This record in Mark Chapter 6 is full of great principles that we can learn. Jesus Christ set the ultimate example for us as he lived his life and taught the Word of God despite opposition.
He trusted God fully to meet his needs …and the needs of his disciples.
Before we start in verse 7, let’s go to the first part of the chapter.
The story takes place in the land where Jesus Christ grew up as a young boy. It is now during his 1 year ministry and he was 30 years old at this time. The people in the city knew him when he was younger.
And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him. 2 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? 3 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. 4 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. 5 And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. 6 And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.
You would think that the people closest to you would always be your biggest supporters, but in fact the opposite can be true at times. When you set out to accomplish something great, people will sometimes question your motives. That was the case here.
What was his response to this treatment? We read it in Verse 7:
7 And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits;
Jesus directed them to go by “two by two” and speak the Word because there is strength in pairs.
8 And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse: 9 But be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats. 10 And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place.
He instructed them to completely trust God for their immediate needs to be met. They were to take only a staff, sandals, and a coat. God would provide everything else they would need as they went along.
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Jesus Christ understood this principle and was teaching it to his disciples. He wanted them to literally trust that they would have all of their basic requirements taken care of.
How easy it is in our culture to allow our jobs to be our “sufficiency” and determine how our needs are met. God is so much greater!
11 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. 12 And they went out, and preached that men should repent. 13 And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.
14 And king Herod heard of him [Jesus] (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. 15 Others said, That it is Elias. And others said, That it is a prophet, or as one of the prophets.
Herod Antipas was actually the son of “Herod the Great.” He was not as powerful, only overseeing a portion of his father’s kingdom and was never actually a true king (although he is referred to as a king here) He was actually a Tetrarch, meaning he ruled a quarter of the kingdom. During this time he built the city called “Tiberias.”
He was extremely superstitious, was easily bribed and influenced, and seriously lacked integrity, morals, and honesty. There were some major character flaws here!
He was responsible for the death of John the Baptist and would ultimately be responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Let’s read on:
16 But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead.
Herod thought Jesus Christ was John the Baptist back from the dead because he was doing great works for God. (Superstition)
17 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.
The king’s brother had died and Herod married his wife Herodias.
John spoke out against this – it was against the law to marry your brother’s wife, not to mention it was adultery because they both got divorced to marry each other.
18 For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife. 19 Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him; but she could not:
Herodias wanted to execute John but she could not have him killed. Here is the reason in verse 20:
20 For Herod feared [respected & admired] 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. 21 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;
22 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.
This was the king’s first mistake. He allowed his new wife’s daughter Salome to manipulate him.
23 And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom. 24 And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist.
So the daughter manipulates the king and with some prodding from her mother…
25 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. 26 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.
Now you would think that if the king respected John (although he had no trouble breaking the law and marrying Herodias) he might have ignored her request, but no:
27 And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison, 28 And brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother. 29 And when his disciples heard of it, they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb. 30 And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught.
This was a very negative situation but the disciples carried on anyway.
In the beginning of the chapter Jesus Christ ignored the naysayers of his home town and continued moving forward.
He commissioned his disciples to go out in pairs teaching, sharing, and healing.
He taught them how to trust God fully to meet their needs
They had such an impact that the king heard of their work
And finally, the disciples reported back to Jesus Christ of their victories, despite the loss of a dear friend and fellow believer.
Truly great principles are shown in this section of scripture. We carry on with the things of God despite setbacks and negativity from others who may believe differently. When God is our sufficiency, the words and actions used against us have no power.
God Bless You!
From a Teaching on: Mark 6:7-30 March 14, 2009 [brackets indicate my comments]