Mark 6 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

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(Read all of Mark 6)

Verse 3

[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.

Is not this the carpenter? — There can be no doubt, but in his youth he wrought with his supposed father Joseph.

Verse 5

[5] And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.

He could do no miracle there — Not consistently with his wisdom and goodness. It being inconsistent with his wisdom to work them there, where it could not promote his great end; and with his goodness, seeing he well knew his countrymen would reject whatever evidence could be given them. And therefore to have given them more evidence, would only have increased their damnation.

Verse 6

[6] And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.

He marvelled — As man. As he was God, nothing was strange to him.

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;

Luke 9:1.

Verse 8

[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:

He commanded them to take nothing for their journey — That they might be always unincumbered, free, ready for motion.

Save a staff only — He that had one might take it; but he that had not was not to provide one, Luke 9:3.

Verse 9

[9] But be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats.

Be shod with sandals — As you usually are. Sandals were pieces of strong leather or wood, tied under the sole of the foot by thongs, something resembling modern clogs. The shoes which they are in St. Matthew forbidden to take, were a kind of short boots, reaching a little above the mid-leg, which were then commonly used in journeys. Our Lord intended by this mission to initiate them into their apostolic work. And it was doubtless an encouragement to them all their life after, to recollect the care which God took of them, when they had left all they had, and went out quite unfurnished for such an expedition. In this view our Lord himself leads them to consider it, Luke 22:35: When I sent you forth without purse or scrip, lacked ye any thing?

Verse 10

[10] And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place.

Luke 9:4.

Verse 12

[12] And they went out, and preached that men should repent.

Luke 9:6.

Verse 13

[13] And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.

They anointed with oil many that were sick — Which St. James gives as a general direction, James 5:14,15, adding those peremptory words, And the Lord shall heal him - He shall be restored to health: not by the natural efficacy of the oil, but by the supernatural blessing of God. And it seems this was the great standing means of healing, desperate diseases in the Christian Church, long before extreme unction was used or heard of, which bears scarce any resemblance to it; the former being used only as a means of health; the latter only when life is despaired of.

Verse 14

[14] And king Herod heard of him; (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.

Luke 9:7.

Verse 15

[15] Others said, That it is Elias. And others said, That it is a prophet, or as one of the prophets.

A prophet, as one of the prophets — Not inferior to one of the ancient prophets.

Verse 16

[16] But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead.

But Herod hearing thereof — Of their various judgments concerning him, still said, It is John.

Verse 20

[20] For Herod feared 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.

And preserved him — Against all the malice and contrivances of Herodias.

And when he heard him — Probably sending for him, at times, during his imprisonment, which continued a year and a half.

He heard him gladly — Delusive joy! While Herodias lay in his bosom.

Verse 21

[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;

A convenient day — Convenient for her purpose.

His lords, captains, and principal men of Galilee — The great men of the court, the army, and the province.

Verse 23

[23] And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom.

To the half of my kingdom — A proverbial expression.

Verse 26

[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.

Yet for his oath's sake, and for the sake of his guests — Herod's honour was like the conscience of the chief priests, Matthew 27:6. To shed innocent blood wounded neither one nor the other.

Verse 30

[30] And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught.

Luke 9:10.

Verse 31

[31] And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.

John 6:1.

Verse 32

[32] And they departed into a desert place by ship privately.

They departed — Across a creek or corner of the lake.

Verse 34

[34] And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.

Coming out — of the vessel.

Verse 40

[40] And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties.

They sat down in ranks — The word properly signifies a parterre or bed in a garden; by a metaphor, a company of men ranged in order, by hundreds and by fifties - That is, fifty in rank, and a hundred in file. So a hundred multiplied by fifty, make just five thousand.

Verse 43

[43] And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes.

Full of the fragments — of the bread.

Verse 45

[45] And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people.

He constrained his disciples — Who did not care to go without him. Matthew 14:22.

Verse 46

[46] And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.

John 6:15.

Verse 48

[48] And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.

And he saw them — For the darkness could veil nothing from him.

And would have passed by them — That is, walked, as if he was passing by.

Verse 52

[52] For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.

Their heart was hardened — And yet they were not reprobates. It means only, they were slow and dull of apprehension.

Verse 53

[53] And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore.

John 6:21.