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Mark 6

Utley's You Can Understand the BibleUtley Commentary

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Mark 6:0


The Rejection of Jesus at NazarethJesus Rejected at NazarethRejection at HomeJesus Rejected at NazarethA Visit to Nazareth
Mark 6:1-6aMark 6:1-6Mark 6:1-6aMark 6:1-3Mark 6:1-6a
Mark 6:4
Mark 6:5-6a
The Mission of the TwelveSending Out the TwelveCommissioning and Instructions of the TwelveJesus Sends Out the Twelve DisciplesThe Mission of the Twelve
Mark 6:6-13 Mark 6:6-13Mark 6:6-11Mark 6:6-13
Mark 6:7-13
Mark 6:12-13
The Death of John the BaptistJohn the Baptist BeheadedDeath of JohnThe Death of John the BaptistHerod and Jesus
Mark 6:14-29Mark 6:14-29Mark 6:14-16Mark 6:14Mark 6:14-16
Mark 6:15a
Mark 6:15b
Mark 6:16-18John the Baptist Beheaded
Mark 6:17-29 Mark 6:17-20
Mark 6:19-20
Mark 6:21-23Mark 6:21-29
Mark 6:24a
Mark 6:24b
Mark 6:25
Mark 6:26-29
The Feeding of the Five ThousandFeeding the Five ThousandFive Thousand FedJesus Feeds Five ThousandFirst Miracle of the Loaves
Mark 6:30-44Mark 6:30-44Mark 6:30-44Mark 6:30-32Mark 6:30-44
Mark 6:33-36
Mark 6:37a
Mark 6:37b
Mark 6:38a
Mark 6:38b
Mark 6:39-44
Walking On WaterJesus Walks on the SeaJesus Walks on WaterJesus Walks on the WaterJesus Walks On the Water
Mark 6:45-52Mark 6:45-52Mark 6:45-46Mark 6:45-50aMark 6:45-52
Mark 6:47-52
Mark 6:50-52
The Healing of the Sick in GennesaretMany Touch Him and Are Made WellBelief in Jesus' Power to HealJesus Heals the Sick in GennesaretCures at Gennesaret
Mark 6:53-56Mark 6:53-56Mark 6:53-56Mark 6:53-56Mark 6:53-56

READING CYCLE THREE (from "A Guide to Good Bible Reading")


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.


A. Verses Mark 6:1-6a are paralleled in Matthew 13:54-58.

B. Verses Mark 6:6-13 are paralleled in Matthew 9:35-1 and Luke 9:1-6.

C. Verses Mark 6:14-29 are paralleled in Matthew 14:1-12 and Mark 6:14-16 and in Luke 9:7-9.

D. Verses Mark 6:30-44, which is the feeding of the five thousand, is found in all four Gospels (Mark 6:30-44; Matthew 14:13-21; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-13).

E. Verses Mark 6:45-52 are paralleled in Matthew 14:22-23 and John 6:14-21.

F. Verses Mark 6:53-56 are paralleled in Matthew 14:34-36.


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

1. How do you handle the contradictions between the different Gospels?

2. Why was there such diversity of opinion over who Jesus was?

3. Was resurrection an unusual concept in Jesus' day?

4. Why did God allow a hateful, evil woman to cause the death of a great man like John?

5. Why did Jesus draw such a large crowd?

6. Why did Jesus feed the 5,000?

7. How was Jesus' teaching ministry related to His healings?

Verses 1-6

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Mark 6:1-6a 1Jesus went out from there and came into His hometown; and His disciples followed Him. 2When the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, "Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands? 3Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?" And they took offense at Him. 4Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household." 5And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6And He wondered at their unbelief.

Mark 6:1 "Jesus went out from there" This refers to Capernaum, which had become His Galilean headquarters.

"came into His hometown" This is literally "his native place" and refers to Nazareth (cf. Mark 1:9, Mark 1:24), where He grew up. It was twenty miles southeast of Capernaum. Apparently it was a recent settlement of Judeans.

"and His disciples followed Him" Jesus trained His disciples by taking them with Him at all times (see Robert Coleman's The Master Plan of Evangelism). Much of Jesus' teachings and miracles were for their benefit.

Mark 6:2 "to teach in the synagogue" Jesus regularly attended synagogue. He was often invited to speak as a guest teacher, which was a common practice.

"the many listeners were astonished" They did not disagree with His teachings, but questioned His qualifications and schooling. This is similar to the Pharisees questioning His authority.

"'Where did this man get these things'" Jesus' wisdom, power, and authority surprised everyone. As a child Jesus was just like the other village children. Different groups kept asking where these attributes came from? It was obvious to all that Jesus had great wisdom and authority!

"such miracles as these performed by His hands" Capernaum was only 20 miles from Nazareth so word of His miracles had spread.

Mark 6:3 "'Is not this the carpenter'" The word for carpenter means "craftsman" which can mean a worker in wood, metal, or stone. Justin said it referred to someone who made ploughs and yokes (i.e., Dial. 88:8). Apparently Jesus had become the town carpenter after Joseph's untimely death.

"'the son of Mary'" Like "this man" of Mark 6:2, this may have been an attempt to show contempt. The townspeople would have known of Mary's pregnancy. Origen says the original text read "the son of the carpenter and Mary" because it was so highly unusual for the mother to be mentioned. Because of John 8:41 some see this related to the widely spread rumor that Jesus was an illegitimate child of a Roman soldier. Most of the MSS variations are based on the theological bias of copyists who may have feared that the doctrine of the Virgin Birth was being comprised by the Matthean parallel phrase "the son of the carpenter and Mary" (cf. Matthew 13:55).

"'the brother of'" This shows the normal childhood of Jesus (cf. Luke 2:40, Luke 2:52). It also shows Mary had other children. Of this list of brothers and sisters (cf. Matthew 13:55-56), two, James and Jude, are NT authors.

NASB"they took offense at Him" NKJV"they were offended at Him" NRSV"they took offense at him" TEV"they rejected him" NJB"they would not accept him"

This is the term skandalon, which meant a baited trap stick. We get the English term "scandal" from this Greek term.

This concept had great OT Messianic significance (cf. Psalms 118:22; Isaiah 8:14; Isaiah 28:16). Just like the religious leaders the townspeople could not overcome their bias (cf. Mark 6:4).

Mark 6:4 "A prophet" Verse Mark 6:4 was a popular proverb of Jesus' day. Jesus was surely more than a prophet, but that was one of the titles used by Moses of God's special coming One (cf. Deuteronomy 18:15, Deuteronomy 18:18).

Mark 6:5 "He could do no miracles there" This does not imply weakness on Jesus' part, but willful limiting of His ministry. The Matthew 13:58 parallel has "did not" instead of "could not." Jesus was not a respecter of persons; He had no favorites. Luke 7:11-14 shows that Jesus did not always demand a faith response, but it was the normal prerequisite. Faith in God and in Jesus opens the door to the spiritual realm. How much faith is not as important as in whom it is placed!

"He laid His hands on a few sick people" See Special Topic at Mark 7:32.

Mark 6:6a

NASB"He wondered at their unbelief" NKJV"He marveled because of their unbelief" NRSV"he was amazed at their unbelief" TEV"He was greatly surprised, because the people did not have faith" NJB"he was amazed at their lack of faith"

This is an imperfect active indicative, implying repeated action. Jesus was amazed by the peoples' blindness and hardness (Jesus was rejected twice in Nazareth, cf. Luke 4:16-31). In the presence of great truth, even miraculous signs (cf. Mark 6:2), they refused to believe (cf. Isaiah 6:9-10).

Verses 6-13

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Mark 6:6-13 6bAnd He was going around the villages teaching. 7And He summoned the twelve and began to send them out in pairs, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits; 8and He instructed them that they should take nothing for their journey, except a mere staffno bread, no bag, no money in their belt 9but to wear sandals; and He added, "Do not put on two tunics." 10And He said to them, "Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave town. 11Any place that does not receive you or listen to you, as you go out from there, shake the dust off the soles of your feet for a testimony against them." 12They went out and preached that men should repent. 13And they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them.

Mark 6:7 "began to send them out in pairs" This word may reflect a specific mission and not a universal charge.

"in pairs" This may refer to the two witnesses needed to confirm a matter (cf. Deuteronomy 19:15). It may even be the sociological aspect of courage in numbers. These two witnesses faced a hostile spiritual and cultural world.

"and gave them authority over the unclean spirits" The parallel in Luke 9:1 adds "and to heal diseases." The parallel in Matthew 10:8 adds "heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons." All of these acts are OT Messianic signs, signs of God's care, signs of God's power and His future kingdom. See Special Topic at Mark 1:25.

Jesus' power and authority can be delegated to His followers. Surely there is an intensity shared between the Twelve and Jesus that cannot be duplicated, but God's power is available to His church. Where is the power in our day? It seems that these power signs are used to confirm the gospel message and give credence to the gospel preacher. This is still true today. However, in cultures where the gospel message has taken root, then believers must walk by faith, not by sight; trust in God, not demand miracles (cf. John 4:48). Miracles are not the answer to faith problems! It is also very possible that the judgment of God on a lukewarm church is the perception of success, but the reality of ineffectiveness.

Signs and miracles as well as demonic and angelic activity increased in Jesus' and the Apostles' day. This spiritual activity is surely present in every age, but intensified at Jesus' first coming and will intensify again as His second coming draws near.

I rejoice in the manifestations of signs of God's love and power (i.e., the gifts are still active), but I trust in gospel truths, not the presence or absence of physical confirmations. Miracles and signs can be counterfeit (cf. Matthew 24:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:9; Revelation 13:13; Revelation 16:14; Revelation 19:20). Believers must not demand confirmation! Childlike faith is spiritually superior to supernatural signs and wonders.

Mark 6:8 "He instructed them that they should take nothing for their journey, except a mere staff" The Synoptic Gospels all record this, but in slightly different ways. Matthew 10:9-11 implies "do not purchase another walking stick." Luke 9:3 is similar to Matthew 10:10, but omits the phrase "do not acquire" of Matthew 10:9. All travelers carried a staff for protection. The point of these statements is that these missionaries must depend totally on God's provision (both physically and spiritually) and not their own.

For a full discussion of the discrepancies between Matthew, Mark, and Luke concerning what the disciples are to take and not take on their mission trip see Hard Sayings of the Bible, pp. 422-24.

"bag" This is possibly a knapsack.

"money in their belt" This possibly means a money belt.

Mark 6:9 "'Do not put on two tunics'" This refers to an outer cloak which was also used as a covering for sleeping. This means do not take extra clothes (i.e., do not try to prepare for every contingency).

Mark 6:10 "'stay there until you leave'" They were not to look for better and better accommodations. The first place that by faith opens their home was the place to stay.

Mark 6:11 "Any place that does not receive you or listen to you" "Any place" could refer to a city or a synagogue. This is literally the term "receives," but with the implication of welcome.

"shake the dust off the soles of your feet for a testimony against them" This involves a visual symbol of impending judgment and separation (cf. Acts 13:51; and a similar act in Mark 18:6). This was a regular Jewish custom when re-entering Judah from Samaria.

There is an additional sentence in Mark 6:11, NKJV, "Assuredly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city." It is found in manuscript A and many later Greek minuscule manuscripts. It is not original to Mark, but seems to be an assimilation from Matthew 10:15.

Mark 6:12 "they. . .preached that men should repent" Repentance is crucial for a faith relationship with God (cf. Matthew 3:2; Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:15; Mark 6:12; Luke 13:3, Luke 13:5; Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19; Acts 20:21). The term in Hebrew meant a change of actions, while in Greek it meant a change of mind. Repentance is a willingness to change from one's self-centered existence to a life informed and directed by God. It calls for a turning from the priority and bondage of the self. Basically it is a new attitude, a new world view, a new master. Repentance is God's will for every human being, made in His image (cf. Ezekiel 18:21, Ezekiel 18:23, Ezekiel 18:32; Luke 13:1-5; and 2 Peter 3:9).

The NT passage that best reflects the different Greek terms for repentance is 2 Corinthians 7:8-12

1. lupe, "grief" or "sorrow" Mark 6:8 (twice), 9 (thrice), 10 (twice), 11

2. metamelomai, "after care," Mark 6:8 (twice), 9

3. metanoeô, "repent," "after mind," Mark 6:9, Mark 6:10

The contrast is false repentance [metamelomai], cf. Judas, Matthew 27:3 and Esau, Hebrews 12:16-17 vs. true repentance [metanoeô].

True repentance is theologically linked to

1. Jesus' preaching of the conditions of the New Covenant (cf. Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:15; Luke 13:3, Luke 13:5)

2. the apostolic sermons in Acts (i.e., the kerygma, cf. Acts 3:16, Acts 3:19; Acts 20:21)

3. God's sovereign gift (cf. Acts 5:31; Acts 11:18 and 2 Timothy 2:25)

4. perishing (cf. 2 Peter 3:9). Repentance is not optional


Mark 6:13 "casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many sick people" Notice the NT makes a distinction between illness and demon possession. See note at Mark 1:25c.

"anointing them with oil" Oil was used in different senses: (1) as medicine (cf. James 5:14); (2) as a symbol of the Holy Spirit, especially in the OT of kings, priests, and prophets; and (3) as a psychological aid to recognize God's presence. Jesus used several different types of physical aids in healing.


Verses 14-16

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Mark 6:14-16 14And King Herod heard of it, for His name had become well known; and people were saying, "John the Baptist has risen from the dead, and that is why these miraculous powers are at work in Him." 15But others were saying, "He is Elijah." And others were saying, "He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old." 16But when Herod heard of it, he kept saying, "John, whom I beheaded, has risen!"

Mark 6:14 "King Herod" "King" was not the official title of Herod Antipas. He was called Tetrarch, which meant "a rule by four." He was the son of Herod the Great and a Samaritan woman. He ruled Perea and Galilee between 4 B.C. and A.D. 39 when he was exiled for asking Caesar to make him a King.

See Special Topic on The Family of Herod the Great at Mark 1:14.

"people were saying John the Baptist has risen from the dead" This reflects the Pharisaic belief in a physical resurrection (cf. Acts 23:6; Acts 24:21; Hebrews 6:2). This was another attempt to explain away Jesus' power and authority (i.e., the religious leaders attribute it to Satan or the demonic; the hometown folks deny it because of their familiarity with Jesus' childhood; these people attribute it to John the Baptist or some other OT prophet).

Mark 6:15 "Elijah" This showed the Messianic implications of Jesus' ministry. This relates to the specific predictions in. Mark 6:2 and 4:5-6.

"He is a prophet like one of the prophets of old" This shows the people sensed a new authority in His teaching that had not been in Israel for hundreds of years, since Malachi (or the author of Chronicles). It also reflects the Mosaic Messianic prophecy of Deuteronomy 18:15ff about the coming of a prophet like Moses.

Mark 6:16 "whom I beheaded" This shows Herod's guilty conscience (cf. Matthew 14:10; Luke 9:9) and lack of information about the relationship between John and Jesus.

Verses 17-29

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Mark 6:17-29 17For Herod himself had sent and had John arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, because he had married her. 18For John had been saying to Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife." 19Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death and could not do so; 20for Herod was afraid of John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. And when he heard him, he was very perplexed; but he used to enjoy listening to him. 21A strategic day came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his lords and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee; 22and when the daughter of Herodias herself came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests; and the king said to the girl, "Ask me for whatever you want and I will give it to you." 23And he swore to her, "Whatever you ask of me, I will give it to you; up to half of my kingdom." 24And she went out and said to her mother, "What shall I ask for?" And she said, "The head of John the Baptist." 25Immediately she came in a hurry to the king and asked, saying, "I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter." 26And although the king was very sorry, yet because of his oaths and because of his dinner guests, he was unwilling to refuse her. 27Immediately the king sent an executioner and commanded him to bring back his head. And he went and had him beheaded in the prison, 28and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. 29When his disciples heard about this, they came and took away his body and laid it in a tomb.

Mark 6:17-29 This is out of chronological sequence. It was inserted to explain Mark 6:14.

Mark 6:17 "Herodias" She had been the wife of Philip, the brother of Herod Antipas (cf. Matthew 14:3). They had lived in Rome. She was also Antipas' niece through Aristobulus. Antipas had wooed her away from Philip and married her.

According to Josephus (i.e., Antiquities of the Jews 18.5.4), Herodias was married to Herod the Great's son, Herod (whose mother was Marianne, the high priest's daughter). He also says Herodias' daughter, Salome, later married Philip. It is possible that Herod was known as Herod Philip.

Mark 6:18 This relationship violated Leviticus 18:16; Leviticus 20:21.

Mark 6:19 "Herodias had a grudge against him" This is imperfect tense. She must have brought the subject up again and again to Herod Antipas. Herod kept (imperfect tense) him safe from her (Mark 6:20).

Mark 6:20 "Herod was afraid of John" This fear was because John was a holy man. Matthew 14:4 says he feared John's popularity with the people. Herod was a fearful person. He feared John, Herodias, and his gueststoo bad he did not fear God!

Mark 6:21 There are three groups of guests: (1) civil authorities; (2) military authorities; and (3) local wealthy and influential leaders.

"when he heard him" Herod either called for John or went to his cell at Machaerus (i.e., on the eastern side of the Dead Sea, cf. Josephus' Antiquities 18.5.2).

"he was very perplexed; but he used to enjoy listening to him" This shows the paradox of a man drawn to the truth, yet rejecting the light (cf. John 3:19-21).

Herodias waited until just the right momenta public gathering, a drunken party, a lustful dance, and an outrageous promiseto force Herod's hand to do her bidding.

Mark 6:22 "the daughter of Herodias" She was called Salome by Josephus, the daughter of Philip.

"danced" It was not common for woman of her social status to dance at this type of gathering. These sensual dances were usually done by prostitutes or professional dancers.

"'Ask me for whatever you want and I will give it to you'" Herod said this in the presence of his administrative officials and could not take it back (cf. Mark 6:21, Mark 6:26).

Mark 6:23 "he swore to her" He used God's name to assure his believability.

Mark 6:24 This verse confirms her mother's ulterior motives and plot (cf. Mark 6:28b).

Mark 6:26 Herod's need to impress his friends and family overshadowed his fear (perilupos, which implies exceeding sorrow, cf. Matthew 26:38; Mark 14:34).

Mark 6:27 "executioner" This is a Latin term for his special bodyguards. It originally referred to a spy, but came to be used of an executioner (i.e., Seneca). Mark has more Latin terms and phrases than any other Gospel. It was probably written specifically to Romans.

"in the prison" In Antiquities 18.5.2 Josephus tells us it was Herod's fort named Machaerus, which was near the Dead Sea in Moab.

Mark 6:29 John the Baptist was obviously in the will of God. Yet his ministry only lasted about eighteen months. Although the actual cause of his death was the scheming of an evil woman, God is in control of history for His purposes. This verse also reflects the Jewish concern for a proper burial.

Verses 30-44

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Mark 6:30-44 30The apostles gathered together with Jesus; and they reported to Him all that they had done and taught. 31And He said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while." (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.) 32They went away in the boat to a secluded place by themselves. 33The people saw them going, and many recognized them and ran there together on foot from all the cities, and got there ahead of them. 34When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things. 35When it was already quite late, His disciples came to Him and said, "This place is desolate and it is already quite late; 36send them away so that they may go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat." 37But He answered them, "You give them something to eat!" And they said to Him, "Shall we go and spend two hundred denarii on bread and give them something to eat?" 38And He said to them, "How many loaves do you have? Go look!" And when they found out, they said, "Five, and two fish." 39And He commanded them all to sit down by groups on the green grass. 40They sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties. 41And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food and broke the loaves and He kept giving them to the disciples to set before them; and He divided up the two fish among them all. 42They all ate and were satisfied, 43and they picked up twelve full baskets of the broken pieces, and also of the fish. 44There were five thousand men who ate the loaves.

Mark 6:30 "The apostles" This is the only use of the term in Mark's Gospel. Usually he calls them "disciples." "Apostle" comes from a Greek word meaning "to send" (apostellô). Jesus chose twelve of His disciples to be with Him in a special sense and called them "apostles" (cf. Luke 6:13). This verb is often used of Jesus being sent from the Father (cf. Matthew 10:40; Matthew 15:24; Mark 9:37; Luke 9:48; John 4:34; John 5:24, John 5:30, John 5:36, John 5:37, John 5:38; John 6:29, John 6:38, John 6:39, John 6:40, John 6:57; John 7:29; John 8:42; John 10:36; John 11:42; John 17:3, John 17:8, John 17:18, John 17:21, John 17:23, John 17:25; John 20:21). In Jewish sources, the term was used of someone sent as an official representative of another, similar to "ambassador." They functioned on this mission trip as surrogates of Jesus. Their power and authority was delegated.

"they reported to Him" This was part of Jesus' training. He taught them, showed them how, sent them out, and debriefed them. This is how they learned. See Robert Coleman's The Master Plan of Evangelism, which documents and implements Jesus' training of His disciples/apostles.

Mark 6:31 As Jesus needed to get away from the press of the crowd (cf. Mark 3:20), now so did His disciples. People were coming to be helped twenty-four hours a day. Their training was not complete. They needed some privacy and some time!

Mark 6:32 "boat" This word usually refers to a large fishing trawler, which would hold up to thirteen men (cf. Matthew 4:21-22; 823; Acts 21:2-3), but is also used of smaller boats (cf. Luke 5:2).

Mark 6:33 "ran there together on foot from all the cities" Can you imagine a huge crowd of the sick, lame, and curious people running along the shore? These people were desperate.

Mark 6:34 "He felt compassion for them" Jesus always had time for needy people (cf. Matthew 9:36).

"like sheep without a shepherd" This metaphor has an OT basis (cf. Numbers 27:17; Ezekiel 34:5; Zechariah 13:0). This may be a veiled allusion to Jesus' words in John 10:0.

"He began to teach" Jesus' response to the needs of the crowd was His teaching. They needed spiritual wholeness, not just physical restoration. Jesus met both needs (cf. Matthew 14:14).

Mark 6:35 "'This place is desolate'" This is the "secluded" place of Mark 6:31.

Mark 6:37 "'You give them something to eat'" Jesus was testing the disciples' faith. They accurately assessed the problem, now meet it!

"two hundred denarii" A denarius was a day's wage for a common laborer (cf. Matthew 20:2) or soldier.

Mark 6:38 "'Five, and two fish'" They did not even have enough for themselves. Jesus was using this opportunity to show the disciples that what they have was enough and more if it was given to Him and if they trust Him!

Mark 6:39 "sit down by groups" This idiom (i.e., literally sumpinô, sumpinô, company, company) implied "get ready to eat!" Jesus seems to order the disciples to get the crowd organized for food distribution in a normal formation.

"on the green grass" This is an eyewitness detail of Peter. This would also imply a time close to the Passover Feast in the spring.

Mark 6:41 "looking up toward heaven" The common physical position for Jewish prayer was standing with the arms and head raised and eyes open. Jesus was showing that the source of His authority was the heavenly Father.

"broke. . .He kept giving" This is an aorist tense and an imperfect tense. The miracle of multiplication occurred in Jesus' hands.

The parallel in John 6:0 makes the theological expectations of this crowd explicit. The Jews of Jesus' day expected the Messiah to provide food for them as Moses did during the wilderness wanderings (cf. John 6:30-40). Jesus is giving them the very sign they requested, but they could not, or would not, see it.

Mark 6:42 This statement is used in the Septuagint (i.e., the Greek translation of the OT) for the OT people of God being filled by the manna and quail (cf. Psalms 78:29; Psalms 105:40). This OT theme is developed in John 6:30-40, where Jesus fulfills the rabbinical expectation of providing food as Moses did. Jesus is the new Moses; His deliverance is the new exodus; and He brings the new age of abundance (cf. Psalms 132:15; Isaiah 49:10).

Mark 6:43 "twelve full baskets of the broken pieces and also of the fish" This shows that Jesus did not perform miracles for their daily food. They had to conserve what they had for future meals.

Some commentators (William Barclay) deny the miraculous element and assert that the boy shared his lunch (cf. John 6:9) and that others in the crowd saw it and shared their lunches. If so, where did the twelve baskets left over come from? Our biases affect interpretation in the same way the biases of the people of Jesus' day affected them!

Mark 6:44 "five thousand men" This was a long run (cf. Mark 6:33) and a desolate place (cf. Mark 6:32). There probably were not many women and children. We do not know the exact size of the crowd. It was huge!

Verses 45-46

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Mark 6:45-46 45Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the crowd away. 46After bidding them farewell, He left for the mountain to pray.

Mark 6:45 "Bethsaida" This city's name means "house of light." It was on the western side of the lake.

"He himself was sending the crowd away" The parallel in John 6:0 has so much more information about the reaction of this crowd. Mark's points are the training of the disciples and Jesus' compassion, while John's account records how Jesus fulfilled the Jewish expectations about the Messiah feeding the Jews as Moses did (i.e manna). They tried to make Him king. This shows their misunderstanding of Jesus' mission (i.e., like His disciples, His family, and the religious leaders).

Mark 6:46 "He left for the mountain to pray" Jesus had a regular prayer time. This is especially obvious in the Gospel of Luke. Jesus knew this miracle would be misunderstood. As He did not want to become a healer, He did not want to become a feeder (cf. John 6:15). He came to reveal the Father, but the crowd could not or would not see. In a sense this was a fulfillment of the temptation of Satan in the wilderness of tempting people with bread (i.e., supernatural feedings, cf. Matthew 4:3-4).

Verses 47-52

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Mark 6:47-52 47When it was evening, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and He was alone on the land. 48Seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them. 49But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out; 50for they all saw Him and were terrified. But immediately He spoke with them and said to them, "Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid." 51Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped; and they were utterly astonished, 52for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened.

Mark 6:48 "Seeing them" It is uncertain whether this was (1) physical sight or (2) supernatural knowledge.

"straining at the oars" This comes from Greek into English as "torture." It was hard rowing against the wind.

"about the fourth watch of the night" In Roman time this would be Mark 3:0 a.m. to Mark 6:0 a.m.

"He came to them, walking on the sea" This was another nature miracle of Jesus for the purpose of strengthening the disciples' faith. They witnessed His power and authority in many different ways. But they still did not understand; they were still afraid (cf. Mark 6:49-50) and amazed (cf. Mark 6:51).

It is possible that this miracle was meant to fulfill Job 9:8; Job 38:16; Psalms 77:19; and Isaiah 43:16. Jesus was acting out divine acts from the OT (cf. Mark 6:52).

"He intended to pass by them" This does not seem to fit the context unless it means to link up with Job 9:8 and 11! In the TEV footnote it has "join them." This verb does have this connotation in Mark 6:2 and 17:7.

Mark 6:49 "a ghost" This is literally the term "phantom" as in Matthew 14:26. This is a strong term used of "mental and spiritual agitation and confusion" (cf. The Greek-English Lexicon of Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich, and Danker, p. 805).

Mark 6:50 "'Take courage'" This is a present active imperative used so often by Jesus (cf. Matthew 9:2, Matthew 9:22; Matthew 14:27; Mark 6:50; Mark 10:49; John 16:33; Acts 23:11).

"'do not be afraid'" This is a present middle (deponent) imperative also used so often by Jesus (cf. Matthew 14:27; Matthew 17:7; Matthew 28:10; Mark 6:50; Luke 5:10; Luke 12:32; John 6:20; Revelation 1:17). This may link Jesus again to Moses (cf. Exodus 14:13; Exodus 20:20). Jesus was the new Moses or the new divine spokesman (cf. Genesis 15:1; Joshua 8:1).

Mark 6:51 Noticeably absent is the account of Peter walking (and sinking) on the water (cf. Matthew 14:28-31). A. T. Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, vol. 1, p. 319, has "Perhaps Peter was not fond of telling that story."

Mark 6:52 "for they had not gained any insight" They were slow learners. Jesus was patient with them. This is so encouraging to me!

"their heart was hardened" This is a perfect passive participle. This is a difficult theological concept. Does this imply (by the passive voice) that God or the Spirit closed their minds? Probably it is idiomatic for their own biases and Jewish traditions blinding them to the truths so obvious in Jesus' deeds and words (cf. Mark 8:17-18). This "man" just did not fit into any of the categories they knew (cf. Mark 4:13, Mark 4:40; Mark 7:18). This is a recurrent theme in Mark. See SPECIAL TOPIC: THE HEART at Mark 2:6.

Verses 53-56

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Mark 6:53-56 53When they had crossed over they came to land at Gennesaret, and moored to the shore. 54When they got out of the boat, immediately the people recognized Him, 55and ran about that whole country and began to carry here and there on their pallets those who were sick, to the place they heard He was. 56Wherever He entered villages, or cities, or countryside, they were laying the sick in the market places, and imploring Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were being cured.

Mark 6:55 This shows the need, the chaos, and the compassion and power of Jesus. This was also a lesson on the priority of people. Jesus always had time for them.

Mark 6:56 "the fringe of His coat" This refers to His "prayer shawl" (cf. Numbers 15:38-40; Deuteronomy 22:12). These people were desperate and superstitious and selfish.

Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on Mark 6". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". 2021.