Mark chapter 6

Jesus sends the twelve on a mission. Herod executes John the Baptist. Jesus feeds more than 5,000 people. He walks on water and heals the sick.





VERSE 1. He went out from there. He came into his own country, and his disciples followed him.

He went out from there. Jesus had been in Capernaum.

He came into his own country. Jesus went about 20  miles southwest to his hometown of Nazareth.

his disciples followed him. Jesus has followers. He is now a Rabbi surrounded by his disciples (students).


VERSE 2. When the Sabbath had come, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many hearing him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things?” and, “What is the wisdom that is given to this man, that such mighty works come about by his hands?

many hearing him were astonished. The Greek word for “astonished” is hexeplêssonto. It means astounded, struck out, overwhelmed.


VERSE 3. Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judah, and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” They were offended at him.

the carpenter. Here is where we learn that Jesus worked as a carpenter.

the son of Mary. There is no mention of Joseph.

brother of. The Greek word is ἀδελφὸς (“adelphos”). It means “brother.” Did Mary have other children? Did Jesus have siblings? The use of the Greek word “adelphos” would say yes.

Some people say the Greek word “adelphos” can also mean “cousin.” They say that in order to claim that Mary was a “perpetual virgin.”

his sisters. The Greek word is ἀδελφή (“adelphé”). It means “sister.” This word raises the same questions as above. Did Mary have other children? Did Jesus have siblings? The use of the Greek word “adelphé” would say yes.

VERSE 4. Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own relatives, and in his own house.”

VERSE 5. He could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people, and healed them.

He could do no mighty work there. There is no limit to the power of Jesus. However, our own unbelief can block his activity from our lives.


VERSE 6. He marveled because of their unbelief. He went around the villages teaching.

He went around. As far as we know, Jesus never returned to Nazareth.




VERSE 7. He called to himself the twelve, and began to send them out two by two; and he gave them authority over the unclean spirits.

gave them authority. The Greek word is hexousian. It means right and power. In our day, does Jesus still give anybody authority over demons?

over the unclean spirits. They would be casting out demons. In our day people call this a “deliverance ministry.”


VERSE 8. He commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, except a staff only: no bread, no wallet, no money in their purse,

take nothing for their journey. The Lord Jesus Christ sent the Twelve on a short-term mission. And later the Seventy. He required radical minimalism. Read more »


VERSE 9. but to wear sandals, and not put on two tunics.


VERSE 10. He said to them, “Wherever you enter into a house, stay there until you depart from there.

stay there. If they are offered a place to stay, they are to make it their base of operations until they leave that town.


VERSE 11. Whoever will not receive you nor hear you, as you depart from there, shake off the dust that is under your feet for a testimony against them. Assuredly, I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!”

Whoever will not receive you nor hear you. They are to expect rejection.

shake off the dust that is under your feet. This was a way of dissociating themselves from wherever they had been.


VERSE 12. They went out and preached that people should repent.


VERSE 13. They cast out many demons, and anointed many with oil who were sick, and healed them.

They cast out many demons. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that demons are just a myth. Jesus Christ took them seriously. And so did the twelve.

anointed many with oil. Anointing the sick with oil is unique to the Gospel according to Mark.




VERSE 14. King Herod heard this, for his name had become known, and he said, “John the Baptizer has risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him.”

King Herod. That is, Herod Antipas, who was the son of Herod the Great. He was a “tetrarch.” That meant he was a ruler of a fourth part of his father’s kingdom.

John the Baptizer has risen from the dead. Herod Antipas accounts for the miraculous powers of Jesus by asserting that Jesus was actually John the Baptist, risen from the dead.


VERSE 15. But others said, “He is Elijah.” Others said, “He is a prophet, or like one of the prophets.”


VERSE 16. But Herod, when he heard this, said, “This is John, whom I beheaded. He has risen from the dead.”

John, whom I beheaded. Herod Antipas probably felt guilty about executing John the Baptist.




VERSE 17. For Herod himself had sent out and arrested John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, for he had married her.


VERSE 18. For John said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”

John said to Herod. John the Baptist rebuked the leader of his nation. To us it would seem that he was dabbling in politics. However, in those days, political leadership was not secularized. It was a part of the God-given theocracy of the Jewish nation.

In our day, some Christian leaders are secretly politicians. They use their pulpit to preach against thus-and-such. It is usually couched in the guise of morality. But secretly, it is the preacher promoting a certain political party. It is an abuse of spiritual authority.


VERSE 19. Herodias set herself against him, and desired to kill him, but she couldn’t,

Herodias set herself against him. She had a grudge against John the Baptist, due to his rebuke.

desired to kill him, but she couldn’t. That is because Herod would have prevented her. He had a superstitious dread of John the Baptist.


VERSE 20. for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. When he heard him, he did many things, and he heard him gladly.


VERSE 21. Then a convenient day came, that Herod on his birthday made a supper for his nobles, the high officers, and the chief men of Galilee.


VERSE 22. When the daughter of Herodias herself came in and danced, she pleased Herod and those sitting with him. The king said to the young lady, “Ask me whatever you want, and I will give it to you.”

the daughter of Herodias. Her name was Salome.

pleased Herod and those sitting with him.Salome’s dance was skillful and provocative.


VERSE 23. He swore to her, “Whatever you shall ask of me, I will give you, up to half of my kingdom.”


VERSE 24. She went out, and said to her mother, “What shall I ask?” She said, “The head of John the Baptizer.”


VERSE 25. She came in immediately with haste to the king, and asked, “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptizer on a platter.”


VERSE 26. The king was exceedingly sorry, but for the sake of his oaths, and of his dinner guests, he didn’t wish to refuse her.

he didn’t … refuse her. Herod lacked the courage to do the right thing.


VERSE 27. Immediately the king sent out a soldier of his guard, and commanded to bring John’s head, and he went and beheaded him in the prison,


VERSE 28. and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the young lady; and the young lady gave it to her mother.


VERSE 29. When his disciples heard this, they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb.




VERSE 30. The apostles gathered themselves together to Jesus, and they told him all things, whatever they had done, and whatever they had taught.


VERSE 31. He said to them, “You come apart into a deserted place, and rest awhile.” For there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.

rest awhile. It is great to take a break. Whether it takes the form of a vacation, a retreat, solitude, it’s important to recharge yourself.


VERSE 32. They went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves.


VERSE 33. They saw them going, and many recognized him and ran there on foot from all the cities. They arrived before them and came together to him.




VERSE 34. Jesus came out, saw a great multitude, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he began to teach them many things.

This verse is fantastic! Would you consider memorizing it? More great verses to memorize from the Gospel According to Mark and from the entire Bible.


VERSE 35. When it was late in the day, his disciples came to him, and said, “This place is deserted, and it is late in the day.


VERSE 36. Send them away, that they may go into the surrounding country and villages, and buy themselves bread, for they have nothing to eat.”


VERSE 37. But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” They asked him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give them something to eat?”

two hundred denarii. A denarius was a Roman silver coin used in Palestine. It was the average daily wage for a farm laborer.

Consequently 200 denarii was roughly equivalent to eight months of wages. That sum was way beyond what the disciples had available.


VERSE 38. He said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go see.” When they knew, they said, “Five, and two fish.”


VERSE 39. He commanded them that everyone should sit down in groups on the green grass.


VERSE 40. They sat down in ranks, by hundreds and by fifties.


VERSE 41 He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he blessed and broke the loaves, and he gave to his disciples to set before them, and he divided the two fish among them all.


VERSE 42. They all ate, and were filled.


VERSE 43. They took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and also of the fish.

twelve baskets full. The Greek word is hkophinoi. It means small wicker baskets. There was a basket of leftovers for each disciple.


VERSE 44. Those who ate the loaves were‡ five thousand men.




VERSE 45. Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat, and to go ahead to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he himself sent the multitude away.

Immediately. There is a sense of urgency. This can be explained by John 6:14-15, where the people recognize Jesus as the promised future prophet. They were about to make him king by force:

John 6:14-15. When therefore the people saw the sign which Jesus did, they said, “This is truly the prophet who comes into the world.” 15 Jesus therefore, perceiving that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, withdrew again to the mountain by himself.


VERSE 46. After he had taken leave of them, he went up the mountain to pray.


VERSE 47. When evening had come, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and he was alone on the land.


VERSE 48. Seeing them distressed in rowing, for the wind was contrary to them, about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea, and he would have passed by them,


VERSE 49. but they, when they saw him walking on the sea, supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out;

cried out. The mighty disciples cry out in terror.


VERSE 50. for they all saw him, and were troubled. But he immediately spoke with them, and said to them, “Cheer up! It is I! Don’t be afraid.”


VERSE 51. He got into the boat with them; and the wind ceased, and they were very amazed among themselves, and marveled;


VERSE 52. for they hadn’t understood about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.




VERSE 53. When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret, and moored to the shore.

they had crossed over. They had crossed over the Sea of Galilee from the northeast to the west.

Gennesaret. This was a fertile, populous plain south of Capernaum on the northwestern shore of the lake. Rabbis called this plain “the Garden of God” and “a paradise.” A small town there was also called Gennesaret.


VERSE 54. When they had come out of the boat, immediately the people recognized him,


VERSE 55. and ran around that whole region, and began to bring those who were sick, on their mats, to where they heard he was.


VERSE 56. Wherever he entered, into villages, or into cities, or into the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might just touch the fringe of his garment; and as many as touched him were made well.


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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


Author: todd

At Explore the Faith, I share insights into the Bible and theological writings. If you like what I write, become my partner by donating. Help me reach the world for the Lord Jesus Christ.