Book of Mark

Mark 6: 45-56 (Jesus Walks on the Water)

Jesus Walks on the Water
45 Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.

47 When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. 48 He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, 50 because they all saw him and were terrified.

Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 51 Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, 52 for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.

53 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there. 54 As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus. 55 They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed.

v47 When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land.

Jesus sent the disciples across the Sea of Galilee (Mark 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 (John 6:18). They had rowed for much of the night had had only come about halfway across the lake (John 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. “Shortly before dawn” is somewhere around 3 a.m.

v51 Then he climbed into the boat with them,

As Jesus got into the boat with them, miraculously the boat was instantly carried over to the other side (John 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. We also know that it was on this occasion that Peter got out of the boat, walking on the water to Jesus (Matthew 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?
v53 – Gennesaret – Gennesaret was a small fertile plain located on the west side of the Sea of Gallilee.

Book of Mark

Mark 6: 30-44 (Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand)

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

35 By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. 36 Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”

37 But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”

They said to him, “That would take almost a year’s wages[f]! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”

38 “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.”

When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.”

39 Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied, 43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.

The five loaves of bread and two small fish belong to a small boy, probably is Mark, the author of gospel of Mark. (John 6:8-9)

When we have compassion to people, God will provide what is needed to help the needy people. Here Jesus had compassion on them both physically (Jesus, with the help of the apostles fed them) and spiritually (Jesus thought them many things).

– v34 “because they were like sheep without a shepherd” –

  • 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.

Question: Why initially Jesus ask the apostles to come for rest but then later need to serve the 5 thousands?
Question: Is it too much or out of boundary already end of the day but still continue to serve the five thousands? Will this make us burn out? How to differentiate between selfless/self denial vs setting boundaries?

v37 – They said to him, “That would take almost a year’s wages[f]! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to 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 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 maybe he want to teach the apostles something, perhaps to lift up their faith, about compassionate, about self-denial, about putting other needs above ours and etc.

v39 Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass.

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. (Psalm 23:2)

v40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties.

Jesus organized the multitude. 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)

42 They all ate and were satisfied,

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.

43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish.

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.

We might ask, then why Moses asked the Israelite not to keep the manna (Exodus 16:19)? I think at Exodus 16: 19, God is teaching us to trust in His provision while in Mark 6 here, God is teaching us not to be wasteful. Both are different points.

Book of Mark

Mark 6: 14-29 (John the Baptist Beheaded)

John the Baptist Beheaded
14 King Herod heard about this, for Jesus’ name had become well known. Some were saying,[c] “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”

15 Others said, “He is Elijah.”

And still others claimed, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago.”

16 But when Herod heard this, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised from the dead!”

17 For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, whom he had married. 18 For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to, 20 because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled[d]; yet he liked to listen to him.

21 Finally the opportune time came. On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22 When the daughter of[e] Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests.

The king said to the girl, “Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you.” 23 And he promised her with an oath, “Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.”

24 She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?”

“The head of John the Baptist,” she answered.

25 At once the girl hurried in to the king with the request: “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”

26 The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her. 27 So he immediately sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. The man went, beheaded John in the prison, 28 and brought back his head on a platter. He presented it to the girl, and she gave it to her mother. 29 On hearing of this, John’s disciples came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

Overall: I think the narration of this passage is like Herod thought Jesus is resurrected John the Baptist. Then, it went back to the past how Herod beheaded John the Baptist. Without realizing this, it can be confusing. Example, the title of this passage is “John the Baptist Beheaded”, Jesus was thought resurrected John the Baptist, there are details of what cause Herod to kill John the Baptist.


a. 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.”

b. It is Elijah: Some people thought Jesus was Elijah, because it was prophesied Elijah would come before the Messiah (Malachi 4:5). Others thought He was the Prophet Moses said would come after him (Deuteronomy 18:15).

v17-19 – Palestine was divided into four territories, each with a different ruler. Herod Antipas, called Herod in the Gospels, was ruler over Galilee; his brother Philip ruled over Traconitis and Idumea. Philip’s wife was Herodias, but she left him to marry Herod Antipas. When John confronted the two for committing adultery, Herodias formulated a plot to kill him. Instead of trying to get rid of her sin, Herodias tried to get rid of the one who brought it to public attention. This is exactly what the religious leaders were trying to do to Jesus.

v22-23 – He shouldn’t make any foolish promise in the first place. Secondly, even if he had made that promise, he can still make it up by canceling that promise since he has the highest authority there. This is similar to what happened with Saul (1 Samuel 14: 24-44)

v22-23 – As a ruler under Roman authority, Herod has no kingdom to give. The offer of half his kingdom was Herod’s way to say that he would give Herodias’s daughter almost anything she wanted. It is like figure of speech.

v26 – 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.

Book of Mark

Mark 6: 7-13 (Jesus Sends Out the Twelve)

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve
Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. 7 Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over evil[b] spirits.

8 These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. 9 Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. 10 Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. 11 And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them.”

12 They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.

v8-9 – Mark records that the disciples were instructed to take nothing with them except staffs, while in the Matthew and Luke accounts Jesus told them not to take staffs. One explanation is that Matthew and Luke were referring to a club used for protection, whereas Mark was talking about a shepherd’s crook. In any case, the point in all three accounts is the same – the disciples were to leave at once, without extensive preparation, trusting in God’s care rather than in their own resources. (Source: LASB)

v11 – Pious Jews shook the dust from their feet after passing through Gentiles cities or territory and practices. When the disciples shook the dusk from their feet after leaving a Jewish town, it was a vivid sign that they wished to remain separate from people who had rejected Jesus and his message. Jesus made it clear that the listeners were responsible for what they did with the gospel. The disciples were not to blame if the message was rejected, as long as they had faithfully and carefully presented it. We are not responsible when others reject Christ’s message of salvation, but we do have the responsibility to share the gospel clearly and faithfully. (Source: LASB)

v12 – What does it mean to preach? It simply means to proclaim, to tell others in the sense of announcing news to them

v13 – The other reference to anointing with oil for healing is in James 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)

Book of Mark

Mark 6:1-6 (A Prophet Without Honor)

A Prophet Without Honor
1 Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. 2 When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.

“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? 3 Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph,[a] Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

4 Jesus said to them, “Only in their own towns, among their relatives and in their own homes are prophets without honor.” 5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 He was amazed at their lack of faith.

v3 – 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.

v3 – 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.

v3 – 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

v5 – Even though Jesus was rejected, dishonored and not respected by the people in his hometown, Jesus still heal them. This shows how big Jesus heart for the people in his hometown.

v6 – Here the people is not totally without faith. But their faith is not enough, maybe so less that the faith is lesser than the size of the mustard seed. Jesus said, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.” But, here has to be much lesser or smaller than the mustard seed.

Why they lack of faith? What faith they lack of? Faith can have a few definitions. I think over here, the faith they lack of is they lack of faith of what Jesus can do. And I believe that has to do with their lack of faith in who Jesus is. If they have the faith that Jesus is the son of God, they must also have more faith that what Jesus can do in their lives.

I need to have strong faith in what Jesus or God can do in my lives.