Mark 6

Rejection at Nazareth

1 He went away from there and came to His hometown, and His disciples followed Him.
2 When the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard Him were astonished. "Where did this man get these things?" they said. "What is this wisdom given to Him, and how are these miracles performed by His hands?
3 Isn't this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And aren't His sisters here with us?" So they were offended by Him.
4 Then Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown, among his relatives, and in his household."
5 So He was not able to do any miracles[a] there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.
6 And He was amazed at their unbelief. Now He was going around the villages in a circuit, teaching.

Commissioning the Twelve

7 He summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs and gave them authority over unclean spirits.
8 He instructed them to take nothing for the road except a walking stick: no bread, no traveling bag, no money in their belts.
9 They were to wear sandals, but not put on an extra shirt.
10 Then He said to them, "Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that place.
11 If any place does not welcome you and people refuse to listen to you, when you leave there, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them." [b]
12 So they went out and preached that people should repent.
13 And they were driving out many demons, anointing many sick people with oil, and healing.

John the Baptist Beheaded

14 King Herod heard of this, because Jesus' name had become well known. Some[c] said, "John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that's why supernatural powers are at work in him."
15 But others said, "He's Elijah." Still others said, "He's a prophet[d]-like one of the prophets."
16 When Herod heard of it, he said, "John, the one I beheaded, has been raised!"
17 For Herod himself had given orders to arrest John and to chain him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, whom he had married.
18 John had been telling Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife!"
19 So Herodias held a grudge against him and wanted to kill him. But she could not,
20 because Herod was in awe of[e] John and was protecting him, knowing he was a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard him he would be very disturbed,[f] yet would hear him gladly.
21 Now an opportune time came on his birthday, when Herod gave a banquet for his nobles, military commanders, and the leading men of Galilee.
22 When Herodias' own daughter[g] came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, "Ask me whatever you want, and I'll give it to you."
23 So he swore oaths to her: "Whatever you ask me I will give you, up to half my kingdom."
24 Then she went out and said to her mother, "What should I ask for?" "John the Baptist's head!" she said.
25 Immediately she hurried to the king and said, "I want you to give me John the Baptist's head on a platter-right now!"
26 Though the king was deeply distressed, because of his oaths and the guests[h] he did not want to refuse her.
27 The king immediately sent for an executioner and commanded him to bring John's head. So he went and beheaded him in prison,
28 brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother.
29 When his disciples[i] heard about it, they came and removed his corpse and placed it in a tomb.

Feeding 5,000

30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to Him all that they had done and taught.
31 He said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest a while." For many people were coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.
32 So they went away in the boat by themselves to a remote place,
33 but many saw them leaving and recognized them. People ran there by land from all the towns and arrived ahead of them.[j]
34 So as He stepped ashore, He saw a huge crowd and had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Then He began to teach them many things.
35 When it was already late, His disciples approached Him and said, "This place is a wilderness, and it is already late!
36 Send them away, so they can go into the surrounding countryside and villages to buy themselves something to eat."
37 "You give them something to eat," He responded. They said to Him, "Should we go and buy 200 denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?"
38 And He asked them, "How many loaves do you have? Go look." When they found out they said, "Five, and two fish."
39 Then He instructed them to have all the people sit down[k] in groups on the green grass.
40 So they sat down in ranks of hundreds and fifties.
41 Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke the loaves. He kept giving them to His disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all.
42 Everyone ate and was filled.
43 Then they picked up 12 baskets full of pieces of bread and fish.
44 Now those who ate the loaves were 5,000 men.

Walking on the Water

45 Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He dismissed the crowd.
46 After He said good-bye to them, He went away to the mountain to pray.
47 When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and He was alone on the land.
48 He saw them being battered as they rowed,[l] because the wind was against them. Around three in the morning[m] He came toward them walking on the sea and wanted to pass by them.
49 When they saw Him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out;
50 for they all saw Him and were terrified. Immediately He spoke with them and said, "Have courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."
51 Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. They were completely astounded,[n]
52 because they had not understood about the loaves. Instead, their hearts were hardened.

Miraculous Healings

53 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and beached the boat.
54 As they got out of the boat, people immediately recognized Him.
55 They hurried throughout that vicinity and began to carry the sick on stretchers to wherever they heard He was.
56 Wherever He would go, into villages, towns, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged Him that they might touch just the tassel of His robe. And everyone who touched it was made well.

Mark 6 Commentary

Chapter 6

Christ despised in his own country. (1-6) The apostles sent forth. (7-13) John the Baptist put to death. (14-29) The apostles return, Five thousand fed by a miracle. (30-44) Christ walks on the sea, He heals those that touch him. (45-56)

Verses 1-6 Our Lord's countrymen tried to prejudice the minds of people against him. Is not this the carpenter? Our Lord Jesus probably had worked in that business with his father. He thus put honour upon mechanics, and encouraged all persons who eat by the labour of their hands. It becomes the followers of Christ to content themselves with the satisfaction of doing good, although they are denied the praise of it. How much did these Nazarenes lose by obstinate prejudices against Jesus! May Divine grace deliver us from that unbelief, which renders Christ a savour of death, rather than of life to the soul. Let us, like our Master, go and teach cottages and peasants the way of salvation.

Verses 7-13 Though the apostles were conscious to themselves of great weakness, and expected no wordly advantage, yet, in obedience to their Master, and in dependence upon his strength, they went out. They did not amuse people with curious matters, but told them they must repent of their sins, and turn to God. The servants of Christ may hope to turn many from darkness unto God, and to heal souls by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Verses 14-29 Herod feared John while he lived, and feared him still more when he was dead. Herod did many of those things which John in his preaching taught him; but it is not enough to do many things, we must have respect to all the commandments. Herod respected John, till he touched him in his Herodias. Thus many love good preaching, if it keep far away from their beloved sin. But it is better that sinners persecute ministers now for faithfulness, than curse them eternally for unfaithfulness. The ways of God are unsearchable; but we may be sure he never can be at a loss to repay his servants for what they endure or lose for his sake. Death could not come so as to surprise this holy man; and the triumph of the wicked was short.

Verses 30-44 Let not ministers do any thing or teach any thing, but what they are willing should be told to their Lord. Christ notices the frights of some, and the toils of others of his disciples, and provides rest for those that are tired, and refuge for those that are terrified. The people sought the spiritual food of Christ's word, and then he took care that they should not want bodily food. If Christ and his disciples put up with mean things, surely we may. And this miracle shows that Christ came into the world, not only to restore, but to preserve and nourish spiritual life; in him there is enough for all that come. None are sent empty away from Christ but those who come to him full of themselves. Though Christ had bread enough at command, he teaches us not to waste any of God's bounties, remembering how many are in want. We may, some time, need the fragments that we now throw away.

Verses 45-56 The church is often like a ship at sea, tossed with tempests, and not comforted: we may have Christ for us, yet wind and tide against us; but it is a comfort to Christ's disciples in a storm, that their Master is in the heavenly mount, interceding for them. And no difficulties can hinder Christ's appearance for his people, when the set time is come. He silenced their fears, by making himself known to them. Our fears are soon satisfied, if our mistakes are set right, especially our mistakes as to Christ. Let the disciples have their Master with them, and all is well. It is for want of rightly understanding Christ's former works, that we view his present works as if there never were the like before. If Christ's ministers now could cure people's bodily diseases, what multitudes would flock after them! It is sad to think how much more most care about their bodies than about their souls.

Footnotes 14

  • [a]. Lit miracle
  • [b]. Other mss add I assure you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom or Gomorrah on judgment day than for that town.
  • [c]. Other mss read He
  • [d]. Lit Others said, "A prophet
  • [e]. Or Herod feared
  • [f]. Other mss read When he heard him, he did many things
  • [g]. Other mss read When his daughter Herodias
  • [h]. Lit and those reclining at the table
  • [i]. John's disciples
  • [j]. Other mss add and gathered around Him
  • [k]. Lit people recline
  • [l]. Or them struggling as they rowed
  • [m]. Lit Around the fourth watch of the night 3 to 6 a.m.
  • [n]. Lit were astounded in themselves

Mark 6 Commentaries