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He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. 2 And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? 3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. 4 And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” 5 And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them.6 And he marveled because of their unbelief.
And he went about among the villages teaching.
7 And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8 He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts— 9 but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. 10 And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. 11 And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12 So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.
14 King Herod heard of it, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some said, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead. That is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” 15 But others said, “He is Elijah.” And others said, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16 But when Herod heard of it, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” 17 For it was Herod who had sent and seized John and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because he had married her.18 For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 And Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death. But she could not, 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet he heard him gladly.
21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his nobles and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22 For when Herodias’s daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. And the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it to you.” 23 And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half of my kingdom.” 24 And she went out and said to her mother, “For what should I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist.” 25 And she came in immediately with haste to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26 And the king was exceedingly sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. 27 And immediately the king sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison 28 and brought his head on a platter and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Questions to Consider
1. What are the three major sections this first half of Mark 6 can be divided into? What is the general theme of this passage and how do each of the three sections teach it?
3. Compare and contrast verses 2-3 with Mark 1:21-22,27-28. What are the similarities and differences between the questions and statements the people made? How were their reactions to Jesus different, even though both groups were “astonished” at His teaching? Having known Jesus from childhood, as well as His humble family, why would the Nazarenes have been offended by Him now? (3) What did Jesus mean in verse 4? Which three groups of people does He say a prophet is without honor among? How did most of Nazareth being offended at Jesus affect His ability to do miracles there? (5) Does verse 5 mean Jesus’ supernatural ability to heal was suspended or that the people shunned Him and would not listen to Him or ask for healing?
4. Examine verse 6 in light of Matthew 7:6. Why did Jesus leave Nazareth and go to other villages to teach?
5. Read verses 7-13. Why do you think Jesus sent the disciples out two by two when they could have reached twice as many villages if He had sent them out one by one? (7) Compare Jesus’ two by two policy to the need in ministry today for accountability, encouragement, collaboration, sharing the workload, etc.
6. Why did Jesus instruct the disciples to travel with minimal luggage and supplies? (8-9) How does this point ahead to the New Testament church era and the practice of congregations supplying their pastors’ material needs? In Jesus’ time, it was customary, almost required by decent society, to invite traveling strangers into one’s home and show them hospitality. How would this hospitality, and providing for the needs of the disciples (or refusing to), have been an indicator of whether or not a town would receive the disciples? (8-11)
7. What were the two ministry activities the disciples were to engage in? (12-13) Which one was the primary objective? (12) How does the word “listen” (11) and the message they proclaimed (12) help us understand that the disciples’ main mission was to preach the gospel and that the miracles they performed were to identify them with Jesus, credentialize them as being authorized by Him, and authenticate the message they preached?
8. Notice the chronology of verses 14-29. Which events happened first, those in verses 14-16, or those in verses 17-29? Could verses 17-29 be characterized as “back story”? From what you know about John the Baptist’s preaching, Elijah’s miracles, and the Old Testament prophets, can you see why Herod and the people compared Jesus to them? (14-16) Why do you think Herod opted for a resurrected John the Baptist? (16) What was the central theme of both John’s and Jesus’ message? Which would have been more convicting to Herod, more preaching like John’s, miracles, or prophecy? (18, 20) What can we learn about Herod’s spiritual state from verses 20, 26-27?
9. What are some things we can learn about godly marriage and parenting from Herod’s and Herodias’ ungodly example? Compare verses 17-28 with these Scriptures.
10. In Mark 6:1-29, we see that Nazareth rejected Jesus, that presumably, some of the villages the disciples went to rejected them and their message of repentance, and that, ultimately, Herod rejected John’s (and by extension, Jesus’) message of repentance. Why is the gospel so offensive (3) and rejected by so many – then and now? Why don’t people want to repent and trust Christ as Savior?
Today’s passage is a study in the rejection of the gospel. Have you ever been rejected by family, lifelong friends, strangers, church members, or someone in authority over you, for sharing the gospel and calling them to repent? Write a brief paragraph examining why people reject the gospel and commit to pray over the next week for the person who rejected you for sharing it.
Suggested Memory Verse
When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things.