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Monday, October 2nd, 2023
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26
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Mark 6

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

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Verses 1-13

  1. Intro: More Than a Carpenter
    1. 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 20m w/Jesus & His disciples on Jesus’ last visit to His hometown.
      2. Then, He will launch us out 2x2 to go live out our faith.
  2. REJECTION (1-6)
    1. NAZARETH (1,2)
    2. Nazareth - Archeologist tell us it was nothing more than a hamlet, on a rocky hillside, with no more than 500 people living there.
    3. 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.
    5. Back in the home church/synagogue he would have attended as a child & young man.
      1. Where did He get this wisdom? He never went to rabbinical school.
      2. He was the carpenter in town.
        1. Imagine your favorite town mechanic coming back & preaching. Or electrician :)
    6. The Carpenter – 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!
      1. 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.
      2. The ladder that Jacob saw, was now replaced by the Son of man. Gods link w/earth.
        1. Actually carpenter was a general term, including a skilled worker in stone and metal, as well as wood.”
      3. But one day the townsfolk found a sign on the door to the carpenter shop Closed. The doors locked. No longer in business.
        1. Jesus left that shop & walked out into the world.
        2. No longer to build plows, yokes, & chairs, but to build lives. More than a Carpenter.
    7. 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.
      1. They were in effect calling his mother a whore & him illegitimate offspring. (Hiebert, pg.139.) :(
      2. When asked, Is Jesus...Lord, a Lunatic, or a Liar? They chose liar, & a demonized one at that!
    8. So they were offended at Him - (the Msg says) They tripped over what little they knew about him and fell, sprawling. And they never got any further.
    10. (4) A prophet is not without honor… – Jesus quotes a familiar proverb of his day here.
      1. Today we say, “Familiarity breeds Contempt.”
      2. Michel de Montaigne [16th cent] French Philosopher, Politician, & 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, & farther away a noted author.”
        1. The greater the distance, the greater he became.
    11. Helmut Thielicke(Tee-la-key, just died 1986), the famous German Theologian/preacher (known as the Billy Graham of Germany) was being interview in 1982 & was asked, “What was the worse evil he experienced living under the 3rd Reich under the government of Adolph Hitler?” His response, “The unredeemed human heart!”
      1. Christine Caine said Friday, “The problem is sin, the answer is Jesus, the hope is the church.”
      2. Jesus’ hearers were ice sculptors.
    12. 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.
      1. 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, & soon to be on iGlasses. Anesthetized by hearing peoples salvation story. Do you feel Frozen in your faith, or Immobilized by spiritual insomnia.
      2. I think this is the plague of our youth in modern day North American Christianity.
        1. They know Him too well, or so they think.
    13. Are you too familiar with Christian things that you have lost a sense of wonder or expectancy?
      1. How can we avoid this?
    14. ASTONISHED (6)
    15. His neighbors were astonished(amazement) at what He said & did (2); Jesus was astonished(marveled) at their unbelief that wouldn’t let Him do more (6).
      1. Only 2 occasions are recorded regarding Jesus marveling!
        1. The Roman Centurion(w/the sick servant) who understood Jesus authority, When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, “I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! Lk.7:9
        2. And here, of the unbelief from those it was expected to be found (His own townsmen)
      2. See the importance of faith!!! [astonished/amazed but w/no faith]
      3. Scary, a person can be amazed with Jesus & yet still have unbelief. What does this warn us against?
    16. FAITH vs. UNBELIEF (6)
    17. How would you define unbelief? - Unbelief & faith are opposites.
      1. “If faith is the capacity to receive what God wants to give, unbelief is the willful refusal to receive what God wants to give.”
      2. They erected a barrier of unbelief…Have you?
      3. In all unbelief there are these two things: a good opinion of one's self and a bad opinion of God. [Horatius Bonar]
      4. A.W.Tozer said, “Every man will have to decide for himself whether or not he can afford the terrible luxury of unbelief.”
    18. Wait, Is God really hindered by our unbelief? (not that He could not, but would not)
      1. Ps.78:41 Yes, again & again they tempted God, And limited the Holy One of Israel.
  3. COMMISSION (7-13)
    1. ​​​​​​​DYNAMIC DUO (7)
    2. Batman & Robin, Tom & Jerry, Lois Lane & Clark Kent, Starsky & Hutch, Donnie & Marie, Laurel & Hardy, Bonnie & Clyde, Sponge Bob & Patrick, Beavis & _______.
    3. 2 by 2 (duo, duo, the orig dynamic duo) – The advantages were obvious. One can help the other in times of danger, discouragement, doubt or disease.
      1. Eccl.4:9-12 Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
      2. Peter & John; Paul & Barnabas; Paul & Silas. Partners in ministry.
      3. We instituted a policy back in the mid 80’s that we wouldn’t travel alone.
        1. Explain Billy Graham story. [Dan/Wayne-Haiti; Chad/I-Cambodia]
    4. Power - There are 6 Greek terms for power. It’s not the most common dunamis (might or strength) but the 2nd most common exousia (X-oh-SEE-ya; authority).
      1. Its having authority over evil spirits.
    5. It was rabbinic law that when a man entered the Temple courts, he must put off his staff, shoes, & money girdle.
      1. All ordinary things were to be set aside.
      2. Maybe he wanted the men to see the humble homes they would enter were every bit as sacred as the Temple courts.
      3. This forced them to be dependent on Christ for strength.
      4. The minimum of provisions was meant to call out the maximum of faith.
    6. LIVE IN DEPENDENCE (8,9) - the faithful follower lives in dependence on God.
    7. (Msg) Don’t think you need a lot of extra equipment for this. You are the equipment.
      1. ​​​​​​​I heard this quote this week(John Ortberg) Make disciples. Arrange your time so you are living w/deep contentment w/joy & confidence...You’ll always produce who you are!
    8. (8,9) If the disciples take no provisions for themselves, on whom must they rely?
      1. Trust God & depend on the hospitality of the people.
      2. Alfred Plummer said, Make no elaborate preparations, as if you were going on a long journey on your own business; you are going a short journey on mine.
      3. They were not to make elaborate preparations.
        1. This was to be an exercise in faith as well as evangelism.
        2. It would be foolish to apply these instructions in a literal way today. But the principles remain, namely, urgency & dependence.
      4. Today we are more in danger of having too much baggage than too little.
      5. The Apostolic era could say, Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.
        1. Today much of the modern church can say neither!
        2. Dependence is necessary to meet & evangelize an unbelieving world.
    9. DON’T SEEK COMFORT (10) - don’t seek comfort first, but God’s pleasure.
    10. They were not to be fussy about where they stayed.
    11. (10) Comfort - The English Church of the 18th & 19th centuries was scandalized by fat country preachers who were authorities on hunting dogs & the vintages in their cellars.
      1. True Christianity, world-changing Christianity, is not comfortable.
    12. BE STRAIGHTFORWARD (11,12) - about the condition of the world & the danger facing lost men & women.
    13. (11) What were they to do if they met resistance?
      1. Shaking off the dust - represented a strong symbolic gesture of rejection (i.e.) Keep your own dust!
      2. Paul & Barnabas did this when leaving Pisidian Antioch. Acts 13:51
    14. (12) What were they to preach? (repentance)
      1. Interesting: the word repent/repentance occurs only 3x’s in Mark.
        1. 1:4 (John) John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance.
        2. 1:4 (Jesus) Repent, and believe in the gospel.
        3. 6:12 (now it’s passed on to those who follow Jesusthe 12) So they went out and preached that people should repent.
    15. How do you think they felt when they went out? (Not much training at this point, pretty nervous?)
    16. How do you think they felt when they returned? (Pretty pumped/excited to tell their story)
      1. Read vs.30
    17. It seems to be the same for us...always scary first going out, always rewarding upon our return.
      1. We’ll have all eternity to celebrate our victories, But only one short hour before sunset to win them. - Robert Moffat

Verses 14-29

  1. Intro: Death of a Conscience
    1. Your Conscience is your warning system.
      1. Like physical pain, which warns of damage to the body - the conscience can warn of damage to the soul!
      2. So what happens when one’s neurological warning system goes out? - You think of the leper who can’t feel anymore, & the complications from that.
      3. So what happens when one’s conscience warning system goes out? - We learn this morning from Herod, how his conscience went from troubled to a dead one.
    2. So, what’s a conscience?
      1. One teenager defined it as, “Something that makes you tell your mom before your sister does!”
      2. Kent Hughes said, “it is the warning light that goes off in your soul.”
      3. “It’s a Walkie-Talkie in your heart by which God speaks to you.”
      4. MarkTwain, Man is the only animal that blushes & the only animal that needs to.
      5. Paul said in Rom.2:14,15, for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them. - So your conscience accuses or excuses what you do.
    2. The “I” is emphatic in the Greek, I am the one – I did it. The sense is he said it again & again.
      1. “I did this”…Yet not a confession. [Like the V.B. player who gets in the habit of just mouthing, My bad, yet doesn't do anything to fix her errors]
    3. A GUILTY CONSCIENCE (17-19)
    4. Herod Antipas – Tetrarch of Galilee & Perea(in Pink). He was his father’s son in all that was worst in his father’s character.
    5. His Father? Herod the Great, patriarch of the corrupt Herodian dynasty.
      1. Antipas went to Rome. Stayed with his ½ bro Philip 1. He was intrigued with Herodias, his wife. The two eloped, although both were married at the time.
      2. Oh, & Philip 1st was Herodias’ uncle. Which she now left, for her other uncle!
      3. So here Herod Antipas married his niece & his sister-in-law.
        1. What “matrimonial mayhem” we find in this family.
    7. 1st troubled by God, now by the man of God.
    8. Note, Herod feared John…& heard him gladly. Here we have a man caught in 2 minds:
      1. He rejects him but respects him.
      2. He alternated between the bed of Herodias, and the cell of John.
      3. He loved the beauty of a holy life, but he loved his sin as well.
      4. He’s fascinated by his message, but afraid of its consequences.
        1. Do you ever find yourself in a similar dilemma? Caught between conscience & lifestyle.
      5. Herod loved John, but he never loved John’s Master.
        1. Loved John in that he protected him (i.e. from Herodias, & that by keeping him in prison?) Coward!
        2. Josephus tells us this all took place in Machaerus (Ma-KEER-is; aka Mukawir). A desert fortress-palace perched 3800’ above the Dead Sea (East side). Below were dungeons/cisterns which can still be seen today w/their iron hooks.
      6. What a contrast between them: Herod the Coward - John the Courageous.
        1. Herod a mighty monarch, John an imprisoned preacher…yet the king is afraid of him.
        2. You know the famous preacher George Whitefield was best of friends with Benjamin Franklin(deist)…they called them the religious odd couple.
        3. Warning - You will spiritually travel only as far as Herod & no farther, unless Grace leads you to Jesus Christ.
    10. A little wine, a little drunken passion, a little lust…a receipt for disaster!
      1. Especially for this Tipsy Tetrarch.
    11. (22) SNAP!...went the Herodias trap.
      1. Sin is like a spider weaving a web…it starts with one little strand.
    12. Pride will not allow him to go back on his word.
      1. Herodias web is weaved. Herod’s conscience is the fly now caught in the middle.
        1. It’s like Herod says, “I can’t avoid the wrong, & I can’t do what’s right!”
    13. Here lies a wonderful compliment for John…“his head was worth half the kingdom!!!”
    14. A SEARED CONSCIENCE (26-29)
    15. He was sorry, but seared none the less.
      1. As per Herod’s soul, this was God’s last loving Shock-Treatment for his heart… Clear! (i.e. Defibrillator)
    16. Don’t feel sorry for John. He got an instant trip to glory!
    17. Feel sorry for Herod. For his party was over. His light is about to go out.
      1. The guillotine fell on Herod that day.
        1. Oh, he took Johns head…but lost his own conscience.
    18. Mt.14:12 adds Then his disciples came & took away the body & buried it, & went & told Jesus.
      1. Where do you go if someone close to you dies? Where do you take your hurts? Take them to Jesus like the disciples did.
    19. Well Herod, you can silence one voice, but you cannot silence the Word of God.
    20. A DEAD CONSCIENCE (Lk.23:8-12)
    21. This is the last biblical record of Herod.
      1. This is shortly before the crucifixion. Come on Herod last chance tell it all to Jesus! Silence the voice of your tormented conscience!
    22. Now read the passage! Lk.23:8-12
      1. Jesus answered him nothing/not a word! There was no need to.
      2. His conscience was long dead, buried, & the tomb of his heart sealed!
    23. The End of his story? - Herodias prevailed on Herod Antipas to accompany her to Rome to demand a favor.
      1. Instead Caligula(new Emperor) banished Antipas to Lyons in Gaul, where he died in great misery.
      2. His new buddy Pilate also was stripped of power and died in shameful exile w/him.
    24. Herod lost his conscience. It was 1st lovingly troubled, then tormented, then guilt ridden, next double-minded, finally trapped, subsequently seared,…& lastly dead as a door nail!
      1. It’s so important for you to take care of your conscience.
      2. It can be dulled. It can be seared.
      3. Paul told Felix, I always try to maintain a clear conscience before God and all people. How?
    25. *** Invite up worship team & ushers to set up.
    26. A CLEANSED CONSCIENCE (communion)
    27. So how do we protect our conscience against being dulled, even seared? [4 things]
      1. Let your conscience be guided by the Word of God[Do what the Bible says is rt]
      2. Let your conscience be guided by the Holy Spirit. [Rom.9:1, With Christ as my witness, I speak with utter truthfulness. My conscience and the Holy Spirit confirm it]
      3. Listen to your conscience. [The devil wants you to ignore your conscience]
      4. Keep your conscience clean through confession of sin and acceptance of God’s forgiveness.
        1. ​​​​​​​Heb.9:14…the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
    28. Bread: confession of sin
      1. ​​​​​​​Lord we recognize, like all our other faculties, our conscience has been perverted by the fall.
      2. Lord we confess not listening to the conscience You’ve implanted in us.
      3. Lord we confess sometimes tuning out that inborn sense of right & wrong.
      4. Lord we understand & confess this has damaged our very soul, & we cry out for Your forgiveness.
      5. God heal our consciences that we have violated. Even now.
    29. Cup: acceptance of God’s forgiveness
      1. ​​​​​​​God Thank You for this warning system you have built in us.
      2. God Thank You for 2nd chances, after we’ve blown it.
      3. God Thank You for regenerating us with a clear/clean conscience this morning.
      4. God Thank You for letting us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Verses 30-56

  1. Intro:
    1. Do you remember what it was like to learn how to swing? Learning how to pump. Feet extended toward the sky. Leaning way back. The spin maneuver. Timing the jump.
      1. Its one of the first places we learned to trust! See, it all depended “who” was pushing us. If it was someone we trusted, they could try anything with us & we’d shout, “Again! Again!” But if it was some kid on the playground, or some random cousin at a family get together...oh man, sick feeling in your gut...& hang on.
      2. Who pushes your swing? In the right hands, you can find peace...even in the twisty’s of life. Even in the big pushes where all you see is sky. You can trust Him!
        1. This is what Jesus seeks to teach his disciples in these 3 life lessons.
    2. Outline: [1] He makes me to lie down in green pastures [2] He leads me beside still waters [3] He restores my soul.
      1. This outline is built from the why Jesus gives in vs.34, they were like sheep not having a shepherd. [shepherd-less sheep; folks trying to make it on their own through life]
    1. Their Rest (31,32) - Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.
      1. Every weary Christian worker needs to hear those words by Christ.
      2. “We need times when we smooth out the wrinkles of our soul, get alone w/God, refresh our bodies, & then get ready to serve the Lord again.”
      3. A rest is much needed...but is not to be. [sometimes you just HAVE to disconnect; other times, He’ll give you that extra measure of grace/strength]
    2. Their Interrupted Rest (33,34)
    3. Eager to be w/Christ they ran around the Northern shoreline.
    4. Instead of resenting their interruption, He was gripped w/compassion!
      1. How do you react when your plans are unexpectedly spoilt?
      2. Jesus saw this crowd not as a mob, but as individuals.
      3. We all look at people through different lenses. We all have the gift of sizing people up, & we can do it in seconds.
        1. If you’re a cosmetologist maybe you are 1st to notice someone’s hairstyle.
        2. If you’re into working out maybe you quickly size someone up to see whether they are in shape or not.
        3. If your into name brands you probably notice the stitching on the back pocket of their jeans, sizing up if the shop at Target or Hollister.
        4. As Jesus sized up the crowd, He noticed, they looked like sheep w/o a shepherd. [They were leaderless]
        5. Know anyone that could be described that way? – How can we help them to find the Good Shepherd?
    5. Their Respite (35-44)
    6. The only miracle found in all 4 gospels (except for the Res). Most public of all the miracles.
    7. (35,36) Here they remind Jesus it was a deserted place. (There wasn’t a Jack-n-the-Box, Burger King, Chipotle, or McDavids, & not even a Starbucks for miles)
    8. Send them away - Never send someone away who is hungry [Spiritually, Emotionally, Physically hungry]
    9. (37) Jesus will give us seemingly impossible challenges...you give them something to eat.
      1. May this be written on every church, & every believing heart, We have the bread that satisfies!!!...you give them something to eat!
    10. (37b) 200 denari – Leave Jesus out of your calculations…& you’ll come up short every time.
      1. Oh, they were keenly aware of the need, but powerless to meet it.
      2. Standing before them was the One who created the Heavens & the earth. One who had all power.
      3. So, the 1st step is not to measure our resources, but to determine God’s will & trust Him to meet the need.
    11. (39) Green Grass – Just to show you how detailed Scripture is…in Johns account(6:4) he mentions it is right before Passover (i.e. spring time) the only time of year there is green grass.
      1. Here he makes them to lie down in green pastures. Ps.23:2
      2. Ezek.34:14,15 I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. "I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down," says the Lord GOD.
    12. (40) Sat down in ranks – (lit. πρασια) A garden bed. Refers to the arrangement in rows, like a well-kept flower bed. It often was customary for the students of the rabbis to sit in rows which were compared to the rows of vines in the vineyard or to well-ordered gardens. (Linguistic Key to the Greek N.T., pg.105)
      1. They must have looked literally like flower beds.
    13. (41) Blessed & broke – We are not manufacturers, we are only distributors. (the miracle took place in Jesus hands, not theirs)
    14. Jesus didn’t only feed the 5000, but he taught the 12…even sends them home w/a doggie-bag reminder!
      1. Instead of telling Jesus what to do (vs.35,36) let Him bring you back into a place of service as waiters!
    15. Jesus gave them something impossible or preposterous to do in their own strength.
      1. When Jesus gives us a command…He enables us.
      2. Oh, that we might face up to our own inadequacy, & learn that Jesus is able to cope w/any crisis.
      3. Oh, that we might learn again total dependence upon Him!
    1. ​​​​​​​Why this urgency? – The answer is in John’s account.
      1. Jn.6:15 Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come & take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.
    2. (48) They were battling this storm all night, their arms were tired, sore, aching, their bodies filled with pain & fatigue.
      1. Again Jesus sent them right into this storm. Obeying Jesus isn’t always easy!
      2. Sometimes it is hard to do the will of God!
      3. Notice also that Jesus saw them while they were straining.
        1. He saw them! They didn’t have to send up a flare, or wave a white flag, nor radio in “Mayday, Mayday!”
        2. Jesus saw their dilemma but chose to wait several hours before He got there (4th watch/3-6am)
    3. (49) Ghost - “There was a local rumor that the last thing a boatman saw before drowning in Galilee was a ghost on the water.” David Hewitt, Mark, pg.99 [diff. than Smoke on the Water]
    4. (50) He quickly reassures them w/words that are reminiscent of Gods revelation of Himself throughout the OT. It is I; do not be afraid.
    5. (51) I’d rather be in the midst of a storm & have the presence of Christ then be in calm waters & Jesus be nowhere around!
      1. “It’s better to have Christ in a crisis, than to have life-as-usual w/o His presence.”
      2. He leads me beside still waters!
      3. They had seen Him calm a storm, now they get to see Him trample it under foot.
    6. (52) They had not understood the miracle of the loaves...for their heart was hardened.
      1. The miracle about the loaves were a pointer to who He was & they missed it, thus they didn't perceive who it was walking across the water.
    7. We need to trust Him even when we cannot see Him physically there alongside us.
      1. He will send us - He will watch us - He will come to us - He will talk w/us - And, we will reach shore.
  4. HE RESTORES MY SOUL (53-56)
    1. ​​​​​​​Hurting people – Some of you are going through the trauma of a divorce. Others battling the hurts that come w/a husband/wife that drinks too much. Or the parent that is verbally abusive. The son contemplating homosexuality. The daughter who just moved in with her boyfriend.
      1. We Christians are to find hurting people & get them to Jesus.
      2. Bring them to the One who has power to heal.
      3. Bring them to the only One who can truly restore their soul.
        1. Saved or not saved, we all have hurts, habits, & hang-ups & we all need to come quickly to Jesus...and let Him Restore our soul.
    2. So, Who pushes your swing? In the right hands, you can find peace...even in the twisty’s of life. Even in the big pushes where all you see is sky. You can trust Him!
      1. Trust Jesus in every circumstance: hungry crowds, raging seas, broken humanity.
      2. Trust Jesus for...His Provision in seemingly impossible situations. His Presence in the scary circumstances we often find ourselves in. His Power for the hurting of our world.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Mark 6". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/mark-6.html. 2017.
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