For the full text of Mark 6, click here.
The last few chapters had some events happen out of sync with Matthew, but here we catch back up. Jesus goes to His hometown of Nazareth, as He did in Matthew 13, and is rejected. When people marvel at what He can do and at His wisdom, they aren’t awed by it. They just wonder how this happened to the boy from down the street. They frustrate Jesus to the point where He has this fairly famous line:
“A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.”Mark 6:4
As before, the crowd mentions that they know His family. What I didn’t really pick up on Matthew is that they mention His brothers and sisters. The siblings of Jesus. I don’t get how there’s so much controversy about it all when siblings are mentioned repeatedly right in the very text of the Bible. He has human siblings.
After that, Mark shows this to be when the apostles are sent out to caste out demons and heal people with just a short paragraph as opposed to the longer explanation and teaching that went with this part of Matthew in chapter 10. It comes back around to the same timeframe as being rejected in Nazareth when Jesus hears of the death of John the Baptist.
The story of how John the Baptist died is recounted the same way as in Matthew 14. I’ll remind the reader that this isn’t a simple case of spite. Herodias, the mother, is in a tight spot and wants to stay married to her current husband and John the Baptist is going around telling him that he shouldn’t be married to her. They’ve been together a long time and she’s worried about it. When women are dependent on men the way she is on her husband, divorce doesn’t have the same meaning as it does when women are independent. It’s not just a relationship and a breakup. It’s her entire way of life and ability to feed her children. Though it may not be an immediate life or death situation for her, I can see how she may perceive it that way. I certainly wouldn’t want to be in that situation. Is it terrible and despicable? Yes. But she doesn’t have to be villainized as an unreasonable woman who is out for blood.
At the end of this account, it’s said that “his” disciples went and buried the body of John the Baptist. Back in Matthew, this is followed with:
and they went and told Jesus.Matthew 14:12
In Mark, the section ends with John’s disciples burying him. The next section comes back with Jesus being informed of something entirely different. This time it’s the apostles telling Him what they had done since He had sent them out earlier in the chapter. Here is the verse:
30The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught.Mark 6:30
It continues to where Jesus withdraws to a “desolate place”. This time Jesus tells them to do this and in Matthew He had gone by Himself and been followed. They all go to this desolate place together and are again followed by a bunch of people when those people realize who they are. From there the story of the loaves and fishes take place pretty much the same as in Matthew 14, as does most of the rest of the chapter. The exception is that there is a little difference with the last line of this story. In Mark, it does not include that the leftovers were shared with women and children as well as the five thousand men.
What I didn’t notice before was that this is followed “immediately” by the disciples leaving in a boat and Jesus dismissing the crowd. It sets an interesting precedent for not turning anyone away hungry. The disciples leave, the crowd leaves, and then Jesus is left alone in a desolate place and maybe finally really gets a chance to mourn his cousin.
After some alone time, Jesus notices the boat is making slow headway out to the other side and walks out to it. In the Matthew account, Peter comes out with Him, but not in Mark. In Mark, not only does no one come out to stand on the water with Jesus, but “their hearts were hardened” because of the event and inability to understand it all. In Matthew, it seemed like they were in awe rather than having hardened hearts. Those two things can appear similar sometimes, but it’s an interesting difference in how the story plays out. From there, they get to Genneserat and everyone comes out for healing, many just wanting to touch His garment like the woman in chapter five.