Mark Chapter 6
Mar 6:1 KJV And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him.
Our Lord now left the neighbourhood of Capernaum, and came into his own country, the district of Nazareth, where he had been, not born indeed, but brought up, and where his kinsfolk after the flesh still lived. Nazareth would be about a day’s journey from Capernaum. This was not the first public exercise of his ministry at Nazareth. Of that and its results St. Luke gives us the account (Luk_4:16). It would seem reasonable to suppose that, after the fame which he had now acquired, he should again visit the place where he had been brought up. His sisters were still living there. His disciples follow him. Only the chosen three had been with him in the house of Jairus. The presence of the whole body of the disciples would be valuable at Nazareth. (Pulpit)
Mar 6:2 KJV 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?
And when the sabbath day was come,.... For it seems that it was on a weekday, or on one of the common days of the week, that he entered into the city, where he remained without making himself known, till the sabbath day came: (Gil)
Where did this Man get these things? In His hometown, Jesus faced a crowd that wondered how He became so powerful in both word and works. Jesus left Nazareth as a former carpenter. He came back as a rabbi, complete with a group of disciples. It isn’t hard to see how the Nazareth locals would wonder “What happened to Jesus?” (Guzik)
As usual, he made the sabbath the special time for his teaching. And many hearing him were astonished. They were astonished at the ability, the sublimity, the holiness of his teaching, as well as at the signs and wonders by which he confirmed it. "Many" hearing him; not all. Some listened with faith; but "the many" (there is some authority for οἱ πολλοὶ)were envious of him. Whence hath this man these things? The expression, "this man," is repeated, according to the best authorities, in the next clause, What is the wisdom that is given (not "unto him," but) unto this man? There is a contemptuous tone about the expression. (Pulpit)
Have you shared the Good News with those you grew up with?
Mar 6:3 KJV 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.
Is this not the carpenter: This was not a compliment. It was a way of pointing out that Jesus had no formal theological training. He was never a formal disciple of a rabbi, much less a prominent rabbi.
The word carpenter is actually much broader than just one who works with wood. It has the idea of “a builder.” Jesus may have worked with stone as much as with wood, because stone was a much more common building material in that time and place.
a. “Justin Martyr, an ancient writer, testifieth, that our Saviour, ere he entered upon the ministry, made ploughs, yokes.” (Trapp)
The Son of Mary: This also was not a compliment. “The additional phrase ‘the son of Mary’ is probably disparaging. It was contrary to Jewish usage to describe a man as the son of his mother, even when she was a widow, except in insulting terms. Rumors to the effect that Jesus was illegitimate appear to have circulated in his own lifetime and may lie behind this reference as well.” (Lane)
His sisters: We knew that Jesus had brothers (Mar_3:31), but now we also learn that He had sisters. Mary did not remain a virgin after she gave birth to Jesus.
And they were offended at Him: These neighbors of Jesus are “too familiar” with Jesus. They know little enough about Him to think that they know everything about Him.
“Familiarity breeds contempt, only with contemptible things or among contemptible people.” (Philips Brooks) The contempt these people show says more about them than it does about Jesus. (Guzik)
Is not this the carpenter? St. Matthew (Mat_13:55) says, "the carpenter’s son." We infer from this that our Lord actually worked at the trade of a carpenter, and probably continued to do so until he entered upon his public ministry. We may also infer that Joseph was now no longer living, otherwise it would have been natural for his name to have been mentioned here. According to St. Chrysostom, our Lord made ploughs and yokes for oxen. Certainly, he often drew his similitudes from these things. "No man putting his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God" (Luk_9:62). "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me "(Mat_11:29). Christ was the son of a carpenter. Yes; but he was also the Son of Him who made the world at His will.
And they were offended in him. They took it ill that one brought up amongst them as a carpenter should set himself up as a prophet and a teacher; just as there are those in every age who are apt to take it amiss if they see any one spring from a trade into the doctor’s chair. But these Nazarencs knew not that Jesus was the Son of God, who of his great love for man vouchsafed to take a low estate, that he might redeem us, and teach us humility by his example. And thus this humility and love of Christ, which ought to have excited their admiration and respect, was a stumbling-block to them, because they could not receive it, or believe that the son of God was willing thus to humble himself. (Pulpit)
Are you offended by Jesus too?
Mar 6:4 KJV 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.
Jesus accepts His rejection as part of the price, though it must have hurt Him badly to be rejected by friends and neighbors. (Guzik)
A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, etc. One reason for this is that it is almost natural for persons to hold of less account than they ought, those with whom they have been brought up and have lived on familiar terms. Prophets are commonly least regarded, and often most envied, in their own country. However unworthy may be the feeling, the inhabitants of a district, or members of a community, do not like to see one of themselves put above them, more especially a junior over a senior, or a man of humble origin over a man well born. But it should be remembered that God abhors the envious, and will withhold the wonders of His grace from those who grudge His gifts to others. The men of Nazareth, when they saw Christ eating, and drinking, and sleeping, and working at his trade, like others, despised him when he claimed respect and reverence as a Prophet, and especially because his relations according to the flesh were of humble condition; and Joseph more particularly, whom they supposed to be his real father, for they could not imagine or believe that he was born of a virgin, and had God alone for his Father. (Pulpit)
Are you envious of those who are more active in God’s service than you are?
Do you evil speak about them?
Mar 6:5 KJV And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.
In this climate of unbelief. In this sense, Jesus’ power was limited by the unbelief of His countrymen.
And he could there do no mighty work,.... Or miracle; not that Christ had no power in himself to work miracles, though their unbelief and contempt of him were very great; but it was not fit and proper that he should do any there, since such were their prejudices against him.
When persons applied to him for healing, and expressed their faith in him, it gave him an opportunity of working a miracle for that purpose; but now these people did not so much as ask such a favour of him, and so gave him no occasion of doing any mighty work; for which reason it may be said, he could not, no opportunity offering: and moreover, seeing they disbelieved him, and rejected him as the Messiah, they were unworthy of having any wrought among them; and it was but just and right, to do none: nay, it was rather an instance of kindness not to do any among them; since had he, and they had remained impenitent and unbelieving, as he knew they would, these would have been aggravations of their condemnation.
Save that he laid his hands upon a sick folk, and healed them. There were some few sick people that had faith in him, and came to him, beseeching him to heal them; and accordingly he did lay his hands on them, and cured them, which was a way he sometimes used: and these cures he wrought, to show his power, what he could do, and what benefits they might have enjoyed by him, and to leave them inexcusable. (Gill)
Mar 6:6 KJV And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.
Jesus was amazed at their unbelief; our inability to believe God and trust Him is indeed amazing!
- Jesus only marveled at Jewish unbelief and Gentile faith (Luk_7:9). Would Jesus marvel at your faith or your unbelief? “Unbelief must needs be a monstrous sin, that puts Christ to the marvel.” (Trapp)
b. We never read that Jesus marveled at art or architecture or even the wonders of creation. He never marveled at human ingenuity or invention. He didn’t marvel at the piety of the Jewish people or the military dominance of the Roman Empire. But Jesus did marvel at faith - when it was present in an unexpected place, and when it was absent where it should have been.
He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching: Jesus did not let this rejection by His countrymen debilitate Him. Jesus got on with the business of teaching and ministry. (Guzik)
Then it must be remembered that it is not The Lord’s method in his dealings with mankind to force conviction upon them when the ordinary means prove insufficient. For men’s actions must be free if they are to be made the test of judgment, and they would not be free if God constrained men to obey His will. The men of Nazareth had sufficient evidence had they not chosen to be blinded, and a greater amount of evidence would only have increased their condemnation. So their unbelief thwarted Jesus’ purposes of mercy, and he went in and out amongst them like one hampered and disabled, marvelling at their unbelief, or rather marveling because of their unbelief (διὰ τὴν ἀπιστίαν αὐτῶν). The condition of mind of these Nazarenes was what caused amazement to the Saviour. At length he turned away from Nazareth, never, so far as we know, to visit it again; for this was their second opportunity, and the second occasion which they deliberately rejected him. What, however, they refused he immediately offered to others. He was not discouraged. He went round about the villages teaching. (Pulpit)
Does Jesus marvel at your faith or lack thereof?
Are you missing out on blessings and opportunities because of lack of faith?
Mar 6:7 KJV And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits;
In the gospel of John, Jesus said As the Father has sent Me, I also send you (Joh_20:21). Here, Jesus is sending out His disciples to do the same things that Jesus did: preaching, healing the sick, and freeing people from demonic possession. (Guzik)
By two and two - That they might encourage and support each other; and to show that union among the ministers of the Gospel is essential to the promotion of the cause of truth. (Clarke)
Do you only work alone for the Lord or do you encourage others to work with you?
Or do you share in the burdens and work of others?
Mar 6:8 KJV And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse:
Mar 6:9 KJV But be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats.
The disciples didn’t need fancy equipment to preach a simple message. Too much stuff would get in the way of their urgent message.
i. There was a rule from the Jewish rabbis that you could not enter the temple area with a staff, shoes, or a moneybag, because you wanted to avoid even the appearance of being engaged in any other business than the service of the Lord. The disciples are engaged in such holy work (preaching the gospel and bringing God’s healing) that they can’t give the impression that they have any other motive.
c. No bag, no bread, no copper in their money belts: As well, travelling light kept them dependent upon God. They had to trust the Lord for everything if they didn’t take much with them. If the preacher doesn’t trust God, how can he tell others to trust Him? (Guzik)
Probably, no more is designed than simply to state that they must not wait to make any provision for the journey, but go off just as they were, leaving the provision necessary in the present case to the care of Divine Providence. (Clarke)
Take nothing -- Israel was a covenant people and it was their duty to receive and entertain the messengers of the Lord. The receiving or rejecting of them would be a test of their fidelity to God.
No scrip -- Valise or satchel. They were not to take up any collections or have anything wherein to carry a surplus. (Russell)
Mar 6:10 KJV And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place.
Mar 6:11 KJV 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.
Their job as preachers wasn’t to change people’s minds. They were to persuasively present the message; but if their audience didn’t receive it, they didn’t receive it - and they could leave, and shake the very dust from your feet as they left.
In that day, if Jewish people had to go in or through a Gentile city, as they left they would shake the dust off their feet. It was a gesture that said, “we don’t want to take anything from this Gentile city with us.” Essentially, Jesus is telling them to regard a Jewish city that rejects their message as if it were a Gentile city. (Guzik)
Than for that city -- The people of Bethsaida, Chorazin and Capernaum were regular attendants of the synagogues--decent people, having a form of godliness, but knowing little or nothing of its power. The destruction upon Sodom and Gomorrah was less awful than that upon Jerusalem at the close of the Jewish.
In the Millennium conditions will be favorable even for the people of Galilee who were not moved to repentance and discipleship by the Lord's miracles; but still more tolerable for those of Sodom. (Russell)
What do you do when people don’t want to hear you?
Are you even sharing the “Good News”?
Mar 6:12 KJV And they went out, and preached that men should repent.
So they departed: They actually did it! We can hear Jesus’ word to us all day long, but something is missing until we do it.
They went out and preached: What does it mean to preach? It simply means to proclaim, to tell others in the sense of announcing news to them. Some of the best, most effective preaching never happens inside a church. It happens when followers of Jesus are one-on-one with others, telling about what Jesus has done.
i. Morgan on preached that people should repent: “First they preached that men should repent. That is a declaration that needs careful consideration. It does not mean that they told men to repent, but that they preached in such a way as to produce repentance.”
ii. “When the apostles went out to preach to men, they did not create a message; they brought a message.” (Barclay) (Guzik)
They went, and preached that men should repent — They went away and published everywhere the glad tidings of the approach of the Messiah’s kingdom, and exhorted men on that consideration to turn to God in true repentance, forsaking all their sins in temper, word, and work, and in all respects bringing forth fruits worthy of repentance. (Benson)
When you share the Gospel—what is your message?
Mar 6:13 KJV And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.
The other reference to anointing with oil for healing is in Jas_5:14-15. We know that anointing with oil was a picture of an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, but it may also have had a medicinal purpose in that day.
i. “It is possible that the use of oil (olive oil) as a medicine is the basis of the practice . . . It was the best medicine of the ancients and was used internally and externally . . . The very word aleipho can be translated rub or anoint without any ceremony.” (Robertson)
ii. “Galen, the great Greek doctor, said, ‘Oil is the best of all instruments for healing diseased bodies.’“ (Barclay) (Guzik)
And anointed with oil ... -It was used, probably, like the imposition of hands, or like our Saviour’s anointing the eyes of the blind with clay; also as a sign, in expectation of imparting that aid and comfort from God which was sought, and which was “represented” by the soothing and gentle effect of oil. (Barnes)
Mar 6:14 KJV 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.
King Herod: Actually, Emperor Augustus denied the title “king” to Herod. Goaded by the ambitious Herodias, Herod pressed for the title again and again until he so offended the emperor’s court that he was dismissed as a traitor. Mark uses the title King Herod either because it was the local custom to call him “king,” or more likely, he used it ironically. All his ancient readers would remember the character of this “Want-to-be King Herod.” (Guzik)
And he said, that John the Baptist was risen from the dead — This his own guilty conscience suggested, and he could not forbear speaking of it to those that were about him. Others said, That it is Elias; and others, That it is a prophet — It is easy to account for the opinion of those who, upon Christ’s appearing in this part of the country, began to take notice of his miracles, and, being struck with them, imagined that he was Elias, or one of the prophets. For they expected that Elias would actually descend from heaven, and usher in the Messiah, Mat_16:14; and that one of the prophets was to be raised from the dead for the same end. But when Herod heard thereof — Of their various judgments concerning Jesus; he still said, It is John, whom I beheaded, &c. — The suggestions of his guilty conscience were too powerful to be removed by the flattery of his servants; and he persevered in affirming that it was certainly John whom he had beheaded, and that he was risen from the dead. (Benson)
Mar 6:15 KJV Others said, That it is Elias. And others said, That it is a prophet, or as one of the prophets.
It is Elijah: Some people thought Jesus was Elijah, because it was prophesied Elijah would come before the Messiah (Mal_4:5). Others thought He was the Prophet Moses said would come after him (Deu_18:15). (Guzik)
Mar 6:16 KJV But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead.
But Herod believed that Jesus was John, whom I beheaded; he has been raised from the dead. Herod’s confusion comes from his own guilty conscience. It is hard to see clearly who Jesus is when we are in sin and rebellion. (Guzik)
Mar 6:17 KJV 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.
Herod imprisoned John for his bold rebuke of his sin. At the same time, Herod did not want to kill John out of fear of the multitudes - and because he knew that John was a just and holy man.
- “More weak than cruel, Herod listened to John with an undeniable fascination. John’s word left him perplexed, and in anguish. Yet he found a strange pleasure in the authoritative preaching of this holy man, whose stringent life gave added power to his probing word. Too weak to follow John’s counsel, he nevertheless had to listen.” (Lane)
Bound him in prison -- In the palace at Machaerus, which was also a fortress.
Where he remained about a year before execution. No doubt fearing that, unreproved and unchecked, this conduct might lead to disorders in the realm.
For Herodias' sake -- A beautiful and ambitious woman, a descendant of Cleopatra, a granddaughter of Herod the Great. A vain woman, without conscience, who, for ambition's sake, had dared everything that she might occupy the place of a queen. In the case of Herodias we see illustrated the power of ambition, and how important it is that our ambitions be noble, true and pure.
Philip's wife -- Her oldest uncle, supposing that to him would fall the kingdom honors at the hands of the Roman emperor.
For he had married her -- King Herod had put away his own wife, and was living unlawfully with the wife of his brother Philip. When Herod came to Rome to be invested with royal honors, she arranged to entertain him, and there entangled him with her personal charms, so that when he departed for his personal dominion, she eloped with him. (Russell)
What lessons can we learn from the actions of Herod and Herodius?
Mar 6:18 KJV For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife.
When he preached repentance, John did not spare the rich and powerful. He called Herod and his wife Herodias to repent, because Herodias had been the wife of Herod’s brother Philip. (Guzik)
The Greek text intimates that this was not said once merely, but rather as though it read, "John was saying"--was teaching continuously that there was wrong at the very head of the nation. As the Jewish nation was a covenant nation, John was probably within the proprieties of the case in denouncing a ruler of the Jews, while making no criticism of the other rulers of the earth not under divine law and covenant.
Do you have the courage to stand up and say something is a sin when you are confronted with it?
Mar 6:19 KJV Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him; but she could not:
Mar 6:20 KJV 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.
Herodias was strong enough to get John put in prison, and apparently she tried with all the tenacity of a malignant woman to have him assassinated, by contrived accident or open sentence; but that she could not manage.
Mark’s analysis of the play of contending feeling in the weak king is barely intelligible in the Authorised Version, but is clearly shown in the Revised Version. He ‘feared John,’-the jailer afraid of his prisoner,-’knowing that he was a righteous man and an holy.’ Goodness is awful. The worst men know it when they see it, and pay it the homage of dread, if not of love. ‘And kept him safe’ (not ob- but pre-served him); that is, from Herodias’ revenge. ‘And when he heard him, he was much perplexed.’ The reading thus translated differs from that in the Authorised Version by two letters only, and obviously is preferable. Herod was a weak-willed man, drawn by two stronger natures pulling in opposite directions.
So he alternated between lust and purity, between the foul kisses of the temptress at his side and the warnings of the prophet in his dungeon. But in all his vacillation he could not help listening to John, but ‘heard him gladly,’ and mind and conscience approved the nobler voice. Thus he staggered along, with religion enough to spoil some of his sinful delights, but not enough to make him give them up.
Such a state of inner strife comes often from unwillingness to give up one special evil. If Herod could have plucked up resolve to pack Herodias about her business, other things might have come right. Many of us are ruined by being unwilling to let some dear delight go. ‘If thine eye causeth thee to stumble, pluck it out.’
We do not make up for such cowardly shrinking from doing right by pleasure in the divine word which we are not obeying. Herod no doubt thought that his delight in listening to John went some way to atone for his refusal to get rid of Herodias. Some of us think ourselves good Christians because we assent to truth, and even like to hear it, provided the speaker suit our tastes. Glad hearing only aggravates the guilt of not doing. It is useless to admire John if you keep Herodias.
When you have two different voices confronting you—one to do evil and one to repent and do what is right—are you weak like Herod or do you make a stand for righteousness?
Do you like to listen to God’s Word? Or do you try to obey it?
Mar 6:21 KJV 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;
And when a convenient day was come,.... For Herodias; who had long sought and watched for an opportunity of avenging herself on John, and such a time Herod's birthday proved… which he kept as a festival, in eating, and drinking, and dancing; and so was a very opportune and seasonable time for Herodias to take the advantage of Herod when in a good humour, amidst his company, and in his cups, to solicit that, which she had often done without success: and so it was now,
that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee: this birthday, was either the day of his natural, or civil birth; the day when he was born into the world, or of his accession to the throne; See Gill on Mat_14:6, when he made a grand entertainment in the evening for his nobles, and the officers of the army, the captains of thousands, and the principal men, those of the first rank and quality in Galilee, of which he was Tetrarch. (Gill)
Have you ever experienced someone manipulating you?
How did you react?
Mar 6:22 KJV 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.
Herodias’ daughter shamelessly dances before Herod and friends, winning favor and a special request.
i. “With immodest gesticulations and trippings on the toe, wherewith the old fornicator was so inflamed, that he swore she should have anything of him.” (Trapp)
ii. “Such dancing was an almost unprecedented thing for women of rank, or even respectability. It was mimetic and licentious, and performed by professionals.” (Robertson)
Do you make rash commitments or vows based on emotion?
Do you allow yourself to get into questionable circumstances?
Mar 6:23 KJV And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom.
Mar 6:24 KJV And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist.
The head of John the Baptist!” The immediate reply of Herodias shows that the mother had this planned out all along. She knew her husband and she knew the situation, and knew she could get what she wanted this way.
i. “The girl’s question implies by the middle voice that she is thinking of something for herself. She was no doubt unprepared for her mother’s ghastly reply.” (Robertson)
ii. It is always sobering to see the lengths some will go to ease their guilt. Herodias hoped that murdering the prophet John would ease her guilt. She couldn’t have been more wrong, because it just added to her guilt. (Guzik)
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. (Meyer)
What lessons can you learn from this occasion?
Do you see yourself keeping bad company which will only lead to heartache? Are you going to change anything?
Mar 6:25 KJV 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.
Mar 6:26 KJV 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.
Because Herod was afraid to cross his wife or lose face before his friends, he did something he knew to be wrong.
i. “The depth of distress experienced by Herod at Salome’s request for the head of John the Baptist is expressed graphically by the Greek word perilypos, ‘greatly distressed’. This is the same word used to describe Jesus’ agony in Gethsemane (Mar_14:34).” (Wessell)
ii. But in the end, sorry as he was, he did just what his wicked wife wanted. “And he had her not only for his wife, but for his mistress; for she ruled him at her pleasure, as Jezebel did Ahab . (Trapp)
iii. “Neither was it long ere this tyrant Herod had his payment from heaven.” (Trapp) In order to take his brother’s wife Herodias, Herod put away his first wife, a princess from a neighboring kingdom to the east. Her father was offended, and came against Herod with an army, and defeated him in battle. Then his brother Agrippa accused him of treason against Rome, and he was banished into the distant Roman province of Gaul, where Herod and Herodias committed suicide. (Guzik)
Have you ever violated your conscience?
Mar 6:27 KJV And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison,
But no man can serve two masters. He who refuses the command of God to choose whom he will serve, in calmness and meditation, when the means of grace and the guidance of the Spirit are with him, shall hear some day the voice of the Tempter, derisive and triumphant, amid evil companions, when flushed with guilty excitements and with sensual desires, and deeply committed by rash words and "honor rooted in dishonor," bidding him choose now, and choose finally. Salome will tolerate neither weak hesitation nor half measures; she must herself possess "forthwith" the head of her mother’s foe, which is worth more than half the kingdom, since his influence might rob them of it all. And the king was exceeding sorry, but chose to be a murderer rather than be taken for a perjurer by the bad companions who sat with him. What a picture of a craven soul, enslaved even in the purple. And of the meshes for his own feet which that man weaves, who gathers around him such friends that their influence will surely mislead his lonely soul in its future struggles to be virtuous. What a lurid light does this passage throw upon another and a worse scene, when we meet Herod again, not without the tyrannous influence of his men of war. (Expositor’s)
Are you willing to evil to another so save face?
Are you afraid to admit that you have done wrong and correct your path?
Mar 6:28 KJV And brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother.
The end of the story gives an example of the final powerlessness of such half-convictions.
One need not repeat the grim narrative of the murder. We all know it. One knows not which is the more repugnant-the degradation of the poor child Salome to the level of a dancing-girl, the fell malignity of the mother who would shame her daughter for such an end, the maudlin generosity of Herod, flushed with wine and excited passion, the hideous request from lips so young, the ineffectual sorrow of Herod, his fantastic sense of obligation, which scrupled to break a wicked promise and did not scruple to murder a prophet, or the ghastly picture of the girl hurrying to her mother with the freshly severed head, dripping on to the platter and staining her fair young hands.
This was what all the convictions of John’s righteousness had come to. So had ended the half yielding to his brave rebukes and the ineffectual aspirations after cleaner living. That chaos of lust and blood teaches that partial reformation is apt to end in a deeper plunge into fouler mire. If a man is false to his feeblest conviction, he makes himself a worse man all through. A partial thaw is generally followed by keener frost than before. A soul half melted and cooled again is harder to melt than before.
The incident teaches that simple weakness may come to be the parent of great sin. In a world like this, where there are always more voices soliciting to wrong than to right, to be weak is in the long run to be wicked. Fatal facility of disposition ruins hundreds of unthinking men. Nothing is more needful than that young people should learn to say ‘No,’ and should cultivate a wholesome obstinacy which is afraid of nothing but of sinning against God.
If we look onwards to this Herod’s last appearance in Scripture, we get further lessons. He desired to see Jesus that he might see a miracle done to amuse him, like a conjuring trick. Convictions and terrors had faded from his frivolous soul. He has forgotten that he once thought Jesus to be John come again. He sees Christ, and sees nothing in Him; and Christ says nothing to Herod, because He knew it would be useless.
The most effectual stopping for our ears is neglect of what we know to be His will. If we will not listen to Him, we shall gradually lose the power of hearing Him, and then He will lock His lips, and answer nothing. (MacLaren)
We see with Herod, that when he violated his conscience—in the end—he no longer had one. Do you violate your conscience—that is do you do things that you know to be wrong?
Mar 6:29 KJV And when his disciples heard of it, they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb.
And when his disciples heard of it — that is, the Baptist’s own disciples.
they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb — “and went and told Jesus” (Mat_14:12). If these disciples had, up to this time, stood apart from Him, as adherents of John (Mat_11:2), perhaps they now came to Jesus, not without some secret reflection on Him for His seeming neglect of their master; but perhaps, too, as orphans, to cast in their lot henceforth with the Lord’s disciples. How Jesus felt, or what He said, on receiving this intelligence, is not recorded; but He of whom it was said, as He stood by the grave of His friend Lazarus, “Jesus wept,” was not likely to receive such intelligence without deep emotion. (JFB)
Mar 6:30 KJV And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught.
And the apostles -- Returned from the mission work to which the Lord sent them two by two. No doubt there was a fixed time for their return and Capernaum was probably the rendezvous. Returning at the time when Herod had cruelly beheaded John, and astonished that God would permit such an unjust procedure. So we, too, are frequently astonished to note to how great an extent providence permits the prosperity of the "prince of this world." (Russell)
Sounds like a testimony meeting—do you have testimony meetings in your fellowship where you can share how God has been working in your lives?
Mar 6:31 KJV 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.
The disciples came back from a successful time of ministry, being sent by Jesus into the towns of Galilee (Mar_6:7-12). When they returned, Jesus knew they needed a time of rest. Jesus knew when it was time to work, and He knew when it was time to rest.
i. Jesus knew the importance of hard work better than anyone did. He said, I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. (Joh_9:4) At the same time, He knew that we can only be most effective at work when we also take time for rest. Jesus and the disciples were constantly busy (there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat), so Jesus took them away to a deserted place for some rest. (Guzik)
A desert place -- Just outside the border of Herod's dominion, near Bethsaida.
And rest a while -- Here commune with me and the Father. Here tell us of what you have done and what you have taught. Here examine carefully to see how correctly, how truthfully, you have presented my message.
Many coming and going -- Being fully engaged in divine service, even though greatly enjoying it, sometimes we do not have sufficient time for eating the spiritual food that we may be properly refreshed and upbuilt.
So much as to eat -- Sometimes, when busy in the Lord's service and in making provisions for our temporal needs, we do not have sufficient time for eating the spiritual food. (Russell)
Have you been telling the Lord what you have been doing for him?
Have you been working for the Lord?
Mar 6:32 KJV And they departed into a desert place by ship privately.
Mar 6:33 KJV 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.
Mar 6:34 KJV 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.
It’s easy to think that the multitude was nothing but rude and demanding. The disciples wanted to send them away (Mar_6:36), but Jesus was moved with compassion for them.
i. The disciples often saw the crowds as work, and as constant demands, especially at a time like this when their well-deserved rest was interrupted by the multitude. But Jesus saw them and was moved with compassion. Each face reflected a need, a hunger, or a hurt. Being a thoroughly others-centered person, Jesus cared more about the needs of someone else than His own needs.
Because they were like sheep without a shepherd: Jesus knew that without a shepherd, sheep were in a lot of trouble. They can’t fend for themselves against predators, and have a hard time finding the food and water they need. Jesus was moved with compassion for the people among the crowd, because He knew their pressing demands were prompted by great needs.
• Sheep without a shepherd are needy, because they have no Shepherd to fill their wants.
• Sheep without a shepherd are hungry and thirsty, because they have no Shepherd to make them lie down in green pastures or to lead them beside still waters.
• Sheep without a shepherd hurt, because they have no Shepherd to restore their soul.
• Sheep without a shepherd wander, because they have no Shepherd to lead them in paths of righteousness.
• Sheep without a shepherd are vulnerable, because they have no Shepherd to protect them with His rod.
So He began to teach them many things: As a faithful Shepherd, Jesus takes care of the most pressing need for these sheep - He feeds them with the Word of God. (Guzik)
Moved with compassion -- Instead of being angry that his endeavor for privacy and rest should be thus intruded upon by people for whom he had already done so much. Such will be the spirit of all the Lord's followers. Their delight will be, not in self-gratification, but in doing good "unto all men as they have opportunity, especially to the household of faith." (Gal_6:10)
Not having a shepherd -- Though they had synagogues, regular readings of the Scripture, scribes, Pharisees, priests and Levites; they had a soul-hunger which the forms, ceremonies, rituals and burdens bound upon them could not satisfy. He was the true Shepherd and ready at all times to fulfil his mission, to lay down his very life for the sheep--not only at Calvary, but hourly and daily during his ministry.
Today, many of the Lord's people in Babylon are in a similar condition--persuaded that we are living in re Markable times, but without political or religious shepherds to guide them. Following blind guides and about to fall with them into the ditch of Israel's great calamity.
Teach them many things -- We are to be specially on guard against choking the babes in Christ with strong meat; but nevertheless we are not to allow them to starve, but to give them the milk of the Word that they may grow thereby. (Russell)
How do you react when people need your help?
Mar 6:35 KJV 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:
Mar 6:36 KJV 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.
Both Jesus and the disciples saw exactly the same need among the multitude. The disciple’s solution was to “get rid of” the need by getting rid of the needy. Jesus saw a different solution, and wanted the disciples to see it also (You give them something to eat). (Guzik)
Mar 6:37 KJV 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?
It’s hard to know if the disciples were angry or just couldn’t believe what Jesus said. Clearly, they thought spending about a year’s income to feed this multitude for one meal was not only impossible, but also a waste.
i. Understandably, it never entered into their minds that Jesus might provide for the multitude with a miracle. God has resources that we know nothing about, so we can trust Him and be at peace even when we can’t figure out how He will provide.
ii. Jesus’ suggestion must have seemed so extravagant to the disciples. “Jesus if we had that kind of money, we would never spend it on one meal for this crowd. They annoy us, and they would be hungry again in a few hours. Shouldn’t the money be spent on something else?” But Jesus will perform an extravagant miracle because He wanted to sit down to a dinner with the multitude - because He loved them.(Guzik)
Give ye them -- Thus the people were made more or less acquainted with the apostles, who perhaps later on, after Pentecost, met many of them and, as the Master's representative, bore to them the heavenly bread.
Before sending the people away he instructs all who are his disciples to supply them with something to eat, spiritual food, truths pertaining to the kingdom, to afford some strength and encouragement for the dark hour ahead. (Russell)
Mar 6:38 KJV He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes.
How many loaves do you have? Go and see: God’s way of provision always begins with what we already have. He wants us to use what we already have wisely. Don’t foolishly pray for more from God if you don’t use what He already has given you in a godly way.
i. Of course, what they did have was almost laughably small. Five loaves and two fish were about enough for one or two people, because they were small loaves and small fishes. Even though the amount was tiny, Jesus still started with what they had. (Guzik)
Have ye -- How eager we should be that any little barley loaves we may possess, any little fishes, any dollars and dimes, and shillings and pence, any time and influence, might be used of the Lord in his blessed work!
Five, and two fishes -- The Lord takes our time and talents, little and unworthy as these are, and blesses them and uses them in his service and accomplishes great things.
Are you being faithful with your little all?
What is in your hand that you could be using in the Lord’s service?
Mar 6:39 KJV And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass.
Mar 6:40 KJV And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties.
Why did Jesus do this? Because these people were like sheep without a shepherd, and Jesus will be their shepherd. The Good Shepherd makes me lie down in green pastures. (Psa_23:2)
e. So they sat down in ranks, in hundreds and in fifties: Jesus organized the multitude. He didn’t want a mob scene; He wanted to have a nice dinner with these people. God likes organization, especially when it comes to managing what He provides for us.
i. The ancient Greek word for groups “is a very pictorial word. It is the normal Greek word for the rows of vegetables in the vegetable garden. When you looked at the little groups, as they sat there in their orderly rows, they looked for all the world like the rows of vegetables in a series of garden plots.” (Barclay) (Guzik)
And he commanded them to make all sit down,.... Christ ordered his disciples, without any more ado, to cause the whole multitude, men, women, and children, to sit, or lie down, as they used to do at table when about to take a meal: and as they had no table before them, nor beds, or couches to sit, or lie down upon, he directed them to place them
by companies upon the green grass; that there might be some order among them, as at a meal; and that their number might be the more easily known; and that all of them might more plainly see the miracle that was to be wrought: and the provision be more orderly distributed to them. (Gill)
Do you seek order in your life when preparing to feast on what the Lord has prepared?
Mar 6:41 KJV 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.
When Jesus blessed before the meal, He didn’t bless the food; He blessed God for supplying it. The idea of praying before a meal isn’t to bless the food, it is to bless - in the sense of thanking and honoring - God for blessing us with the food. (Guzik)
- “Jesus faithfully followed the accepted form: he took the bread in his hands, pronounced the blessing, broke the bread into pieces and distributed it. The only deviation from normal practice was that while praying Jesus looked toward heaven rather than downward, as prescribed.” (Lane)
He looked up -- Christians should not neglect to render thanks for their daily food; but mere outward acts of formalistic piety by others are not pleasing to God.
And blessed -- John's Gospel says, "He gave thanks." The giving of thanks to God brought indeed a blessing upon the food. How can we partake of food, recognizing that it is of God's bounty and provision, without returning our thanks of acknowledgments?
To his disciples -- The disciples were thus the better witnesses of the power of the miracle, and the people were made acquainted with them. The Lord could have fed the multitude without their help.
Are you an instrument of the Lord to help feed the bread of heaven to those who are hungry for it?
Mar 6:42 KJV And they did all eat, and were filled.
g. So they all ate and were filled: Jesus miraculously multiplied the loaves and fishes, until far more than 5,000 were fed.
i. It really seems too extravagant. Why feed the multitude until they are filled and can’t eat any more? Why not just give them a little meal? Wouldn’t that be enough? No. Jesus is having people He loves over for dinner, and there will always be more than enough food. That’s how much Jesus loved them and loves us.
ii. Jesus provided extravagantly, yet simply. As long as He was making food miraculously, He could have provided steak and lobster and any number of other great things. But He simply gave people bread and fish. When Jesus provides, don’t be surprised if He provides simply.
iii. If someone left hungry, it was either because they refused the bread from Jesus, or because the apostles didn’t distribute the bread to everyone. Jesus supplied plenty for everybody to eat a good meal. But everybody had to eat for himself. Sometimes when we attend a spiritual meal, we gather food for everyone else except ourselves.
iv. The assurance that Jesus can provide - even miraculously - for all of our needs should be precious to us; it was to the earliest Christians. On the walls of the catacombs, and other places of early Christian art, loaves and fishes are common pictures
v. If Jesus could do this much with so little, He can do the same with our little lives. What we have in ourselves to give others is insignificant, but when we put it in Jesus’ hands, He can do great things with our gifts and talents to touch the lives of others. (Guzik)
Chief object of the miracle was to reinforce and establish the faith of the apostles--effect upon the multitudes was secondary and similar. This miracle speaks to us of the power that our Lord will have in his kingdom for providing for the necessities of the whole world. Not only attesting to our Lord's sympathy, but it also spoke volumes to the people about the divine power that was in the Great Teacher.
And were filled -- It was not merely a taste of food that the Lord provided, but a satisfying portion--all had plenty. (Russell)
Are you satisfied with what the Lord has given you?
Are you hungering for the more tasty tidbits of speculation and dogma?
Mar 6:43 KJV And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes.
Jesus could have just left this behind, but He didn’t. Jesus generously provides, but He doesn’t want things wasted. It isn’t because Jesus is cheap, or doesn’t trust for future provision; He simply knew that wastefulness didn’t glorify the God of all provision. (Guzik)
They took up -- While the Lord had abundance of power to create, he would have his disciples note the principle of economy and practice it. The Lord's people should be careful to avoid wasting, not because of selfishness and a desire to accumulate, but, as the Apostle explains, "that ye may have to give." (Eph_4:28)
Twelve baskets full -- None of God's provisions for his people are to be wasted. Those who distribute will find in the end their own vessels full. R2436:4
It was those who scattered to others who had their haversacks filled in the end. Those who are most intent upon feeding others with the bread of life are themselves most bountifully supplied.
Of the fragments -- Not the fragments left by the multitude, but those broken by our Lord and not distributed. Probably the fragments fingered by the multitude were left for the birds and squirrels, and these were the fragments from the breaking of the bread by the Lord.
Let us take heed to the fragments, too, that we may render up a faithful record of our stewardship, that the talents entrusted to us have not been buried in the earth. (Russell)
Are you wasteful of things under your stewardship?
Are you careless with what the Lord has given you?
Mar 6:44 KJV And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men.
Every circumstance of this miracle is precious. That vigilant care for the weak which made the people sit down in groups, and await their turn to be supplied, is a fine example of the practical eye for details which was never, before or since, so perfectly united with profound thought, insight into the mind of God and the wants of the human race.
The words, Give ye them to eat, may serve as an eternal rebuke to the helplessness of the Church, face to face with a starving world, and regarding her own scanty resources with dismay. In the presence of heathenism, of dissolute cities, and of semi-pagan peasantries, she is ever looking wistfully to some costly far-off supply. And her Master is ever bidding her believe that the few loaves and fishes in her hand, if blessed and distributed by Him, will satisfy the famine of mankind.
For in truth He is Himself this bread. All that the Gospel of St. John explains, underlies the narratives of the four. And shame on us, with Christ given to us to feed and strengthen us, if we think our resources scanty, if we grudge to share them with mankind, if we let our thoughts wander away to the various palliatives for human misery and salves for human anguish, which from time to time gain the credence of an hour; if we send the hungry to the country and villages round about, when Christ the dispenser of the Bread of souls, for ever present in His Church, is saying, They need not depart, give ye them to eat. (Expositor’s)
Are you helping to dispense the Lord’s food to the people in your reach?
When you talk with people are you sharing the Lord’s good food or worldly distractions?
Mar 6:45 KJV 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.
Mar 6:46 KJV And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.
Jesus loved the multitude, but he was not obsessed with crowds. He knew when to tell them (kindly, of course) to go home (He sent the multitude away).
b. He departed to the mountain to pray: A long, difficult day spent ministering to the spiritual and physical needs of the multitude left Jesus exhausted. But that hard day drove Jesus to prayer, not from prayer. (Guzik)
To pray -- The Lord frequently spent whole nights in prayer and he prayed earnestly and with many tears (Mat_14:23; Mar_1:35; Luk_5:16; 6:22; Heb_5:7) Nearly all of the Great Teacher's recorded prayers are simple and brief. Whenever he wished to make long prayers he went to the Father alone. This would be a good example for all to observe. (Russell)
And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray — thus at length getting that privacy and rest which He had vainly sought during the earlier part of the day; opportunity also to pour out His soul in connection with the extraordinary excitement in His favor that evening - which appears to have marked the zenith of His reputation, for it began to decline the very next day; and a place whence He might watch the disciples on the lake, pray for them in their extremity, and observe the right time for coming to them, in a new manifestation of His glory, on the sea.(JFB)
Do you make time for prayer?
Mar 6:47 KJV And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land.
Mar 6:48 KJV 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.
The boat was in the middle of the sea: Jesus sent the disciples across the Sea of Galilee (Mar_6:45). As Jesus prayed in the heights above the Sea of Galilee, He saw them straining at the rowing as they attempted to cross the lake in the face of the wind. Unknown to the disciples, Jesus saw their difficulty and cared for them.
i. It was difficult to get across because a great wind was blowing (Joh_6:18). They had rowed for much of the night had had only come about halfway across the lake (Joh_6:19).
ii. “The apostolic crew rowed, and rowed, and rowed, and it was no fault of theirs that they made no progress, ‘for the wind was contrary unto them.’ The Christian man may make little or no headway, and yet it may be no fault of his, for the wind is contrary. Our good Lord will take the will for the deed, and reckon our progress, not by our apparent advance, but by the hearty intent with which we tug at the oars.” (Spurgeon)
iii. About the fourth watch of the night is somewhere around 3 a.m. (Guzik)
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. (MHCC)
Do you believe that the Lord can see us struggling?
Do you have faith that he is present and will help?
Mar 6:49 KJV But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out:
Mar 6:50 KJV 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.
Jesus almost walked casually, because He would have passed them by. Jesus only came over to them after they responded with fear and cried out.
Were troubled -- The same apostles who here cried out in terror, grew stronger and stronger in faith until they could and did trust the Lord in his absence where they could not trace him.
Be of good cheer -- No doubt it helped the disciples later to remember the Master's ability to come to them on the troubled seas, and how his coming brought peace and quiet. This precious lesson still holds good for the Lord's people, that he will sanctify to them their deepest distress.
It is I -- Learn to look to me, to remember that, having become my disciples, I have supervision over all your affairs, whether in storm or in calm.
Be not afraid -- "All things work together for good to them that love God." (Rom_8:28)
Do you cry out for the Lord to rescue you?
Do you trust that he will?
Mar 6:51 KJV And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.
He went up into the boat to them: As Jesus got into the boat with them, miraculously the boat was instantly carried over to the other side (Joh_6:21). Jesus rescued His disciples from working in futility. This was a miracle meant to assure them that He was in fact in control, and that He would always lovingly be there to help them fulfill what He commanded.
i. “He came walking on the waves; and so he puts all the swelling storms of life under his feet. Christians, why be afraid?” (Augustine)
ii. We also know that it was on this occasion that Peter got out of the boat, walking on the water to Jesus (Mat_14:28-31). There is reason - from history and subtle clues, not explicitly from the Scriptures - to believe that Peter was the main source for Mark’s gospel. If this was the case, Peter may have left out the story because he didn’t want to be exalted for walking on the water - or to be humbled for sinking! It’s easy to criticize Peter for sinking, but have you ever gotten out of the boat yourself?
- “Mark does not give the incident of Peter’s walking on the water and beginning to sink. Perhaps Peter was not fond of telling that story.” (Robertson) (Guzik)
And he went up unto them into the ship — John (Joh_6:21) says, “Then they willingly received him into the ship” - or rather, “Then were they willing to receive Him” (with reference to their previous terror); but implying also a glad welcome, their first fears now converted into wonder and delight. “And immediately,” adds the beloved disciple, “they were at the land whither they went,” or “were bound.” This additional miracle, for as such it is manifestly related, is recorded by the fourth Evangelist alone. As the storm was suddenly calmed, so the little bark - propelled by the secret power of the Lord of nature now sailing in it - glided through the now unruffled waters, and, while they were wrapt in wonder at what had happened, not heeding their rapid motion, was found at port, to their still further surprise.
“Then are they glad, because at rest
And quiet now they be;
So to the haven He them brings
Which they desired to see.”
Matthew (Mat_14:33) says, “Then they that were in the ship came [that is, ere they got to land] and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth Thou art the Son of God.” But our Evangelist is wonderfully striking.
and the wind ceased and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered — The Evangelist seems hardly to find language strong enough to express their astonishment. (JFB)
Are you amazed beyond measure with the Lord?
Mar 6:52 KJV For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.
For they considered not the miracle of the loaves; for their heart was hardened — What a singular statement! The meaning seems to be that if they had but “considered [reflected upon] the miracle of the loaves,” wrought but a few hours before, they would have wondered at nothing which He might do within the whole circle of power and grace. (JGB)
Their heart was hardened - Their “mind” was dull to perceive it. This does not mean that they were “opposed” to Jesus, or that they had what we denominate “hardness of heart,” but simply that they were slow to perceive his power. They did not quickly learn, as they ought to have done, that he had all power, and could therefore allay the storm. (Barnes)
Is your mind hardened (dull to perceive) the miracles of the Lord?
Mar 6:53 KJV And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore.
Mar 6:54 KJV And when they were come out of the ship, straightway they knew him,
Mar 6:55 KJV And ran through that whole region round about, and began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was.
Mar 6:56 KJV 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.
As many as touched Him were made well: With this description of the healing ministry of Jesus, Mark concludes a brief section where we see the power of Jesus over the laws of nature. Normally, five thousand are not fed by one small lunch. Normally, men don’t walk on water. Normally, the sick are not instantly healed. None of this is normal, except by the power of God.
b. If Jesus had this kind of great power then, does He not have the same power now? (Guzik)
THERE is a condition of mind which readily accepts the temporal blessings of religion, and yet neglects, and perhaps despises, the spiritual truths which they ratify and seal. When Jesus landed on Gennesaret, He was straightway known, and as He passed through the district, there was hasty bearing of all the sick to meet Him, laying them in public places, and beseeching Him that they might touch, if no more, the border of His garment. By the faith which believed in so easy a cure, a timid woman had recently won signal commendation. But the very fact that her cure had become public, while it accounts for the action of these crowds, deprives it of any special merit. We only read that as many as touched Him were made whole. And we know that just now He was forsaken by many even of His disciples, and had to ask His very apostles, Will ye also go away?
Thus we find these two conflicting movements: among the sick and their friends a profound persuasion that He can heal them; and among those whom He would fain teach, resentment and revolt against His doctrine. The combination is strange, but we dare not call it unfamiliar. We see the opposing tendencies even in the same man, for sorrow and pain drive to his knees many a one who will not take upon his neck the easy yoke. Yet how absurd it is to believe in Christ’s goodness and His power, and still to dare to sin against Him, still to reject the inevitable inference that His teaching must bring bliss. Men ought to ask themselves what is involved when they pray to Christ and yet refuse to serve Him.
As Jesus moved thus around the district, and responded so amply to their supplication that His very raiment was charged with health as if with electricity, which leaps out at a touch, what an effect He must have produced, even upon the ceremonial purity of the district. Sickness meant defilement, not for the sufferer alone, but for his friends, his nurse, and the bearers of his little pallet. By the recovery of one sick man, a fountain of Levitical pollution was dried up. And the harsh and rigid legalist ought to have perceived that from his own point of view the pilgrimage of Jesus was like the breath of spring upon a garden, to restore its freshness and bloom. (Expositor’s)
Do you ask favors of the Lord, but refuse to serve him?