Mark 6

The divine authority of Christ is ratified by the divine wisdom which He displayed in all His teaching and the divine power which He manifested in imparting power to others for service, in overcoming all laws of nature for the relief of men and in dispelling by His mere Word or touch all manner of diseases.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 6:1-20 – The Widening Fields

   In the opening paragraph of this chapter, we learn of hatred and rejection of those who had enjoyed the rich privileges of being the neighbors and associates of our Lord from His earliest days. They could not discern the divine in the human, the heavenly under the earthly veil. The Savior, therefore, driven from their towns, goes about among the villages, depriving Himself of the companionship of His disciples, in order to spread the good news as far as possible. The Lord is still in His Church through the Holy Spirit, but His power is limited and neutralized by our unbelief. It is useless to ask Him to put forth His great power and save us, so long as we have made it practically impossible for Him to do as we ask. The oldtime cry was (Jeremiah 14:9): “Why shouldst thou be… as a mighty man that cannot save?” The answer is supplied here (Mark 6:5-6): He could there do no mighty work,… And he marveled because of their unbelief. Faith is our capacity for God, and there are several conditions for its nurture and growth.
   With what simplicity the Twelve were started on their mission, Mark 6:7. But with what authority they spoke! Simplicity and power are closely allied. The truly strong soul is not in need of the external surroundings and circumstances on which others lean; and in proportion to our willingness to deprive ourselves of the sources of human confidence may we lay hold on and possess divine power. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Mark 6:21-29 – Martyrdom of a Witness-Bearer

   Better the dungeon with John than the palace with Herod, for conscience filled the palace with the ghost of the murdered Baptist! A woman brought Herod to that. How careful women should be of the influence they exert over men; how careful men should be of yielding to any but the noblest influence! This family was eaten with lust, usually coupled with cruelty. No vice ever dwells alone. John the Baptist had a brief and tortuous career; for a few months the central figure of the nation, and then hurled down into the darkness of the dungeon, like some extinguished torch. No wonder that his specter haunted the heart of Herod, who thought that in Jesus he had become reincarnate. The messenger may fall, but the message is taken up and passed on by a thousand lips. Notice the contrast between John’s end and that of our Lord. In John’s case the disciples who had hearkened to his every word dispersed. The head had fallen, and the members were scattered. None thought of proclaiming their departed leader as still the living head and center of the movement he had set on foot. But when our Lord died, His true influence over men began. Up to that time he had been the Jewish rabbi; thenceforward he became the Redeemer of the world. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Mark 6:30-56 – The Sympathy and Compassion of Jesus

   When the Apostles returned they had much to tell. Some were flushed with success, others radiant with victory over demons, others, perhaps, overstrained and weary, and all needing the quiet, holy influence of repose and silence in the Lord’s company. And in those quiet hours or days, as the fever passed out of them, He taught them memorable lessons of how He would feed the world by His Church, and how His people would be safe amid the storms that swept the sea, for always he would watch them from the height, and come to them at the moment when His help was most needed. Christ sits as host at the great table of the Church, and the meager resources of His servants yield the starting point for His multiplication of bread. He bids us go and consider how little we have, that we may properly estimate the greatness of His help. Notice how the upward look precedes the breaking and giving. There is enough for each, not of bread alone, but of fish; and the disciples are refreshed by another kind of ministry. So the Lord recreates us by turning exhausted energies into new channels. What threatens to overpower us brings Christ to our side. But His footsteps must be arrested, if we would have His company. Where Jesus is, storms cease and the sick are made whole. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Mark 6:30—The apostles told Him all things, both what they had done, and taught.

   Talking things over with Jesus! It is a precious secret! When one has been out in the world, it is delightful to talk over what has happened in the seclusion of the home. We have read of a wife who reserved one room in the house, which no one was permitted to enter but her husband and herself; and there they interchanged their mutual confidences. So it is a blessed habit to talk over everything with Jesus, and to review the events of the past beneath the light of his loving eyes.
   “We have had much success, Master,” “we cry; the cities were moved; the devils were subject; the crowds followed us everywhere.” Ah, children, He seems to say, Those who cry “Hosanna” today will cry “Crucify” tomorrow: the real work of God is not done amid congratulating crowds, but in the heart’s depths, and in the ante-chamber. See that ye dwell not on the excitement of the outward reception, lest you attribute vent success to something in yourselves, and pride yourselves upon it, and become unsuitable for my use. All success comes from above.
   “We have been greatly persecuted, and our mission seems to have been a failure, Master,” we cry at another time. “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?” (Isaiah 53:1). Care not for it, the same wise Counsellor replies: I at least am satisfied; I will see to it that your reward is according to your faithfulness, if not to your success; and there shall be a remnant of good soil that shall repay one hundredfold.
   Thus his loving words extract the poison from success, and rally us from despondency. Oh, Christian workers, get into the secret of his presence, that He may correct, criticize, or encourage, as He please. —Our Daily Homily

Mark 6:41 – In working for God, first look to heaven. It is a grand plan. Over and over again, our Lord Jesus Christ looked to heaven and said, “Father.” Let us imitate Him; although standing on the earth, let us have our conversation in heaven. Before you go out, if you would feed the world, if you would be a blessing in the midst of spiritual dearth and famine, lift up your head to heaven. Then your very face will shine, your very garments will smell of myrrh and aloes and cassia out of the ivory palaces where you have been with your God and Saviour. There will be stamped upon you the dignity and power of the service of the Most High God. (McNeill)