000 - Mt 14:13, 15, Mark 6:31, 32, 33, Lk 9:12, Jn 6:31. 

Mark 6:33 The people saw them going, and many recognized them and ran there together on foot from all the cities, and got there ahead of them.

Wuest And they saw them going away, and many understood, and on foot from all the cities they ran there with one another and preceded them.

BGT  Mark 6:33 καὶ εἶδον αὐτοὺς ὑπάγοντας καὶ ἐπέγνωσαν πολλοὶ καὶ πεζῇ ἀπὸ πασῶν τῶν πόλεων συνέδραμον ἐκεῖ καὶ προῆλθον αὐτούς.

NET  Mark 6:33 But many saw them leaving and recognized them, and they hurried on foot from all the towns and arrived there ahead of them.

NLT  Mark 6:33 But many people recognized them and saw them leaving, and people from many towns ran ahead along the shore and got there ahead of them.

ESV  Mark 6:33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them.

NIV  Mark 6:33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them.

Related Passages:

Matthew 14:13+ Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself; and when the people heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities.

Luke 9:11+ But the crowds were aware of this and followed Him; and welcoming them, He began speaking to them about the kingdom of God and curing those who had need of healing. 

John 6:2+ A large crowd followed Him, because they saw the signs which He was performing on those who were sick. 

BEATING THE BOAT

Of the four Gospels, Mark gives the most vivid account of the crowds' pursuit of Jesus.

The people saw them going - NET = "But many saw them leaving and recognized them." The people here refers to those who were on the Northwest side of the Sea of Galilee where Jesus had been ministering. 

Hiebert - Those who saw them going speedily reported the fact to the eager inhabitants of Capernaum. Now that Jesus had returned home, they kept His movements under close observation. Recognizing the occupants of the boat, they perceived what was taking place.

And many recognized (epiginosko) them and ran there together on foot from all the cities, and got there ahead of them - Do you get the picture? The people saw Jesus leaving and they followed Him on foot from all the cities along the north side of the Sea of Galilee (presumably traveling along the shore). In fact, so motivated was this large crowd to see Jesus that they traveled the distance on foot faster than the boat traveled by water. Sadly their diligence to seek Jesus was not for spiritual healing, but for physical healing. Their zeal to see Him was motivated by selfish reasons. They came to see a "Miracle Worker" (cf Jn 6:2), but were unwilling for Jesus to work the greatest miracle of granting them forgiveness of sins and eternal life. And sadly many today still seek Him for similar superficial reasons. Jesus could easily have been annoyed that they would miss their much needed rest, but see the next verse.

John 6:2+ describes the crowd's motivation for running after Jesus explaining that it was " because they saw the signs which He was performing on those who were sick." They were "thrill seekers," "miracle seekers," but sadly were not "Messiah seekers," and they (for the most part) had no ears for His Gospel proclamation.

Hiebert - the crowd watched the course of the boat until it became apparent that it was headed toward the northeastern shore. The direction and speed of the boat stimulated the decision to follow by land.

Expositors says: “They ran together, excited and exciting, each town on the way contributing its rill to the growing stream of eager human beings; what a picture! The ultimate result, a congregation of 5000. This is the climax of popularity, and from the fourth Gospel we learn, its crisis.”

Wuest on ran - The word “ran” is from suntrechō “to run along with others, to rush with.” It describes the frenzied hurry of the people who ran with one another out of the town.

John MacArthur adds that "The crowd was not motivated by faith, repentance, or genuine love for Him. On the contrary, they followed the Lord because they saw the signs which He was performing on those who were sick (cf. John 2:1–11; 4:46–54; Matt. 8:2–4, 5–13, 14–17, 28–34; 9:1–8, 18–26, 27–33; 12:9–13; Mark 1:21–28). They were thrill seekers who failed to grasp the true significance of Jesus’ miraculous signs (cf. v. 26)—which pointed unmistakably to Him as the Son of God and the Messiah. As such, they were the Galilean counterparts of the Judean false believers described in 2:23–25. They flocked to see His works, but ultimately refused to accept His words (cf. v. 66). They sought the benefits of His power in their physical lives, but not in their spiritual lives." (MNTC-John)

Mark 6:34 When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things.

Wuest - And having come out, He saw a large crowd, and He was moved with compassion upon them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd. And He began teaching them many things.

BGT  Mark 6:34 Καὶ ἐξελθὼν εἶδεν πολὺν ὄχλον καὶ ἐσπλαγχνίσθη ἐπ᾽ αὐτούς, ὅτι ἦσαν ὡς πρόβατα μὴ ἔχοντα ποιμένα, καὶ ἤρξατο διδάσκειν αὐτοὺς πολλά.

NET  Mark 6:34 As Jesus came ashore he saw the large crowd and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he taught them many things.

NLT  Mark 6:34 Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

ESV  Mark 6:34 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things.

NIV  Mark 6:34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

  • saw - Mt 14:14 15:32 Lu 9:11 Ro 15:2,3 Heb 2:17 4:15 
  • because - Nu 27:17 1Ki 22:17 2Ch 18:16 Jer 50:6 Zec 10:2 Mt 9:36 
  • and he - Isa 61:1-3 
  • Mark 6 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

JESUS' MOVED WITH
COMPASSION NOT COMPLAINING

Related Passages:

Matthew 14:14+ When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick.  

Luke 9:11+ But the crowds were aware of this and followed Him; and welcoming them, He began speaking to them about the kingdom of God and curing those who had need of healing. 

John 6:3+ Then Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat down with His disciples. 4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was near. 5 Therefore Jesus, lifting up His eyes and seeing that a large crowd was coming to Him, *said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?” 6 This He was saying to test him, for He Himself knew what He was intending to do. 

When Jesus went ashore - Jesus went ashore on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee and the rest He had sought would soon prove short- lived.

He saw a large crowd - One reason the crowds may have been even larger than usual was because the Passover was near (Jn 6:4) and pilgrims would have been making their way to Jerusalem. As John's version suggests, presumably Jesus was on the mountain and able to envision the unorganized mass of humanity coming towards Him. 

John gives us more detail on what transpired when Jesus went ashore, explaining "Then Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat down with His disciples. 4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was near. 5 Therefore Jesus, lifting up His eyes and seeing that a large crowd was coming to Him, said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?” 6 This He was saying to test him, for He Himself knew what He was intending to do."  (John 6:3-5+)

Guzik - The disciples often saw the crowds as work, and as constant demands, especially at a time like this when their well-deserved rest was interrupted by the multitude. But Jesus saw them and was moved with compassion. Each face reflected a need, a hunger, or a hurt. Being a thoroughly others-centered person, Jesus cared more about the needs of someone else than he cared about His own needs.

Hiebert adds that "From John’s Gospel we learn that, upon landing, Jesus and His disciples ascended the hillside and sat there, apparently waiting until the whole multitude had assembled. His seated position would indicate His willingness to teach them when they had all arrived."

John MacArthur points out that although the crowd was large "The reaction of the people was mixed and fickle. Although the citizens of Nazareth had twice rejected Jesus because of their familiarity with Him as a boy and young man, most of the people were still fascinated by His miracles. With the miracle of creating food for feeding the crowd of five thousand, Jesus’ popularity reached its pinnacle as the people tried to take Him by force to be their king and deliverer (John 6:15). As the religious and political opposition became more intense and the allegiance of the crowds more vacillating, Jesus began to spend less time in public and more time in private with His disciples. During the last year of His life, He devoted the majority of His attention to the twelve, preparing them for what was soon to happen to Him in the crucifixion and for what would soon after that happen to them as they embarked on their task of laying the foundation for His church." (MNTC-John)

And He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd - Sheep without a shepherd are sheep in great danger, and here the danger was not physical but spiritual. They were in danger of falling off the cliff into a Christ-less eternity. And so “He was gripped with compassion.” Shepherd-less sheep; folks trying to make it on their own through life. Spiritually speaking they had no one to lead them on the path of true life, eternal life. Note the term of explanation because which explains Jesus' compassion for the oncoming crowd. And so we see the heart of Jesus, because instead of resenting the interruption, He was deeply moved and overcome with compassion. Jesus was coming for rest, but quickly adjusted His mindset. His response here recalls an earlier description of Jesus' reaction upon "Seeing the people, He felt compassion (splanchnizomai) for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd." (Mt 9:36+) And earlier in Mark when a  leper asked Jesus if He were willing to heal him, Mark records "Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and *said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.”." (Mk 1:41)

Barclay on sheep without a shepherd - (1) A sheep without the shepherd cannot find the way. Left to ourselves, we get lost in life....(2) A sheep without the shepherd cannot find its pasture and its food.....(3) A sheep without the shepherd has no defence against the dangers which threaten it. It can defend itself neither from robbers nor from wild animals.

Mark Akin - Often the Bible pictures our Lord as a Shepherd and us as sheep. - Jesus is the “Lord who is my Shepherd” of Psalm 23. 4 - Jesus is the “Rejoicing Shepherd” of Luke 15:1-7 who goes after the one lost sheep. - Jesus is the “Good Shepherd” of John 10:11 who lays down his life for His sheep. - Jesus is the “Chief Shepherd” of 1 Peter 5:4 who honors his servants. - Jesus is the “Great Shepherd” of Hebrews 13:20. - Jesus is the “Shepherd Lamb” of Rev 7:17 who guides us to springs of living water. We on the other hand, are weak, foolish, helpless sheep. We are stupid sheep who cannot take care of themselves and cannot save themselves. Dietrich Bonhoeffer understands the desperate situation “human sheep” face without a shepherd, “There were questions but no answers, distress but no relief, anguish of conscience but no deliverance, tears but no consolation, sin but no forgiveness” (Garland, NIVAC, 258). We desperately need a shepherd, one who is compassionate and able to provide for us and protect us. We need a Shepherd Savior. When they land their boat and go ashore, already “he saw a great crowd” (v. 34). What was His response? Anger? Frustration? Depression? No. What Mark records are some of the most precious and tender words found in all the Bible:

  1. “He had compassion on them.” He was moved from the depth of his being and his heart went out to them.
  2. He saw them “like sheep without a shepherd.” The spiritual leaders of Israel had become hirelings (cf. John 10:12-13; cf. Ezek 34:1-24!). The nation of Israel was lost, helpless, without direction and guidance, malnourished and lacking protection. 3
  3. He began to teach them many things” (cf. 1 Pet 5:2). In the wilderness Moses plead with the Lord to raise up a leader, a Shepherd, “that the congregation of the Lord may not be as sheep that have no shepherd” (Num 27:17). God raised up Joshua in anticipation of the greater Joshua named Jesus. In Ezekiel 34 the Lord rails against the evil shepherds of Israel who have neglected and abused the people. Then in Ezek 34:23-24, he promises, “And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the LORD; I have spoken.” That Davidic Shepherd-King has now appeared in Jesus. Once again lost in the wilderness, “a desolate place,” the Good Shepherd Jesus has arrived to spiritually guide them and feed them by His Word. His compassion moved Him to teach them. His 6 compassion moves Him to meet their greatest needs, their spiritual needs. It also moves Him to meet other needs as well.

Jesus' compassionate reaction to the large shepherd-less crowd reminds one of His cry in Luke 13:34+ (cf the same lament in Mt 23:37-39)...

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!

Hiebert - Mark alone records the reason for His compassion. Jesus viewed them not as a group but as individuals, “as sheep not having a shepherd.” The picture, drawn from the Old Testament (Num. 27:17; 1 Kings 22:17; 2 Chron. 18:16; Ezek. 34:5), portrays them as helpless, lacking nourishment, guidance, and protection, exposed to the perils of dispersion and destruction. He saw that the religious leaders did not meet the spiritual needs of the people.

MacArthur - Without help and guidance, sheep are defenseless, unable to clean themselves, and prone to getting lost. In the Old Testament, the nation of Israel was sometimes pictured as a flock with no shepherd (Num. 27:17; 1 Kings 22:17; 2 Chron. 18:16; Ezek. 34:5). The metaphor depicted the nation as being spiritually vulnerable to deadly enemies and malnourished, threatened by error and sin, and lacking in faithful caretakers and spiritual protectors. As “the good shepherd” (John 10:11), Jesus was willing to feed, cleanse, and protect these lost sheep (cf. Matt. 10:6), and lead them into eternal safety in the fold of salvation. (MNTC-Mk)

Lenski -  n spite of all the unbelief that Jesus encountered, and in spite of his desire to withdraw from his great public activity and to be alone with his disciples, his heart should thus be moved at sight of this crowd that had so rapidly and eagerly followed him. Mark alone states what aroused the compassion of Jesus: “because they were as sheep not having a shepherd” (compare Mt 9:36, where the figure is more extended). The eyes of Jesus saw more than a mass of people, they saw the spiritual condition of those people. Sheep without a shepherd stray helplessly and are bound to perish. He saw the fate of these people unless they were shepherded. (ISMG)

THOUGHT - Jesus' response to the crowds should teach all of us as His disciples that flexibility is an important attribute if we are to walk in His footsteps. Are you able to cope with sudden changes in circumstances? Are you able (willing) to be "bent" or "flexed?" Are you "pliable?" How do you respond when unforeseen circumstances force a change in your ministry plans? How do you react when your plans are unexpectedly interrupted?

Felt compassion (4697)(splanchnizomai from splagchnon = bowel, viscera) means to experience a deep visceral feeling for someone, to feel compassion for, to feel sympathy, to take pity on someone. Compassion is the sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it. This verb expresses an outward flow of one's life in contrast to our natural tendency toward self centeredness. It is notable that 8/12 NT uses describe this deep seated emotion in Jesus. It follows that if we desire to imitate Jesus, we need to be men and women of deep compassion! Zodhiates note on splagchnon - In Class. Gr. writers, it is chiefly spoken of the upper viscera of animals, as the heart, lungs, and liver which were eaten during or after the sacrifice… Figuratively, the     inward parts indicating the breast or heart as the seat of emotions and passions. In the NT, of the gentler emotions as compassion, tender affection indicating the mind, soul, the inner man (2Co 6:12, Philemon 1:7, 20; 1Jn 3:17; Sept.: Pr 12:10 (cf. Ge 43:30; 1Kgs. 3:26) The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament. AMG)

Spurgeon describes "the strange character of His guests. We do not know what sort of people they were, but this we do know, He did not exempt one because of any flaw in his character! They were a nondescript multitude. Little good could be said of them except that they had an ear to hear Jesus preach and were especially glad if the sermon was the first course, with loaves and fishes for the second. They were a carnal people and had nothing about them that deserved our Lord’s consideration. But when did Jesus Christ wait until men deserved it before He blessed them?" (The Miracle of the Loaves)

THE GREATNESS NEED
THE WORD OF GOD

But as noted in Matthew 14:14+, He also had compassion on their physical maladies. 

And He began to teach them many things - Notice that immediately, moved by compassion, Jesus begins to shepherd the shepherd-less! He immediately addresses their greatest need, which was spiritual, not physical. The crowd thought their greatest need was physical (healing and now food), Jesus knew that their greatest need was spiritual. He could heal their bodies and fill their stomachs, but unless they were spiritually healed, they would die in their sins. So Jesus began to teach them how to be rightly related to God.

Teach is didasko in the present tense picturing continuous action. "They needed spiritual wholeness, not just physical restoration. Jesus met both needs (cf. Matt. 14:14)" (Utley) Wuest adds "The infinitive shows durative (continuous) action. Jesus went to teaching and kept it up. Matthew and Luke speak of Him healing. Among the many things He undoubtedly taught them was how to enter the Kingdom of God which was frequently a main theme (see. Mark 4:11, 26–32; Luke 4:43; 6:20; 8:1; 11:20; 17:20–21; 18:24–25; John 3:3; Acts 1:3).. 

In the parallel passage Lk 9:11+ says "He began speaking to them about the kingdom of God and curing those who had need of healing." Undoubtedly he was teaching truths similar to what He had taught in Mark 1:15+ where Jesus declared "Repent and believe in the gospel.” (Both verbs in present imperative).


Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them (Mark 6:34).

At times, the world seems to be an uncaring, unsympathetic place. People are often cruel and indifferent, not giving a second thought to the plight of their suffering neighbors. Wrapped up in their own interests, they don't seem to notice the anguish and despair that is at their doorstep.

This could not be said of the Lord Jesus. Time after time He met the needs of suffering people. Luke 7 tells about Christ's compassion when He saw the widow stricken with grief over the death of her son. Jesus had compassion on her and healed the boy. Earlier, when He saw a man with leprosy—who was despised, ostracized, and no doubt terri­bly disfigured—He made him well (Luke 5:12, 13, 14, 15). Still today, Jesus looks upon human need with compassion.

A little girl whose mother had been taken to the hospital was spend­ing the night alone with her father for the first time. Soon after her father turned out the lights, the girl asked quietly, "Daddy, are you there?" "Yes," he assured her. A moment later she asked, "Daddy, are you looking at me?" When he said yes, she fell asleep.

Likewise, every child of God can depend on the Savior's look of love. No matter how painful the problem or how deep the sorrow, we know He has His eyes fixed on us. And knowing that our Savior's compas­sionate gaze always watches over us should make us loving, caring people. Although the world may turn its eyes from suffering, the Christian, following the example of our Savior, should be alert to sorrow and quick to respond. —D. C. Egner. Our Daily Bread

God loves every one of us as if there were but one of us to love.

Mark 6:35  When it was already quite late, His disciples came to Him and said, "This place is desolate and it is already quite late;

Wuest  And when the day was already far gone, His disciples came to Him and were saying, Uninhabited is this place, and already the hour is late.

BGT  Mark 6:35 Καὶ ἤδη ὥρας πολλῆς γενομένης προσελθόντες αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ἔλεγον ὅτι ἔρημός ἐστιν ὁ τόπος καὶ ἤδη ὥρα πολλή·

NET  Mark 6:35 When it was already late, his disciples came to him and said, "This is an isolated place and it is already very late.

NLT  Mark 6:35 Late in the afternoon his disciples came to him and said, "This is a remote place, and it's already getting late.

ESV  Mark 6:35 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, "This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late.

NIV  Mark 6:35 By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. "This is a remote place," they said, "and it's already very late.

Related Passages:

Matthew 14:15+ When it was evening, the disciples came to Him and said, “This place is desolate and the hour is already late; so send the crowds away, that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 

Luke 9:12+ Now the day was ending, and the twelve came and said to Him, “Send the crowd away, that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside and find lodging and get something to eat; for here we are in a desolate place.” 

IT IS LATE
QUITE LATE!

Lenski helps set the context - At this point we must turn to John 6:5–7. When Jesus first stepped out of his retirement on the mountain side he put the question to Philip about buying bread for all these people. Jesus did this in advance in order to test out one of his disciples. Already then Jesus knew what he would do when evening would come. But all that Jesus got from Philip was that it would take more money than they had in their treasury to provide even a very little for so many people—not an inkling that Philip remembered Cana or thought of miraculous help on the part of Jesus in any way. Disappointed in Philip, Jesus descends to the multitude, heals the sick, and teaches about the kingdom until evening had actually come—entirely unconcerned about the bodily needs of the people and the passing of the time. The question put to Philip was evidently intended to have him report to the other apostles, and thus that all of them might think about it as the hours wore on. They did that but arrived at nothing. (ISMG)

When it was already quite late - Greek = “much daytime already gone.” Luke 9:12+ says "Now the day was ending." What has Jesus been doing? Teaching and healing all day. Late in the afternoon, around sunset, was when the main meal was eaten. It was after 3 pm, the first evening. Sunset was approaching. So somewhere between 3-6 pm. 

Robertson on already quite late - It was after 3 P.M., the first evening. Note second evening or sunset in Mark 6:47=Matt. 14:23=John 6:16. The turn of the afternoon had come and sunset was approaching. The idiom is repeated at the close of the verse.

His disciples came to Him and said, "This place is desolate and it is already quite late - It was desolate (the "secluded place" of Mk 6:31+) but not a desert because they sat on green grass (Mk 6:39) The point is that there were not restaurants nearby! But now it is getting close to supper time and the disciples are concerned. Notice how Mark repeats already quite late as if JEsus did not realize what time it was. 

Hiebert comments "the longer Jesus continued to speak, the more tense the disciples became. The question that Jesus had asked Philip concerning food for the crowd (John 6:5+) had led to discussion on the matter among the disciples. They arrived at no solution other than that the crowd must be dismissed. They therefore approached Jesus, apparently while He was still teaching, with their well-meaning suggestion....He seemed to them to have forgotten that the hastily assembled multitude had failed to bring along any food, and the place offered them no convenient way to get it. The late hour demanded that immediate attention be given to the matter.

Mark 6:36  send them away so that they may go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat."

Wuest - Dismiss them in order that, having gone off to the neighboring farms and villages, they might purchase for themselves something that they might eat.

NET  Mark 6:36 Send them away so that they can go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy something for themselves to eat."

NLT  Mark 6:36 Send the crowds away so they can go to the nearby farms and villages and buy something to eat."

ESV  Mark 6:36 Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat."

NIV  Mark 6:36 Send the people away so they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat."

GNT  Mark 6:36 ἀπόλυσον αὐτούς, ἵνα ἀπελθόντες εἰς τοὺς κύκλῳ ἀγροὺς καὶ κώμας ἀγοράσωσιν ἑαυτοῖς τί φάγωσιν.

KJV  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.

YLT  Mark 6:36 let them away, that, having gone away to the surrounding fields and villages, they may buy to themselves loaves, for what they may eat they have not.'

ASV  Mark 6:36 send them away, that they may go into the country and villages round about, and buy themselves somewhat to eat.

CSB  Mark 6:36 Send them away, so they can go into the surrounding countryside and villages to buy themselves something to eat."

Related Passages:

Matthew 14:15+ When it was evening, the disciples came to Him and said, “This place is desolate and the hour is already late; so send the crowds away, that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.

Lk 9:12+ The twelve came and said to Him, “Send the crowd away, that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside and find lodging and get something to eat; for here we are in a desolate place.”

THE SHORTSIGHTED
DISCIPLES

Send them away so that (term of purpose) they may go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy (agorazo) themselves something to eat - It is interesting that both the disciples and Jesus saw the same need, but they had radically different solutions. This is amazing - the disciples actually command Jesus to send them away, the aorist imperative conveying a sense of "Do it now!" "It is urgent!" Luke adds another reason to send them away is to find lodging. (Lk 9:12+) The disciples appear to be motivated by their concern for the crowd. 

Mark Akin - The tone of their request may be a bit harsh, but we can certainly understand the logic of it. The hour is late, the people are famished, they need something to eat, so send them on their way. They are becoming something of a nuisance.

THOUGHT Aren't we so often just like the disciples? Instead of being others oriented, we are so easily inconvenienced with our "me-my-mine" mindset! (cf Paul's exhortation to manifest unselfish Christ-like behavior toward others - Php 2:3-5+).

Steven Cole - Did you notice the contrast between Jesus’ attitude toward the multitude and that of the disciples? Jesus welcomed them, but the disciples said to Jesus, “Send them away”. It may be that the disciples were just being practical about how to meet the needs of the crowd, but given the situation, I think we are warranted to read some exhaustion into their voices. They were spent. They wanted a break.

Send away (630)(apoluo from apó = marker of dissociation, implying a rupture from a former association, separation + luo = loose) is used often of sending a person or a group away from someone (Mt 14:15, 22, 23, 32, etc). Uses in Mark - Mk. 6:36; Mk. 6:45; Mk. 8:3; Mk. 8:9; Mk. 10:2; Mk. 10:4; Mk. 10:11; Mk. 10:12; Mk. 15:6; Mk. 15:9; Mk. 15:11; Mk. 15:15

Warren Wiersbe - Jesus sent the 12 Apostles out to minister because He had compassion on the needy multitudes (Matt. 9:36–38). This time, the needy multitudes came to them—and the disciples wanted to send them away! As yet, they had not learned to look at life through the eyes of their Master. To them, the crowds were a problem, perhaps even a nuisance, but to Jesus, they were as sheep without a shepherd. When D.L. Moody was building his great Sunday School in Chicago, children came to him from everywhere. They often passed by other churches and Sunday Schools to be with Mr. Moody. When asked why he walked so far to attend Moody’s Sunday School, one boy replied, “Because they love a fella over there!” The children could tell the difference.(BEC)

Mark 6:37 But He answered them, "You give them something to eat!" And they said to Him, "Shall we go and spend two hundred denarii on bread and give them something to eat?"

NET  Mark 6:37 But he answered them, "You give them something to eat." And they said, "Should we go and buy bread for two hundred silver coins and give it to them to eat?"

NLT  Mark 6:37 But Jesus said, "You feed them." "With what?" they asked. "We'd have to work for months to earn enough money to buy food for all these people!"

ESV  Mark 6:37 But he answered them, "You give them something to eat." And they said to him, "Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?"

NIV  Mark 6:37 But he answered, "You give them something to eat." They said to him, "That would take eight months of a man's wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?"

GNT  Mark 6:37 ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς, Δότε αὐτοῖς ὑμεῖς φαγεῖν. καὶ λέγουσιν αὐτῷ, Ἀπελθόντες ἀγοράσωμεν δηναρίων διακοσίων ἄρτους καὶ δώσομεν αὐτοῖς φαγεῖν;

KJV  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?

YLT  Mark 6:37 And he answering said to them, 'Give ye them to eat,' and they say to him, 'Having gone away, may we buy two hundred denaries' worth of loaves, and give to them to eat?'

ASV  Mark 6:37 But he answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred shillings' worth of bread, and give them to eat?

CSB  Mark 6:37 "You give them something to eat," He responded. They said to Him, "Should we go and buy 200 denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?"

  • give - Mk 8:2,3 2Ki 4:42-44 Mt 14:16 15:32 Lu 9:13  Joh 6:4-10 
  • Shall - Nu 11:13,21-23 2Ki 7:2 Mt 15:33  Joh 6:7 
  • two hundred denarii - Mt 18:28,
  • Mark 6 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Matthew 14:16+ But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!” 

Luke 9:13+ But He said to them, “You give them something to eat!” And they said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless perhaps we go and buy food for all these people.” 

John 6:4+ Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was near. 5 Therefore Jesus, lifting up His eyes and seeing that a large crowd was coming to Him, *said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?” 6 This He was saying to test him, for He Himself knew what He was intending to do. 7 Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little.” 8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, *said to Him, 9 “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people?” 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.

JESUS CHALLENGES DISCIPLES
TO MEET THE NEED OF THE MULTITUDE

But - Term of contrast. The disciples' recommendation is countered by Jesus' command. 

He answered them, "You give them something to eat!" -  NLT paraphrases it "Jesus said, "You feed them." "With what?" they asked." Jesus issues a seemingly impossible command in the aorist imperative (answering to their command above) - "Do it now!" or like the Nike commercial "Just do it!". Matthew 14:16+ adds Jesus' words “They do not need to go away. you give them something to eat!” " John explains that this was a test (peirazo in John 6:5+) Jesus "passes the buck" so to speak back to the disciples. 

Mark Akin - People have physical needs we should address. Jesus cares for our souls and spiritual needs. After all it is our Lord who said, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36). However, He also cares for our body and physical needs too. In Matthew 25:31-46, He tells us to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, give rest to the stranger, clothe the naked, care for the sick and visit prisoners. There is no social gospel, but there are social ministries, mercy ministries, that are the (super) natural outgrowth of the gospel. As Jesus had compassion for spiritual and physical needs, so should we....Question: If the 12 had sufficient faith, could they? (cf. Mark 6:52). Having been given His authority to preach, heal, and cast out demons, could they have worked the miracle of feeding the 5,000? This much we do know! God wants us to have compassion on those in need, and He wants us involved in their lives meeting both spiritual and physical needs. We indeed minister to the whole person. That’s what Jesus did

MacArthur - The possibility that Jesus might create the necessary food never crossed their minds. They were so focused on the problem, and the need to find a human solution, that they failed to consider the divine power of their Lord.

And they said to Him, "Shall we go and spend two hundred denarii on bread and give them something to eat?" - Notice their response is not a response of by faith but by sight. In other words they respond with human reasoning about the amount of money it would take to feed the multitude. Keep in mind that at least some of the disciples had experienced Jesus' creative power at the wedding of Cana where He made wine out to water and while John says they "believed in Him," (John 2:11+) their faith is still very small (cf Mk 6:52+). 

The disciple's problem was they looked at their meager resources,
and failed to look with eyes of faith at the Sufficient Savior!

THOUGHT -  Their faith is focused on their insufficiency rather than trusting in the Master's sufficiency.  They have not yet learned when God commands, God enables. Their faith was feeble and Jesus would will use this insufficiency to teach them of His all sufficiency. Man's extremity is God's opportunity. This is a lesson of which we all need to be frequently reminded. (cf 2 Cor 3:5-6+). Thank you Lord, for Your timely reminders! Amen. 

NET Note on denarius - The silver coin referred to here is the denarius. A denarius, inscribed with a picture of Tiberius Caesar, was worth approximately one day's wage for a laborer. Two hundred denarii was thus approximately equal to eight months' wages. The disciples did not have the resources in their possession to feed the large crowd, so Jesus' request is his way of causing them to trust him as part of their growth in discipleship

Guzik comments that "it never entered their minds that Jesus might provide for the multitude with a miracle. God has resources that we know nothing about, so we can trust Him and be at peace even when we can’t figure out how He will provide."

Wiersbe - The disciples had two suggestions for solving the problem: either send the people away to find their own food, or raise enough money to buy a bit of bread for everybody. As far as the disciples were concerned, they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and nothing could be done! With that kind of approach, they would have made ideal committee members! Someone has defined a committee as a group of people who individually can do nothing and collectively decide that nothing can be done. (BEC)

Hiebert on denarius - the amount suggested would be about eight month’s wages for a common workingman. It would be a sum quite beyond the means of the disciples. 

Brian Bell on 200 denarii - Leave Jesus out of your calculations and you’ll come up short every time. Oh, they were keenly aware of the need, but powerless to meet it. Standing before them was the One who created the Heavens and the earth (ED: AND WINE AT A WEDDING IN CANA). One who had all power. So, the first step is not to measure our resources, but to determine God’s will and trust Him to meet the need.


The Lesson Of The Hula Hoop

Let us not grow weary while doing good. —Galatians 6:9

Today's Scripture & Insight: Mark 6:34-44

One of my favorite childhood toys is making a comeback—the hula hoop. My friend Suzi and I spent hours on the front lawn perfecting our technique and competing to see which of us could keep a hoop circling our waist longer. This year I relived that part of my childhood. While sitting in a park, I watched as children of all ages and sizes tried their hardest to keep hula hoops from falling to the ground. They twisted and turned with all their strength, but despite their exertion the hoops landed on the ground. Then a young woman picked up a hoop. With hardly any motion, she moved it smoothly and rhythmically up and down from her waist to her shoulders and back to her waist. Her success depended on strategic movement, not vigorous motion.

In our spiritual lives, we can expend all kinds of energy trying to keep up with others in service to God. But working to exhaustion is not a virtue (Gal. 6:9). Before feeding thousands of people with only five loaves and two fish (Mark 6:38-44), Jesus called His disciples away to rest, proving that He doesn’t need our frantic exertion to accomplish His work. The truth Jesus taught His disciples, He wants to teach us: Quiet obedience accomplishes more than wild activity. By:  Julie Ackerman Link (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Help me, Lord, not to compare myself and
what I do with others. May I serve where You
want me to serve and do it in Your strength.
I love You and give myself to You.

Jesus wants willingness, not weariness.


Do It Yourself

[Jesus] answered and said to them, “You give them something to eat.” —Mark 6:37

Today's Scripture: Mark 6:30-44

You give them something to eat” (Mark 6:37). It’s easy to miss those words from Jesus. A huge crowd had gathered to hear Him. Late in the day, the disciples got nervous and started pressing Him to send them away (v.36). “You give them something to eat,” Jesus replied (v.37).

Why would He say that? John 6:6 says He was testing them. Did He want to see if they would trust Him to perform a miracle? Maybe, but it seems more likely He wanted His disciples involved in caring for the crowd, to be hands-on in working with and for Him. He then blessed what they brought to Him—five loaves of bread and two fish—and performed the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000.

I think Jesus uses those words with us too. A need pre-sents itself in the lives of those around us, and we bring it to Jesus in prayer. “You do something,” Jesus often says. “But, Lord,” we object, “we don’t have enough time or money or energy.” We’re wrong, of course. When Jesus asks us to get involved, He already knows how He will accomplish His work through us.

What we need is faith and vision—the ability to see that God wants us to be His instruments, and that He will supply what we need. By:  Randy Kilgore (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

God uses us as instruments
To help someone in need,
So we must trust Him to supply
When following His lead.
—Sper  

  When God says do it, He’s already planned the resources we need to accomplish the task.  

Mark 6:38  And He said to them, "How many loaves do you have? Go look!" And when they found out, they said, "Five, and two fish."

NET  Mark 6:38 He said to them, "How many loaves do you have? Go and see." When they found out, they said, "Five– and two fish."

NLT  Mark 6:38 "How much bread do you have?" he asked. "Go and find out." They came back and reported, "We have five loaves of bread and two fish."

ESV  Mark 6:38 And he said to them, "How many loaves do you have? Go and see." And when they had found out, they said, "Five, and two fish."

NIV  Mark 6:38 "How many loaves do you have?" he asked. "Go and see." When they found out, they said, "Five--and two fish."

GNT  Mark 6:38 ὁ δὲ λέγει αὐτοῖς, Πόσους ἄρτους ἔχετε; ὑπάγετε ἴδετε. καὶ γνόντες λέγουσιν, Πέντε, καὶ δύο ἰχθύας.

KJV  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.

YLT  Mark 6:38 And he saith to them, 'How many loaves have ye? go and see;' and having known, they say, 'Five, and two fishes.'

ASV  Mark 6:38 And he saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes.

CSB  Mark 6:38 And He asked them, "How many loaves do you have? Go look." When they found out they said, "Five, and two fish."

Related Passages:

Matthew 14:17+  They said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” 

Luke 9:13+ But He said to them, “You give them something to eat!” And they said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless perhaps we go and buy food for all these people.” 

John 6:9+ “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people?” 

 
A Little is a Lot with the Lord

And He said to them, "How many loaves do you have? Go (present imperative) look (aorist imperative)!" - Jesus often responds to a question with another question as in his case.  At least the disciples obey these two commands. Obedience is always the way to blessing and in their obedience they found a little, which Jesus would use to show them a miracle. 

THOUGHT - God’s way of provision always begins with what we already have. He wants us to use what we already have wisely. Don’t foolishly pray for more from God if you don’t use what He already has given you in a godly way. (Guzik)

Hiebert - From John’s Gospel it is clear that the disciples went among the people to inquire, “Does any one here have any food?”

And when they found out, they said, "Five, and two fish." John gives additional details writing that "One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, “There is a lad here who has 5 barley loaves and 2 fish, but what are these for so many people?” (Jn 6:8-9+

Gotquestions - At this point, the disciples should have recalled the many miracles they had seen Jesus do. Perhaps some of them did, but Andrew asked, “What are [five loaves and two fish] for so many?” (John 6:9). And Philip exclaimed, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” (Jn 6:7).

As Wiersbe says "The first step is not to measure our resources, but to determine God’s will and trust Him to meet the need."

Utley - They did not even have enough for themselves. Jesus was using this opportunity to show the disciples that what they have was enough and more if it was given to Him and if they trust Him!

Charles Spurgeon aptly declared:   He it was who thought of the way of feeding them, it was a design invented and originated by himself. His followers had looked at their little store of bread and fish and given up the task as hopeless; but Jesus, altogether unembarrassed, and in no perplexity, had already considered how he would banquet the thousands and make the fainting sing for joy. The Lord of Hosts needed no entreaty to become the host of hosts of hungry men.

Steven ColeWe must yield what we have, not what we don’t have. That sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But so often we make up excuses about what we don’t have and we fail to offer to Jesus what we do have. “If I just had more money, I’d give regularly to the church!” “If I just had the gift of evangelism, I’d witness more!” “If I just had the ability that others have, I’d serve the Lord.” “If I just ...”! But Jesus didn’t use all the bread in Bethsaida, which the disciples didn’t have. He used the five loaves and two fish that they did have. Jesus doesn’t ask you to give Him what you don’t have. He asks you to give Him what you do have. A country preacher went to a farmer in his church and asked, “If you had two farms, would you be willing to give one farm to God?” “Yes,” replied the farmer. “I only wish I were in a position to do it.” The preacher persisted, “If you had $20,000, would you give $10,000 to the Lord’s work?” The farmer replied, “Yes, I’d love to have that kind of money! I’d gladly give $10,000 to the Lord’s work.” Then the preacher sprung his trap: “If you had two pigs, would you give one to the Lord’s work?” The farmer blurted out, “That’s not fair! You know I’ve got two pigs!” The Lord doesn’t use what you don’t have. He uses the inadequate things you have when you yield them to Him. (Our Inadequacy, Christ's Adequacy)

Mark 6:39  And He commanded them all to sit down by groups on the green grass.

NET  Mark 6:39 Then he directed them all to sit down in groups on the green grass.

NLT  Mark 6:39 Then Jesus told the disciples to have the people sit down in groups on the green grass.

ESV  Mark 6:39 Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass.

NIV  Mark 6:39 Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass.

GNT  Mark 6:39 καὶ ἐπέταξεν αὐτοῖς ἀνακλῖναι πάντας συμπόσια συμπόσια ἐπὶ τῷ χλωρῷ χόρτῳ.

KJV  Mark 6:39 And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass.

YLT  Mark 6:39 And he commanded them to make all recline in companies upon the green grass,

ASV  Mark 6:39 And he commanded them that all should sit down by companies upon the green grass.

CSB  Mark 6:39 Then He instructed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass.

Related Passages:

Matthew 14:18+ And He said, “Bring them here to Me.” 19 Ordering the people to sit down on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds, 

Luke 9:14+ (For there were about five thousand men.) And He said to His disciples, “Have them sit down to eat in groups of about fifty each.” 15 They did so, and had them all sit down. 16 Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed them, and broke them, and kept giving them to the disciples to set before the people. 17 And they all ate and were satisfied; and the broken pieces which they had left over were picked up, twelve baskets full. 

John 6:10+ Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 

Matthew records Jesus' command Bring them here to Me.” (Matthew 14:18+)

And He commanded them all to sit down by groups on the green grass - Green grass would suggest springtime, a time close to Passover. As Warren Wiersbe said “Jesus looked at the situation, not as a problem, but as an opportunity to trust the Father and glorify His name”An effective leader is someone who sees potential in problems and is willing to act by faith. Acting on the basis of human wisdom, His disciples saw the problem but not the potential. How many times God’s people have complained, “If we only had enough money, we could do something!” (BEC)

MacArthur adds "With a simple command, Jesus transformed the chaotic crowd into a highly coordinated assembly."

Groups (ONLY HERE)(4849)(sumposion) strictly drinking together, banquet; by metonymy festive company; BDAG adds it is "a drinking-party’, which is better understood as ‘banquet’, at which sparkling conversation was highly prized, a party of people eating together." In Septuagint in Esther 4:17 and Esther 7:7. 

Barclay writes that the word for groups “is a very pictorial word. It is the normal Greek word for the rows of vegetables in the vegetable garden. When you looked at the little groups, as they sat there in their orderly rows, they looked for all the world like the rows of vegetables in a series of garden plots.”

Jesus is the Good Shepherd and His command reminds us of Psalm 23:2-3+

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.  2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.  3 He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. 

Psalm 72:19+ says 

And blessed be His glorious name forever; And may the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen, and Amen. 

Mark Akin -  God loves to demonstrate His power and sufficiency in our lives. Often He allows problems to invade our lives that are far beyond our abilities or resources to handle. Why? He wants us to look to Him. He wants us to come to the end of us and find Him right there. 

Brian Bell on green grass - Just to show you how detailed Scripture is…in John 6:4 he mentions it is right before Passover (i.e. spring time) the only time of year of green grass. Here he makes them to lie down in green pastures. Ps.23:2

Mark 6:40  They sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties.

NET  Mark 6:40 So they reclined in groups of hundreds and fifties.

NLT  Mark 6:40 So they sat down in groups of fifty or a hundred.

ESV  Mark 6:40 So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties.

NIV  Mark 6:40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties.

GNT  Mark 6:40 καὶ ἀνέπεσαν πρασιαὶ πρασιαὶ κατὰ ἑκατὸν καὶ κατὰ πεντήκοντα.

KJV  Mark 6:40 And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties.

YLT  Mark 6:40 and they sat down in squares, by hundreds, and by fifties.

ASV  Mark 6:40 And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties.

CSB  Mark 6:40 So they sat down in ranks of hundreds and fifties.

Related Passages:

Luke 9:14+ (For there were about five thousand men.) And He said to His disciples, “Have them sit down to eat in groups of about fifty each.”15 They did so, and had them all sit down. 

John 6:10+ Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 

They sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties - Luke says "They did so, and had them all sit down." (Luke 9:15+)  And so the multitude obeyed which is fascinating for there must have been as many as 20,000. 

Groups is prasia used only here in Scripture meaning literally garden bed, garden plot; figuratively prasiai. prasiai, group by group, in colorful groups, a vivid metaphor of a landscape dotted with groups of people in colorful clothes. It refers to the arrangement in rows. It often was customary for the students of the rabbis to sit in rows which were compared to the rows of vines in the vineyard or to well-ordered gardens. 

Spurgeon "There were five thousand, but they sat down in ranks by hundreds and by fifties. I wonder how they were marshaled so well. Oh, I remember! The Lord of Hosts was there and He knows how to marshal armies! But how was it that they were willing to sit in ranks? People are not always so willing to be ordered about and when they are hungry, they are often very disobedient. But they sat down as they were told to do. They sat down in rows so that they were divided with little aisles between them. The original word used by Mark represents them as divided like beds of flowers, with walks between, so that as a gardener can go up and down and water all the plants, so the waiters at the feast could conveniently give every man his share of bread and his piece of fish without confusion. They sat down in ranks by fifties and by hundreds." (The Miracle of the Loaves)

Brian Bell on groups - A garden bed. Refers to the arrangement in rows, like a well-kept flower bed. It often was customary for the students of the rabbis to sit in rows which were compared to the rows of vines in the vineyard or to well-ordered gardens. - They must have looked literally like flower beds

Mark 6:41 And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food and broke the loaves and He kept giving them to the disciples to set before them; and He divided up the two fish among them all.

Wuest - And having taken the five loaves and the two fish, having looked up to heaven, He invoked a blessing, and broke the loaves, and kept on giving to the disciples in order that they might continue setting them beside them; and the two fish He divided to all.

NET  Mark 6:41 He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. He gave them to his disciples to serve the people, and he divided the two fish among them all.

NLT  Mark 6:41 Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. He also divided the fish for everyone to share.

ESV  Mark 6:41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all.

NIV  Mark 6:41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all.

GNT  Mark 6:41 καὶ λαβὼν τοὺς πέντε ἄρτους καὶ τοὺς δύο ἰχθύας ἀναβλέψας εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν εὐλόγησεν καὶ κατέκλασεν τοὺς ἄρτους καὶ ἐδίδου τοῖς μαθηταῖς [αὐτοῦ] ἵνα παρατιθῶσιν αὐτοῖς, καὶ τοὺς δύο ἰχθύας ἐμέρισεν πᾶσιν.

KJV  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.

YLT  Mark 6:41 And having taken the five loaves and the two fishes, having looked up to the heaven, he blessed, and brake the loaves, and was giving to his disciples, that they may set before them, and the two fishes divided he to all,

ASV  Mark 6:41 And he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake the loaves; and he gave to the disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all.

CSB  Mark 6:41 Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke the loaves. He kept giving them to His disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all.

  • looking - Mk 7:34 Mt 14:19 Lu 9:16 Joh 11:41 17:1 
  • blessed - Mk 8:6,7 14:22 De 8:10 1Sa 9:13 Mt 15:36 26:26 Lu 24:30 Joh 6:11,23 Ac 27:35 Ro 14:6 1Co 10:31 Col 3:17 1Ti 4:4,5 
  • Mark 6 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Matthew 14:19+ Ordering the people to sit down on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds, 

Luke 9:16+ Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed them, and broke them, and kept giving them to the disciples to set before the people. 

John 6:11+ Jesus then took the loaves, and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted. 

JESUS' HOSTS A
MESSIANIC BANQUET

What a contrast is this beautiful banquet with the malicious banquet of Herod which resulted in the loss of John's head which "satisfied" wicked Herodias anger. One banquet resulted in a abominable beheading and the other in an astonishing bounty! 

And He took the five loaves and the two fish - A banquet with 5 bagels and 2 sardines! Spurgeon "They had bread and fish. Jesus seems to have made that His standing bill of fare whenever He spread a banquet—bread and fish. They once gave Him a piece of honeycomb, but He seems always to have given them bread and fish. Bread was enough, was it not? Yes, enough, but not enough for Him to give, for He loves to supply a little more than enough. He would give a delicacy as well as a staple—there was bread and fish. When Jesus Christ makes feasts for souls He gives them staple— bread, all that they can need, all the necessities for their souls’ life. Giving a sufficiency, He also gives excellence—He gives fish, there shall be savor and delight and peace with God" (The Miracle of the Loaves)

and looking up toward heaven He blessed the food and broke the loaves and  - John 6:11 says "having given thanks. "- Giving thanks to the Father in Heaven for daily bread, a good practice to continually emulate."When Jesus blessed before the meal, He didn’t bless the food; He blessed God for supplying it. The idea of praying before a meal isn’t to bless the food; it is to bless God in the sense of thanking and honoring Him for blessing us with the food." (Guzik)

Spurgeon - our Lord will not proceed till He has worshipped and rendered thanks. There is something in His glance and gesture—He looked up to heaven. What did that mean? “O Father, these loaves and fishes are Yours. You have given them to us. We thank You for them. And now, O Father, the power to make these sufficient for the emergency comes from heaven. Grant it, we pray You.” Brethren, always give that look upward before you begin your work. Say, “Lord, here am I, a poor nobody, trying to teach others and to bring souls to Christ. For what I am, I thank You, for I am that by Your grace, but if I am to be useful, You must make me so. Lord, I look up with the hope that You will look down.” After our Lord had looked up to heaven, we find that He blessed and then He broke the loaves. Jesus must bless our labor or it will be fruitless. He could bless the bread for Himself, but we must look away from ourselves for the blessing. May Jesus bless you all, and He will, if you look up, and say, “Lord, bless us.” (The Miracle of the Loaves)

Cleon Rogers -  In Judaism it was a stringent rule that nothing should be eaten without thanking God before and after the meal

Utley on looking up toward heaven - The common physical position for Jewish prayer was standing with the arms and head raised and eyes open. Jesus was showing that the source of His authority was the heavenly Father.

Lane - “Jesus faithfully followed the accepted form: he took the bread in his hands, pronounced the blessing, broke the bread into pieces and distributed it. The only deviation from normal practice was that while praying Jesus looked toward heaven rather than downward, as prescribed.” (NICNT-Mark)

He looked up to heaven - In working for God, first look to Heaven. It is a grand plan. Over and over again our Lord Jesus Christ looked to Heaven and said, “Father.” Let us imitate Him; although standing on the earth, let us have our conversation in Heaven. Before you go out, if you would feed the world, if you would be a blessing in the midst of spiritual dearth and famine, lift up your head to Heaven. Then your very face will shine, your very garments will smell of myrrh and aloes and cassia out of the ivory palaces where you have been with your God and Saviour. There will be stamped upon you the dignity and power of the service of the Most High God. (McNeil)

He kept giving them to the disciples to set before them - Here we see the Creator spontaneously continuously creating! Incredible! Giving is the vivid imperfect tense picturing Jesus giving portions to each disciple and the disciples continually (paratithemi in present tense - also in Mk 8:6, 7+) set before the people in groups.

Wuest - Vincent has a precious note: “The verbs are in different tenses; the former (BROKE) in the aorist, the latter (KEPT GIVING) in the imperfect. The aorist implies the instantaneous, the imperfect the continuous act. Farrar remarks that the multiplication evidently took place in Christ’s hands, between the acts of breaking and giving.” The Greek has it, “He brake and kept on giving.” (The tenses show that the miracle of multiplication occurred in Jesus' hands).

Wiersbe -  The miracle took place in His hands, not in theirs; for whatever we give to Him, He can bless and multiply. We are not manufacturers; we are only distributors.

Gotquestions - It is noteworthy that Jesus fed the people through the agency of His disciples. He could have simply snapped His fingers and caused everyone present to have a meal, but He didn’t. Instead, He “gave . . . to his disciples to distribute to the people” (Mark 6:41). In this way, the disciples had to trust the Lord for everything they distributed. They could only give as they received. Philip, Andrew, and the rest were put in a position of total dependence upon the Lord for the supply. God still uses people the same way today.

Spurgeon "THE WAITERS at this feast were the disciples. Not the apostles, I think, merely, but the disciples—all of them. They each came and received a portion and handed it round to the hundreds and the fifties. What a blessed thing it is that Jesus Christ has not taken upon Himself to call all His people, by His grace, apart from instrumentality. He might have done so if He had chosen. The blessed Spirit does not stand in any need of us—it is His condescension which leads Him to employ us. He might have sent the Bible into the world, and the only part we might have been permitted to take in it might have been the printing of it, the giving of it away or the selling of it—and there it might have been left. But instead, He uses the living voice, the living example, and the pious persuasions of His own quickened disciples. And what an honor this is! What a privilege this is! I am sure I should have been very delighted that day to help to pass round the bread and the fish—and would not you? It is one of the greatest pleasures you can have in life to feed a hungry man. If you have ever done it, you all know that there is a look about his eyes and a joy in the manner of his eating which makes you whisper to others, “I wish you would come and see him eat.” It gives you pleasure to see his pleasure! If he is very hungry, every mouthful is sweet to him, and you feel a sympathy with his gladness as his needs are supplied. What delightful work it must have been to serve out that bread and fish! But O, to preach the gospel! To preach the gospel when God is blessing it to sinners!"....Oh, the joy it gives you to see men saved! Have I not seen them, sometimes, in the vestry when I have talked with them and prayed with them, and they have risen from their knees, and said, “I see it, sir, I understand it now. I never saw it before. I am a saved man. I believe in Jesus, I know He is my Savior.” If a man finds joy in having made £10,000 in business, he may keep his joy. I would sooner have the bliss of winning one soul for Christ! There is an intense satisfaction in soul-winning! (The Miracle of the Loaves)

and He divided up the two fish among them all - As with the bread, the miracle was occurring in His hands. 

THOUGHT - Jesus provided extravagantly, yet simply. As long as He was making food miraculously, He could have provided steak and lobster and any number of other great things. But He simply gave people bread and fish. When Jesus provides, don’t be surprised if He provides simply. The assurance that Jesus can provide—even miraculously—for all of our needs should be precious to us; it was to the earliest Christians. On the walls of the catacombs, and other places of early Christian art, loaves and fishes are common pictures.(Guzik)

Mark 6:42 They all ate and were satisfied,

Wuest And all ate and were filled. 

NET  Mark 6:42 They all ate and were satisfied,

NLT  Mark 6:42 They all ate as much as they wanted,

ESV  Mark 6:42 And they all ate and were satisfied.

NIV  Mark 6:42 They all ate and were satisfied,

GNT  Mark 6:42 καὶ ἔφαγον πάντες καὶ ἐχορτάσθησαν,

KJV  Mark 6:42 And they did all eat, and were filled.

YLT  Mark 6:42 and they did all eat, and were filled,

ASV  Mark 6:42 And they all ate, and were filled.

CSB  Mark 6:42 Everyone ate and was filled.

Related Passages:

Matthew 14:20+ and they all ate and were satisfied. They picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve full baskets.

Luke 9:17+ And they all ate and were satisfied; and the broken pieces which they had left over were picked up, twelve baskets full. 

John 6:12+ When they were filled, He *said to His disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost.” 

JESUS SATISFIES
OUR HUNGER

Yes, they were physically satisfied, but their souls were still empty! They lacked the heart attitude which Jesus had promised to bless in the Sermon on the Mount. Sadly, they hunger for physical sustenance, not spiritual sustenance! 

 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied (same verb used here - chortazo).  (Mt 5:6+)

They all ate and were satisfied - When Jesus feeds, the recipients are always satisfied. Where do you go to find satisfaction? Or are you like the old Rolling Stones' song "I Can't Get No Satisfaction?"  John 6:11 says the multitude received "as much as they wanted."

Spurgeon on THE EATING. The disciples distributed the bread and the fish as quickly as they could and the people began to eat. They all ate of the provision and they were all filled. Now, what should every soul, here, conclude, but this—if Jesus has provided spiritual meat, He has not provided it to be looked at. He has not set it before us that we may merely hear about it. He has provided it that it might all of it be eaten. What is there for me? Lord, I am hungry, grant me a meal. O, souls, if you would hear sermons with the view of knowing what there is in them for yourselves—that you might feed upon them—what blessed work it would be to preach to you! (The Miracle of the Loaves)

Utley - This statement is used in the Septuagint (i.e. the Greek translation of the OT) for the OT people of God being filled by the manna and quail (cf. Ps. 78:29; 105:40). This OT theme is developed in John 6 where Jesus fulfills the rabbinical expectation of providing food as Moses did. Jesus is the new Moses; His deliverance is the new exodus; and He brings the new age of abundance (cf. Ps. 132:15; Isa. 49:10).

Satisfied (filled (5526)(chortazo from chortos = fodder or grass or herbage of the field in general) means to feed with herbs, grass or hay and then to eat one's fill resulting in a state of being satisfied eat one's fill. Chortazo was used of the feeding of animals until they wanted nothing more. They were allowed to eat until they were completely satisfied. The picture is of animals who stayed at the feed trough until they wanted nothing more to eat. Thus chortazo means to to feed providing more than enough to satisfy. In the Beattitude in Mt 5:6 Chortazo is used figuratively by Jesus to refer to experiencing inward satisfaction, being fully satisfied or being content with some object or state. All uses - Matt. 5:6; Matt. 14:20; Matt. 15:33; Matt. 15:37; Mk. 6:42; Mk. 7:27; Mk. 8:4; Mk. 8:8; Lk. 6:21; Lk. 9:17; Lk. 15:16; Lk. 16:21; Jn. 6:26; Phil. 4:12; Jas. 2:16; Rev. 19:21

Mark 6:43 and they picked up twelve full baskets of the broken pieces, and also of the fish.

Wuest And they took up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments, and from the fish. 

NET  Mark 6:43 and they picked up the broken pieces and fish that were left over, twelve baskets full.

NLT  Mark 6:43 and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftover bread and fish.

ESV  Mark 6:43 And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish.

NIV  Mark 6:43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish.

GNT  Mark 6:43 καὶ ἦραν κλάσματα δώδεκα κοφίνων πληρώματα καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν ἰχθύων.

KJV  Mark 6:43 And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes.

YLT  Mark 6:43 and they took up of broken pieces twelve hand-baskets full, and of the fishes,

ASV  Mark 6:43 And they took up broken pieces, twelve basketfuls, and also of the fishes.

CSB  Mark 6:43 Then they picked up 12 baskets full of pieces of bread and fish.

Related Passages:

Matthew 14:20+  and they all ate and were satisfied. They picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve full baskets. 

Luke 9:17+ And they all ate and were satisfied; and the broken pieces which they had left over were picked up, twelve baskets full. 

John 6:13+ So they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. 

LITTLE CAN BECOME A 
LOT WITH JESUS

and they picked up twelve full baskets of the broken pieces, and also of the fish - When God provides it is exceeding abundantly beyond all that we could think or ask (cf Eph 3:20+). Full is pleroma which speaks of completion, totality, nothing lacking. When Jesus supplies us there is nothing lacking. Pleroma is the same word John uses explaining "of His fullness (pleroma) we have all received, and grace upon grace. (Jn. 1:16+) Twelve baskets is one for each disciple, perhaps to drive home the point to each man that when Jesus supplies their need, nothing is lacking! 

Full (4138)(pleroma from pleroo = make full, fill, fill up) means fullness, full measure, abundance, completion or what fills. Pleroma describes a full measure or abundance with emphasis upon completeness. Pleroma is completion and describes what is fulfilled or is completed without any gap. The sum total. The totality. Pleroma speaks of the total quantity and emphasizes completeness.

Baskets (2894)(kophinos) a wicker basket typically used by Jews for carrying along Levitically clean food and apparently smaller than the (spuris). All uses describe the 12 baskets of broken pieces of bread after the feeding of the 5000. In both Matthew and Mark when Jesus describes these events He uses these two words with the same distinction (Mark 8:19-20+.; Matt. 16:9-10+). As Robertson says "Surely it is easier to conceive that Jesus wrought two such miracles than to hold that Mark and Matthew have made such a jumble of the whole business." 

Kophinos - 6x - Matt. 14:20; Matt. 16:9; Mk. 6:43; Mk. 8:19; Lk. 9:17; Jn. 6:13. Twice in Septuatint - Jdg 6:19, Ps 81:6. 

Spurgeon said, “Come, then, weary hungry sinner. You have nothing to do but to take Christ…Open your mouth and receive the food! Faith to receive what Christ provides is all that is needed.” (Spurgeon, “The Miracle of the Loaves,” #1218).

Spurgeon on CLEANING UP. There must be a cleaning up after every banquet. They went round and gathered up the fragments that remained and found 12 baskets full. This, as has often been remarked, teaches us economy in everything that we do for God—not economy as to giving to Him—but as to the use of the Lord’s money. Break your alabaster boxes and pour out the sacred nard with blessed wastefulness, for that very wastefulness is the sweetness of the gift. But when God entrusts you with any means to use for Him, use those means with discretion. When we have money given to us for use in God’s cause, we should be more careful with it than if it were our own. And the same rule applies to other matters. Ministers, when God gives them a good time in their studies and they read the Word and it opens up before them, should keep notes of what comes to them. The wind does not always blow alike, and it is well to grind your wheat when the mill will work. You should put up your sails and let your boat fly along when you have a good, favoring breeze—and this may make up for dead calms. Economically put by the fragments that remain after you have fed next Sunday’s congregation, that there may be something for hard times, when your head aches and you are dull and heavy in pulpit preparations. (The Miracle of the Loaves)

THOUGHT -  God will shatter the pint-sized expectations of what His followers can do if they would learn to bring Him what they have already been given. “Little is much when God is in it.” When Christians are willing to offer their lives sacrificially, relinquishing their hold on whatever God has given them in terms of time, money, talents, etc., God will use these ordinary things to create extraordinary things. Christians must never believe their resources are too little to serve God. God delights in taking a humble, seemingly insignificant person and using him or her for His glory (see 1 Corinthians 1:27). (Gotquestions)

Guzik - Jesus "knew that wastefulness didn’t glorify the God of all provision."

Where we see a lack He sees an abundance.
Where we see human problems
He sees and accomplishes divine possibilities.
A little can become a lot with Jesus!
-- Mark Akin

Wiersbe points out that "John tells us that Jesus used this miracle as the basis for a sermon on “the bread of life” (John 6:22-66). After all, He did not perform miracles just to meet human needs, though that was important. He wanted each miracle to be a revelation of Himself, a sermon in action. For the most part, the people were amazed at the miracles, appreciated the help He gave them, but failed to get the spiritual message (John 12:37). They wanted the gift but not the Giver, the enjoyment of physical blessings but not the enrichment of spiritual blessings. (BEC)

Bob Utley - Some commentators (William Barclay - ED: BEWARE OF BARCLAY - SEE THIS ARTICLE) deny the miraculous element and assert that the boy shared his lunch (cf. John 6:9) and that others in the crowd saw it and shared their lunches. If so, where did the twelve baskets left over come from? Our biases affect interpretation in the same way the biases of the people of Jesus’ day affected them!


Gathered fragments remind us that:

  1.  Another Day of Need Will Surely Come
  2. The Blessings of God Should Not Be Wasted
  3. Grateful Hearts Make Full Use of God’s Blessings (John Mayshack)

Mark 6:44  There were five thousand men who ate the loaves.

Wuest  And those who had eaten the loaves were five thousand men.

NET  Mark 6:44 Now there were five thousand men who ate the bread.

NLT  Mark 6:44 A total of 5,000 men and their families were fed from those loaves!

ESV  Mark 6:44 And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.

NIV  Mark 6:44 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.

GNT  Mark 6:44 καὶ ἦσαν οἱ φαγόντες [τοὺς ἄρτους] πεντακισχίλιοι ἄνδρες.

KJV  Mark 6:44 And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men.

YLT  Mark 6:44 and those eating of the loaves were about five thousand men.

ASV  Mark 6:44 And they that ate the loaves were five thousand men.

CSB  Mark 6:44 Now those who ate the loaves were 5,000 men.

Related Passages:

Matthew 14: 21+ There were about five thousand men who ate, besides women and children. 

Luke 9:14a+ (For there were about five thousand men.) 

John 6:14+ Therefore when the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15 So Jesus, perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone. 

THE FEEDING OF
MORE THAN 5000

Matthew's account indicates that there were many more than 5000, for he records “There were about five thousand men who ate, besides women and children” (Mt. 14:21), which would suggest the crowd was closer to 15-20 thousand (or more). 

There were five thousand men who ate the loaves - This large crowd partook of the physical bread Jesus gave them, but as John explains the majority refused the spiritual bread that He offered to them when He explained He was the Bread of Life. John records one of the more tragic verses in the Bible  " As a result of this (JESUS' TEACHING HE WAS THE "BREAD OF LIFE") many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore." (John 6:66).

NET Note - The Greek word here is anēr (men), meaning “adult male” (BDAG 79 s.v. 1). According to Matt 14:21, Jesus fed not only five thousand men, but also an unspecified number of women and children. 

Wuest - The word for “men” here is not anthropos, the generic term which could include men and women, but anēr, the word for a male individual. Matthew adds that there were women and children. A wonderful miracle. It is recorded by all four Gospel writers. Two of them, Matthew and John were eyewitnesses, and Peter, also an eyewitness, reported it to Mark.

Robertson - This remarkable miracle is recorded by all Four Gospels, a nature miracle that only God can work. No talk about accelerating natural processes will explain this miracle. And three eyewitnesses report it: the Logia of Matthew, the eyes of Peter in Mark, the witness of John the Beloved Disciple (Gould). The evidence is overwhelming.

In spite of their people's rejection Jesus "generously fed them anyway, thereby providing a vivid illustration of God’s common grace (What is common grace?), in which “He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Mt. 5:45+)." (MacArthur)


QUESTION -  What can we learn from Jesus’ feeding of the 5,000?

Answer: Aside from the resurrection, the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 is the only miracle recorded in all four Gospels. Obviously, the Gospel writers considered this a significant miracle. When Christ fed the masses that day, He began with only “five barley loaves and two fish,” borrowed from a boy’s lunch (John 6:9). To feed 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish is indeed miraculous, but the Greek term used in Matthew 14:21 specifies males, and Matthew further emphasizes the point by adding, “Besides women and children.” Many Bible scholars believe the actual number fed that day could have been 15,000—20,000 people.

Jesus’ disciples had wanted to send the people away because evening was approaching and they were in a remote place (Matthew 14:15). They knew the people needed to reach surrounding villages soon to buy food, find lodging, etc., or they would likely go hungry (Mark 6:36). But Christ had a better idea: “You give them something to eat” (Matthew 14:16). At this point, the disciples should have recalled the many miracles they had seen Jesus do. Perhaps some of them did, but Andrew asked, “What are [five loaves and two fish] for so many?” (John 6:9). And Philip exclaimed, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” (verse 7).

Jesus called for the bread and fish to be brought to Him (Matthew 14:18). He then gave thanks for the meal, broke the bread, and gave it to His disciples to give to the crowd. Amazingly, the entire multitude was fed with that small meal. Jesus provided “as much as they wanted” (John 6:11), and “they all ate and were satisfied” (Matthew 14:20). Christ did not just meet the need; He lavished them with so much food that there were “twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish” left over (Mark 6:43).

God will shatter the pint-sized expectations of what His followers can do if they would learn to bring Him what they have already been given. “Little is much when God is in it.” When Christians are willing to offer their lives sacrificially, relinquishing their hold on whatever God has given them in terms of time, money, talents, etc., God will use these ordinary things to create extraordinary things. Christians must never believe their resources are too little to serve God. God delights in taking a humble, seemingly insignificant person and using him or her for His glory (see 1 Corinthians 1:27).

Philip’s mind immediately ran to the cost of the project. He quickly calculated how many man-hours of work it would take to feed all those people; he saw the task as impossible because he approached it as if everything depended on his own work. Jesus’ approach was different. Jesus bypassed all human effort and did the impossible. It’s “‘not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty” (Zechariah 4:6).

It is noteworthy that Jesus fed the people through the agency of His disciples. He could have simply snapped His fingers and caused everyone present to have a meal, but He didn’t. Instead, He “gave . . . to his disciples to distribute to the people” (Mark 6:41). In this way, the disciples had to trust the Lord for everything they distributed. They could only give as they received. Philip, Andrew, and the rest were put in a position of total dependence upon the Lord for the supply. God still uses people the same way today.

Christians should also be reminded that their problems are never too large (the “many” of John 6:9) for God to handle. Surely, Andrew was wondering, “What good are we going to do with only five loaves and two fish?” Of course, theoretically, believers know God can easily multiply whatever He wants, to feed as many people as He wants—He is God. The problem comes when we are faced with a practical outworking of the theory; we tend to doubt that God will want to meet our need.

There is a foreshadowing of Christ’s miracle in the life of Elisha in 2 Kings. Elisha told his servant to feed the people gathered there, although there was not enough food for the hundred men. One of the men said, “How can I set this before a hundred men?” (2 Kings 4:42–43) In the end, however, the men not only had enough to eat, but “they ate and had some left” (2 Kings 4:44). Isn’t that just like God? He says He will do more than provide for His people; He will give an abundance (Psalm 132:15).

Christians must bring their lives to God in a spirit of obedience and sacrifice, no matter how insignificant they may think their gifts or talents are (Romans 12:1). When doing so, expect God to do far beyond what can be imagined (Ephesians 3:20). Also, Christians should trust that God not only wants to meet the needs of His children, but He wants to lavish His children with spiritual blessings, even to overflowing (Psalm 23:5). (SOURCE - GotQuestions.org)

Related Resource:

Mark 6:45  Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the crowd away.

Wuest And immediately, He compelled His disciples to go on board the boat and precede Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He dismisses the crowd.

NET  Mark 6:45 Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dispersed the crowd.

NLT  Mark 6:45 Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and head across the lake to Bethsaida, while he sent the people home.

ESV  Mark 6:45 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.

NIV  Mark 6:45 Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.

GNT  Mark 6:45 Καὶ εὐθὺς ἠνάγκασεν τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ ἐμβῆναι εἰς τὸ πλοῖον καὶ προάγειν εἰς τὸ πέραν πρὸς Βηθσαϊδάν, ἕως αὐτὸς ἀπολύει τὸν ὄχλον.

KJV  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.

YLT  Mark 6:45 And immediately he constrained his disciples to go into the boat, and to go before to the other side, unto Bethsaida, till he may let the multitude away,

ASV  Mark 6:45 And straightway he constrained his disciples to enter into the boat, and to go before him unto the other side to Bethsaida, while he himself sendeth the multitude away.

CSB  Mark 6:45 Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He dismissed the crowd.

Simple Outline on Mark 6 - Jesus Teaching, Sending, Mourning, Feeding, Walking and Touching

  1. Mark 6:1-6 Jesus' Teaching Astonished and Scandalized = Unbelief in Nazareth
  2. Mark 6:7-13 Jesus Sends Twelve in Pairs Giving them Instructions and Authority
  3. Mark 6:14-29 John the Baptist Beheaded Fate
  4. Mark 6:30-44 - Jesus Feeds Five thousand
  5. Mark 6:45–52 Jesus Walks on the water
  6. Mark 6:53–56 Jesus Heals by Touching 

Related Passage:

Matthew 14:22+  +  + Immediately He made (anagkazo) the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away.

John 6:15+  +  + So Jesus, perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone.  16 Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, 17 and after getting into a boat, they started to cross the sea to Capernaum. It had already become dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. 

IMMEDIATELY JESUS COMPELS
DISCIPLES TO SAIL TO OTHER SIDE

John explains why He compelled the disciples to leave and dispersed the crowd - this also sets the stage for Jesus famous teaching that He Himself was the true "Bread of Life." 

"Therefore when the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15 So Jesus, perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone" (John 6:14-15+)

Utley adds that "The parallel in John 6 has so much more information about the reaction of this crowd. Mark’s points are the training of the disciples and Jesus’ compassion, while John’s account records how Jesus fulfilled the Jewish expectations about the Messiah feeding the Jews as Moses did (i.e manna). They tried to make Him king. This shows their misunderstanding of Jesus’ mission (i.e. like His disciples, His family, and the religious leaders)." 

Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat - Notice that Jesus made (compelled) them get into the boat, which implies that the disciples did not want to get into the boat and go ahead of Jesus. Don't miss that it was Jesus Who sent them into the fierce wind. The "pop test" was sovereignly pre-packaged for their potential benefit. Notice also that the disciples did not argue but seem to obey Jesus. So they were in His will, and yet would soon be in a storm (which He allowed/sent).

THOUGHT - Are you in a storm right now?  You may be thinking to yourself, “Lord, what did I do to deserve this?”  It may be that you have done nothing wrong.  It is possible to be completely obedient to the Lord and to still find yourself in the middle of a storm.Bad things happen.  And sometimes they happen even though you have done nothing wrong.  Sometimes they happen simply so that God can draw near.  The disciples had only just come from the opposite side of the Sea of Galilee that very morning.  Now they are being sent back.  No explanation is given.  But as a result of their obedience, they will have an unexpected encounter with the Lord. (Stevenson

And go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the crowd away - At first glance this passage can be confusing because it uses the name Bethsaida which is the same name (given in Lk 9:10) used for the region where the feeding of the 5000+ occurred. The solution is that there were two towns named Bethsaida, one on the northeastern side of the Sea of Galilee and site of the miraculous feeding and the other on the western side, in the land of Gennesareth. 

Immediately  (2117) (euthus)  used as adverb to mean immediately, right away, at once. - 5x in Mark 6 - Mk. 6:25; Mk. 6:27; Mk. 6:45; Mk. 6:50; Mk. 6:54;

Made (compelled, forced) (315)(anagkazo from anagke - compelling need requiring immediate action) refers to an inner or outer compulsion for someone to act in a certain manner (Gal 2:3, 14, 6:12, Acts 26:11), and to do so with a sense of urgency (as a pressing necessity). Anagkazo conveys the idea of to urge strongly in Mt 14:23. It conveys the idea of an inward feeling of obligation in Acts 28:19. This word was used in surgery of force to reduce dislocations, etc. (Liddell-Scott). Thayer on anagkazo - to necessitate, compel, drive to, constrain, whether by force, threats, etc., or by persuasion, entreaties, etc., or by other means

Robertson - This is Bethsaida on the Western side, not Bethsaida Julias on the Eastern side where they had just been (Luke 9:10) Mark with the present indicative sending [apoluei] pictures Jesus as personally engaged in persuading the crowds to go away now. John 6:14. explains this activity of Jesus. The crowds had become so excited that they were in the mood to start a revolution against the Roman government and proclaim Jesus king.

Robertson has an interesting note on why Jesus sent the disciples ahead of Him - (Jesus wanted) to get them out of this atmosphere of overwrought excitement with a political twist (that the crowd might seek to make Him king) to the whole conception of the Messianic Kingdom. They were in grave danger of being swept off their feet and falling heedlessly into the Pharisaic conception and so defeating the whole teaching and training of Jesus with them. To this pass things had come one year before the Crucifixion. He had done his best to help and bless the crowds and lost his chance to rest. No one really understood Jesus, not the crowds, not the disciples. Jesus needed the Father to stay and steady him. The devil had come again to tempt him with world dominion in league with the Pharisees, the populace, and the devil in the background.

Hiebert on Bethsaida - The location of this Bethsaida has been much discussed. That morning, according to Luke 9:10, Jesus and the Twelve had sailed toward Bethsaida, near which the feeding of the five thousand took place. This was Bethsaida-Julius, east of Jordan. But since John noted that the boat that night was headed toward Capernaum (Mk 6:17), and the boat actually landed on the western shore, where was this Bethsaida located? Two different answers have been given. Those who hold that there was only one Bethsaida understand the order to the disciples to mean that they were to cross the narrow bay to Bethsaida-Julius, where Jesus was expected to meet them, but that a strong northeastern wind suddenly came up and forced the boat toward the western shore. Others hold that there was another city named Bethsaida, called “Bethsaida of Galilee” (John 12:21), located near Capernaum, so that the direction could be spoken of as being either toward Bethsaida or Capernaum. It is not improbable that there should be two places named Bethsaida (Fishing House) on the shores of the lake, one in Galilee and the other in the tetrarchy of Philip. It must be admitted that we have no such direct evidence for a western Bethsaida as we have for Bethsaida-Julius, and the view of two Bethsaidas is now abandoned by many scholars. These scholars hold that the designation “Bethsaida of Galilee” is due to the fact that the city had spread across the Jordan. But other scholars insist that “the various Gospel narratives require, in the movements recorded, a western as well as an eastern Bethsaida, otherwise all is confused and unintelligible.” Bethsaida clearly seems to be a town close to Capernaum. According to Matthew 11:20–24, Jesus upbraided Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum for their failure to repent although “most of his mighty works were do ne” in them. This Bethsaida is clearly a Jewish city, not a Gentile place like Bethsaida-Julius. Since all the disciples, except Judas Iscariot, seem to have been Galileans (Acts 1:11), it seems improbable that Peter, Andrew, and Philip were all natives of the Bethsaida of Gaulanitis (John 1:44). Ruins of other towns near Capernaum make a western Bethsaida very probable. Christie argues that a western Bethsaida is supported by the fact that tradition in the early Christian centuries mistakenly located the place of the feeding of the five thousand on the western side, holding that the similarity of the place names was the connecting link. The existence of two Bethsaidas seems best to harmonize all the data. (The Gospel of Mark - An Expositional Commentary)


Confident Hindu - You may remember Rao, the Hindu holy man who flirted with fame in 1966. The old mystic believed he could walk on water. He was so confident in his own spiritual power that he announced he would perform the feat before a live audience. He sold tickets at $100 apiece. Bombay’s elite turned out en masse to behold the spectacle. The event was held in a large garden with a deep pool. A crowd of more than 600 had assembled. The white-bearded yogi appeared in flowing robes and stepped confidently to the edge of the pool. He paused to pray silently. A reverent hush fell on the crowd. Rao opened his eyes, looked heavenward, and boldly stepped forward. With an awkward splash he disappeared beneath the water. Sputtering and red-faced, the holy man struggled to pull himself out of the water. Trembling with rage, he shook his finger at the silent, embarrassed crowd. “One of you,” Rao bellowed indignantly, “is an unbeliever!” - John MacArthur, in Tabletalk, April, 1990, p. 10


Question: What was the meaning of Jesus walking on water?

Answer: The miracle of Jesus walking on the water, recorded in three of the Gospels (Matthew 14:22–36; Mark 6:45–56; John 6:16–21), came on the heels of His miraculous feeding of the 5,000 with only five loaves of bread and two fish (Matthew 14:17). But it was the miracle of Jesus walking on the water that, more than any other, convinced Jesus’ disciples that He was indeed the Son of God (Matthew 14:32–33).

The story unfolds at the Sea of Galilee, which lies in the lower portion of the Jordan Valley in a mountain range that rises to 4,000 feet above sea level. The lake itself is 700 feet below the Mediterranean Sea. One of the more noteworthy aspects of this body of water is that it is greatly susceptible to sudden and extremely violent storms. These storms are caused by the cold air rushing down from the mountains surrounding it and colliding with the warm, moist air rising off the surface of the water itself.

“When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed three or three and a half miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were terrified. But he said to them, ‘It is I; don’t be afraid.’ Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading” (John 6:16–21).

There are several significant points to recognize about this miracle.

First, Matthew tells us that “the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake” (Matthew 14:24–25). Though they were only to travel a short distance, the storm was so violent that, despite all their efforts to control their boat, the storm had driven them nearly four miles out into the very midst of the sea. Being the fourth watch of the night (3:00 AM to 6:00 AM), they had been rowing and straining at their oars for approaching nine hours! They were totally exhausted.

Mark tells us that, when the disciples saw Jesus walking on the lake, they thought He was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw Him and were terrified (Mark 6:48–50).

And this brings us to the second significant point of this miracle. Jesus always comes to us in the storms of life. This is reminiscent of the words of God to Isaiah: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you” (Isaiah 43:2). The Lord may not come at the time we think He should come, because He knows when we need Him the most. Jesus had waited until the boat was as far from land as possible, when all their hope was gone. In essence, Jesus was testing the disciples’ faith, and this meant removing every human prop. Why did Jesus walk on the water? To show His disciples that the very thing they feared, the raging, seething sea, was merely a set of steps for Him to come to them. Often we fear the difficult experiences of life such as illness, loss of loved ones, and financial hardships only to discover that these experiences can bring Jesus closer to us.

But we have to ask, why did they not recognize Jesus? The answer is they were not looking for Him. Had they been waiting by faith, they would have known Him instantly. Instead, they jumped to the false conclusion that His appearance was that of a ghost. The point is this: fear and faith cannot live in the same heart, for fear frequently blinds the eyes to the presence of the Lord.

The third significant point is that Jesus proved Himself to be in command of the elements, something only God can do. He revealed this truth to the disciples who recognized His divinity and responded with a confession of faith in Jesus as God: “The wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God’” (Matthew 14:32–33). This was the first time Jesus was called the Son of God by the disciples, a statement that, in fact, built on what they had said earlier about Him in Matthew 8:27: “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him.” Here they answer their own question: “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Though they had a long way to go in their spiritual understanding, the disciples were growing in their faith in the Lord. Also, this was the first time the disciples are said to have worshiped Jesus. In Matthew 2:11, the magi from the East worshiped Jesus. Later, a leper is said to have worshiped Jesus (Matthew 8:2). A synagogue ruler does the same thing in Matthew 9:18. But this is the first time the disciples worshiped Him. It is also important to note that their worship is joined to their confession (Matthew 14:33).

And this is what worship is, acknowledging who God is and praising Him both for who He is and for what He has done. It was in this story that the disciples took the first step and worshiped Jesus as the Son of God. (Source - Gotquestions)


CHRIST OVERCOMES FEAR Mark 6:45–56
People fear many things. Here are seven well-known fears: (1) The past, (2) The future, (3) Mistakes, (4) People, (5) Sickness, (6) Loneliness, and (7) Death.

  1. THE MASTER’S PRAYER—vv. 45–46
  2. THE MASTER’S POWER—vv. 47–50
  3. THE MASTER’S PRESENCE—vv. 51–52
  4. THE MASTER’S PERSONALITY—vv. 53–56

Faith and fear just do not mix! If you have too much fear, it will destroy your faith. If you have much faith, it will destroy your fears. Allow Christ to fill your heart with faith, then all your fears will disappear. (Croft Pentz)


After obedience—what? 

And straightway He constrained His disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side.… Mark 6:45–52 .

We are apt to imagine that if Jesus Christ constrains us, and we obey Him, He will lead us to great success. We must never put our dreams of success as God’s purpose for us; His purpose may be exactly the opposite. We have an idea that God is leading us to a particular end, a desired goal; He is not. The question of getting to a particular end is a mere incident. What we call the process, God calls the end.

What is my dream of God’s purpose? His purpose is that I depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay in the middle of the turmoil calm and unperplexed, that is the end of the purpose of God. God is not working towards a particular finish; His end is the process—that I see Him walking on the waves, no shore in sight, no success, no goal, just the absolute certainty that it is all right because I see Him walking on the sea. It is the process, not the end, which is glorifying to God.

God’s training is for now, not presently. His purpose is for this minute, not for something in the future. We have nothing to do with the afterwards of obedience; we get wrong when we think of the afterwards. What men call training and preparation, God calls the end.

God’s end is to enable me to see that He can walk on the chaos of my life just now. If we have a further end in view, we do not pay sufficient attention to the immediate present; but if we realize that obedience is the end, then each moment as it comes is precious. (Oswald Chambers)

After Obedience—What? Mark 6:45-52

1. Constrained by Christ

And straightway He constrained His disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side. . . . (Mark 6:45)

We are apt to imagine that if Jesus Christ constrains us and we obey Him, He will lead us to great success; but He does not. We would have thought these men would have had a most successful time, but their obedience led them into a great disaster. If our Lord has ever constrained you, and you obeyed Him, what was your dream of His purpose? Never put your dream of success as God’s purpose for you; His purpose may be exactly the opposite.

2. Consternation by Obedience

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 6:48)

The obedience of the disciples led them into the greatest trouble they had known. Jesus did not go with them, a storm came, and they were at their wits’ end—“the ship was in the midst of the sea, and He alone on the land.” They thought they were going straight to the other aide: Jesus knew they would face a storm in the centre of the lake.

Each one of us has had similar experiences—“I did obey God’s voice; I am sure He led me to do this and that,” and yet these very things have led to consternation in our lives. Beware of saying the devil deceived you. It is as true for saints as for anyone else that “there is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” We have nothing whatever to do with what men call success or failure. If God’s command is clear, and the constraint of His Spirit is clear, we have nothing to do with the result of our obedience. The purpose of God in calling us is not something in the future, but this very minute—“Now is the accepted time,” always now; God’s training is for now, not presently. The ultimate issue will be manifested presently, but we have nothing to do with the afterwards of obedience. We get wrong when we think of the afterwards, the purpose of God is our obedience. Never have a material end in your mind and imagine that God is working towards that by means of your obedience; that is man’s way of looking at things. What man calls training and preparation, God calls the end. The end God has in mind is to enable us to see that He can walk on the chaos of our lives just now. “He is there”! The first time we saw Him we were terrified; the “other side” was covered with clouds, the surroundings became wild, and the wind contrary. With how many is the wind contrary these days!

There was no point of rest for the natural mind of the disciples as to what Jesus was after—it was the deep, the dark, and the dreadful: our Lord’s purpose was that they should see Him walking on the sea. We have an idea that God is leading us to a certain goal; He is not. The question of getting to a particular end is a mere incident. “For I know the plans that I am planning for you, saith the Lord, plans of welfare, and not of calamity, to give you an expected end” (see Jeremiah 29:11). What men call the process, God calls the end. If you can stay in the midst of the turmoil unperplexed and calm because you see Jesus, that is God’s purpose in your life; not that you may be able to say, “I have done this and that and now it’s all right.” God’s purpose for you is that you depend upon Him and His power now; that you see Him walking on the waves—no shore in sight, no success, just the absolute certainty that it is all right because you see Him.

3. Confused by Calm

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 6:51)

After we have obeyed there is a sudden calm, and unless we are well taught by the Spirit of God, we are afraid of this calm and imagine it is a preparation for some tremendous strain.

“For they understood not concerning [rv] the loaves: for their heart was hardened.”The way our heart is hardened is by sticking to our convictions instead of to Christ. Look back at your life with God and you will find that He has made havoc of your convictions, and now the one thing that looms larger and larger is Jesus Christ and Him only, God and God only. “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God.” Convictions and creeds are always about God; eternal life is to know Him.

“Let not your heart be troubled.” When we dream of ourselves in God’s service our hearts do get troubled—“I think this is what God is preparing me for.” God is not preparing you for anything, obedience is its own end in the purpose of God; be faithful to Him. Never say, “I wonder what God is doing with me just now.” That is no business of yours, and the Spirit of God will never give you an answer. If you are spiritual I defy you to tell anyone what God is preparing you for; the preparation is His end.

Can I see Jesus in my present circumstances? Is it an obscure farther shore, with wild waves between? can I see Him walking on the waves? Is it a fiery furnace? can I see Him walking in the midst of the fire? Is it a placid, commonplace day? can I see Him there? If so, that is the perpetual mystery of the guidance of God, that is Eternal Life. We have to be transformed by the renewing of our mind, that we may “prove what is the will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect” (rv mg), not the thing that is going to be acceptable, but which is good and acceptable and perfect now. If we have a further end in view we do not pay sufficient attention to the immediate minute; when we know that obedience is the end, then every moment is the most precious. (Oswald Chambers - God's Workmanship)


He Who Made the Physical Laws Can Bypass Them

Key Verses: Mark 6:45–52

I. They Wanted to Make Him King
       A. After miraculously feeding the 5,000 Jesus could see that the populace intended to make Him king by force (John 6:15).
      B.They did not realize that His First Coming was for the purpose of establishing His spiritual kingdom in their hearts (Luke 17:20, 21) rather than political freedom for Israel.
      C.Their subjugation to the Romans was not as disabling as their sin.
      D. Their desire to humanly elevate Him to kingship was exactly the opposite of what He had come to accomplish. He had come to bear the cross, not to wear the crown.
      E.Unfortunately, the disciples also entertained self-aggrandizing ideas of power (Matt. 20:20–28; Mark 10:35–45).
    F.Upon this occasion, Mark records that Jesus had to actually force the disciples to get into the boat and sail to the other side of the lake while He dismissed the crowds and went to a nearby mountain to pray (Mark 6:45, 46).

II. The Apostles Made Slow Progress Until Jesus’ Sudden Appearance
      A.Although the disciples rowed for nine hours, they hardly managed to go two miles distance because of the wind.
      B.The believer’s progress may well be much slower and rougher when he is forced by His Lord to proceed in a certain path.
      C.Jesus, however, was following the scene with His far-reaching eye. He never loses sight of a disciple in a storm.
      D.He then decided to intervene when least expected and in a humanly impossible way, by walking to them on the water.
      E.When they saw Him, they thought He was a phantom, and instead of being comforted, they were afraid.
         1. When the angel appeared to Zacharias to tell him about Elizabeth’s son, Zacharias was afraid (Luke 1:11, 12).
         2. Mary, likewise, feared the appearance of a supernatural being (Luke 1:30).
         3.The angel also told the shepherds to “Fear not” when he came upon them in the fields around Bethlehem (Luke 2:10).

III. This Miracle Is Proof of Christ’s Deity
      A. Man can make a boat that will sail on water, but only God can walk on the water by his own power.
      B. John 1:3 declares that “All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” Jesus Himself is creator of the universe.
      C. It was therefore easy for Him to bypass His own laws of nature at will. Jesus, being God (Col. 2:9), could walk on water as easily as on solid ground.

IV. Why Did the Lord Permit the Storm?
      A. The disciples agreed with the crowd who wanted to acclaim Jesus as a human king. He sent them into a storm to focus their attention on spiritual reality.
      B. Jesus separated Himself from the disciples temporarily to show them what would happen after He had ascended into heaven. Our encounters with early difficulties fit us for later service.
      C. Moreover, the disciples were ready to receive His supernatural aid after their human attempts proved futile. Jesus gave them time to see their own helplessness.
      D.The waves signify our difficulties which Jesus uses as the means to teach us. Our trials then become His avenue to our hearts.
      E.Unrecognized, Jesus brings fear; but recognized, He brings relief. (NT Sermon Starters)


Nature’s Fury—God’s Faithfulness By Dr. Kevin Riggs

Scripture: Mark 6:45–52, especially verse 51

Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled.
Introduction: Hurricane Wilma hit Florida in mid-October, 2005, killing twenty-one people. After the storm a meteorologist explained how Wilma had cleaned out the atmosphere. This got me thinking. Could “cleaning out the atmosphere” be part of the reason God allows storms in the first place? What about personal storms? Why does God allow storms to happen in our lives? Could it be to clean out the junk in our lives? The story of Jesus walking on water gives us some guidance on the topic.

  1.      Jesus Watches Over Us, Even When We Are Unaware. The word “strain” in verse 48 carries the idea of being tormented. Where was Jesus while they were fighting for their lives? He was watching them, fully aware of what was taking place. For reasons unknown you are in the middle of a storm. Jesus seems like He is a million miles away. But in reality, He is standing on the side of a mountain, looking out at you, and looking out for you. But why does Jesus wait so long to help? Why did He allow His disciples to go through so much pain before He intervened?

  2.      We Have to Reach the End of Our Own Strength Before We Will Allow Jesus to Take Over. Nowhere in the story do you see the disciples praying, or crying out to Jesus for help. They just keep rowing, doing things their own way, wearing themselves out (v. 48). What storm are you in? Are you trying to solve the problem on your own? Quit tormenting yourself. Quit wearing yourself out. Allow Jesus to get in the boat and take the controls.

  3.      Jesus Waits to Intervene So We Will Recognize Him When He Does Intervene. In the middle of their storm, trying to do things their own way, “… He (Jesus) came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by. And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost …” (6:48–49). The phrase, “would have passed them by,” is better translated, “He intended to pass their way.” Jesus was not trying to walk by them without being seen, rather He was walking toward them, but they did not recognize Him; as a result, they were afraid.

  4.      When We Fail to Recognize Jesus, We Live in Fear. We fear the worst because we fail to recognize who Jesus is, and then, when Jesus does show up, it scares us even more. But notice; in the middle of their storm, in the midst of their fear, Jesus said to His disciples, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid” (6:50). The disciples did not recognize Jesus, so Jesus told them exactly who He was. The phrase, “It is I,” literally reads, “I am.” Jesus was claiming to be God … and this time the disciples got it! When they finally “got it,” the storm died down.

  5.      Once You “Get It” (Jesus Is God), Your Storm Becomes Nothing but a Shower. Until you invite Jesus to climb into your boat and take the oars of your life, you will always be at the mercy of the storm. The storms of life may have blown you off course, but right now Jesus is walking toward you. Recognize who He is. Allow Him to come aboard, and the direction you were going in will become the destiny He has for you.

  6.      Not All the Storms You Face in Life Are Your Own Fault. The only reason the disciples were in a storm was because Jesus made them get into the boat and sent them on their way. The storm was not their fault; but there they were, right in the middle of a hurricane. Jesus used the storm to drive the disciples to Himself.

Conclusion: Sometimes things happen in your life in which you have no control. But in the middle of nature’s fury, Jesus is faithful. You may not be able to control the situation, but you can control your attitude and your reactions. It may not be your fault that you are in the mess you are in, but it will be your faith that gets you out.


Training of the Twelve - A B Bruce

THE STORM MATT. 14:24–33; MARK 6:45–52; JOHN 6:16–21

“In perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea,” wrote Paul, describing the varied hardships encountered by himself in the prosecution of his great work as the apostle of the Gentiles. Such perils meet together in this crisis in the life of Jesus. He has just saved himself from the dangerous enthusiasm manifested by the thoughtless multitude after the miraculous repast in the desert; and now, a few hours later, a still greater disaster threatens to befall Him. His twelve chosen disciples, whom He had hurriedly sent off in a boat, that they might not encourage the people in their foolish project, have been overtaken in a storm while He is alone on the mountain praying, and are in imminent danger of being drowned. His contrivance for escaping one evil has involved Him in a worse; and it seems as if, by a combination of mischances, He were to be suddenly deprived of all His followers, both true and false, at once, and left utterly alone, as in the last great crisis. The Messianic King watching on those heights, like a general on the day of battle, is indeed hard pressed, and the battle is going against Him. But the Captain of salvation is equal to the emergency; and however sorely perplexed He may be for a season, He will be victorious in the end.
The Sea of Galilee, though but a small sheet of water, some thirteen miles long by six broad, is liable to be visited by sharp, sudden squalls, probably due to its situation. It lies in a deep hollow of volcanic origin, bounded on either side by steep ranges of hills rising above the water-level from one to two thousand feet. The difference of temperature at the top and bottom of these hills is very considerable. Up on the tablelands above the air is cool and bracing; down at the margin of the lake, which lies seven hundred feet below the level of the ocean, the climate is tropical. The storms caused by this inequality of temperature are tropical in violence. They come sweeping down the ravines upon the water; and in a moment the lake, calm as glass before, becomes from end to end white with foam, whilst the waves rise into the air in columns of spray.

Two such storms of wind were encountered by the twelve after they had become disciples, probably within the same year; the one with which we are concerned at present, and an earlier one on the occasion of a visit to Gadara. Both happened by night, and both were exceedingly violent. In the first storm, we are told, the ship was covered with the waves, and filled almost to sinking, so that the disciples feared they should perish. The second storm was equally violent, and was of much longer duration. It caught the twelve apparently when they were half-way across, and after the gray of dusk had deepened into the darkness of night. From that time the wind blew with unabated force till daybreak, in the fourth watch, between the hours of three and six in the morning. Some idea of the fury of the blast may be gathered from the fact recorded, that even then they were still little more than half-way over the sea. They had rowed in all only a distance of twenty-five or thirty furlongs, the whole distance in a slanting direction, from the eastern to the western shore, being probably about fifty. During all those weary hours they had done little more, pulling with all their might, than hold their own against wind and waves.

All this while what was Jesus doing? In the first storm He had been with His disciples in the ship, sweetly sleeping after the fatigues of the day, “rocked in cradle of the imperious surge.” This time He was absent, and not sleeping; but away up among the mountains alone, watching unto prayer. For He, too, had His own struggle on that tempestuous night; not with the howling winds, but with sorrowful thoughts. That night He, as it were, rehearsed the agony in Gethsemane, and with earnest prayer and absorbing meditation studied the passion sermon which He preached on the morrow. So engrossed was His mind with His own sad thoughts, that the poor disciples were for a season as if forgotten; till at length, at early dawn, looking seawards, He saw them toiling in rowing against the contrary wind, and without a moment’s further delay made haste to their rescue.

This storm on the Sea of Galilee, besides being important as a historical fact, possesses also the significance of an emblem. When we consider the time at which it occurred, it is impossible not to connect it in our thoughts with the untoward events of the next day. For the literal storm on the water was succeeded by a spiritual storm on the land, equally sudden and violent, and not less perilous to the souls of the twelve than the other had been to their bodies. The bark containing the precious freight of Christ’s true discipleship was then overtaken by a sudden gust of unpopularity, coming down on it like a squall on a highland loch, and all but upsetting it. The fickle crowd which but the day before would have made Jesus their king, turned away abruptly from Him in disappointment and disgust; and it was not without an effort, as we shall see, that the twelve maintained their steadfastness. They had to pull hard against wind and waves, that they might not be carried headlong to ruin by the tornado of apostasy.

There can be little doubt that the two storms,—on the lake and on the shore,—coming so close one on the other, would become associated in the memory of the apostles; and that the literal storm would be stereotyped in their minds as an expressive emblem of the spiritual one, and of all similar trials of faith. The incidents of that fearful night—the watching, the wet, the toil without result, the fatigue, the terror and despair—would abide indelibly in their recollection, the symbolic representation of all the perils and tribulations through which believers must pass on their way to the kingdom of heaven, and especially of those that come upon them while they are yet immature in the faith. Symbolic significance might be discovered specially in three features. The storm took place by night; in the absence of Jesus; and while it lasted all progress was arrested. Storms at sea may happen at all hours of the day, but trials of faith always happen in the night. Were there no darkness there could be no trial. Had the twelve understood Christ’s discourse in Capernaum, the apostasy of the multitude would have seemed to them a light matter. But they did not understand it, and hence the solicitude of their Master lest they too should forsake Him. In all such trials, also, the absence of the Lord to feeling is a constant and most painful feature. Christ is not in the ship while the storm rages by night, and we toil on in rowing unaided, as we think, by His grace, uncheered by His spiritual presence. It was so even with the twelve next day on shore. Their Master, present to their eyes, had vanished out of sight to their understanding. They had not the comfort of comprehending His meaning, while they clung to Him as one who had the words of eternal life. Worst of all, in these trials of faith, with all our rowing, we make no progress; the utmost we can effect is to hold our own, to keep off the rocky shore in the midst of the sea. Happily that is something, yea, it is every thing. For it is not always true that if not going forward we must be going backward. This is an adage for fair weather only. In a time of storm there is such a thing as standing still, and then to do even so much is a great achievement. Is it a small thing to weather the storm, to keep off the rocks, the sands, and the breakers? Vex not the soul of him who is already vexed enough by the buffeting winds, by retailing wise saws about progress and backsliding indiscriminately applied. Instead of playing thus the part of a Job’s friend, rather remind him that the great thing for one in his situation is to endure, to be immovable, to hold fast his moral integrity and his profession of faith, and to keep off the dangerous coasts of immorality and infidelity; and assure him that if he will only pull a little longer, however weary his arm, God will come and calm the wind, and he will forthwith reach the land.

The storm on the lake, besides being an apt emblem of the trial of faith, was for the twelve an important lesson in faith, helping to prepare them for the future which awaited them. The temporary absence of their Master was a preparation for His perpetual absence. The miraculous interposition of Jesus at the crisis of their peril was fitted to impress on their minds the conviction that even after He had ascended He would still be with them in the hour of danger. From the ultimate happy issue of a plan which threatened for a time to miscarry, they might further learn to cherish a calm confidence in the government of their exalted Lord, even in midst of most untoward events. They probably concluded, when the storm came on, that Jesus had made a mistake in ordering them to sail away across the lake while He remained behind to dismiss the multitude. The event, however, rebuked this hasty judgment, all ending happily. Their experience in this instance was fitted to teach a lesson for life: not rashly to infer mismanagement or neglect on Christ’s part from temporary mishaps, but to have firm faith in His wise and loving care for His cause and people, and to anticipate a happy issue out of all perplexities; yea, to glory in tribulation, because of the great deliverance which would surely follow.

Such strong faith the disciples were far enough from possessing at the time of the storm. They had no expectation that Jesus would come to their rescue; for when He did come, they thought He was a spirit flitting over the water, and cried out in an agony of superstitious terror. Here also we note, in passing, a curious correspondence between the incidents of this crisis and those connected with the final one. The disciples had then as little expectation of seeing their Lord return from the dead as they had now of seeing Him come to them over the sea; and therefore His re-appearance at first frightened rather than comforted them. “They were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.” Good, unlooked for in either case, was turned into evil; and what to faith would have been a source of intense joy, became, through unbelief, only a new cause of alarm.

The fact of His not being expected seems to have imposed on Jesus the necessity of using artifice in His manner of approaching His storm-tossed disciples. Mark relates that “He would have passed by then,” affecting strangeness, as we understand it, out of delicate consideration for their weakness. He knew what He would be taken for when first observed; and therefore He wished to attract their attention at a safe distance, fearing lest, by appearing among them at once, He might drive them distracted. He found it needful to be as cautious in announcing His advent to save as men are wont to be in communicating evil tidings: first appearing, as the spectre, as far away as He could be seen; then revealing Himself by His familiar voice uttering the words of comfort, “It is I; be not afraid,” and so obtaining at length a willing reception into the ship.3

The effects which followed the admission of Jesus into the vessel betrayed the twelve into a new manifestation of the weakness of their faith. “The wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.” They ought not to have wondered so greatly, after what had happened once before on these same waters, and especially after such a miracle as had been wrought in the wilderness on the previous day. But the storm had blown all thoughts of such things out of their mind, and driven them utterly stupid. “They reflected not on the loaves (nor on the rebuking of the winds), for their heart was hardened.”5

But the most interesting revelation of the mental state of the disciples at the time when Jesus came to their relief, is to be found in the episode concerning Peter related in Matthew’s Gospel. When that disciple understood that the supposed spectre was his beloved Master, he cried, “Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water;” and on receiving permission, he forthwith stepped out of the ship into the sea. This was not faith, but simple rashness. It was the rebound of an impetuous, headlong nature from one extreme of utter despair to the opposite extreme of extravagant, reckless joy. What in the other disciples took the tame form of a willingness to receive Jesus into the ship, after they were satisfied it was He who walked on the waters,2 took, in the case of Peter, the form of a romantic, adventurous wish to go out to Jesus where He was, to welcome Him back among them again. The proposal was altogether like the man—generous, enthusiastic, and well-meant, but inconsiderate.

And yet that scene showed something more than the weakness of that disciple’s faith. It showed also what is possible to those who believe. If the tendency of weak faith be to sink, the triumph of strong faith is to walk on the waves, glorying in tribulation, and counting it all joy when exposed to divers temptations. It is the privilege of those who are weak in faith, and the duty of all, mindful of human frailty, to pray, “Lead us not into temptation.” But when storms come not of their inviting, and when their ship is upset in midst of the sea, then may Christians trust to the promise, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee;” and if only they have faith, they shall be enabled to tread the rolling billows as if walking on firm land.

“He bids me come; His voice I know,
And boldly on the waters go,
And brave the tempest’s shock.
O’er rude temptations now I bound;
The billows yield a solid ground,
The wave is firm as rock.”

Mark 6:46 After bidding them farewell, He left for the mountain to pray.

Wuest And having taken leave of them, He went off into the mountain to pray.

NET  Mark 6:46 After saying good-bye to them, he went to the mountain to pray.

NLT  Mark 6:46 After telling everyone good-bye, he went up into the hills by himself to pray.

ESV  Mark 6:46 And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray.

NIV  Mark 6:46 After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.

GNT  Mark 6:46 καὶ ἀποταξάμενος αὐτοῖς ἀπῆλθεν εἰς τὸ ὄρος προσεύξασθαι.

KJV  Mark 6:46 And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.

YLT  Mark 6:46 and having taken leave of them, he went away to the mountain to pray.

ASV  Mark 6:46 And after he had taken leave of them, he departed into the mountain to pray.

CSB  Mark 6:46 After He said good-bye to them, He went away to the mountain to pray.

After bidding them farewell - "The verb is apotassō and means “to separate one’s self, withdraw one’s self, to take leave of, bid farewell to.” (Wuest)

He left for the mountain to pray - "A long, difficult day spent ministering to the spiritual and physical needs of the multitude left Jesus exhausted. But that hard day drove Jesus to prayer, not from prayer." (Guzik)

Earlier Mark recorded

In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying (proseuchomai) there.(Mk. 1:35+)

Wuest - The verb is proseuchomai, which is used of prayer addressed to God, the prefixed preposition meaning “toward, facing,” emphasizing the direct approach of the one who prays, in seeking God’s face. It speaks also of the consciousness on the part of the one who prays, of the fact of God’s presence and His listening ear.

Pray (4336)(proseuchomai from pros = toward, facing, before [emphasizing the direct approach of the one who prays in seeking God’s face] + euchomai = originally to speak out, utter aloud, express a wish, then to pray or to vow. Greek technical term for invoking a deity) in the NT is always used of prayer addressed to God (to Him as the object of faith and the One who will answer one’s prayer) and means to speak consciously (with or without vocalization) to Him, with a definite aim (See study of noun proseuche). Uses in Mark - Mk. 1:35; Mk. 6:46; Mk. 11:24; Mk. 11:25; Mk. 12:40; Mk. 13:18; Mk. 14:32; Mk. 14:35; Mk. 14:38; Mk. 14:39;

Utley - Jesus had a regular prayer time. This is especially obvious in the Gospel of Luke. Jesus knew this miracle would be misunderstood. As He did not want to become a healer, He did not want to become a feeder (cf. John 6:15). He came to reveal the Father, but the crowd could not or would not see. 


Eddy Out

When He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray. —Mark 6:46

Today's Scripture: Mark 6:35-46

When a whitewater raft guide shouts, “Eddy out!” he doesn’t mean, “Throw someone named Edward out of the boat!” It’s the command for the people on one side to hold their paddles against the current while the others stroke. This turns the raft out of the swift water and into the quiet eddies along the river’s edge.

Shooting the rapids is exciting but tiring. When the guide sees that everyone needs a break, he says, “Eddy out!”

During Jesus’ last 3 years on earth, the velocity of His life increased dramatically. He was teaching, healing, and constantly being mobbed by needy people. There was enough work to keep Christ busy 24 hours a day. Yet, in the Gospels we see Jesus’ pattern: “When He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray” (Mk. 6:46).

Perhaps your opportunities and achievements are coming hard and fast lately. Now is the most important word in your vocabulary. Life is exhilarating and you can’t wait to hit the next set of rapids, but you sense that Christ your Guide is saying, “Eddy out. Follow My example. Slow down. Stop, rest, and nourish your soul.”

Along the river of life, there’s a time to paddle and a time to pray. Make sure you’re listening to your Guide. By:  David C. McCasland (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

To help us meet the challenges
We face in every test,
The Lord tells us to take the time
To stop, to pray, to rest.
—Sper

To avoid a breakdown, take a break for rest and prayer.


Surviving Deep Waters and Dark Nights By Dr. Ed Dobson Scripture: Mark 6:46–52 

Introduction: Martin Luther said, “The human heart is like a ship on a stormy sea driven about by winds blowing from all four corners of heaven.” All of us go through stormy weather, and we sometimes endure dark nights. The Bible gives us a wonderful story for such times, one of Scripture’s favorite and most vivid accounts.

Bible Story: Late in the afternoon, having fed 5,000 people, Jesus withdrew to the top of a mountain to pray. From His perch on the mountainside, Jesus saw His disciples straining at the oars of their boat. He could have spoken a word and all their problems would have been resolved, but sometimes Jesus chooses to let us strain at the oars. Often in the struggle we discover great truths about Him. At length, He went to them and pretended to pass them by. The text doesn’t tell us why, but my hunch is that Jesus will only get in your boat when you ask Him to. Immediately He spoke to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid [stop being afraid].” Instantly, the wind died down, and they were completely amazed. The word means stunned, shocked to speechlessness. The text says they were stunned because their hearts were hard. They had evidently lost their focus, namely, Jesus. When He fed the multitudes, there was great enthusiasm. They got caught up in what had happened, not in the One who made it happen. In good times when bread is multiplied, it’s easy to focus on the blessing, not the Blesser. Similarly, in the worst of times, their focus was the storm and on the fear of drowning. They were consumed with the reality of their present circumstances and had lost their focus, namely, Jesus. The main point of this text is Jesus. In good times and bad times, in hunger and in storms, “It is I, be not afraid.” This story lends itself to several insights:

    1. When we cannot see Jesus, Jesus sees us. He is atop of the mountain praying, watching, concerned. He reminds us, “Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you.” When you can’t see Jesus through the darkness, be assured He’s got his eye on you. “No never alone, no never alone; He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone.”

    2.When you cannot get to Jesus, Jesus eventually gets to you. He leaves the mountain, walks down to the lake, steps onto the waves, and walks on the water to get to us. He comes to us by praying for us in Heaven (Rom. 8:34) and comforting us on earth by His Holy Spirit (John 14:16–18).

    3.When I don’t know what to say to Jesus, He speaks to me. “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Sometimes we don’t even know what to pray, but Jesus says, “Take heart.... Have courage.... Be brave.” How do we develop this kind of courage? By verbalizing His truth. Hebrews 13 says: “He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ ” So we may boldly say, “The Lord is my Helper; I will not fear.”

Conclusion: Get a half dozen 3x5 cards and write the words, “God has said, I will never leave you, I will never forsake you. So we say with confidence, the Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.” Stick them on the bathroom mirror, on the refrigerator, on your dashboard, and under the glass of your desk. Remind yourself frequently that even in deep waters and dark nights, He sees you, He comes to you, and He speaks just the words you need.

Mark 6:47 When it was evening, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and He was alone on the land.

NET  Mark 6:47 When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea and he was alone on the land.

NLT  Mark 6:47 Late that night, the disciples were in their boat in the middle of the lake, and Jesus was alone on land.

ESV  Mark 6:47 And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land.

NIV  Mark 6:47 When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land.

GNT  Mark 6:47 καὶ ὀψίας γενομένης ἦν τὸ πλοῖον ἐν μέσῳ τῆς θαλάσσης, καὶ αὐτὸς μόνος ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς.

KJV  Mark 6:47 And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land.

YLT  Mark 6:47 And evening having come, the boat was in the midst of the sea, and he alone upon the land;

ASV  Mark 6:47 And when even was come, the boat was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land.

CSB  Mark 6:47 When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and He was alone on the land.

Related Passage:

Matthew 14:23-36+ After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. 24 But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. 

John 6:18+ The sea began to be stirred up because a strong wind was blowing. 

IT'S TIME FOR A 
DIVINE POP TEST

When it was evening -  It was the second or late evening, 6 p. m., at sunset. Robertson agrees writing this is "The second or late evening, six P.M. at this season, or sunset on." 

The boat was in the middle of the sea - So far, so good, but the sovereign God was setting the stage for another "command performance" by Christ and another test of the faith of the disciples. In short the Master Teacher was preparing His "learners" (disciples) for a "divine pop test." They have been in Jesus' "classroom" all day, first His teaching didactically and then teaching by demonstration (loaves and fishes). What had they learned on this incredible day of instruction?

Although it was the middle of the sea, (estimated to be about 4-5 miles from shore) Jesus could see the 12 rowing (Mk 6:48), and some writers (MacArthur) think this was sight as a reflection of His omniscience. On the other hand, considering that the Sea of Galilee is only about 8-9 miles wide, it is possible they may have been visible in what was a fairly large boat (for all 12), although admittedly it was nighttime (and no mention of a "full moon"). The Savior's supernatural sight is certainly a reasonable conclusion.

And He was alone on the land - Recall He had gone up to the mountain (Mk 6:46), but now is alone on the land, so clearly He can come down from the mountain. Now he is by the seashore. Robertson points out that "Apparently Jesus remained quite a while, some hours, on the beach. “It was now dark and Jesus had not yet come to them” abased on John 6:17+ = "after getting into a boat, they started to cross the sea to Capernaum. It had already become dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them.".

For context recall that the present Storm Story at Sea is actually "Storm Story at Sea part 2" for in Mark 4 we read that...

On that day, when evening came, He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.” (NOTE THIS TIME HE SENDS THEM ALONE) 36 Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. 37 And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. 38 Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and *said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” 39 And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. 40 And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41 They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” (Mark 4:35-41+)


Alan Carr - Little girl and "I need someone with skin on him." Sometimes life gets tough! It can get messy fast and, sometimes, there seems to be no end to it and no end to how bad it can get. During these times we need a God we can feel too! Of all the promises Jesus gave us: Heaven, eternal life, rapture, etc.; probably among the most meaningful are those where He says, "I will never leave thee", Heb. 13:5; "Lo I am with you alway", Matt. 28:20; and "I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you.", John 14:18. When life stinks, and it does often, we have our Lord with us to help us and guide us through. This truth is demonstrated in these verses. Ill. The Storm and the Disciples. Watching these men endure this time of testing can teach us some truths we need to know when we face our storms. And we will face storms! In fact, you are in one of three places today: In a storm, coming out of a storm, or preparing to go into a storm. Regardless of where you might be today, you need the lessons taught here to help you endure your time on life's stormy sea. As I bring this message, I want you to keep the last phrase in v.32 in mind, "and the wind ceased." 

The storm came because they were in the will of God.

  • Constrained ("made" - Mk 6:45) - To compel, to push into!
  • Jonah's storm!
  • They were safer in the storm in God's will than on land out of God's will!

Many Christians hold myths about storms. (Believe that obedience to God produces smooth sailing.)

"If I'm in a storm, it must be that: 

  • 1. It's the result of sin -  John 9:1-3 
  • 2. It's the result of disobedience -  John 16:33 
  • 3. If God cared, He would have stopped it. Did Jesus know? Yes! He deliberately sent them into the storm. His purpose was to grow their faith

There are storms of correction and storms of perfection. 

Isa. 55:8-9 Does He care? Yes! He knows what is best for you! (Vines on an oak!) 

I don't deserve this!

Why not? What makes us better than anyone else?

Job 14:1; 5:7

Our greatest enemy is usually ourselves -

Loose Cannon on a ship!

Sometimes the storm is Satanic in origin - 2 Ti 3:12.

Satan hates it when you grow! But, Jesus must allow this also - Job 1-2 

Mark 6:48 Seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them.

Wuest And seeing them constantly distressed in their rowing, for the wind was against them, sometime between three and six in the morning, He comes to them walking directly on the sea. And He was desiring to go to their side.

NET  Mark 6:48 He saw them straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. As the night was ending, he came to them walking on the sea, for he wanted to pass by them.

NLT  Mark 6:48 He saw that they were in serious trouble, rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves. About three o'clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. He intended to go past them,

ESV  Mark 6:48 And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them,

NIV  Mark 6:48 He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them,

GNT  Mark 6:48 καὶ ἰδὼν αὐτοὺς βασανιζομένους ἐν τῷ ἐλαύνειν, ἦν γὰρ ὁ ἄνεμος ἐναντίος αὐτοῖς, περὶ τετάρτην φυλακὴν τῆς νυκτὸς ἔρχεται πρὸς αὐτοὺς περιπατῶν ἐπὶ τῆς θαλάσσης καὶ ἤθελεν παρελθεῖν αὐτούς.

KJV  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.

YLT  Mark 6:48 and he saw them harassed in the rowing, for the wind was against them, and about the fourth watch of the night he doth come to them walking on the sea, and wished to pass by them.

ASV  Mark 6:48 And seeing them distressed in rowing, for the wind was contrary unto them, about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking on the sea; and he would have passed by them:

CSB  Mark 6:48 He saw them being battered as they rowed, because the wind was against them. Around three in the morning He came toward them walking on the sea and wanted to pass by them.

  • he saw - Isa 54:11  Joh 1:13 Mt 14:24 
  • the fourth - Ex 14:24 1Sa 11:11 Lu 12:38 
  • he came - Job 9:8 Ps 93:4 104:3 
  • intended- Ge 19:2 32:26 Lu 24:28 
  • Mark 6 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passage:

Matthew 14:24+ But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. 

John 6:18+ The sea began to be stirred up because a strong wind was blowing. 

JESUS SEES OUR
TOILING IN TROUBLE

Seeing them straining (being tormented continually) at the oars - Jesus saw their difficulty. He still sees the difficulties which His disciples  experience. Straining in in the present tense indicating the rowing was continually difficult! Utley adds that straining "comes from Greek into English as “torture.” It was hard rowing against the wind." 

Straining (928)(basanizo) Figuratively, the verb basanizo refers to any severe distress, and so means to afflict, to harass, to vex, to torment -- severe torment  with diseases (Mt 8:6), with birth pangs (Re 12:2), by the threat of Jesus' punishment of demonic spirits (Mt 8:29, Mk 5:7, Lk 8:28), by prophetic warnings (Re 11:10), of the torment associated with God's righteous judgment (Re 14:10, 20:10). 

Robertson - See also Matt. 8:29 for the word basanizō, to torture, torment (Matt. 4:24) with a touch-stone, then to distress as here. Papyri have δια βασανων [dia basanōn] used on slaves like our third degree for criminals.

Alan Carr - He Was Watching 

1. He saw their labor - (Toiling = Torture basanizo) This describes our trials sometimes. He knows the load you bear - Heb 4:14-16; 1 Cor. 10:13; 1 Peter 5:7

2. He saw their opposition - Contrary = In the face!

He knows what you are fighting against right now! - Job 23:10; Psa. 1:6; Psa. 139:1-12 

God knows what He is doing! Our job is to submit to Him and allow Him His way in our lives - Rom. 8:28, 2 Cor. 4:17.  Grandma and "Has it come to that?" It always does! It might as well start there! He is absolute Sovereign and He never makes mistakes!

For - Term of explanation - explains why they were straining at the oars. 

The wind was against them - Was against them is literally opposite, and so they were heading directly into the blowing, contrary wind (sovereign sent by God).. 

Against (1727)(enantios from enanti = over against in turn from en = in + antíos = set against) is used primarily of place and means over against which pertains to being opposite (as in face to face or fronting someone). Metaphorically enantios means contrary, adverse, hostile (marked by malevolence, open opposition and resistance, not being hospitable), being in opposition to or opposed to.

Spurgeon - “The apostolic crew rowed, and rowed, and rowed, and it was no fault of theirs that they made no progress, ‘for the wind was contrary unto them.’ 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.”

The Jews divided the night into three watches.  The Romans divided it into four watches.

FIRST WATCH

6pm-9pm

SECOND WATCH

9pm-12 midnight

THIRD WATCH

Midnight-3am

FOURTH WATCH

3am-6am

At about the fourth watch of the night He came to them - Implies the Roman reckoning of four night watches.  About 3-6 AM. What is fascinating is they had begun to row in the early evening and yet they were still visible by Jesus some 8-10 hours later! This was a powerful wind! The sovereign God had sent it for a test of their faith. There had been another storm on sea but then Jesus was in the boat (Mk 4:35-41+). Despite the severity of the storm notice that the boat did not capsize but remained afloat the entire time they were straining at the oars! The point is that things are not always as bad as they seem (see illustration). God kept them afloat. Recall that they were in the will of the Lord, for Jesus had sent them across. 

ILLUSTRATION - A man was walking along a railroad track on a very dark night when he came to a bridge.  He had gotten halfway across when he heard a train whistle up ahead.  He quickened his pace, but soon could see the light of the oncoming locomotive approaching.  With nowhere else to turn, he got down and lowered himself over the side, hanging onto the trestle as the train thundered past above him.  However, after the train had passed, he found that he hadn’t the strength to pull himself back up.  He called out for help, but there was no answer.  He hung there all night, terrified that he might slip and fall into the yawning abyss below.  As day broke, he looked down to see a drop of only six inches. We are like that man.  We look at our situation and it looks really bad.  If we could only see it from God’s perspective, it would be nothing at all. Jesus said that with faith we could move mountains.  But the reverse is also true.  Without faith, we tend to build our own mountains. (Stevenson)

Gotquestions -  Jesus always comes to us in the storms of life. This is reminiscent of the words of God to Isaiah: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you” (Isaiah 43:2). The Lord may not come at the time we think He should come, because He knows when we need Him the most. Jesus had waited until the boat was as far from land as possible, when all their hope was gone. In essence, Jesus was testing the disciples’ faith, and this meant removing every human prop. Why did Jesus walk on the water? To show His disciples that the very thing they feared, the raging, seething sea, was merely a set of steps for Him to come to them. Often we fear the difficult experiences of life such as illness, loss of loved ones, and financial hardships only to discover that these experiences can bring Jesus closer to us.

Walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them - "The word “on” is epi which when used with the genitive case as it is here, signifies contact. Our Lord’s sandals had actual contact with the water. He walked on the surface of the sea as we walk on a hard pavement." (Wuest)

Wuest on intended to pass by them - Both Expositors and Robertson understand the meaning to be that Jesus desired to pass by the disciples, and parerchomai has that meaning. But it also means “to come near.” The context is decisive for the latter, in the judgment of the present writer, since the reason why Jesus went out to the disciples, was, not to pass by and leave them to their fate, but to come near and help them in their difficulty, which thing He proceeded to do.

NET NOTE - The statement he wanted to pass by them is somewhat difficult to understand. There are at least two common interpretations: (1) it refers to the perspective of the disciples, that is, from their point of view it seemed that Jesus wanted to pass by them; or (2) it refers to a theophany and uses the language of the Greek Old Testament (LXX) when God "passed by" Moses at Sinai (cf. Ex 33:19, 22). According to the latter alternative, Jesus is "passing by" the disciples during their struggle, in order to assure them of his presence with them. See W L. Lane, Mark (NICNT), 236. 


Mark 6:48 - "He Would Have Passed By" He cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them. Mark 6:48.
With the Emmaus disciples, "he made as though he would have gone further." Here He walks the waves, while the amazed disciples suppose they have seen a spirit. He assures them, "It is I."
Joseph and Mary supposed He was with them when He was not. Here others supposed He was not with them when He was. Mary in the garden supposed Him to be the gardener. No wonder the old Negro maid said, "I never sposes. Dem sposes will get you into trouble."
When the storm rages, He is there. But He will pass by if you do not avail yourself of His presence. "He would have passed by them.... He made as though he would have gone further." Call upon Him. "Pass me not, O gentle Saviour: do not pass me by."
He came to them in their distress, but He did not come into the boat until they called. He did not go into the Emmaus home until they constrained Him. He will not intrude. There is a point beyond which He will not go. If we do not invite Him in, He will go on. (Vance Havner)


The Beacon

He came to them, walking on the sea. — Mark 6:48

Today's Scripture: Mark 6:45-52

When a helicopter crashed in a cold, mountainous wilderness, the pilots survived but were seriously injured. The frozen afternoon stretched toward an even more freezing night. The situation seemed hopeless—until a rescue helicopter appeared, its searchlights illuminating the darkness. It spotted the wreckage, landed nearby, and carried them off to safety.

“How did you know where we were?” an injured man asked.

“The homing device on your aircraft,” the rescuers told him. “It went off automatically when you went down. All we had to do was follow it.”

The disciples of Jesus also experienced the joy of being rescued. They had been struggling as they rowed their boat against wind and waves in the darkness of night on the Sea of Galilee (Mark 6:45-47). Then Jesus came to them, walking on the water, and calmed the sea (vv.48-51).

We may experience similar times when all is dark and foreboding. We can’t help ourselves, and it seems that no one else can either. No one knows how terrified and exhausted we are. No one, that is, except Jesus.

When we’re trapped, hurt, lonely, or discouraged, Jesus knows it. Our cries of grief are beacons that bring Him to our side—right when we need Him most. By:  David C. Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

There is only One who knows
All the answers to my woes;
He will all my needs supply
When in faith to Him I cry. —Morgan

Jesus hears even the faintest cry for help.


Mark 6:45-52  When they saw Him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out; for they all saw Him and were terrified. Immediately He spoke with them and said, "Have courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."

At three o'clock in the morning, the disciples, straining at their oars, could not see Jesus, who was praying on the hillside; but He saw them. Wending down the mountain, He spread an invisible carpet-runner across the waves, and by sunrise, all was well.
The faith that pleases Jesus is the faith that adopts a sunrise attitude amidst a midnight storm. The Lord is pleased with a faith-attitude that knows in the darkness that Jesus is on His way.

Exhausted and frightened, they battled the rain,
The wind, the waves, enduring the strain,
Till finally their nerves could stand it no more;
And their strength was all gone,
And their muscles were sore.

But up on the mountain Jesus could see,
Every white-capping wave on the rough Galilee.
And treading the billows like a carpet of sod,
He came to their aid
With the power of God.

They worshipped Him then, with rejoicing and awe
For the marvels He did, and the wonders they saw.
But better to praise Him with the storm at its worst;
By remembering His power
And promises first.
(My All in All - Robert J Morgan)


John Stevenson - I believe that there was something in the boat that should have comforted the disciples.  There were 12 baskets of leftovers which bore mute testimony to the power and the compassion of God.  When they looked at those 12 baskets, they should have realized that the God who provided for the needs of the multitudes would not fail to provide for them in the midst of this storm.

We are guilty of the same thing.  We have been blessed by the Lord in an abundant way.  But when the storm comes, we forget.  That is why we are instructed to remind one another.  The world says, “Drink and forget your troubles.”  Jesus says, “Drink and remember.”

This storm was no accident.  It started when the disciples got out into the middle of the Sea.  It ended when Jesus got into the boat with the disciples.  It had a script.  It was there for a purpose and when that purpose was accomplished, the storm stopped.

Storms are not very pleasant.  They can be frightening.  They are loud and wet and uncomfortable.  But your storm is not an accident of nature.  God has ordained your storm.  It is His storm.  He has a reason for it, even if you do not know what that reason is.  And when that reason has been fulfilled, then your storm will end.

Now I want to ask you a question.  Why did Jesus come walking on the water?  It is more than that He merely wanted to get to the other side.  It is to teach the disciples something.  But what is it?

It is not to teach the disciples how to walk on water.  They never learn to walk on water after this and most people running around today claiming to be able to perform miracles have problems with this one. (ED: SEE JOEL OSTEEN WALKING ON WATER...WELL, SORT OF)

Jesus walks on water to prove to the disciples that He can.  He can always do the impossible.  Why do they need to know this?  Because He is going to send them out to do the impossible, too.  He is going to commission these very ordinary men to go out and make disciples of all men in every land.  Impossible!  They are not natural born leaders.  They are not even seminary graduates.  But they will accomplish the impossible.  With God, all things are possible.

Why do you need to know this?  Because God has called you to do the impossible.  He has called you to leave a clean life in a dirty world.  He has called you to be a faithful witness of Him.  He has called you to be Christ to the world.  And He has shown you that this is possible because He is with you.


Alan Carr He came to them - He was already there: 

  • Hebrews 13:5  Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,”
  • Matthew 28:20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

1. In the darkest hour -

Phil. 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

2. The thing they feared most brought him to them - Our need is evidence of His supply in waiting, and the guarantee of His presence!  

Phil. 4:19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

God is committed to you!

3. When all possibility of human help was removed - John 6:19 Then, when they had rowed about three or four miles, they *saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat; and they were frightened. (Ill. 3 or 4 miles!); Heb. 11:1

God demands that He receive all the glory - Isa. 42:8; Ex. 20:5) 

4. He came in His own time - God is seldom early, but He is never late!


A SAVIOUR WHO SEES

“And seeing them distressed in rowing, for the wind was contrary unto them, about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking on the sea; and he would have passed by them.”—Mark 6:48.

  INTRODUCTION.—Jesus saw much that escaped the eyes of others. He saw when others did not. May we not believe that He still sees as of old?

            I.      That He sees when His faithful disciples are distressed by earth’s vicissitudes. Cite text; also Acts 4:23–31.

            II.      That He sees when His servants have difficult tasks to perform. Acts 18:9.

            III.      That He sees when a Christian needs courage to face the future. Acts 27:23, 24.
    Read or quote “Does Jesus Care?” in closing. (Lappin's Sermon Outlines)


Streams in the Desert - September 3

“And he saw them toiling in rowing.” (Mark 6:48.)

STRAINING, driving effort does not accomplish the work God gives man to do. Only God Himself, who always works without strain, and who never overworks, can do the work that He assigns to His children. When they restfully trust Him to do it, it will be well done and completely done. The way to let Him do His work through us is to partake of Christ so fully, by faith, that He more than fills our life.

A man who had learned this secret once said: “I came to Jesus and I drank, and I do not think that I shall ever be thirsty again. I have taken for my motto, ‘Not overwork, but overflow’; and already it has made all the difference in my life.”

There is no effort in overflow. It is quietly irresistible. It is the normal life of omnipotent and ceaseless accomplishment into which Christ invites us today and always.—Sunday School Times.

  Be all at rest, my soul, O blessed secret,
    Of the true life that glorifies thy Lord:
  Not always doth the busiest soul best serve Him,
    But he that resteth on His faithful Word.
  Be all at rest, let not your heart be rippled,
    For tiny wavelets mar the image fair,
  Which the still pool reflects of heaven’s glory—
    And thus the image He would have thee bear.
  Be all at rest, my soul, for rest is service,
    To the still heart God doth His secrets tell;
  Thus shalt thou learn to wait, and watch, and. Labor,
    Strengthened to bear, since Christ in thee doth dwell.
  For what is service but the life of Jesus,
    Lived through a vessel of earth’s fragile clay,
  Loving and giving and poured forth for others,
    A living sacrifice from day to day.

  Be all at rest, so shalt thou be an answer
    To those who question, “Who is God and where?”
  For God is rest, and where He dwells is stillness,
    And they who dwell in Him, His rest shall share.
  And what shall meet the deep unrest around thee,
    But the calm peace of God that filled His breast?
  For still a living Voice calls to the weary,
    From Him who said, “Come unto Me and rest.”
—Freda Hanbury Allen.

“In resurrection stillness there is resurrection power.”

Mark 6:49  But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out;

NET  Mark 6:49 When they saw him walking on the water they thought he was a ghost. They cried out,

NLT  Mark 6:49 but when they saw him walking on the water, they cried out in terror, thinking he was a ghost.

ESV  Mark 6:49 but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out,

NIV  Mark 6:49 but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out,

GNT  Mark 6:49 οἱ δὲ ἰδόντες αὐτὸν ἐπὶ τῆς θαλάσσης περιπατοῦντα ἔδοξαν ὅτι φάντασμά ἐστιν, καὶ ἀνέκραξαν·

KJV  Mark 6:49 But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out:

YLT  Mark 6:49 And they having seen him walking on the sea, thought it to be an apparition, and cried out,

ASV  Mark 6:49 but they, when they saw him walking on the sea, supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out;

CSB  Mark 6:49 When they saw Him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out;

Related Passage:

Matthew 14:26+26 When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. 

John 6:19+ Then, when they had rowed about three or four miles, they *saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat; and they were frightened. 

THE SAVIOR IN
THE STORM

But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out - This was the last thing they expected to see! They had never seen Jesus walk on water, and natural reasoning told them this could not be the actual person of Jesus! Cried out is anakrazo which Mark had used earlier to describe the loud cry of demonized man, the sense being to scream or shout (Mk 1.23+);  It was a popular belief that spirits of the night brought disaster, which may explain why they cried out. The sense is that they raised a cry from the depth of the throat, letting out a shriek of terror! They looked with "natural" eyes, not eyes of faith, and instead of seeing the God-Man, they "saw" a Ghost-Mirage! 

THOUGHT - They saw Him in the middle of the storm and they called Him a ghost.  They saw the glow but did not recognize God.  They saw the light but missed the Lord.  When we see small lights on the horizon of our storms, we often have the same reaction. Because we look for the bonfire, we miss the candle.  Because we expect the shout, we miss the whisper.  But God often comes in the still, small voice.  And the next time you are in the midst of your storm, stop and listen.  He's closer than you think. (Stevenson)

Gotquestions - why did they not recognize Jesus? The answer is they were not looking for Him. Had they been waiting by faith, they would have known Him instantly. Instead, they jumped to the false conclusion that His appearance was that of a ghost. The point is this: fear and faith cannot live in the same heart, for fear frequently blinds the eyes to the presence of the Lord.

Ghost (5326)(phantasma) means an apparition, phantom, a specter, a spirit, ghost. A supernatural being that has become visible but not material. This is a strong term used of “mental and spiritual agitation and confusion” (BDAG) Wuest adds "The word for “spirit” here is not pneuma, referring to a disembodied individual who had died, but phantasma “an apparition, a specter.” The word was associated with magic and charms, thus with the system of Satan. When Luke (Lk 24:37) reports the fact of our Lord’s post-resurrection appearance to the disciples, he uses the word pneuma, for there they thought they had seen some person come back from the dead. But to have somebody walk on the sea, that would be magic to them."

Cried out (349)(anakrazo from aná = intensifies force of krazo = to cry, croak or shriek as a raven) means to cry out, exclaim.  (1) of the loud cry of demonized or frightened people cry aloud, scream, shout (Mk 1.23+); (2) of an aroused multitude shout out, howl, yell (Lk 23.18+) (Friberg) Note that Lk 23:18+ might as well have been demon possessed men crying out because this was the crowd crying out for Pilate to crucify Jesus and give them Barabbas! Only used 5x - Mk. 1:23; Mk. 6:49; Lk. 4:33; Lk. 8:28; Lk. 23:18

Utley - This was another nature miracle of Jesus for the purpose of strengthening the disciples’ faith. They witnessed His power and authority in many different ways. But they still did not understand; they were still afraid (cf. vv. 49–50) and amazed (cf. v. 51).

Brian Bell - “There was a local rumor that the last thing a boatman saw before drowning in Galilee was a ghost on the water.” David Hewitt, I’d rather be in the midst of a storm & have the presence of Christ then be in calm waters & Jesus be nowhere around! “It’s better to have Christ in a crisis, than to have life-as-usual w/o His presence.” He leads me beside still waters! They had seen Him calm a storm, now they get to see Him trample it under foot. 

Mark 6:50 for they all saw Him and were terrified. But immediately He spoke with them and said to them, "Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid."

Wuest For they all saw Him, and were agitated. But He immediately spoke with them; and He says to them, Be of good courage. It is I. Stop being afraid.

NET  Mark 6:50 for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them: "Have courage! It is I. Do not be afraid."

NLT  Mark 6:50 They were all terrified when they saw him.But Jesus spoke to them at once. "Don't be afraid," he said. "Take courage! I am here! "

ESV  Mark 6:50 for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, "Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid."

NIV  Mark 6:50 because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."

GNT  Mark 6:50 πάντες γὰρ αὐτὸν εἶδον καὶ ἐταράχθησαν. ὁ δὲ εὐθὺς ἐλάλησεν μετ᾽ αὐτῶν, καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς, Θαρσεῖτε, ἐγώ εἰμι· μὴ φοβεῖσθε.

KJV  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.

YLT  Mark 6:50 for they all saw him, and were troubled, and immediately he spake with them, and saith to them, 'Take courage, I am he, be not afraid.'

ASV  Mark 6:50 for they all saw him, and were troubled. But he straightway spake with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.

CSB  Mark 6:50 for they all saw Him and were terrified. Immediately He spoke with them and said, "Have courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."

Related Passage:

Matthew 14:27+ But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”  28 Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and *said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?

John 6:19+ Then, when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat; and they were frightened. 20 But He said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” 

For - Term of explanation - What is Mark explaining? Check the immediately preceding context

They all saw Him and were terrified - Terrified is tarasso which literally means shaken or stirred up and in this context means inward turmoil, agitated, unsettled, upset, frightened. 

But immediately He spoke with them and said to them, "Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid." - Jesus repeats it is I (Lk 24:38-41+) to the frightened disciples after His resurrection. Take courage is in the present imperative calling for continuing firm or resolute in the face of danger or adverse circumstances. In short be courageous! Be brave! Be of good cheer! Have confidence and firmness of purpose in the face of danger! Do not be afraid is in the present imperative with a negative which means stop being afraid! It means to prohibit an action (fear) in progress. “Stop being afraid.” They were afraid.One writes suggests that "it is I" could be understood as the divine name “I am” (Hooker).

Wuest on it is I - “It is I.” The pronoun is used here for emphasis. Literally, “It is I and nobody else.”

Take courage (2293)(tharseo from tharsos = boldness, courage) means to have courage. Be of good courage, be of good cheer or be unafraid. The idea is that the recipient of this command is to to have confidence and firmness of purpose in the face of danger or testing. Only used 7x - Matt. 9:2; Matt. 9:22; Matt. 14:27; Mk. 6:50; Mk. 10:49; Jn. 16:33; Acts 23:11. After speaking the upper room discourse to His disciples Jesus used this same verb declaring "These things (John 13-16) I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

Guzik has an interesting thought - We also know that it was on this occasion that Peter got out of the boat, walking on the water to Jesus (Matthew 14:28–31). There is reason—from history and subtle clues, not explicitly from the Scriptures—to believe that Peter was the main source for Mark’s gospel. If this was the case, Peter may have left out the story because he didn’t want to be exalted for walking on the water—or to be humbled for sinking.

Robertson agrees writing "“Mark does not give the incident of Peter’s walking on the water and beginning to sink. Perhaps Peter was not fond of telling that story.”


Mark 6:50 - Sad or Glad? For they all saw him, and were troubled. Mark 6:50. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. John 20:20.
The disciples saw Him in a storm but supposed Him to be a spirit. They did not recognize Him. But in our second verse they saw the risen Lord and knew Him by the print of the nails in His hands and feet.
Surely the sight of the Lord should make us glad. But sometimes we wist not that it is He. He draws near, but, like the Emmaus disciples, we have holden eyes. What should thrill us only troubles us. Indeed, as the Emmaus disciples related their experience, Jesus appeared, but they "supposed that they had seen a spirit." He quelled their fears then as He did in John's account by showing the marks of the cross.
We walk by faith, not by sight, these days, and are not granted a view of Him with our eyes. But in His dealings with us He still walks our seas and comes into our rooms through doors we have shut. Alas, that fear so often sees a spirit when faith should see the Saviour! What should bring triumph then brings only trouble. See Him and be glad! (Vance Havner)


Alan Carr - He calmed their storm - They didn't recognize Him, because they were not looking for Him! How many times have we missed the presence of God in our time of need?

1. He came declaring His authority - ("It is I" = "I AM") (He is still God - Heb. 13:8) 
2. He addressed their fear - (Stop fearing and never fear again!) (2 Ti 1:7) 
3. He calmed their storm - The waves and the winds laid down at His feet like little puppies!

  •  He can calm your storm also! Matt. 28:18) (Ill. The span - Isa. 40:12!
  • We have been ordered to the other side and we are going to get there too!

Conclusion The most amazing aspect of this story, to me anyway, is verse 51. What amazes me the most is that we are just like the disciples. Our storms rage, we finally call upon the Lord, He stills the storm and we stand there with our mouths open and say "WOW!". And, all the while, He is waiting on us to call on Him. What is your storm today? Folk, Jesus can handle it! Come on, call on Him and in His time, the wind will cease in your storm too. Sometimes, He calms us in the storm. He can still the storm in your heart right now, John 14:27. Perhaps your problem is sin related - Jesus is a specialist in this area. In fact, He even suffered death so that He might be able to take care of your sin problem. But, He can't do it until you come to Him and ask! Won't you come?

Mark 6:51 Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped; and they were utterly astonished,

Wuest And He went up to them into the boat, and the wind ceased its violence. And exceedingly beyond measure, in themselves they were amazed.

NET  Mark 6:51 Then he went up with them into the boat, and the wind ceased. They were completely astonished,

NLT  Mark 6:51 Then he climbed into the boat, and the wind stopped. They were totally amazed,

ESV  Mark 6:51 And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded,

NIV  Mark 6:51 Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed,

GNT  Mark 6:51 καὶ ἀνέβη πρὸς αὐτοὺς εἰς τὸ πλοῖον καὶ ἐκόπασεν ὁ ἄνεμος, καὶ λίαν [ἐκ περισσοῦ] ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ἐξίσταντο·

KJV  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.

YLT  Mark 6:51 And he went up unto them to the boat, and the wind lulled, and greatly out of measure were they amazed in themselves, and were wondering,

ASV  Mark 6:51 And he went up unto them into the boat; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves;

CSB  Mark 6:51 Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. They were completely astounded,

  • and the - Mk 4:39 Ps 93:3,4 107:28-30 Mt 8:26,27 14:28-32 Lu 8:24,25 Joh 6:21 
  • and they - Mk 1:27 2:12 4:41 5:42 7:37 
  • Mark 6 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passage

Matthew 14:32+ When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”  

John 6:21+ So they were willing to receive Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going

JESUS AUTHORITY
OVER THE CREATION

Compare the parallel passages above for significant details not mentioned in Mark's account. 

Then - see importance of observing the expression of time then

He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped; and they were utterly (ex perissos - beyond measure, exceedingly) astonished - In modern vernacular this event "blew their minds!"  Astonished is in the imperfect tense indicating repeated response. Even though they thought He was a ghost and were frightened, John says "they were willing to receive Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going." (John 6:21+

Gotquestions Jesus proved Himself to be in command of the elements, something only God can do. He revealed this truth to the disciples who recognized His divinity and responded with a confession of faith in Jesus as God: “The wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God’” (Matthew 14:32–33+). This was the first time Jesus was called the Son of God by the disciples, a statement that, in fact, built on what they had said earlier about Him in Matthew 8:27+: “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him.” Here they answer their own question: “Truly you are the Son of God.” Though they had a long way to go in their spiritual understanding, the disciples were growing in their faith in the Lord. Also, this was the first time the disciples are said to have worshiped Jesus. In Matthew 2:11+, the magi from the East worshiped Jesus. Later, a leper is said to have worshiped Jesus (Matthew 8:2+). A synagogue ruler does the same thing in Matthew 9:18+. But this is the first time the disciples worshiped Him. It is also important to note that their worship is joined to their confession (Matthew 14:33+). And this is what worship is, acknowledging who God is and praising Him both for who He is and for what He has done. It was in this story that the disciples took the first step and worshiped Jesus as the Son of God. 

Wuest on wind stopped - The verb is kopazō (only in Mt 14:32, Mk 4:39+ = "the wind died down", Mk 6:51) “to grow weary or tired,” hence, “to cease from violence, cease raging.” The noun form means “beating, toil, weariness;” Vincent says; “a beautiful and picturesque word. The sea sank to rest as if exhausted by its own beating.

Astonished (1839)(existemi from ek = out + hístemi = to stand) literally means to stand out from or to stand outside oneself (and thus to be beside oneself). To put out of position, to displace or to change. To remove from its place. For example Aristotle writes "you won't budge (existemi) me from my position on these matters." The NT uses of existemi are all related in some way to the human mind. Richards adds that existemi "suggests astonishment mixed with anxiety, stimulated by extraordinary events that cannot be explained." 17x in NT - Mt. 12:23; Mk. 2:12; Mk. 3:21; Mk. 5:42; Mk. 6:51; Lk. 2:47; Lk. 8:56; Lk. 24:22; Acts 2:7; Acts 2:12; Acts 8:9; Acts 8:11; Acts 8:13; Acts 9:21; Acts 10:45; Acts 12:16; 2 Co. 5:13

Guzik - Jesus rescued His disciples from working in futility. This was a miracle meant to assure them that He was in fact in control and that He would always lovingly be there to help them fulfill what He commanded.

Augustine - “He came walking on the waves; and so he puts all the swelling storms of life under his feet. Christians, why be afraid?

Brian Bell -  We need to trust Him even when we cannot see Him physically there alongside us. He will send us - He will watch us - He will come to us - He will talk w/us - And, we will reach shore.

Mark 6:52  for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened.

Wuest  For they did not reason upon the basis of the loaves. In fact, their heart was in a settled state of callousness.

NET  Mark 6:52 because they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.

NLT  Mark 6:52 for they still didn't understand the significance of the miracle of the loaves. Their hearts were too hard to take it in.

ESV  Mark 6:52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.

NIV  Mark 6:52 for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.

GNT  Mark 6:52 οὐ γὰρ συνῆκαν ἐπὶ τοῖς ἄρτοις, ἀλλ᾽ ἦν αὐτῶν ἡ καρδία πεπωρωμένη.

KJV  Mark 6:52 For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.

YLT  Mark 6:52 for they understood not concerning the loaves, for their heart hath been hard.

ASV  Mark 6:52 for they understood not concerning the loaves, but their heart was hardened.

CSB  Mark 6:52 because they had not understood about the loaves. Instead, their hearts were hardened.

 

SLOW LEARNERS!
QUICK FORGETTERS!

Notice that there are several miracles in Jesus Walking on Water

  1. Jesus walking on the water,
  2. Peter walking on the water (Only in Matt. 14:28–32),
  3. Jesus stilling the storm,
  4. The boat arriving on shore the instant Jesus entered it (Only John 6:21). 

MacArthur sees even more miracles -  First, it was preceded by the supernatural feeding of the thousands (Mk 6:33-44). Second, Jesus omnisciently saw the disciples in the midst of the storm (Mk 6:48). Third, He suspended gravity by walking on the surface of the tempestuous lake ( Mk 6:48). Fourth, He enabled Peter to walk on water (cf. Matt. 14:29). Fifth, as soon as He entered the boat, the wind stopped and the storm evaporated (Mark 6:51). Sixth, the boat was immediately transported to the shore (John 6:21). And finally, after reaching land, Jesus began to heal the sick who were brought to Him (Mark 6:53-55). (MNTC-Mk)

Spurgeon exhorts us not to read too fast over the miracle of the loaves -- LET us, with deep attention, consider the miracle of the loaves, lest we fall into the same evil as that which happened to the disciples in the text. When they saw Jesus walking on the sea, “They were sore amazed in themselves and wondered: for they considered not the miracle of the loaves, for their heart was hardened.” Hard hearts and painful unbeliefs spring up in the waste places where we bury our forgotten mercies. The miracles of our Lord Jesus Christ ought to be considered. They are not trifles and they ought not to be passed over as if they were the mere commonplace stories of a daily newspaper. Everything that has to do with the Son of God is a fit subject for the deepest study and all His sayings and works should be sought out by them that have pleasure therein. Neither earth nor heaven, time nor eternity, yield choicer gems of thought than the achievements of our Lord. Remember, since Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, what He did at one time ought to be well considered, because it is the index of what He is prepared to do again should the need arise. He would still sooner feed His own sheep by a miracle than allow them to lack any good thing. His accomplished wonders have not spent His strength—He has the dew of His youth still upon Him. Our Samson’s locks are not shorn! Our Solomon has not lost His wisdom! Our Immanuel has not ceased to be, “God with us.”(The Miracle of the Loaves)

For - Term of explanation - What is Mark explaining? Check the immediately preceding context

They had not gained  any insight from the incident of the loaves - NET = " they did not understand." The word for NOT in Greek means ABSOLUTELY (not relatively) not! No light bulbs were going on in their intellect! In short, they were still to a large degree spiritually blind. In this condition, they were not that much different than the unbelieving masses, who saw the great miracles but missed the great Messiah Who performed the miracles.

Spurgeon's point is that "If the disciples had considered the miracle of the loaves, they would have observed that Christ is grand in emergencies. When there were five thousand people to be fed, and no towns and villages near enough to supply them with bread and the people must faint by the way before they could reach the markets, then Christ was ready, full-handed in time of scarcity, prompt to dispense His liberality, able to meet the emergency so perfectly that the people must have been very thankful that such an emergency had arisen. Remembering this, the disciples, in their new distress should have said within themselves, “Now will He display His power. We have scarcely need to cry to Him, for before we call, He will answer! And while the emergency is yet pressing upon our minds, He will hear.” But they forgot what He had done on that occasion and therefore, they fell into distrust as to their new trial. Beloved, is not this a very common fault with us? Do we not too often forget what the Lord has done for us in times past? We sing so rightly—

“His love in time past forbids me to think
He’ll leave me at last in trouble to sink;
Each sweet Ebenezer I have in review
Confirms His good pleasure to help me quite through.”

But do we not forget those Ebenezers? Do we not very frequently suffer our memory to let His benefits go? Is not depression of spirit occasioned by the fact that we do not well consider the miracle of the loaves or its counterpart which has taken place in our history? How many times have I sought the Lord in sorest trouble and He has brought me through! What burdens have I carried to Him and found them. vanish! What needs has He not supplied? What marvels has He not worked on my behalf? Surely, if I think of what He has done for me, I shall not, unless my heart is hardened, permit myself to be afraid. Cannot many of you say the same? Are there not oases in your pilgrimage through the desert which, as you look back upon them, are to your grateful memory very green and full of sunlight where the Lord revealed Himself to you and worked very mightily for you? Consider, then, the miracle of the loaves as it has transpired in your own life story and be not afraid, whatever your present trouble may be. (The Miracle of the Loaves)

While they were astonished, had not gained insight and Matthew 14:32+ When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”  

Jesus used this same verb suniemi in Mark 8 - see below.

Gained insight (4920)(suniemi from sun/syn = with + hiemi = send) (Click study of related noun sunesis) literally means to send together or bring together. The idea is to put together "pieces of the puzzle" (so to speak) and to exhibit quick comprehension. Suniemi is describes the ability to understand concepts and see relationships between them. Suniemi means to put together, grasp or exhibit quick comprehension. Suniemi is the manifestation of the ability to understand concepts and see relationships between them and thus describes the exercise of the faculty of comprehension, intelligence, acuteness, shrewdness. Uses in Mark - Mk. 4:12; Mk. 6:52; Mk. 7:14; Mk. 8:17; Mk. 8:21; 

Hard hearts and painful unbeliefs spring up in the waste places where we bury our forgotten mercies.
The miracles of our Lord Jesus Christ ought to be considered.
-- C H Spurgeon

But their heart was hardened - The heart of their problem of failing to gain understanding was the problem in their heart. Hardened in the perfect tense, emphasizes their settled state of dullness, callousness, and lack of understanding! They had just seen Jesus supply a great need in an unexpected way, but now with a new "test" they quickly forget how He had met that great need! Memory is a horrible thing to lose, especially when it comes to the remembrances of the great and marvelous deeds which God has already wrought in each of our lives! It would be good for all of us to set up many "Ebenezers" ("stones of help")! (What does Ebenezer mean?) We all do well to rehearse the times when the good hand of the Lord was clearly on us and bestowing grace upon grace in our times of need! 

Hardness and blindness too easily characterize us when we center on the situation rather than on Jesus.
-- Grant Osborne

Heart (2588) (kardia) does not refer to the physical organ but is always used figuratively in Scripture to refer to the seat and center of human life. The heart is the center of the personality, and it controls the intellect, emotions, and will. No outward obedience is of the slightest value unless the heart turns to God.

Hardened (4456)(poroo from poros = small piece of stone, kind of marble, used of a callus of fracture; related word porosis) means to make hard as stone and used figuratively to describe that which has become callous or insensitive to touch. The effect is to cause the person to have difficulty understanding or comprehending. In the New Testament, poroo is used only in the spiritual sense to describe a closed mind, mental obtuseness, intellectual blindness. Here poroo is in the perfect tense describing this is their state and the passive voice indicates the hardening is the effect of an "outside agent."

THOUGHT - Their hearts were hardened, too often they had seen the power of God and they now were hardened against what was spectacular.
So much had been revealed to them, so often they missed the point, and continued to rely on their own ability that now scar tissue had developed on their souls - not extensively, but enough that they missed the point again. Jesus Christ has the power to come to us in a time of need and provide help to the helpless. We can see that, they could not - but in the same way Jesus Christ may be at work right now, in your life, and you may miss it completely. The end of this miracle is a challenge to us, look into your life, search for the power of your Savior at work.

Mark records another "NO BREAD SITUATION" in which Jesus chides His disciples for their failure to gain insight...

And He was giving orders to them, saying, "Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod." 16  And they began to discuss with one another the fact that they had no bread. 17 And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet see or understand (suniemi)? Do you have a hardened (porooheart? 18 “HAVING EYES, DO YOU NOT SEE? AND HAVING EARS, DO YOU NOT HEAR? (SEE Mark 4:12+) And do you not remember, 19 when I broke the five loaves for the 5000, how many baskets full of broken pieces you picked up?” They said to Him, “Twelve.” 20 “When I broke the seven for the 4000 (Mk 8:1-9+), how many large baskets full of broken pieces did you pick up?” And they *said to Him, “Seven.” 21 And He was saying to them, “Do you not yet understand (suniemi)?”  (Mk 8:15-21+)

Mark 6:53  When they had crossed over they came to land at Gennesaret, and moored to the shore.

Wuest And having crossed over, they came to the land, to Gennesaret. And they cast anchor off shore.

NET  Mark 6:53 After they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and anchored there.

NLT  Mark 6:53 After they had crossed the lake, they landed at Gennesaret. They brought the boat to shore

ESV  Mark 6:53 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore.

NIV  Mark 6:53 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there.

GNT  Mark 6:53 Καὶ διαπεράσαντες ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν ἦλθον εἰς Γεννησαρὲτ καὶ προσωρμίσθησαν.

KJV  Mark 6:53 And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore.

YLT  Mark 6:53 And having passed over, they came upon the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore,

ASV  Mark 6:53 And when they had crossed over, they came to the land unto Gennesaret, and moored to the shore.

CSB  Mark 6:53 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and beached the boat.

Simple Outline on Mark 6 - Jesus Teaching, Sending, Mourning, Feeding, Walking and Touching

  1. Mark 6:1-6 Jesus' Teaching Astonished and Scandalized = Unbelief in Nazareth
  2. Mark 6:7-13 Jesus Sends Twelve in Pairs Giving them Instructions and Authority
  3. Mark 6:14-29 John the Baptist Beheaded Fate
  4. Mark 6:30-44 - Jesus Feeds Five thousand
  5. Mark 6:45–52 Jesus Walks on the water
  6. Mark 6:53–56 Jesus Heals by Touching

Genneseret
(Article)

THE LAND OF
GENNESARET 

Related Passages:

Matthew 14:34+ When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret.  

When they had crossed over - See the map above. From East (Bethsaida) to West. The Gospel of John gives an additional detail of how they had crossed over writing "immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going." (John 6:21+)

They came to land at Gennesaret, and moored to the shore - Gennesaret was a fertile valley between Capernaum to the north and Tiberias to the south. Josephus sings the praises of this region: “There is not a plant which its fertile soil refuses to produce, and its cultivators in fact grow every species” (Josephus goes on to describe the many fruits and favorable climate; cf. J.W. 3.10.8 §516–521).

Remember that the name Gennesaret was also used for the Sea of Galilee (Lk 5:1). Moored to the shore is the word prosormizo (pro = before + ormos = station for tying up ships) used only here in the NT and means bringing a shop into harbor or coming to anchor. 

THOUGHT - Daniel Hill comments that "When the disciples left their intention was to sail to Bethsaida, the fishing village near Capernaum.  But the storm blew them off course to Gennesaret, farther south and west. When they left, Jesus was not with them, but now, after walking to them on the water, he is with them.  And now that he is with them, the change in destination is immaterial. Principle:  Where you are going is not nearly as important as who you are with as you go. All of us have plans, dreams, and aspirations, but the winds of change often alter our course. But if Jesus Christ is with us, leading us, where we are going doesn’t really matter.

Mark 6:54 When they got out of the boat, immediately the people recognized Him,

Wuest And when they had gone out of the boat, immediately, having recognized Him,

NET  Mark 6:54 As they got out of the boat, people immediately recognized Jesus.

NLT  Mark 6:54 and climbed out. The people recognized Jesus at once,

ESV  Mark 6:54 And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him

NIV  Mark 6:54 As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus.

GNT  Mark 6:54 καὶ ἐξελθόντων αὐτῶν ἐκ τοῦ πλοίου εὐθὺς ἐπιγνόντες αὐτὸν

KJV  Mark 6:54 And when they were come out of the ship, straightway they knew him,

YLT  Mark 6:54 and they having come forth out of the boat, immediately having recognised him,

ASV  Mark 6:54 And when they were come out of the boat, straightway the people knew him,

CSB  Mark 6:54 As they got out of the boat, people immediately recognized Him.

RECOGNITION IS
NOT KNOWING

Related Passages:

Matthew 14:35+ And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent word into all that surrounding district and brought to Him all who were sick; 

When they got out of the boat, immediately the people recognized Him - Their recognition of Jesus is interesting because this was early in the morning (sometime in the fourth watch of the night). Even without full day's sunlight they knew it was Jesus. But sadly the people knew Jesus' physical appearance but not His true identity. They knew Him but He did not know them! (cf Mt 7:21-23+) They failed to recognize that He was the Messiah, despite all of the authoritative teaching and multiple miraculous manifestations. 

Wuest - The verb is epiginōskō “to know by experience.” The people recognized Jesus, for they had seen Him before. He was becoming a well-known person by this time.

THOUGHT - The psalmist writes that "those who know Your Name will put their trust in You, for You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You." (Psalm 9:10+) The tragedy is that most of the people who recognized Jesus knew His Name, but they did not truly know Him. In other words, they did not acknowledge Him as their God, as their Messiah, as their Savior and Redeemer and thus were like so many in America today who say they "know Jesus" they do not truly know Him. Jesus Himself warned of the grave deception and danger of saying you "know" Him but do not truly know HIm by grace through faith (Eph 2:8-9+) declaring "Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven (THIS IS SYNONYMOUS WITH "BE SAVED" OR "BE BORN AGAIN" - John 3:3-8+), but he who does (present tense = THIS IS THEIR LIFESTYLE, NOT PERFECTION BUT THEIR "GENERAL DIRECTION!") the will of My Father Who is in heaven (SEE SIMILAR TRUTH IN Mk 3:35+, cf Mt 7:24-27+,, Mt 12:48+, Lk 11:28+) will enter. 22 “Many (NOTE: NOT JUST A FEW!!!) will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ (NOTE: JESUS DOES NOT DISPUTE THEY DID THESE THINGS!) 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never (ABSOLUTE NEGATION) KNEW you; DEPART (aorist imperative) FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE (present tense = THIS IS THEIR LIFESTYLE, NOT AN OCCASIONAL "SLIP"!) LAWLESSNESS.’." (Mt 7:21-23+). Notice both the saved and the condemned are judged on their works. The works per se do not save nor damn, but are the clear evidence respectively that they either truly believed in Jesus or they just "professed" to believe in Jesus. DO NOT BE DECEIVED by a profession of Christ without subsequent practice of Christ-like behavior, behavior which is only possible by the supernatural power of the Spirit of Jesus

Mark 6:55 and ran about that whole country and began to carry here and there on their pallets those who were sick, to the place they heard He was.

Wuest  they ran around throughout that whole countryside, and began to be carrying around on pallets those who were afflicted, where they were hearing that He was.

NET  Mark 6:55 They ran through that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever he was rumored to be.

NLT  Mark 6:55 and they ran throughout the whole area, carrying sick people on mats to wherever they heard he was.

ESV  Mark 6:55 and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was.

NIV  Mark 6:55 They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was.

GNT  Mark 6:55 περιέδραμον ὅλην τὴν χώραν ἐκείνην καὶ ἤρξαντο ἐπὶ τοῖς κραβάττοις τοὺς κακῶς ἔχοντας περιφέρειν ὅπου ἤκουον ὅτι ἐστίν.

KJV  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.

YLT  Mark 6:55 having run about through all that region round about, they began upon the couches to carry about those ill, where they were hearing that he is,

ASV  Mark 6:55 and ran round about that whole region, and began to carry about on their beds those that were sick, where they heard he was.

CSB  Mark 6:55 They hurried throughout that vicinity and began to carry the sick on mats to wherever they heard He was.

SICK CARRIED
TO JESUS

Related Passages:

Matthew 14:35+  And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent word into all that surrounding district and brought to Him all who were sick;

And ran about that whole country and began to carry here and there on their pallets those who were sick, to the place they heard He was - This section emphasizes that Jesus' fame/popularity was at an all time high. Everywhere He goes they are bringing Him their sick. There is no mention of teaching in this section. They recognized Jesus had the power to heal physically but missed the truth that He had the more important power to heal spiritually. The people are still more interested in Jesus' "healing." And so preachers prey on those who are sick and offer "miraculous cures" (usually for "contributions") but fail to present the soul saving Gospel. We call this the "Health and Wealth Gospel" and it is flourishing, not only in America but in other countries such those in Africa where this false teaching is rampant.  

Wuest - What a pathetic picture. The people kept running from place to place, carrying their sick on pallets from place to place, wherever Jesus was reported to be or wherever it might be possible to find Him. This incident brings us near the close of our Lord’s Galilean ministry, and to the time when His popularity was phenomenal.

Mark 6:56 Wherever He entered villages, or cities, or countryside, they were laying the sick in the market places, and imploring Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were being cured.

NET  Mark 6:56 And wherever he would go– into villages, towns, or countryside– they would place the sick in the marketplaces, and would ask him if they could just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.

NLT  Mark 6:56 Wherever he went-- in villages, cities, or the countryside-- they brought the sick out to the marketplaces. They begged him to let the sick touch at least the fringe of his robe, and all who touched him were healed.

ESV  Mark 6:56 And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.

NIV  Mark 6:56 And wherever he went--into villages, towns or countryside--they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed.

GNT  Mark 6:56 καὶ ὅπου ἂν εἰσεπορεύετο εἰς κώμας ἢ εἰς πόλεις ἢ εἰς ἀγρούς, ἐν ταῖς ἀγοραῖς ἐτίθεσαν τοὺς ἀσθενοῦντας καὶ παρεκάλουν αὐτὸν ἵνα κἂν τοῦ κρασπέδου τοῦ ἱματίου αὐτοῦ ἅψωνται· καὶ ὅσοι ἂν ἥψαντο αὐτοῦ ἐσῴζοντο.

KJV  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.

YLT  Mark 6:56 and wherever he was going, to villages, or cities, or fields, in the market-places they were laying the infirm, and were calling upon him, that they may touch if it were but the fringe of his garment, and as many as were touching him were saved.

ASV  Mark 6:56 And wheresoever he entered, into villages, or into cities, or into the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, 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.

CSB  Mark 6:56 Wherever He would go, into villages, towns, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged Him that they might touch just the tassel of His robe. And everyone who touched it was made well.

  • they were laying the sick - Ac 5:15 
  • touch - Mk 3:10 5:27,28 2Ki 13:21 Lu 6:19 22:51 Ac 4:9,12 
  • the fringe of His cloak; - Nu 15:38,39 De 22:12 Mt 9:20 Lu 8:44 
  • Mark 6 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

JESUS' HEALING
TOUCH

Related Passages:

Matthew 14:36+ and they implored Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were cured. Matthew 14:34-36  (Matthew 14:34-36) - [Copy][Go][to List]
(14:34-36)  34When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. 35And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent word into all that surrounding district and brought to Him all who were sick; 36and they implored Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were cured.

Wherever He entered villages, or cities, or countryside - Jesus apparently moves rapidly from one place to another. 

They were laying the sick in the market places, and imploring Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak - (cf Mk 5:24-34+) Imploring is the verb parakaleo which literally means to call beside and thus is almost a play on words in this context, for again and again (parakaleo is in the imperfect tense) they were imploring Jesus to come close to allow a touch of His fringe. Wuest says the fringe was "a little appendage hanging down from the edge of the mantle or cloak.” The Jews had such appendages attached to their mantles to remind them of the law." 

Numbers 15 explains the OT background on fringes...

Numbers 15:38-40  “Speak to the sons of Israel, and tell them that they shall make for themselves tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and that they shall put on the tassel of each corner a cord of blue. 39 (PURPOSE OF THE TASSEL) “It shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, so as to (POSITIVE - OBEY - IF YOU DON'T REMEMBER, YOU ARE NOT LIKELY TO OBEY!) do them and (PREVENTION OF THE NEGATIVE) not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you played the harlot, so that you may remember to do all My commandments and be holy to your God.

Deuteronomy 22:12   “You shall make yourself tassels on the four corners of your garment with which you cover yourself.

Fringe (tassel) (2899)(kraspedon) is  the outer limit of something and thus means the edge, border, hem of a garment (Mt 9:20; 14:36; Mk 6:56; Lk 8:44, cf Lxx of Zech 8:23). Kraspedon also means tassel (Hebrew tsitsit) or fringe on the four corners of the outer garment (see pictureanother picture), worn as a reminder to observe the commandments (Mt 23:5, cf. Nu 15.38, 39; Dt 22.12). Gilbrant - By the time of Jesus the original purpose of the kraspedon had been lost. Jesus wore the kraspedon on His garment, so one hung in the middle of His back (Matthew 9:20; 14:36; Mark 6:56; Luke 8:44), but He condemned the Pharisees for their departure from the original meaning (Matthew 23:5). Instead of allowing the tassels to remind them of God and His Word, they made them larger than necessary to remind God of their goodness! The woman with the issue of blood touched the hem or tassel of Jesus’ garment (Mt 9:20; Lk 8:44). Why she touched the kraspedon rather than His shoulder, feet, or hair cannot be determined. But she was not concerned about the superstition of the Pharisees concerning the tassel. She was putting her faith in Jesus.The tzitzit refers to the fringes on the borders of the robes. They were meant to hang from the corners of the upper garment ( Dt 22:12), which was worn on top of the clothing. The tassel was probably made by twisting the overhanging threads of the garment into a knot that would hang down. This was a reminder of the covenant. The tassels were retained down through history, and today more elaborate prayer shawls with tassels are worn during prayer.

Daniel Hill says that "This fringe was a tassel that was required on men’s robes. This tassel consisted of eight white threads wound around or braided seven times and then double knotted eight times, then 11 times, and then 13 times. The numbers represented Hebrew letters that spelled the phase YHWH is ONE.

Evans writes that "In late antiquity it was believed that fringe of the clothes of holy men, such as Honi the Circle-Drawer or Hanina ben Dosa, could convey benefit. “Hanan ha-Nehba was the son of the daughter of Honi the Circle-Drawer. When the world was in need of rain, the Rabbis would send to him schoolchildren, and they would take hold of the hem [or fringe] of his garment and say to him, ‘Father, Father, give us rain’ ” (b. Ta‘anit 23b)." (BKBC-Mt-Lk)

Robertson - One must enlarge the details here to get an idea of the richness of the healing ministry of Jesus. We are now near the close of the Galilean ministry with its many healing mercies and excitement is at the highest pitch (Bruce).

Daniel Hill points out that "When we study (RELATED ACCOUNT IN THE) Gospel of John we will see the change in the people.  How they were seeking a political messiah and rejected Christ (Jn 6:66) because he came to conquer the greater unseen enemies of sin and Satan rather than lead a revolt against Rome.

Ray Stedman - This is a beautiful scene of the ministry of Jesus. As you can see, the story of the woman with the issue of blood who was healed by touching the hem of Jesus' garment as he was on his way to the house of Jairus has spread now throughout all the regions around Galilee. So wherever Jesus appears, instantly the people begin to bring out the sick and the diseased and the demon possessed, that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And, as Mark tells us, "...as many as touched it were made well." This is a wonderful fulfillment of that beautifully poetic prediction, one of the most majestic passages of Isaiah the prophet, in Isaiah 35: "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a hart,  and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy." (Isaiah 35:5-6RSV+) We can see this in Mark's beautifully descriptive account, as our Lord fulfilled those other words of Isaiah, which Matthew quotes: "He took our infirmities and bore our diseases," (Matthew 8:17RSV). 

And as many as touched it were being cured - As many as indicates there was no limit to the numbers that Jesus could heal. Cured is the verb sozo often used of spiritual salvation, but clearly in this context it speaks of physical cure and not spiritual cure. 

This reminds us of the woman with 12 years of hemorrhage in Mark 5 who "thought, “If I just touch His garments, I will get well.” (Mark 5:28+) After confronting her Jesus declared "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction.”  (Mk. 5:34+)

Touched (681)(hapto/haptomai) means to grasp, to lay hold of with the basic meaning of touching for the purpose of manipulating. Hapto conveys the sense handling of an object as to exert a modifying influence upon it or upon oneself. The majority of the 39 uses are in the Gospels and are associated with Jesus touching someone (or someone touching Him) usually with a beneficial effect. All uses in Mark -  Mk. 1:41; Mk. 3:10; Mk. 5:27; Mk. 5:28; Mk. 5:30; Mk. 5:31; Mk. 6:56; Mk. 7:33; Mk. 8:22; Mk. 10:13;

Were cured (4982)(sozo) in this context means to free from disease. All uses in Mark -Mk. 3:4; Mk. 5:23; Mk. 5:28; Mk. 5:34; Mk. 6:56; Mk. 8:35; Mk. 10:26; Mk. 10:52; Mk. 13:13; Mk. 13:20; Mk. 15:30; Mk. 15:31; Mk. 16:16


CHRIST’S JOURNEYS OF MERCY Mark 6:56

Of Jesus, it is emphatically said that He went about doing good; the great end of His mission into our world was to banish sin and misery, and to introduce grace and holiness. Sin had converted our world into a desert, a howling wilderness; He came to make it bud and blossom as the rose. What a contrast between the first Adam and the second; the first brought a train of evils on body, soul, and estate; the latter, a train of blessings.

    I.      Observe the Characters Referred to.
“The sick.” Now, sickness is the result of sin, the precursor of death; but there is soul-sickness, blindness of mind, deafness of soul, moral impotency, leprosy of pollution. Soul-sickness is the worst disease by far; it weakens, deforms, and, if not healed, destroys the soul.

    II.      The Favorable Circumstances in Which Sick Were Placed.
Jesus visited their cities, etc. These visits,
A. Were designed, not accidental. Christ had a work to do; He came to work the work of His Father; He went forth purposely, etc.
B. They were gracious. He went not to see the works of nature or the displays of art; He went to bless the wretched sons and daughters of man: He went not to inspect the records of their guilt; He went not as a destroying angel, but as the Angel of God’s presence, the Messenger of mercy, to pity, to pardon, to love; good Shepherd. “The Son of man came to seek and to save,” etc.
C. His visits were impartial. Cities, villages, country, rich and poor, Pharisees and publicans; only one qualification necessary, i.e., misery.

    III.      Observe the Course Adopted.
A. They brought their sick into Christ’s way. “Streets,” etc.; means of grace are the ways where Christ passes.
B. They supplicated His healing power. “Might touch,” etc. What earnestness and faith!

    IV.      The Results That Followed.
Connection between the sick and Christ produced a cure.

Application
What a glorious Redeemer! What provision for sin-sick souls! Let us feel for those around us, and labor to bring them to Jesus.JABEZ BURNS

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