Ministry Beyond Galilee - Mark 6:14-8:26

Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Mark 6:14-8:26

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Ministry Beyond Galilee - Mark 6:14-8:26

Influence and Ministry Beyond Galilee. In this section of Mark's Gospel there is a continuing emphasis on Jesus' powerful ministry, his growing popularity with the crowds, and the opposition of the Jewish leaders. There is also a growing focus on the misunderstandings of Jesus' disciples and on how Jesus was training them.

Beheading of John the Baptist - Mark 6:14-29

This paragraph is a parenthesis that reports what happened while the disciples were away on their mission.

They could not truly identify Jesus. - Mark 6:14-15

John the Baptist... Elijah ... a prophet. People continued to be in awe of Jesus, but could not understand who he really was. He did not fit any of their categories. These are some of the suggestions that were made. The drama of Mark's Gospel continues to build. The person and work of Jesus demand a response, but no one was able to truly identify him.

Herod Antipas - Mark 6:14

This King Herod was Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great. He ruled Galilee and Perea as a tetrarch under the power of Rome. He was not really a king. Rome would not have allowed that, but he seems to have been regarded as a king by those under his rule. The gospel writers call him both king and tetrarch (Luke 3:19).

Condemned Herod Antipas for divorcing - Mark 6:18

John the Baptist had condemned Herod Antipas for divorcing his own wife and convincing Herodias to leave her husband (Herod Philip, the half-brother Herod Antipas) and marry him (Lev. 18:16; 20:21). See WCF 24.4; WLC 139.

Foolish oath - Mark 6:21

Herod took his foolish oath in front of his own officials, his military commanders and the most prominent leaders of Galilee. He gave in to this public pressure and had John killed against his own better judgment.

The girl's name - Mark 6:22

Mark's account did not mention the girl's name, nor did Matthew in his parallel account (Matt. 14:1-12). The Jewish historian Josephus identified her as Salome.

A strong warning - Mark 6:27

The beheading of John must have been a strong warning to the disciples and to the Christians in Rome who first read this Gospel. Following Jesus brought them into great danger. The role of John the Baptist receives further explanation in 9:9-13.

Feeding the 5000 - Mark 6:30-44

Return of the Disciples and the Feeding of the 5,000.

Apostles returned from their mission - Mark 6:30-31

After the apostles returned from their mission Jesus called them to come away. Here and in 3:14 are the only places in his gospel that Mark called them apostles. The stress is on their mission as the ones Jesus has sent out in his authority. Now that they had returned Jesus intended to focus on ministering to them. Being alone with Jesus was a part of the training of the twelve. Throughout this part of the Gospel the crowds and the Jewish leaders were constantly seeking Jesus. The whole time Jesus was trying to get away with his apostles to further prepare them for their future mission.

Deserted place - Mark 6:32

The description of their destination as a deserted place sets the following events in a wilderness context. This word is used three times (6:31, 32, 35) in this short text.

Sheep without a shepherd - Mark 6:34

Jesus' plan to focus on the disciples changed when his heart was touched by the needs of the crowds. He had compassion on them as they were swarming around them. Mark reported that Jesus saw them as sheep without a shepherd. Jesus was fulfilling God's promises from Ezek. 34, especially verses 10-16. Note also Ps. 23 where God himself is the shepherd and Num. 27:17 where God provides a shepherd in the wilderness named Joshua. Joshua is the Hebrew form of the name Jesus.

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