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MARK CHAPTER SIX
Mark 6:1 And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him. 2 And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? 3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. 4 But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. 5 And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk and healed them. 6 And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.
Again we see that miracles were based on the belief of the people, not the one doing the healing. He marveled at their UNBELIEF!
He has left a country where they did not want Him and now He is not well received in his own area. This is not an uncommon occurrence today. Not that I compare myself to a prophet or the Lord but when I moved back to my hometown and started a new job my employer had calls from the townspeople who they did not want me in their house to do the repairs on their appliances and televisions. In my case they knew what I was like when a teenager and they wanted no part of me.
These folks knew Jesus as a carpenter and just knew that He had nothing to say to them spiritually.
This is true of young people leaving for college and returning to town as a pastor. There will be those that will not accept him as a preacher. They think of the person as a young person growing up. In my hometown there was a lawyer (son of a lawyer as well) that they called Eddy for his growing up years - well his grown years - well his senior years. He was always Eddy the son of the lawyer even to his old age.
People in your hometown remember you as what you were, they often miss the fact that you have grown into an adult and that you might have changed. When the Lord called me to go off to Bible College I told one of my friends that I was going to be a preacher. His reaction was shock then laughter at how ridiculous an idea it was. He remembered me as the one that he played in the foxhole with over in the vacant lot that was overgrown with weeds and perfect for kids playing war.
The folks in the synagogue knew Christ as a child, they knew His folks and His family. Where in the world did He get all this new teaching?
"From whence hath this man these things?" was the people’s comment about his teachings. This is of great note. Those in the Synagogue would have been the more spiritual, the mature and those that knew the Old Testament, yet they did not recognize His message - the message fromHis own lips was not recognizable when compared to their belief from the Old Testament. That says a lot about how they understood the Old Testament - they did not.
They were offended at the teaching or more specifically by Him personally. The word translated "at" is normally translated "in" thus they were offended by everything that He was. Wonder if the disciples told him to "Not take it personally?" His very being seems to have offended them. The offense is in the passive tense. It was not an offense that was put on or made up, it was just His very presence and speech that was a total offence to their being. Rather hard not to take that personally :-)
We spoke at a large country church while on deputation and there was a potluck after the service. They insisted on the guests going first. We went looking for a place to sit with our full plates and found seats quite easily in the large fellowship hall. As others filled their plates and sat down it was easily evident that there was something very wrong with us. The entire congregation filled their plates and sat down - at least a table and a half away from us. We sat at the table alone until the pastor and his wife came through the serving line last - they saw us sitting alone and came to our rescue.
I do not know if it was something I said, something they smelled, or if they just did not like strangers.
It is hard not to take something like that personally, but remember Jesus and his action - He just continued on with his mission.
It may be of interest to the reader to note the acceptance of preaching from outside speakers. Is their message from the Word? Is it accepted by the people? Are they in tune with the true Word or are they in tune with their interpretation of the Word. Many churches have been listening to the same old stuff based on man’s opinion for so long they oft times miss a message from the Word because they don’t recognize it as truth.
When in Bible College I found it of interest that the man with the solid Bible message gained little interest among the students. One morning a flamboyant man stood to speak, he read a part of a verse as a "Jumping off point" for his message. The jumping off point was followed with story upon story upon story upon story. Very interesting but there was no point to all of his stories and nothing from Scripture save the jumping off point.
As I was leaving chapel people were all atwitter about the great message, the great preaching etc. When I sat down in my next class the buzz was along the same lines. Several students turned to me when one of them asked what I thought of the message. I asked them to tell me what the message was, what it contained, what point was there and what Bible message they heard or maybe they could tell me how it impacted their life. The quiet was answer enough. I did not hear one more word about the message except from the young man who asked of my opinion - "You know Stan I think you are right."
We learn from the Word of God and we should hear of it in the Lord’s services.Verse four speaks of the honor a prophet has "A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house." Note that there are three areas, country kin, and own house.
A man of God will have no honor in his country, among his family, nor among his own house. I can understand the country and extended family, but in your own house? Is this a statement that the prophet will not find honor in his own family? This seems to be true, though not in a negative sense. A father that is famous is just dad to the family, they have no focus on his outside activities.
I doubt that my children see me as preacher, I’m just dad and that is the way it should be. In fact most men do not talk of their outside accomplishments and their family may not even know what they have done for God. It is God that is the focus, not our accomplishments.
I have written before of my father and his disability, or being crippled in the terminology of the forties. He was paralyzed from the waist down and shuffled from point to point on two canes. He often gave a one legged man, that was crippled in my mind, when he was returning to work. I always felt sorry for this "crippled" man not ever thinking that my own father was also crippled. He was just dad to me.
As to extended family accepting the prophet often they do not understand the person’s commitment to God, they do not understand the person’s refusal to involve themselves in sinful practices, in ungodly conduct and as a result they are outsiders and have no respect within the family.
Not that this is a big problem, we should not be respected by lost people for they do not understand our thinking or our commitment. Added to this fact many Christians that are of limited commitment do not understand why anyone would take their Christianity so seriously.
If honor among man is your goal, you will not gain it by following God, but you may find that one day God will certainly honor you for your efforts and that is the honor that we all should see as our goal. Not that we seek honor, but that we seek to serve God and when found faithful He extends honor.
1. In verse 3 we read "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary," Constable relates that the Jews of this time normally called the son by the father’s name or in this case it would be recorded the son of Joseph. Constable suggests by this terminology "son of Mary" they were insulting the Lord by questioning His father, indeed suggesting that His father was not known and that He was illegitimate. When detractors strike out at you, ignore them as best you can and continue on with your ministry as the Lord did. It is very difficult to ignore someone saying wrong about you or your family, but it is just that - someone saying things. If you have lived your life well before the world most will understand that it is falsehood and to be ignored. Those that listen would probably listen to anything brought against you so nothing you can say will probably change their mind.
It is God that we answer to not the human beings that seem to bother us most.
2. There is such a contrast in this section of belief and unbelief. The people in Christ’s hometown rejected Him because they knew Him from childhood and the apostles rejected Him because they did not know Him, while the public seemed quite accepting of Him based upon his miracles.
It seems to me that there were many that followed Him to hear the teaching while others to receive the healing. His teaching was indeed new, different and powerful. Why would people not flock to hear Him. In the matter of course, those that were healed might well have become listeners as well.
Even today there is so much unbelief, yet there are some that are interested and listen to belief. It is the few that respond that we preach to the many for. If we do not preach to the many, the few will not hear, nor will they turn to the Lord.
Verse 6 mentions" And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching." Christ Himself marveled because of the unbelief, yet He continued preaching the message that they needed to hear.
The term translated "marveled" can be translated "wonder" and by implication admire or admiration. The unbelief where He was known was not seemingly anticipated, but He marveled at it. One might suspect that He found their unbelief something to be admired in that they were sticking to their unbelief in spite of the miracles and wonder of others. They did not believe, and they were not about to make out like they did to their benefit.
Honesty is to be admired in the lost while it should be expected in the saved.
3.Mark mentions "but to go shod with sandals: and, said he, put not on two coats." While Matthew 9:10 mentions "no wallet for your journey neither two coats nor shoes, nor staff:" One seems to say no shoes while the other seems to say shoes. So which is it? Most suggest that Matthew was listing the no spare items while common sense would suggest they wear shoes.
When you come to seeming contradictions in the Word it is always good to read the context first then consider the different perspective. These two items will normally take care of seeming contradictions.
The real point of contradictions is that there are no contradictions in the Bible or it is not theBible that we believe in. God’s word is truth, thus there is no error, no contradictions, and no area that is not true. With this basis then contradictions become questions to be answered with study.
4. The idea of no extra stuff to carry was to speak of the immediacy of the message as well as the provision of God for His servants. If they had need the people were to provide that need via God’s leading.
Not too many pastors or missionaries living that one out today are there. Some of course take their message wherever God leads with what provision they have. Most missionary organizations follow this concept - well not really - most require you have all your outgoing expenses, all your stuff crated for shipping, your retirement program set up and being funded and well everything else that might be needed in this life.
When I read missionary prayer letters and missionary speakers I really wonder if they have read the gospels. The Lord spoke these words to the twelve of course and that is where it ends for most people. However we take that same "Great" commission that was given to the twelve and apply it to ourselves, but we do not apply the rest of the story to ourselves - "Oh that was only for the apostles." Well maybe the great commission was to ONLY the twelve as well - NOT!
Yes, God wants us to do all that we can for provision, but just what is it that we NEED?
Consider what you really need to go about the Lord’s business. If He can provide and He has called then consider making your move and rely upon Him that sends.
When we were called to live on a very minimal missionary support we knew that it was going to be up to God to supply the difference between what we would receive and what we would need to live. There were times when the need seemed to be bigger than the provision, however there was never a time we did not eat. There was a time when we lived on eggs. A dear friend of the ministry donated cases and cases of eggs and we literally ate eggs three meals a day for a month or two. That was God’s provision and for it we were terribly thankful.
It was not what do you want for supper, it was how do you want your eggs? God does not call us to live high on the hog He expects us to live on what He provides, be it bacon or eggs and not necessarily both at the same time.
It was around this same time when we accepted the interim pastor-ship of a small church. The head deacon asked us to stay for a business meeting. One of the topics for discussion was my salary.
When discussing my coming as interim one of the board, a doctor, asked what pay I was expecting. I told him honestly that we were there to serve and that pay did not enter my mind in the discussion. He quickly quipped, "Well then we won’t pay you anything!" To which I replied "That would be fine with me."
In the congregational meeting there was little discussion. The deacon stated, "The board wants togive Stan $1000 per month for serving us." He then called for a vote that was unanimous. That was two and a half times our support level, which we seldom received. We had been averaging well under our level of support so this salary was almost three times our monthly income.
When I told the deacon that was too much that half that would be more than adequate he said that it was settled. From eating eggs three times a day to having an excess of income - God provides in HIS way, not ours and we can enjoy the experience along the way without expense.
5. The shaking off of dust was typical of Jews coming back into Jewish territory from a Gentile territory. It was a symbolic gesture to let everyone know they were back on holy ground.
In the case of the disciples it was to signify that the message had been rejected and that these people were Christ rejecters. Today we tend to want those Christ rejecters to come into the church to be entertained with everyone else. Christ set forth a principle here of separation from the lost, not fraternization.
Lost people are against all that we stand for, they are against our Lord, they are against the principles that we live by. Why would we want them in our churches to be part of our worship services?
In a word if your church is seeker friendly it is full of lost people who are against all that your church should be doing. This ought not to be so.
6. The disciples were to live with someone in the town where they were ministering. This speaks to the hospitality of the saints. Today we need a healthy dose of this. Missionaries often have to fend for themselves between meetings when they are out on the road. An established missionary has supporters that will house them but new missionaries often have no contacts or friends where they can stay between meetings so are left to their own devices.
When on deputation I found that most of my meetings were in the mid-west and I was on the West Coast. When I left for my first month plus of meetings I had no idea where I was going to spend time between meetings because none of the pastors that scheduled me offered housing.
I left home planning to camp out in rest and camp areas. This really did not bother me other than a verse that kept coming forward in my mind. 1 Timothy 3:2 "A bishop then must be blameless the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;"
One must wonder where this "hospitality" requirement has gone in today’s church. Yes, times have changed. Yes, we must be careful, but we must also abide by the teachings of Scripture that tell us to be hospitable.
If you are not going to make arrangements for speakers in homes, be sure to accommodate them within the church in some manner. In most churches there is a little room that could house a bed and a chair for the itinerant speaker to spend his time.7. We need to make a point of clarification relating to the sending of the twelve. Matthew specifies that they were to go to the house of Israel and not to the Gentiles nor to the Samaritans.
"...go not into any way of the Gentitles, and enter not into any city of the Samaritans:" yet Luke and Mark leave out this point.
The leaving out of the point leads one to wonder at the purpose of this omission. We know that all three writers were inspired by the same Holy Spirit thus we can know it was not something done to deceive nor to mislead. Since all three were writing to different audiences we must assume that the readers had the information they needed. The omission seems to speak to the idea that these principles were for all that would go to the lost. Matthew knew that they were sent to the Jews but Mark and Luke knew that the lost of all nations needed this message. It is also possible that Mark and Luke were not aware of this specific command of the Lord to go only to the house of Israel.
This also gives credence to the idea that Christ and His message was at first to the Jews alone and that only after they had rejected Him did He turn his message toward the Gentiles.
8. Christ sent the twelve out two by two. The purpose of the coupling was not given but one might surmise that it was for mutual support and encouragement. When visiting door to door years ago we found that often one person could speak with the stranger better than the other. There was a mutual desire, but often one would come forth as the one the stranger would relate to.
Often there is also a matter of two thinking better than one. Often when my wife and I witness to someone she will come up with texts to back up what I am saying or vice versa.
Having someone with you in ministry is always an asset. The pastor is fortunate that has someone to minister with him whether an assistant or a layman.
There is also the matter of safety. The roads were not all that safe and there is always safety in numbers. Today we have a society that is full of dishonest evil people and having two will give witness if something goes wrong. We are to be careful of situations that could draw criticism upon Christ and His church.
9. The term translated "power" in verse seven is not the dynamite type power, but rather an authority over. It is a general term relating to having power over something. It is not the explosive power, but the authority to blow as in the one that has their finger over the button. The apostles did not have the power or force to drive out the spirits, but they had the authority to command them to leave. The thought seems to be that the power they had was power to call for action from the Spirit that empowered them.
We have the authority to follow the Lord and to do great things for Him, but it is not through our force or power, but through the authority we are given by him to go forth preaching and making disciples.10. In speaking of the sorrow that Herod had over Salome’s request Constable observes. "The only other time Mark used the Greek word perilupos, translated "very sorry" or "greatly distressed," was in 14:34 where it describes Jesus’ agony in Gethsemane."
This speaks to the great remorse that believers often come to when they have made a terrible mistake. We often act or decide things on the spur of the moment as did Herod, and we often regret that act/decision just as quickly.
This is good. The act or decision is not good, but the remorse is something that should follow for the believer. If it does not follow there is something spiritually wrong with the person’s life.
Remorse is the natural response to doing wrong even if it is spur of the moment wrong.
The point is that we must live with that decision or the consequences of the act. We cannot just ignore our wrong, we must accept the consequences and move on the best we can. God expects us to be accountable for how we live our lives.
This might relate to a wrong that we have done to a fellow church member or family member. The wrong is done, the next item of action is doing the right thing. One must not ignore the responsibility to care for the injustice. It is your responsibility, not the one that you have wronged.
Many are the parishioner/pastor that has spoken with a sharp tongue and left the resulting cut bleeding not caring for the wound. Husbands and wives, you might want to take this responsibility as well. Do not wait for time to heal the wound, care for it as you ought.
11. There might be interest in why the people were seated in sections. Constable relates that some feel Christ was just following the thought of teachers of His day lining up the people in rows so that they were somewhat organized and could learn. Others suggest that it was a division to illustrate the Israelites around the tabernacle when they were camped. Neither have any real validity from the passage.
There is a simple organizational thought. It would have made it easier to know which folks had been fed and which had not, as well as it would have made it easier for the apostles to move in and out among the people to feed them. Constable correctly observes that the later is probably a poor picture of the Israelites since most of Christ’s listeners were probably not believers.
It is not overly conceivable that they could have fed that many people as they pass hotdogs down the row at the ball games. There would have been havoc had they just started passing food around.
The simple act of organizing the folks into groups would be comforting for the masses. They would have been reassured that everyone was going to be fed. The calmness of the crowd is of near miraculous proportions in and of itself. Masses of hungry folks sitting around late in the day miles from provision could have made for an ugly crowd if they knew there was food up there infront.
Maybe even more to the point might be the fact that with this organization the crowd could personally view this miracle. They could know that ALL were fed not just those around them.
Several authors mention that the people were as garden beds spread out before Christ, a nice picture to compliment the thought of the fields being white unto harvest. Christ’s central thought and ministry was to bring the harvest in.
12. The fact that the apostles SERVED the people should not be missed. Often church leadership views themselves as LEADERS and none other. This ought not to be so. Church leaders are servants first and they lead by example not by motivation, force or coercion.
Leaders serve Christ as His underling and ought to serve their congregations as well. Anyone that is more than a servant is not doing well for himself, his congregation nor his Lord.
These men were to go on to change the world with their message and ministry, yet they were also servants of the people. Do not miss that message no matter your position in the church.
13. The walking on water has a lot of questions to me. Why did He not just go with them - He wanted to teach them. Okay then why did he WALK on the water rather than skim the surface - skimming would be unnatural. Okay then why did He not will Himself to the other side - hummm, we probably will never know other than to be assured that He had a specific purpose in the training of the apostles.
This is just another time when God limited Himself to work with man. He could have done this in many other ways, but He chose to walk to teach his disciples as He willed.
God limited Himself in time to create man, He limited Himself to manhood to save man and He has limited Himself to a glorified body to associate with man.
14. Matthew 14:28 ff shows the incident when Peter went out upon the water to be with the Lord but started sinking. Constable raises the question of why Mark did not record this if Peter was the source of Mark’s information. He answers this by suggesting that Peter in his humility did not relate this to Mark. It may be more to the point that Peter was embarrassed by his lack of faith and did not want others to know - many are the explanations possible, but the fact remains that we do not know because we are not told.
It could and should be suggested that Peter did not give Mark his information, and that Mark did not record it because he did not know it. It could also be suggested that the Spirit just did not move Mark to record what he knew from whatever source.
It might be suggested that Constable, and others, find little indicators as this to back their assumption that Peter influenced the book of Mark which is not really factual but assumptive.15. In verse three the term "carpenter" is used of the Lord. He was man; He labored with his back and hands; He thought those base thoughts of how do I accomplish this job; He sweat from His labor; His back hurt from the labor; It hurt terribly when a splinter slid under His fingernail; His hands were sore from the tools wearing on the skin; and He suffered all those other hardships that we all suffer when we labor at our jobs.
He knows what it is like to have to get up in the morning at five and to get on the bike and go out for a ride to gain exercise. He knew what it was like to eat breakfast knowing a long day of labor was ahead. He knew the joy of breaking for lunch. He knew the joy of stopping work for supper. He knew the joy of finishing a job and knowing it was done right. He knew the hardship of getting up on His one day off and going to synagogue instead of sleeping in.
He was as we, He worked for a living. He had a trade. He labored for his hire as all of us ought to labor. We have no free pass due to the desire to stay home and take it easy.
Not only did He know these things as man on earth, but I am sure that he remembers them well when we are on the way to work wondering if He knows what He is putting us through as His children. Definitely He knows our trials and our hard times because He knew them Himself in the past.
For months I had a pity party all for myself having to go into a dead end low paying job day after day. The boredom was great and the labor was hard. One day I realized no matter what I was doing, janitoring or preaching His Word, I was doing His will and His work and that I should rejoice in either. As I began praying each morning that He would bless my labors for Him my pity party seemed more and more ridiculous and my life became much more meaningful.
We tend to focus on the negative of our lives and make ourselves miserable instead of focusing on God and His work in our lives.
Standing waiting for Target to open this morning I looked out at the freeway and all the traffic; all those thousands of people headed off to work or where ever they were headed. As I watched I realized how fortunate I was to be able to retire and be free to go out for a cup of coffee and study for an hour or two instead of going into work. God has truly been good to me in this respect. I never dreamed when in ministry that I would ever be able to retire and spend my time as I wished yet that eight years at the janitor endeavor (and later as maintenance supervisor) prepared the way to this time of writing and ministry through the web.
He truly knows what He is doing when He leads us into those seemingly dead ends. Just enjoy them for He has something for you to gain through the experience.
16. It is said that a man who does not teach his son a trade teaches him robbery. Maybe not at the back end of a gun but living off of others is the same thing as robbery.
I fear our society or more specifically government has taught millions robbery through the social "safety nets" that social services have set up across the nation. We have generational welfarefamilies because the system taught each new generation how to live within the system to give the system basis for their work.
Society is right to take care of those that have need, but society has also trained millions to milk the system for every free dollar that they can. The system has created a generation of "you owe me folks" that seek equality with the taxpayers they live off of.
The presidential campaign reeks of future communism. The candidates promise more and more for the common man on the backs of the rich and famous. We condemned that in Russia, Cuba and China yet we are racing toward it in our own country under a different name. When will the American public realize we are becoming Russia by the day?
Work is honorable and right in the eyes of the Lord.
7 And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits; 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: 9 But be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats. 10 And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place. 11 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment than for that city.
Okay, now I think many women would be irate to be sent out without a suitcase or two or three -well many men as well. Christ told the apostles to go forth and take nothing with them. Humm I wonder if he means I cannot take my hand-held computer with me. NOTHING but a staff - the staff was to assist in walking. They were to take no comforts, but the necessary staff to assist in those long walks.
No cash, no barter items, no Capital One cards, go with nothing not even a Macdonald’s salad for supper. But my pocket pc and ipod are totally needed!
They were to stay in homes that were opened to them and then move on to other places.
Now comes that passage that the Jehovah Witnesses have made famous, if they reject your message then "shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them." Many a time Jehovah Witnesses have had to shake their feet, even if standing on a clean sidewalk to show that they have been rejected. They have taken this as a sign of martyrdom, they have been rejected however the Lord spoke of the message being rejected - "not receive you, nor hear you" indicates the Word was rejected and along with it the person.
This passage does not tell us that missionaries should go to the field without support, without equipment, or without a change of clothes. It was a specific sending of the apostles. Now there might be a principle here that we should take note of.
The thought of the passage was that they had no need of these things that others would take care of them in their mission. Thus a modern day missionary should rely upon the gifts of others and the support of others for their ministry. It is right and proper for us to care for missionaries and to house them, feed them and encourage them if they have need. This might mean we ought to offer them housing until they move on to their next place of meeting as the passage implies.
The passage does not teach that the missionary should be destitute and poor though for his spiritual sake that might be a good thing as it would be for all of us. I think that frugal is good that conservative in appearance is good and that we all should also consider how our spending appears to others. The passage also shows to us the great need of the world. Christ sent them out to preach the gospel while doing miracles. The miracles were a sign of their true message and the validity of Christ.
We all have this same command in Matthew 28:19 "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
12 And they went out, and preached that men should repent. 13 And they cast out many devils and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them."
Be sure to understand the context of this command to repent. It is in the context of the Old Testament economy, not the cross prepared New Testament economy. To the Jew, therepentance was obviously including turning to God the same as John’s (author of the gospel)
"belief" also included a turning from the old life to God. The Jew did not have to believe in God he already did that, he just needed to turn from his sin - repenting of his evil life.
We also see an addition to the healing that was going on, the apostles were anointing with oil along with the healing. This looks forward to the doctrine that James sets forth, the anointing of the sick by the church leadership, not some famous charismatic healer that roams the country looking to increase his/her bottom line. James mentions, James 5:14 ff "Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. 16 Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."
At this point Matthew interjects a lengthy addition to the sending of the apostles. Matthew 9:16-38 details a number of items including the thought that a city rejecting the message would be worse off in the judgment than Sodom and Gomorrah.
This maybe taken as the fact that those cities are more sinful than Sodom and Gomorrah, though this may not be the case. Sodom and Gomorrah were in the Old Testament economy and did not have the benefit of knowing of the miracles and of Christ, nor had they heard the message of John the Baptist. There is a clear excess of knowledge given to these New Testament cities and they will be held accountable for the knowledge that they were given.
14 And king Herod heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad:) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him. 15 Others said, That it is Elias. And others said, That it is a prophet, or as one of the prophets. 16 But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead.
It is of note from the context that Herod heard of Christ due to the work of the apostles going out and around preaching. One might wonder if this is true of our preaching today. Are we stirring the thoughts of the political leaders? Are we causing them alarm over our message? Herod misinterpreted the stir in his realm, but do our leaders even hear a stir from our witness to the world?
It is also of note that Christ had been about his ministry for some time by now and Herod is just now hearing of His work and ministry. Was Herod being protected from hearing of the Lord’s work or was he just too busy with the affairs of state?
Either way he was remiss in knowing what was going on in his land. A leader must know of the lay of his land to rule properly. I fear today in America this is true of our own leaders. Some call it being out of touch with the common man but I would call it not knowing what is going on in reality. These people get so tied up in what they think is important and loose sight of all that is important to their people.
Herod was one of three sons of Herod the great. One ruled over Galilee and Perea while this oneruled over Galilee. This Herod was Antipas while the one ruling over Judea was Archelaus Matthew 2:22. Their dear old dad was the one that killed all the babies when Christ was born.
Gill gives us a more complete look at the family, "And though he is here called a "tetrarch", he is in Mark 6:14 called a king: the reason of his being styled a "tetrarch" was this; his father Herod divided his large kingdom into four parts, and bequeathed them to his sons, which was confirmed by the Roman senate: Archelaus reigned in Judea in his stead; upon whose decease, that part was put under the care of a Roman governor; who, when John the Baptist began to preach, was Pontius Pilate; this same Herod here spoken of, being "tetrarch" of Galilee, which was the part assigned him; and his brother Philip "tetrarch" of Ituraea, and of the region of Trachonitis; and Lysanias, "tetrarch" of Abilene, Luke 3:1 the word "tetrarch": signifying one that has the "fourth" part of government: and in Munster’s Hebrew Gospel, he is called "one of the four princes"; and in the Arabic version, "a prince of the fourth part"; and in the Persic, a "governor of the fourth part of the kingdom". The "time" referred to, was after the death of John the Baptist; and when Christ had been for a good while, and in many places, preaching and working miracles; the particular instant which respect is had unto, is the sending forth of the twelve disciples to preach and work miracles; and which might serve the more to spread the fame of Christ, and which reached the court of Herod; who, it is said here, heard of the fame of Jesus: what a wonderful preacher he was, and what mighty things were done by him."
The Net Bible notes "Herod was technically not a king, but a tetrarch, a ruler with rank and authority lower than a king. A tetrarch ruled only with the approval of the Roman authorities. This was roughly equivalent to being governor of a region. In the New Testament, Herod, who ruled over Galilee, is called a king (Matthew 14:9; Mark 6:14-29), reflecting popular usage rather than an official title."
Jamieson, Fausset and Brown put Herod’s feelings thusly "The murdered prophet haunted his guilty breast like a specter, and seemed to him alive again and clothed with unearthly powers, in the person of Jesus."
Speculation is the root of all rumors. The king heard of Christ, did not understand who He was and assumed He was the reincarnation of one whom he had beheaded.
We see the spiritual makeup of Herod quite easily. He seems to have believed in nothing based on the Bible, but only on the speculations and wisdom of his day. We were honored to pastor a tiny church southwest of Denver years ago. We had an older couple that assisted in the ministry and a young mother with two children. The mother was from the hippie generation and lived in a quaint little log home way back in the hills. Her brother came to visit her and came to church one morning. The older man was teaching the Sunday School class and we read this passage. The brother lit up like a roman candle and blurted out loud I’ve always believed in reincarnation and now I have Biblical proof of it. We took the rest of the class showing him that this was not a proof text for reincarnation, even though Herod was in agreement with the young man. As much as some might want reincarnation to be true, it is not, and there is no Biblical text to show otherwise.There is a little side information about John the Baptist here. Herod thought Christ was John because of the great works that were happening. John must have been doing some miracles or else the gossip mill was running very much overtime about him. We do not have indication that there were miracles though John 10:41 may indicate that there were none. "And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true."
It would seem from what we know of Herod that he may even have been protecting John to some extent. He must have had a great admiration for someone that could turn so many people into the wilderness to be baptized in a dirty river.
Even with such admiration Herod was not willing to turn from his sin, indeed his sin is what caused him to kill the man who he respected. His sin wanted John beheaded and so it came to pass.
This is not a great picture of Herod. Herod means "hero like" but we do not seem to see that side of the man in either his failure to protect John’s life nor in his fear of what Christ seemed to be doing.
Many there are today that go to church, may admire the pastor, may even enjoy the stirring sermons as long as they relate to someone else. Many church members are there only for the financial and social benefit.
My brother, a contractor, and I were raised in a Christian church but neither of us were saved by its ministry. Later when we were both married he joined the local Methodist church. I had been saved and living for the Lord for a number of years at this point and wondered aloud of his joining that particular church. Knowing his Christian church background it was rather odd.
When I asked him of the decision his answer was "Well, all the business people in town belong there." Financial and social advantage brought him to church membership rather than any desire of spiritual benefit or thought of God.
It is feared that many in our evangelical/fundamental churches today are members only for their personal advantage be it social, financial, or physical good. A desire to serve God in a particular body of believers is the only reason to ever join the membership of a church. What the people can do for you should never enter into your mind while making such a decision. You are becoming a part of that body of believers to serve as part of that body rather than to be served by it.
Some churches only exist to serve the social interests of the congregation. This is not the purpose of a church and a church for that purpose is not really a church.
Another issue must be the fear and concern Herod had over his part in the death of John. There must have been a great guilt built into his mindset at this time in his life. His life must have been rather terrible down deep inside when he took time to consider his actions and lifestyle.Again many believers share a close affinity with Herod. They are plagued by guilt over the actions of the past. They may have done some terrible things to others, or they might have just done terrible things by way of their own personal actions. When they consider their life, often people allow guilt to master them. Not that they should not feel guilty, but the point of being a Christian is to leave that guilt at the cross when you have realized your sin and seek forgiveness. Many lay their guilt at the cross and seek forgiveness but immediately take up the guilt, put it back on their shoulder and walk away from God to suffer in mental misery.
There is indication that Herod had an interest, if not real interest in Christ in that Luke 9:9 mentions of Herod "And he sought to see him." The word "see" relates to knowing someone or perceive and the word "sought" or in some translations "desired" relates to seeking or possibly plotting - planning deliberately would be the thought. This is not a simple, "Oh that is interesting, I’d like to see him." But rather the idea of I will seek Him out to get to know Him.
Whether Herod acted on his desire we do not know. Matthew Henry suggests that Herod wanted to see if Jesus looked like John the Baptist. This is possible but more is suggested by the words used. Herod found himself meeting Christ when Jesus was being judged prior to the crucifixion. Pilate sent Christ before Herod. Herod, it is clear wanted to know Christ, but not for spiritual reasons, but for "entertainment" reasons it would seem.
Luke 23:6 "When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man were a Galilaean. 7 And as soon as he knew that he belonged unto Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who himself also was at Jerusalem at that time. 8 And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him. 9 Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing. 10 And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him. 11 And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate. 12 And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves."
At least verse twelve proves that Christ was a peace-maker - not that this peace gave the two men real peace.
17 For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife: for he had married her. 18 For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife. 19 Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him; but she could not: 20 For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly. 21 And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee; 22 And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee. 23 And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom. 24 And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist. 25 And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked,saying, I will that thou give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist. 26 And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath’s sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her. 27 And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison, 28 And brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother. 29 And when his disciples heard of it, they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb.
I would like to point out a few items for application sake. First in verse 20 we gain insight into Herod’s feelings toward John the Baptist. 20 "For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly."
It doesn’t seem that Herod was a believer, though he could have been, but we see a lost man’s respect for a Godly man. Two items. Know that ungodly people respect godly men on some plain. Second know that this should be true today however I see little respect for godly men today. Some possible reasons for today’s disrespect might be:
a. There is nothing in the life of the believer to respect. They live like the lost, they talk like the lost, they act like the lost, they watch the same trashy television/movies as the lost and they are for all practical purposes the same as the lost except that they call themselves Christian.
This observation on the part of the world then is blanket applied to all Christians no matter what their life might be like.
b. The American lost person is much more depraved than the lost of Christ’s time. Probably not since Herod beheaded John because of a pretty woman - at least we are not to that level as yet in America - yet.
c. Know that the lost watch the believer, and that they keep those thoughts to themselves for their own consideration. My father was in the hospital a lot toward the end of his life. My pastor never went to see my father - uhh officially, yet every time he was in the hospital he happened into my father’s room. Over time this had a profound effect on my Father. He mentioned once in a passing way that he thought the pastor was an awfully nice man. My father gave few compliments so I took that as being a great compliment for the pastor.
The pastor never was pushy, just tried to be a friend. I truly believe that his plowing in my father’s life was the reason that on his deathbed he finally spoke to me of spiritual things in an open way.
Being a good Christian has its moments and we need to live as if every moment were one of those that make a change in someone’s life.
d. Know that you can have a relationship with a lost person, even in power, if you keep your stand where it ought to be and speak truth even when it would be easier not to speak. John pointed out Herod’s sin, not that he probably needed to, but to have access to Herod and not pointout sin would have been remiss on John’s part.
e. Truth affects different folks in different ways. Herod did not seem to be bothered by John’s truth, yet his wife wanted to kill John over it. This might indicate that Herod knew it was truth and was trying to ignore it, but his wife wanted revenge for having to listen to the truth.
So today some will listen and others will attempt to cause you trouble.
f. Note the commitment to keeping his word on the part of Herod. Beheading a man who was just is not something that would be easy, yet Herod followed through to keep his name clean - willing to murder for his name’s sake.
I am glad that we do not have men in power in America that would kill to keep their name clear of slander, but it would be very nice to see men in power even worry about what their name is like to the world or even to the voters. It seems they will do anything and everything to be in power and stay there.
When I was a teenager the local policeman (there was one on duty at a time) caught me speeding. He met me at the judge’s office and I was correctly fined. All through the process I was kicking myself for my stupidity, not for my own name, but for my father’s name. He had always held his name as important to him, indeed that was about all he had in life. I knew my name was going to be in the paper and I knew he would be embarrassed knowing that his son was a lawbreaker.
At that time in mid-Nebraska a speeder was not held with high regard, indeed it was a sign of poor parenting if your children found themselves in trouble. Oh for the days when there were some standards to life among the lost - among the believers. Today there is no standard since with humanism you do what you feel is right for you, thus there is no standard that exists. It is fairly clear how long a society will last with that ethic.
It was reported this week that Christian youth are heavily involved in Wicca a "religion" that teaches that there are no rules - humanism mixed with Devil worship might be the source. Wicca is a mother earth belief that has no rules to life, nothing is right or wrong. Naturally young Christians like this because they have not been taught truth in the church nor seemingly at home or anywhere else.
One should wonder at the control that this woman had over Herod. His wife certainly was not in subjection to her husband. Yes, she is an ungodly woman and she has little to do with a Christian woman, but she certainly is a bad example of how to be a wife. Christian wives ought to take a long look at this conniving woman and vow never to be anything like Herodious.
I fear many Christian wives are doing similar things on a much less dangerous plain. They know what they want and they move and shake in the background to get their way when they know their husband would not approve if she had been up front with him. Wives your place under the authority of your husband is God’s placement, God’s will and God’s desire for you. Be at peace with your husband and do not put undo pressure upon him. Up front talk/requests are muchbetter than behind the scenes twisting and moving.
On the other hand men, take a serious look at Herod and the undue pressure he allowed his wife to place upon him. Not only did she plot against him, but she used his own sexual lust to do it. You must be master of yourself first and then your wife. Do not allow your desire to cloud your judgment. You are the head of your house so be sure to act like it by example of controlling yourself first then your family.
Now just one more thought before we move on. You are Herodious sitting in your palace minding your own business and someone walks in with a head in a charger. Now, what does etiquette require of you at that moment in time? Just how do you do your queenly thing when looking at the head of someone else severed from his body? What do you say? Thank you seems rather cold. "Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it." Would be a lie since you requested it. Just how did Herodious react. Might there have been remorse somewhere along the line? Might there have been sick feelings? What a cold cold woman she must have been - gentlemen be thankful for the wife of your youth!
30 And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught. 31 And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. 32 And they departed into a desert place by ship privately. 33 And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and outwent them, and came together unto him. 34 And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.
The party of the Lord was weary and hungry so Christ attempted to take them away for a break. The apostles and the Lord purposed to get away from it all but the people who followed wanted further teaching. This is not uncommon in ministry. The weary pastor attempts to get away from the ministry for a moment and it just follows along behind him. Many pastors just leave town and today probably need to leave their cell phone at home. A break is needed and the minister should never feel guilty about taking one now and then if needed. Some do not need it for long periods while others may need it more often.
The point of this section is more along the lines communicated by "was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things." He had compassion on those that needed teaching. Oh pastor how you need to wake up to the need of your people. Sheep need food, not the Gospel. Church is for the sheep not the wolves and outsiders.
Many pastors think that the church assembly is where the lost should be saved. Wake up and look at the Bible you preach from. The church is made up of believers and you are there to edify them, not save all the lost that ought not be there. Use your precious little time with your congregation to teach them the Word, not the feel good fluff of modern day preachers.Teach them doctrine, get your theology books out and preach it - that is food, that is meat, that is what your people need. They will starve with the feel good stuff of sermons given in many churches today.
Christians are not stupid and pastors need to wake up to that fact. Many of my generation have stopped going to church due to the terrible music, the pride in talent, and the lack of preaching from the Word. If those are not enough they see the hypocrisy in the leadership that are protecting their jobs rather than ministering to their people. There is little fellowship to be found in churches unless you belong to the in group, there are few activities for the poor and little to do unless you know the in crowd.
We visited a church a number of years ago that seemed rather fit to our needs. We attended the Sunday school class and were even more excited until they announced the months social activity. Bowling followed by pizza. We could barely feed ourselves much less go bowling and out for pizza. Without money there is no fellowship in many churches.
The church is where we fellowship, fast, pray and are built up in the faith. How many churches can you name that fulfill those standards. Is it any wonder the older generation sits home watching some preacher on TV or just stay home and look into the Word together?
A pastor awhile back mentioned church discipline and the putting out of the church of one that was in public sin. As we left church I asked my wife just what there was in "Church" today that would be missed by one under discipline. What thing missed would drive them back to the church? I have yet to find an answer. Indeed, I have jotted down a number of reasons why the church is rather irrelevant in our society. If you do not like flouncy music, fluff and stuff from the pulpit and cold shoulders from the people why bother going?
35 And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed: 36 Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat.
Further consider the "compassion" mentioned. I personally see pastors on the Internet that do not understand this concept of loving the people, hurting with them and allowing that compassion to move you to assist the folks.
I recently read a thread relating to "should a pastor own a motorcycle." Of course today there is no real question that it is okay. There is no testimony problem, and the pastor has every right to own one, but this pastor wanted to be sure it would not offend some. He was told a number of times by other pastors that it was nobodies business but his. Some stated that if someone in their church objected he would not care what they thought.
These are not the thoughts of a man who has compassion upon his flock of sheep, it portrays the self-centeredness of a man who could are less about what his flock thinks. And those same men probably wonder why the flock does not follow his instruction in the pulpit. If he does not care what I think why should I care what he thinks might be the mindset.Now this situation just does not fit into my analytical, organized mind. Why would anyone go out into the desert to hear a preacher without taking water and food, maybe some shade, a mp3 player in case the guy is boring, sun screen, a coke or two, and maybe a bag of chips for between meals. Well yes, a folding chair and umbrella - what do you think I am unorganized or something?
Here we have a multitude of folks out in the desert with no food listening to a preacher. The preaching has gone long - not something we are accustomed to, since we are always out by 12:15 even if the preacher is long-winded. The apostles realize the situation and want the Lord to send them away so that they can find food.
37 He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat? 38 He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes.
Ah at least there was someone that was anticipating the need for food in the crowd. Someone had some bread and fish. Not exactly a value meal at McDonalds but better than nothing.
39 And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass. 40 And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties.
Can you envision this in a crowd of Christians today? Well I do not want to sit with that person and I certainly am not going to be split up from my friends. Why should I have to sit with that man, when I could sit with this good looking guy over here. Oh the sun is too bright on my skin over there, I need to be in this group.
Some how they overcame all their problems and divided into groups as they were requested to do. (Wonder if they had to line up and count 1-2-3-4-5- and then divide --- well maybe not.
41 And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. 42 And they did all eat, and were filled. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes. 44 And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men. 45 And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people. 46 And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.
Christ blessed the meal and the disciples passed it out and there was excess after feeding the 5000 men plus the women and children that might have been present. If the men/women/children ratio was as today there might have been 10000 women and a ton of kids.
(Most churches have more women than men these days.)
Of the many things that stand out to me from my childhood Sunday school days it was sitting in Mrs. Wickencamp’s class listening to this miracle recounted. I do not remember too many lessons from those days but the feeding of the 5000 has always beenstuck in my mind.
I would suspect that this might well be why I have found it so easy to trust in the Lord for our supply when in the ministry. I have found that He always supplies the need. Now this does not mean He supplies according to the schedule I give Him, but in His time He has always supplied. More to the point than "when in ministry" He has always supplied the needs no matter where or when they come along, in or out of the ministry.
I remember vividly a few years after I was saved but not yet living for the Lord I was in some tight financial circumstances. I recall often starting to worry about the money that was needed and calling myself up short by reminding myself that God will supply - and He did even with me walking in my own way yet to find any commitment in my life toward Him. Note that from this end of my life that was presumptuous on my part and that He on His part had no obligation to comply with my "trust" in Him; but He did and that was part of the drawing of the Spirit of this self centered individual to His ministry/life.
Sitting here an illustration was needed in my mind, but just one does not come to mind, but a flood of times when God supplied the needs. So many times He asked us to make moves from one home to another or one state to another. The quickness or slowness of the supply was always of interest to us. When moving from the mid-west to the West coast we needed to sell many items to finance the trip, knowing that God would see to the selling and well He did, except the refrigerator. We could make the trip without selling the frig but it was almost new and we did not want to just give it away though we were ready to do just that.
The night before we were to load the trailer someone we did not know called and asked if it were still available. They bought it and picked it up that evening. Now if I had been thinking about it anyone knows we needed the unit until the night before we loaded so why would God sell it before then. He supplies and knows the when of the need. Now as to the excess bread and fish He also often does that just to show us His love. Indeed that move went quite well except that I could not find work when we arrived in Oregon. We had the funds to make ends meet so we would go out looking for work in the morning and then do family things in the afternoon and evening.
This went on for some time and we soon realized that we were having a nice family vacation on the side. Again, I make this sound smooth and happy in hindsight, knowing that all worked out well, but the worry wart that raged within - do not assume this calmness of heart was present in that moment. I share this to those that might be in a time of need and be fretting over the situation. God knows the need better than you do, just know that you are doing His will and allow Him to abide by His own timetable - your timetable probably would not work well. Worry is the natural thing to do but it is oh so unnecessary.
No selling a refrigerator and giving us some good family time was not the feeding of thousands but if He can feed the thousands He most certainly feed the need that you might have.
What a miracle! He sent the people away and then told the disciples to go to Bethsaida while He went into the mountain to pray. There might be application for pastors in there somewhere. A terribly hard day of ministering and the next thing they do is take a day off. Christ went to pray.
Time off is not wrong, but maybe the prayer would be a good activity for some of it. Often after a day’s ministry and seeing the need of people prayer is the only thing that comes to mind to do. There is little else you can do after presenting truth to people. Pray that the Spirit will be able to use it in their life. I trust this is an integrated part of every pastor’s life. No matter how great you are in the pulpit, it will be worthless unless the Spirit is involved in the listener’s life.
Can you hear the grumbling in the boat? Ya, last time we did this at least He was with us to calm the waters, but now we are out here alone and not making much headway and He is back there where it is quiet and ... oh woe is we!
47 And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land. 48 And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.
Yep, we are working like slaves and He is out for a walk! Can you not hear it? At least today’s Christians would be having a huge pity party.
When in the Navy we were at sea when we ran into a Typhoon. We had to head right into it to stay afloat; as we battled the headwinds we lost ground. We were in the storm for about 24 hours and when we exited the storm we were actually eighteen miles behind where we started. Headwinds were not fun to row against for the disciples. Kind of like asking kids to walk to camp rather than ride the bus.
Christ could have made it simpler and asked them to stay where they were on land that night but no He had to send them off to a long night of rowing against the wind.
Not bad enough that they are struggling against the wind and waves, but He is going to walk on over to Bethsaida and let them struggle. ("he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.")
Well the natural question is why was He going to pass them by? Since we are not told we cannot say for sure. The application might run along the line of when you are in deep trouble, He is only an arm stretch away, we need not worry for He is there and He is going to help if there is need over and above our own abilities.
It might be assumed that the Lord had some other business that needed caring for and He was on His way to do it. We might also remember that when we are in trouble that He might be helping someone in more trouble than we. Can you imagine the troubles that God is taking care of in any given moment of the day or night? You may not be the only fish in the tank you know - we often think that we are the only one that needs His loving care.Several translations show the same thought as the King James - He was going to pass them by.
Why did He intend to pass them by? Easy as why did the chicken cross the road. They both wanted to get to the other side. Why stop and row with the mumblesome apostles when you can have a nice quiet walk.
Mark is the only one that mentions this. Over and above what I mentioned, it may well have been Mark’s impression that is mentioned not Christ’s motive, though I think both concur. It is of interest that John mentions that the boat was immediately at the other side and Matthew and Mark do not.
Mark adds the comment about them not considering the miracle of the loaves, indicating that this may have been a miracle to get their attention.
Why was He going to pass by. I suspect He wanted to arrive in a short time. Even when He went with them they were there instantly. I hate to bring up His humanity, but He had had a long day and may just have wanted to get some rest, but took the opportunity to teach along the way. Matthew mentions the forth watch which would indicate very far into the night. Day was from sunup to sunset while the night was divided into four sections. The fourth watch would have been the hours before sunup.
49 But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out: 50 For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid. 51 And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered. 52 For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened. 53 And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore. 54 And when they were come out of the ship, straightway they knew him, 55 And ran through that whole region round about, and began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was. 56 And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole.
A number of items:
a. They thought He was a spirit. Did spirits appear in this manner in Christ’s day? Do they appear in this manner today? There is no evidence that would prove that spirits can be seen today, indeed they are spirits - not visible to the physical world. I assume that the apostles were simply reacting in the manner of the day with the false thinking of the day, that spirits could be seen.
This is not Scriptural proof that the spirit world can be seen in this physical world. If we could see spirits, then we could see God for He is everywhere.
b. Another miracle occurred. The wind ceased which amazed them. Now these are thegentlemen who just picked up the excess of the fishes/loaves, these are the gentlemen who witnessed the demoniac delivered, and these are the gentlemen who had witnessed miracle after miracle, yet "they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered."
Do you witness miracles in your life and still become amazed at the works of God. Probably we all do, we know what He can do, but just stand in awe of His works. However, I am not sure this is what Mark was getting at. Couple this quote with the fact that their hearts were hardened and you come to the idea that they were blown away by this miracle - the others had been observed but had not sunk into their reality. They had not yet grasped the total concept of who and what Christ was.
c. "For they considered not the miracle of the loaves:" Now, let us see here. They saw the little pittance of food that was available, they started passing it out and there was enough to feed thousands of people. They then have to go through the area picking up the leftovers to stick in the microwave the next day, and picked up baskets full of food. Now, what is there not to consider? How do you go through what they went through that day and not consider the ramifications of what had happened. Did they think this was normal everyday occurrence in Israel? How did they not consider this? I have no answer at this point in time.
Christ is known as well as His works. People start thronging Him immediately. We see that they sought to "touch if it were but the border of his garment" which may be from word passing along of the woman who was healed in this manner. News traveled fast even without the local televisions covering the story and without telephones.
People know of Christ and they knew of the miracles that were associated with Him. Imagine yourself with terminal cancer and you heard of one that could perform miracles of healing. A visit might well come to mind.
It is of no small note that the general public gave more heed to the Lord’s abilities than the apostles. They were shocked at the miracles even now after observing many of them, yet the public had only heard of them and were thronging Him.
It could be argued that all too often the world sees more in the spiritual abilities of God than His own people. Not that the lost necessarily see God in a correct light, but they often view Him as the omnipotent powerful being He is while Christians often trim Him down to fit into their little weak box so that they can live their lives as they will.
Copyright 2008. Used by Permission. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the author, except as provided by U.S.A. copyright laws. Do feel free to make copies for friends that might be interested as long as you do not make profit from the copies. This is God's work and I don't want anyone to profit from it in a material way.
Derickson, Stanley. "Commentary on Mark 6". "Derickson's Notes on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany