Bible Commentaries
Mark 6

Bridgeway Bible CommentaryBridgeway Bible Commentary

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Verses 1-6

61. Jesus rejected at Nazareth (Matthew 13:53-58; Mark 6:1-6)

It is not clear whether this visit of Jesus to Nazareth is the same as that referred to in Luke 4:16-30 or another visit. If it was a second visit, it would have taken place a year later, but the result was the same as on the previous occasion. The people were surprised that a person they had known only as a carpenter could preach so well, but they refused to accept the evidence and admit that this one was indeed God (Matthew 13:53-57; Mark 6:1-4). They refused to believe in him and, as usual, Jesus would not use his miracles to force people to believe. But out of compassion he privately healed a few sick people (Matthew 13:58; Mark 6:5-6).

Verses 7-13

62. The twelve sent out (Matthew 10:5-42; Mark 6:7-13; Luke 9:1-6)

Jesus sent out the twelve apostles to preach the good news that the kingdom of the Messiah had come. The miraculous powers of the Messiah were given to them also, so that the knowledge of his love and mercy might spread more quickly throughout the land (Luke 9:1-2).

There would be no time during Jesus’ lifetime to spread the gospel worldwide, so the apostles had to concentrate on Israel. After Jesus’ death and resurrection they could then take the gospel to the countries beyond (Matthew 10:5-8; cf. 28:19-20). They were to take with them only the bare necessities for daily needs, so as not to be hindered in their travels. Also they were not to waste time preaching to people who refused to listen, when others in nearby areas had not even heard (Matthew 10:9-15; Luke 9:3-6).

Although they preached good news and did good works, the apostles could expect persecution. If brought to trial, whether before Jewish leaders or government officials, they would have the help of God’s Spirit in giving them the right words to say (Matthew 10:16-20). They would meet opposition from friends and relatives, but they were to press on urgently in their mission. They would not even cover the whole of Palestine within the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry (Matthew 10:21-23).

As servants of Jesus, the apostles could expect the same sort of opposition as their master received (Matthew 10:24-25), but they were not to fear to teach publicly the things Jesus had taught them privately (Matthew 10:26-27). They were to maintain a reverent obedience to God, knowing that as their heavenly Father he would watch over them. He never forsakes those who are faithful to him (Matthew 10:28-33).

The followers of Jesus must not expect ease and comfort. They must put loyalty to Jesus before all other loyalties, and this may result in conflict and division, even within their own families. They must be prepared for hardship, persecution and possibly death, but in the end they will not be the losers. In sacrificing the life of self-pleasing in order to please their Lord, they will find life in its truest sense (Matthew 10:34-39). All who welcome Jesus’ messengers into their homes are really welcoming Jesus who sent them, and God the Father who sent him. Help given to Jesus’ messengers will be rewarded as if given to Jesus himself (Matthew 10:40-42).

Verses 14-29

64. Death of John the Baptist (Matthew 14:1-12; Mark 6:14-29; Luke 9:7-9)

By this time John the Baptist had been executed. When Herod heard the news of Jesus’ miracles, he feared that Jesus was really John come back to life and that supernatural powers were working in him (Matthew 14:1-2; Mark 6:14-16). (The Herod referred to here was Herod Antipas, a son of Herod the Great; see earlier section, ‘The New Testament World’.)

Having mentioned John’s death, the writers go back to record the events that led up to it. Herod had imprisoned John because John had accused him of adultery in marrying Herodias, wife of Herod’s brother, Philip (Mark 6:17-18; cf. Matthew 4:12; Matthew 11:2). Herod both respected and feared John, as he knew that John was a godly man and that his accusations were true. But no amount of discussion with John could persuade Herod to conquer his passions and give up Herodias (Mark 6:19-20).

John’s place of imprisonment was apparently the dungeon of Herod’s palace. Although this gave Herod the opportunity to speak to him often, it also made it easier for Herodias when an opportunity arose for her to get rid of him. She hated John for his interference, and was quick to act when she saw the chance to have him executed (Mark 6:21-29).

Verses 30-44

65. Feeding the five thousand (Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-14)

When the apostles returned from their first tour around the country areas, they met Jesus in Galilee and tried to have a quiet time alone with him (Mark 6:30-32; John 6:1). Jesus also was in need of a rest, but he was filled with pity when he saw the crowds of people flocking to him in their need. They appeared to him as a flock of spiritually starved sheep that had no food because there was no shepherd to feed them (Mark 6:33-34; John 6:2-4).

The apostles were soon reminded that Jesus alone could satisfy the spiritual needs of the people. Without him the apostles were not able to satisfy even the people’s physical needs. With five small loaves and two fish, Jesus miraculously fed a huge crowd, reminding the apostles that the miracles they had done on their missionary tour had resulted solely from Jesus’ power working in them (Mark 6:35-44; John 6:5-13). But to many of the people, the miracle was a sign that Jesus was the promised great prophet. Like Moses, he had miraculously fed God’s people in the wilderness (John 6:14; see Exodus 16:1-36; Deuteronomy 18:15; 1 Corinthians 10:1-5).

Verses 45-56

66. Jesus walks on the sea (Matthew 14:22-36; Mark 6:45-56; John 6:15-21)

On seeing Jesus’ miracle with the bread and fish, many wanted to make him king immediately. This no doubt would have pleased many of Jesus’ followers, but for him it presented a possible temptation. He therefore sent his disciples to Bethsaida, while he escaped into the hills where he could be alone and pray (Matthew 14:22-23; Mark 6:45-46; John 6:15).

Bethsaida was not far from the place where Jesus had fed the five thousand (see Luke 9:10-11). Both places were on the shore of the lake, but separated by a small bay. To escape the crowd the disciples decided to row across the lake, making it appear that they were heading for Bethsaida, which was near Capernaum (John 6:16-17).

Again a storm suddenly arose, blowing the boat off course and making rowing almost impossible. Jesus came to his disciples walking on the water, but instead of responding with faith they were fearful. Peter made a bolder response, but his confidence was shortlived (Matthew 14:24-30; Mark 6:47-50). Jesus was disappointed that again their faith failed in a crisis. Although they had seen his power in feeding the five thousand, they did not understand that the same power was still available to help them (Matthew 14:31-33; Mark 6:51-52). So much had they been blown off course before Jesus came to them, that they landed at Gennesaret, a long way west of their goal (Mark 6:53-56).

Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Mark 6". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". 2005.