“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.” Mark 6:1-6 (KJV)
We look at the life of Jesus in red, white and black and can believe and know that He is a great man, a great teacher, a great prophet – even greater than John the Baptist, a great preacher, but even so much more. We learn from these letters that He is the very Son of God, and in fact is the very God incarnate – God come to us in flesh. He is the Savior of the world.
Those who grew up around Him and those who saw Him growing up put no stock in Him. They were witnesses of His life, but it was not important to them that He had never done anything wrong, had never sinned, never spoken back to his “parents”. He in fact had never caused those who were raising Him any grief whatsoever, unless it was the things which Mary “pondered in her heart”. To the people of Nazareth Jesus was nothing more than a carpenter, and did not deserve any credit as a teacher.
Here is what J. C. Ryle had to say of this matter. 1) “We see, in the first place, how apt men are to undervalue things with which they are familiar.” 2) “We see, in the second place, how humble was the rank of life which our Lord condescended to occupy before He began His public ministry.” 3) “We see, in the last place, how exceedingly sinful is the sin of unbelief.” Unbelief is still sin. It is actually the very first sin that was committed. Eve did not believe God when He had said “The day you eat of this tree you will surely die”, and she believed a lie. It is because of the sin of “unbelief” that Jesus could do no mighty work in Nazareth. Even Jesus was surprised “amazed” by their unbelief.
“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. 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.” Mark 6:7-13 (KJV)
Mark notes that Jesus sent them out “two and two”. It is important that we remember that, because their is strength in twos. When one is discouraged the other can be a source of encouragement. They can learn from one another. They sharpen one another, “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. Prov 27:17 (KJV)”. One is there to keep the other from falling, and if one does fall the other can pick him up.
Jesus told them they were to take nothing with them, except their staff, and the clothing on their backs. It was to be a journey and ministry of faith. (The word “scrip” could be seen as what we would call a “backpack”.) When people heard their words, and saw their works they would support and care for their needs. When they entered a city or village they were to stay in one home, and not be moving from home to home. If they were not received they were to leave shaking the dust from their feet, “as a testimony against them”. They would have rejected God’s messengers, thus God’s message, so judgment could be coming their way. The shaking of the dust from the feet is almost as to say, “Since you will not listen and hear the Word of God you have no hope”, thus it is time to move on to other people and places.
“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. 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.” Mark 6:14-29 (KJV)
“For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. Luke 7:28 (KJV)”
Herod hears of the great and mighty works of Jesus, and begins questioning the identity of Jesus. “Who is this Jesus?” “Is he John the Baptist come back from the dead?”; “…John reincarnated?”. You can tell by this that Herod was a troubled man. He had been troubled in his heart by the preaching of the prophet.
Mark goes into some details to tell us why he is troubled about John. The Baptist had warned Herod that “It Is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” Herodias was her name. Herod’s brother was Philip known as “Herod Philip II”. Herodias was a nephew to Herod Antipas (the Herod of our text). John the Baptist, prophet of God hated to see sin even in a Gentile ruler, and he told him so. John got thrown into the dungeon for it, but yet Herod would not harm him, because the words rang true.
One of the main things a minister of God ought to do is rebuke sin wherever he sees it. When it is seen in the ungodly it should be rebuked. When it is seen in the redeemed it should be rebuked. Sin is the problem that infects and causes problems in every society. For a man to take his brother’s wife is adultery, and that is the charge that John brought against Herod. It matters not if it is a king, or the man in the gutter, sin must be rebuked.
What was the charge leveled against John? It was for proclaiming the Word of God and rebuking the sin of the lands governor.
We see in Herod, “The amazing power of truth over the conscience”. He has heard the words John preached and he is haunted by them, even after he has killed the man. We can also see “How far people may go in religion, and yet miss salvation by yielding to one master – sin”. In John we see, “How boldly a faithful minister of God ought to rebuke sin. We see finally, “How bitterly people hate a reprover, when they are determined to keep their sins”.
When the Word of God is proclaimed it will accomplish that which God pleases. It caused Herod to be very troubled. For someone to even think that Jesus was John the Baptist risen from the dead, or “reincarnated” is on the border of lunacy.
“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. 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. 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. 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. 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.” Mark 6:30-44 (KJV)
Jesus knowing the disciples needed some rest and food led them to leave to go to a deserted place, and get some rest. There was so much ministry activity that they had not even had time to eat.
The disciples and Jesus leave by “boat” to go someplace quiet but then are overwhelmed by a great multitude of people. The disciples have not yet learned what Jesus can do. Evening [“the day was now far spent”] was coming on them quickly now, and there was no food, and there were thousands and thousands of people to feed. It must have been going through the disciples minds, “There is no way these people can be fed; we need to send them home”. Jesus had another idea, though. He with the Shepherd’s heart had compassion on them and taught them. When evening had come and the disciples were doubting and scheming on how to get rid of these people Jesus just said, “Let’s feed them”.
According to the Gospel of John there was a boy who had his “lunch” with him. Would he share it with the multitude? Here is what John says,
“One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said* to Him, 9 “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people?” John 6:8-9 (NASB)”.
Stand back and see what Jesus can do. When it seems like the chips are down, and there are too many people to feed, and the world is against you, just let Jesus move in and take over.
Jesus as the Shepherd that He was and is commands the people to sit down in the “green grass”. In the twenty third Psalm it says, “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures”, an assurance of plenty for “sheep” to eat. It would not surprise me to find out that there was a still, calm body of water near by also. Mark’s Gospel is the only one of the gospels which tell us that Jesus “With compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd” (v. 34). That is Mark’s way of declaring Jesus as the Shepherd of God’s sheep and He will tend and care for those who are His.
The number of men is all that is given. The word “men” in verse 44 is not a generic term for all humanity; it is specifically refering to the male gender. If these men came with their wives and children which most probably did with a few exceptions, then this number could range from 15,000 to 20,000 or more. This was of Divine origin. If anyone doubts the origin of the earth and all created things, then they will doubt the miracles of Jesus. If God can create from nothing, then He can easily perform a “miracle” – that is what we call it – because during “miracle” the laws of nature are suspended; God overrules. He has the power to take the molecules, atoms, protons, neutrons, etc. – all those unseen elements which He created, and turn them into more bread, and more fish, and He did it to feed thousands of people.
WOW! Do not doubt, but be believing what God can do, and what He has done, and what He is going to do.
There are some who profess Christ as Savior who want to dismiss all the miracles with human understanding, by saying things like, “Jesus already had the food hidden away in a nearby cave”, or “The little boys generosity inspired all the others to bring out what they had, and so all were fed”. None of that explains the “twelve basketfuls” that were left over. Now, you talk about the Lord providing for His disciples. Now they each had a basket of bread and fish to take home with them. Remember they had not eaten, so they must have been hungry.
There did not have to be five loaves and two fish, there could have been nothing, or stones. Remember when Jesus was being tempted by the devil in the wilderness for forty days. The first temptation was to fill His need for sustenance. “If you are the Son of God, turn these stones into bread”, but Jesus did not yield to the temptation. He said instead, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word which proceeds from the mouth of God”. For Jesus to turn the stones to bread would have been to yield to the devil, and now, as then, He is yielding to the leadership of the Father. He is acting as a Shepherd toward His caring for the sheep.
JESUS CARES FOR YOU.
“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. 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. 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.” Mark 6:45-56 (KJV)
Jesus sent the disciples away by boat while He sent the people on their way. After that had been accomplished he departed to a “Mountain to pray”. There is a lesson here for all of us who are His; there is a time to be alone with God and Him alone. Jesus, in human flesh, needed to recoup and spend time with His Father. So do we. Where Jesus could communicate with the Father face to face we must rely on the written Word, so it is wise to communicate with God while you have His Word at hand, and open before you.
As the disciples were rowing across the Sea of Galilee a boisterous wind came up, and it was a head wind which caused them to fight against it and evidently not gain much if anything in distance. Jesus saw them rowing and struggling against the wind and went out to help them, and what a way He travelled to help. It was sometime after midnight when Jesus came to them walking on the water.
This passage of Scripture even tells us that He “Would have passed by them”. He came “Along side” of them to check their faith. Would they recognize Him in His supernatural power and walking on the water? They thought He was a ghost. They still were dealing with a lot of personal superstition, if they were believing in ghosts.
Jesus recognizes their fear and assures them it is Himself, and He went up into the boat and it tells us that the wind ceased.
Jesus comes to us in the midst of our storms, but do we recognize Him or do we depend on our own methods and strength? How would we react, even this day and age, if we were on the water in a boat and someone came walking in the midst of the night on the surface of the water, across a deep hole?
Many times, we as human beings, fear what we do not understand. Seeing Jesus, and not knowing who it was is only a thing which is innate in every human being – fear of the unseen, unknown beyond. Which is only evidence that God put in each of us the desire for that which is eternal.
In verse 52 Mark reminds us of the miracle of the loaves and fish, “For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened. Mark 6:52 (KJV)”. Had they really understood about the miracle of the loaves and the fish they would not have been “amazed” about Jesus’ ability to walk on water. Both actually show His power and authority over nature [as we call it], and that He was and is the Creator of all that is.
When Jesus and the disciples arrive at Gennesaret [the other side] the people there knew who Jesus was and they began to bring the sick, and they thinking, “I only need to touch the hem of His garment”, and all who touched Him were healed. This faith they showed was very similar the lady in chapter 5 who had had the bleeding for 12 years. Jesus and the disciples minister to them, and great things are done
-Tim A. Blankenship