Mark 6 Commentary

John Mark


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


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 <2532> he went out <1831> (5627) from thence <1564>, and <2532> came <2064> (5627) into <1519> his own <846> country <3968>; and <2532> his <846> disciples <3101> follow <190> (5719) him <846>.

ESV  Mark 6:1 He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him.

NIV  Mark 6:1 Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples.

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 <2532> He went out <1831> (5627) from there <1564> and <2532> came <2064> (5627) to <1519> His own <846> country <3968>, and <2532> His <846> disciples <3101> followed <190> (5719) Him <846>.

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.

  • and came - Mt 13:54-58 Lu 4:16-30 

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


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)

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. 1. 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. C. 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)

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. It is estimated the population was between 150-200. So insignificant was this small town that it is never mentioned, not once, 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."

And His disciples followed 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 would follow. This is the Master's Plan for making disciples (See Robert Coleman's online work The Master Plan of Evangelism).

In the following scene in Nazareth the following disciples would begin to see the response by some 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)...


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?

  • he began - Mk 1:21,22,39 Lu 4:15,31,32 
  • Where did this man get these things: Joh 6:42 7:15 Ac 4:13,14 

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)


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 

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)


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. 

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.”


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 and thus 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:


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

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


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

  • Jer 11:21 12:6 Mt 13:57 Lu 4:24 Joh 4:44 

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.


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." -  Jesus is obviously attesting to the fact that He is a prophet. 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 (Mark 1:10, Matt. 9:6, Luke 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."

Is this proverbial statement not a commentary on Isaiah's 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)


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.

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.

  • Mk 9:23 Ge 19:22 32:25 Isa 59:1,2 Mt 13:58 Heb 4:2 

Parallel Passage:

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


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!

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

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.

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.

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.

  • 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 


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.

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)


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."


  • 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


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 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.
         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). 
         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). 
         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). 
         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


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 

Parallel Passages:

Matt. 9:35–11:1

Luke 9:1–6.

Hendriksen - 6:6b–13 The Charge to The Twelve

Matt. 10:1, 5, 9–14;

Luke 9:1–6

Matt. 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.  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.”

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: 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. 

Mark 6:6b–9; And He wondered at their unbelief. And He was going around the villages teaching. 7And He *summoned the twelve and began to send them out in pairs, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits; 8and He instructed them that they should take nothing for their journey, except a mere staff–no bread, no bag, no money in their belt– 9but to wear sandals; and He added, “Do not put on two tunics.”

Luke 9:1–2 And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. 2And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing.

LK Then He called His twelve disciples together, MK and began to send them out two by two, LK and gave them power and authority over all demons, MT to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. LK He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. MK He commanded them to take nothing for the journey except a staff— no bag, no bread, no copper in their money belts—but to wear sandals, and o not to put on two tunics.

MT Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called qPeter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and sLebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.

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, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits;

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,

  • take - Mt 10:9,10 Lu 10:4 22:35 
  • money -  Mt 10:9 Lu 9:3 

Parallel Passages:

Matthew 10:9; 10  “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.

Luke 9:3+ 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.

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


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.

That they should take nothing for their journey, except a mere staff - 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+). 

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 

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.

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

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.

  • wear sandals - Eph 6:15 Ac 12:8 


The writer of Hebrews says "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, 2fixing our eyes on Jesus, 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" - 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. 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+).

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

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.

  • Mt 10:11-13 Lu 9:4 Lk 10:7,8 Ac 16:15 17:5-7 


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.

Jesus Commissions the Twelve: The Send-Off Matt. 10:5–11:1; Mark 6:10–13; Luke 9:3–6

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. 

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."

  • does not receive you- Ne 5:13 Mt 10:14 Lu 9:5 10:10,11 Ac 13:50,51 18:6 


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 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." And the witness that the prosecution will call 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."

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:

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 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 

They went out and preached that men should repent Preached “to make a public proclamation with such gravity, formality, and authority as must be heeded.”

Preach (proclaim) (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 (μετανοεω) “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:

  • Extensive discussion of repentance see 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.

  • they were casting out - Mk 6:7 Lu 10:17 
  • were anointing with oil - Jas 5:14,15 


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.

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

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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:

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:

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."

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.

  • 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 

MacArthur - MK Now MT at that time MK King Herod MT the tetrarch heard the report LK of all that was done by MT Jesus, MK for His name had become well known. LK And he was perplexed, MK and he said, LK “John I have beheaded, but who is this of whom I hear such things?”

Parallel Passages:

Matt. 14:1–3; 1At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the news about Jesus, 2and 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.”  3For 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, 8and by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the prophets of old had risen again. 9Herod said, “I myself had John beheaded; but who is this man about whom I hear such things?” And he kept trying to see Him. 

Mark 6:14-29 

Hendriksen - 6:14–29 Herod’s Wicked Birthday Party and John the Baptist’s Gruesome Death

Matt. 14:1–12;

Luke 9:7–9

John the Baptist Is Killed

Matt. 14:1–12;

Mark 6:14–29;

Luke 9:7–9

And King Herod heard of it, for His name had become well known;

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.”

and people were saying, "John the Baptist has risen from the dead,

Wuest - 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.

and that is why these miraculous powers are at work in Him 

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 Thess. 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

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 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 

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

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 Elijah’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 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. (Frojm  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.

  • It is - Ge 40:10,11 Ps 53:5 Mt 14:2 27:4 Lu 9:9 Rev 11:10-13 

But when Herod heard of it,

he kept saying, "John, whom I beheaded, has risen!" - "The he (houtos) is emphatic. This one. This very John." (Vincent)

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; 

  • Herod - Mt 4:12 11:2 14:3-12 Lu 3:19,20 
  • brother Philip - Lu 3:1 

For Herod himself - "Mark uses autos (αὐτος) as an intensive pronoun, emphasizing the fact that it was this very Herod, and no one else, who had imprisoned John. The definite article appears before the name “Herod,” further identifying the man." (Wuest)

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.

John was imprisoned in the grim fortress of Machaerus, situated on the barren heights of Moab above the Dead Sea.

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.

  • It is - Lev 18:16 20:21 1Ki 22:14 Eze 3:18,19 Mt 14:3,4 Ac 20:26,27 Ac 24:24-26 

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

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.

  • Herodias - Ge 39:17-20 1Ki 21:20 
  • a grudge against, Ec 7:9 Eph 4:26,27 


"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)

Had a grudge (1758enecho  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. "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 49:23Ezek 14:47.

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

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 - She had the desire but not the power (authority). Swete says, “The power was wanting, not the will.” Wanted (desired) is 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) 

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.

  • 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 

for Herod was afraid of John - Was afraid is imperfect indicating he was in a continual state of fear! What a horrible way to live! 

knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe - Kept him safe is in the Imperfect tense meaning again and again, over and over. In other words Herod maintained a constant watch over John! 

Kept him safe (4933)(suntereo from sun/syn = with + tereo = guard, keep) means to keep closely together, keep close, preserve. Here Mary reflects deeply and carefully the words of the shepherds, keeping them in her mind, safely storing them up (so to speak). In Mark 6:20, used of the protection of John the Baptist from Herodias. In Mt. 9:17 (and Lk 5:38 only in the Textus Receptus), used of the preservation of wineskins.Luke 2:51 repeats that after finding Jesus in the Temple and hearing His explanation, Mary "treasured all these things in her heart" but the verb in Lk 2:51 is diatereo which in context speaks of words to carefully remembered. 3x - Matt. 9:17; Mk. 6:20; Lk. 2:19

Same word used in Luke 2:19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.

to preserve a thing from perishing or being lost, to guard one, to keep him safe

And when he heard him, he was very perplexed 

Perplexed (639)(aporeo/aporeomai from alpha privative + poros = a way, a transit, a ford, revenue, resource, always used in middle voice) means literally to be without a way or path. Thus 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. To be without resources, to be embarrassed, to be in perplexity. The idea is that they were often in situations not knowing which way to go and/or seeing no way open them. 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

But he used to enjoy listening to him 

The Greek has the imperfect, 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 ends, perplexed, knowing not which way to turn. “He was in perplexity about many things,” the Greek has it.

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.

  • 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 

A strategic day came - Convenient” is eukairos (εὐκαιρος), made up of kairos (καιρος), used of a critical epoch-making period of time, and eu (εὐ), “well” or “good.” 

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. 

when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his lords and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee;

Wuest - 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). This was a notable gathering, composed of men from governmental, military, and civil life.

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."

  • Esther 1:10-12 Isa 3:16-26 Da 5:2 Mt 14:6

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."

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."

  • And he swore to her - 1Sa 28:10 2Ki 6:31 Mt 5:34-37 14:7 
  • Whatever  - Es 5:3,6 7:2 Pr 6:2 Mt 4:9 

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

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 

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

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."

  • with haste - Pr 1:16 Ro 3:15 
  • a charger - Nu 7:13,19-89 

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."

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.

  • Mt 14:9 27:3-5,24,25 

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

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,

  • the king - Mt 14:10,11 

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

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

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

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

  • they came - 1Ki 13:29,30 2Ch 24:16 Mt 14:12 27:57-60 Ac 8:2 

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

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 
  • both - Ac 1:1 20:18-21 1Ti 4:12-16 Tit 2:6,7 1Pe 5:2,3

MacArthur - Jesus Feeds the 5,000 ---  From Passover AD 29 to Passover AD 30

Matt. 14:13–22;

Mark 6:30–46;

Luke 9:10–17;

John 6:1–15

Hendriksen - The Feeding of the Five Thousand

Mk 6:30–44

Cf. Matt. 14:13–21,

Luke 9:10–17;

John 6:1–14

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

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.)

  • come - Mk 1:45 3:7,20 Mt 14:13  Joh 6:1 

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.)

Mark 6:32 They went away in the boat to a secluded place by themselves.

  • Mt 14:13 

They went away in the boat to a secluded place by themselves.

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.

  • Mk 6:54,55 Mt 15:29-31  Joh 6:2 Jas 1:19 

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.

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.

  • 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 

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.

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;

  • Mt 14:15-21 Lu 9:12-17 Joh 6:5-15 

When it was already quite late, His disciples came to Him and said, "This place is desolate and it is already quite late;

Mark 6:36  send them away so that they may go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat."

  • Mk 3:21 5:31 Mt 15:23 16:22 

send them away so that they may go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.

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?"

  • 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 
  • pennyworth - Mt 18:28,

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?"

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."

  • Mk 8:5 Mt 14:17,18 15:34 Lu 9:13  Joh 6:9 

And He said to them, "How many loaves do you have? Go look!" And when they found out, they said^, "Five, and two fish."

Mark 6:39  And He commanded them all to sit down by groups on the green grass.

  • 1Ki 10:5 Es 1:5,6 Mt 15:35 1Co 14:33,40 

And He commanded them all to sit down by groups on the green grass.

Mark 6:40  They sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties.

  • by hundreds -  Lu 9:14,15 

They sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties.

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.

  • looked - 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 

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.

Mark 6:42 They all ate and were satisfied,

  • Mk 8:8,9 De 8:3 2Ki 4:42-44 Ps 145:15,16 Mt 14:20,21 15:37,38 Lu 9:17 Joh 6:12 

They all ate and were satisfied,

Mark 6:43 and they picked up twelve full baskets of the broken pieces, and also of the fish.

  • Mk 8:19,20 

and they picked up twelve full baskets of the broken pieces, and also of the fish.

Mark 6:44  There were five thousand men who ate the loaves.

There were five thousand men who ate the loaves.


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.

  • Immediately - Mt 14:22-33  Joh 6:15-17,18-21 
  • Bethsaida - Mt 11:21, 23.  Joh 12:21  Mk 8:22 Lu 10:13 

Hendriksen - Walking on the Water

Mk 6:45–52

Matt. 14:22–33;

John 6:15–21

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.


Related Resource:

Mark 6:46 After bidding them farewell, He left for the mountain to pray.

  • Mk 1:35 Mt 6:6 14:23 Lu 6:12 1Pe 2:21 

After bidding them farewell, He left for the mountain to pray.

Mark 6:47 When it was evening, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and He was alone on the land.

  • Mt 14:23  Joh 6:16,17 

MacArthur - Jesus Walks on the Water
   Matt. 14:23–36; Mark 6:47–56; John 6:15–21

When it was evening, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and He was alone on the land.

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.

  • he saw - Isa 54:11  Joh 1:13 Mt 14:24 
  • the fourth - Ex 14:24 1Sa 11:11 Lu 12:38 
  • he cometh - Job 9:8 Ps 93:4 104:3 
  • would - Ge 19:2 32:26 Lu 24:28 

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.

Mark 6:49  But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out;

  • they saw - Job 9:8 
  • supposed - Job 4:14-16 Mt 14:25,26 Lu 24:37 

But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out;

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."

  • it is I - Isa 43:2 Mt 14:27 Lu 24:38-41  Joh 6:19,20 20:19,20 

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."

Mark 6:51 Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped; and they were utterly astonished,

  • 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 

Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped; and they were utterly astonished,

Mark 6:52  for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened.

  • they - Mk 7:18 8:17,18,21 Mt 16:9-11 Lu 24:25 
  • their - Mk 3:5 16:14 Isa 63:17 

for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened.

Mark 6:53  When they had crossed over they came to land at Gennesaret, and moored to the shore.

  • the land - Mt 14:34-36 Lu 5:1  Joh 6:24 

Hendriksen - Healings in Gennesaret

Mark 6:53–56

Matt. 14:34–36

When they had crossed over they came to land at Gennesaret, and moored to the shore.

Mark 6:54 When they got out of the boat, immediately the people recognized Him,

  • knew - Ps 9:10 Php 3:10 

When they got out of the boat, immediately the people recognized Him,

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.

  • Mk 2:1-3 3:7-11 Mt 4:24 

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.

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.

  • they laid - Ac 5:15 
  • touch - Mk 3:10 5:27,28 2Ki 13:21 Lu 6:19 22:51 Ac 4:9,12 
  • the border - Nu 15:38,39 De 22:12 Mt 9:20 Lu 8:44 

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.