What is the Meaning of Mark 6.1-56

“Have You Really Counted the Cost and Received Jesus as the Great I AM?”

Mark 6

INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of Mark 6.1-56

The First Great Awakening was a revival that swept through parts of Europe and especially the American colonies from the 1730s to the 1770s. The powerful preaching of men like William Tennent, James Davenport, George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards, moved listeners from the cold, dark winter of ceremonialism to a deep sense of personal conviction of their need to be delivered from sin and from the wrath to come by faith in Jesus Christ.

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What arose during this revival countered the culture of the age of the Enlightenment and engendered reliance on biblical revelation and put human reason back in its proper place, from having it as the master on how to discover truth, to making it a slave and useful tool for understanding revealed truth in Scripture.

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This enlivening of the Christian pathos spread among Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and Baptists in New England. The preachers during this revival evoked vivid, terrifying images of the utter corruption of human nature and the terrors awaiting the unrepentant in hell. The most famous sermon in American church history, preached by Jonathan Edwards was preached during this time. It was entitled “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” In it, Edwards described the sinner as a detestable spider suspended by a slender thread over a pit of seething brimstone.

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George Whitefield spread the revival to churches in Connecticut. In the fall 1740, Whitefield toured the eastern seaboard of Connecticut emphasizing justification by faith alone.

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The revival in Connecticut had such an impact, that those so affected by it established at least 30 separate churches in southeastern Connecticut.

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From October 24th to 26th, Whitfield was preaching in New Haven Connecticut. On October 26, Whitefield says that when he was preaching he observed a –quote- “especial presence of God in the assembly. Many, I believe, were comforted and quickened by the Holy Ghost. People of God sent me word that they were much revived and one came and told me that these words were lately pressed upon her heart “the winter is gone the spring is coming.” End quote. The spring had come to southeastern Connecticut in 1740. But now 270 years later, the deep darkness of bitter winter has once more set in.

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Just this past Friday, in that same area of this great revival, southeastern Connecticut, in a quaint, small town called Newtown, a young man carried out the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history. The 20 victims were between the ages of 6 and 7 year, with 6 other adults.

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In 2005, Newtown was a contender for one of CNNMoney’s “Best Places to Live” in the United States and just this year was ranked the 5th safest city in America by the highly respected location-based data and risk analysis website NeighborhoodScout.com. 5th safest city.

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But our hearts ache and grieve and our prayers go up for the victim’s families and those in despair over what happened.

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Society has, in some sense, already moved on from mourning over this sad situation and has begun to ask how to go on from here.

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During a tragedy like this, when lost people out in society are talking about gun control laws, the urgency of helping those who are mentally ill, and trying to help others find faith in the midst of tragedy, or asking where God is …when lost people are trying to help other lost people with this things, what are people in broader Christianity talking about? The exact same things. There is a sense in which this is understandable, but there is another sense in which there is something really wrong about that. Really wrong.

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Now, of course, there is a place for God’s people to talk about gun control and helping those who seem mentally and spiritually disturbed, I’m not condemning that. But my point here is that there is a foundational issue underlying the act of this young man.

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To get to that foundation, let me ask this, “What has happened in society since 1740 when George Whitefield was well accepted in society and went about preaching the kingdom of God, salvation by faith alone, and repentance from sin….to now?” How were those people in Southeast Connecticut able to free that society from the bondage of assuming the power of the human mind alone is the path to discover truth to a reliance on the inventor of thought, God? At that time, thinking people in Southeastern CT dominated the landscape with what? The Bible! The Christian worldview! All over early New England, the Christian worldview dominated. It had won. It was clearly the victor in colleges, graduate schools, and…elementary schools.

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But now? Now what thinking dominates? Evolutionist secular humanism. It is very likely on that fateful morning Friday, an elementary school teacher was preparing his material for those same 5 and 6 year olds concerning how to push God further away from their thinking and to teach them the survival of the fittest and preparing to help those kids rejoice in the progress of the development of the species over billions of years. He would help kids rejoice in, then, the survival of the fittest. And in just a matter of minutes, that rejoicing in the survival of the fittest turned into mourning over those who didn’t survive.

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But then, that begs the question…how does that fit? That sorrow seems to be completely irrational, given the supposed truth of the survival of the fittest. You would think, if secular humanism is true, that secular humanists would rejoice that here is yet another example of how, on our progressive path down human history, the fittest survive. One would have to ask those who hold to evolution, “Doesn’t this tragic event, too, assist the progress of the human race? Why, O secularist, are you not rejoicing now?”

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Secular humanism, which dominates most of everyone’s worldview, if it’s theistic or atheistic, clearly cannot account for the most basic experiences of life. It cannot account for the existence of the real life emotions of that day. Love, hate, anger, and sorrow of the loss of loved ones. The existence of these things makes sense if you’re a Christian. Love is real, hate is real, grief is real, because we’re made in the image of God who loves some things and hates other things, and grieves over other things. Love, hate, and anger are not chemical reactions in the brain; they are experienced by immortal spirits created in the image of an eternal God. That’s why they are real. Secular, evolutionary humanism cannot adequately explain why these things exist. Their worldview does not have a rational explanation for the most fundamental elements of human experience. And it seems so obvious, then that their worldview is fundamentally flawed on the most basic issues of life. It’s the same worldview that pushes God and His Word and prayer to Him out of the public schools and that allows for a city to be sued to keep the Bible out of the public sphere. Yet it has no way of rationally explaining the things that matter most to people: love, joy, and sorrow. Why have people chosen this path and believed such irrationality?

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Here’s my point: As Christians, we have failed from 1740 when Whitefield preached until 2012…we have failed to stem the tide of the rise of demonically inspired and clearly irrational worldviews. Christians over these centuries in this land have been ill-equipped to handle questions asked and issues presented by thoughtful unbelievers in the private and public arenas. Presenting other worldviews for what they really are, irrational, is one the basic tasks we have as Christians today.

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That boy, then on Friday, and his act of violence, in one very real sense is a by-product of the failings of Christians over the many decades. We have failed him but more importantly, we have failed our Lord by not carrying out the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20 and we have failed our Lord by not being “ready to make a defense” to everyone who asks you, and being able to “give an account for the hope that is in” us 1 Peter 3:15. Christians have failed their children by failing to motivationally and intellectually equip them to carry out the Great Commission and to properly defend the Christian worldview.

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Many of those who claim to be Jesus’ disciples today, from a biblical perspective, do not understand; they have not gained insight. And Jesus’ disciples in our passage this morning haven’t either. But believe you me, Jesus disciples in the passage, since they are true disciples, or at least 11 of them were, were equipped by the time Jesus went back up into glory.

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Mark chapter 6 has two major points. The first point is found at the beginning and the end of the chapter. The second point is found in the middle of the chapter.

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The first major point that Mark wants us to know is that those who are most familiar with Jesus may not receive him as God.

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This point begins in chapter 6:1-6, where Mark describes what happens when Jesus returns to his hometown and begins to teach. The many listeners were astonished at his teaching and they question his identity and take offense at him. Jesus responds by alluding to himself as a prophet in v. 4 and by not doing many miracles and by wondering at their lack of faith. Jesus grew up with these people in his hometown. Though they are more familiar with Jesus, they do not receive him as God.

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Beginning in chapter 6 verse 33, and running down through the end of the chapter, Mark has the same point. But this time, it’s not those with whom Jesus grew up, but it’s his disciples. Like those with whom Jesus grew up, Jesus’ disciples are the most familiar with him.

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Jesus feeds the 5000 men in verses 33-44 and he walks on the water in verses 45-52. The disciples are astonished that Jesus walked on the water even after Jesus miraculously multiplied bread. Mark’s comment on both of these miracles is that, verse 52, they were utterly astonished, why? Because they, the new American Standard says, had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves but their heart was hardened. Not gaining any insight here has reference to not understanding. They did not understand from the incident of the loaves.

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And the question is, what is it that they do not understand? What insight were they supposed to have gained? And the first story of the chapter gives us a clue. They did not gain any insight, they did not understand chapter 6:2, where this man Jesus got such power to do such miracles, nor did they understand, chapter 6:3, who Jesus really was.

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And the second point Mark wants us know is, count the cost of being His disciple. Count the cost of discipleship.

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Herod and others in our story had the same issue of attempting to figure out Jesus’ identity. Maybe a prophet, like Elijah, or John the Baptist risen from the dead.

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The way the story of John’s death at Herod’s banquet as it’s contrast with the banquet of the feeding of the 5000, makes you wonder if Mark is alluding to the fact that Jesus, too, is a king.

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It becomes clear as to His identity even in the passage, when Jesus alludes to Himself as the great “I AM” of Exodus 3:14, when He says 6:50, “It is I” literally, “I AM.” That reference means that he has always been; he’s claiming to be God! Mark is saying then that Jesus is a prophet, yes, a king, yes, but know this, that Jesus is the great I AM, He’s God.

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So Jesus alludes to himself as a prophet in the first story, Mark contrasts him with an earthly King in the second story, and Jesus alludes to himself as the great I AM in the last story, where Mark himself says they should of got it when Jesus multiplied bread.

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Yet the people in the first story, in Jesus hometown who knew him best, did not believe in Jesus as the prophet he claimed to be. And the disciples when they were in the boat, who were also most familiar with him, did not understand or gain insight into who he was because their heart was hardened, Mark says. The only one who seemed to get it got his head put on a platter. You claim to be a disciple of Jesus then, you’d better count the cost.

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So even though you may be one who is very familiar with the person of Jesus, like the disciples and like those with whom Jesus grew up in his hometown, even though you may be more familiar with Jesus, have you seriously counted the cost of receiving Jesus as the great I AM? So I’d like to preach to you then briefly on that question, “Have You Really Counted the Cost and Received Jesus as the Great I AM?”

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There is a sense which this story in chapter 6:1-6 fits well with the previous passage. In chapter 4:35-5:43, you recall that we have four miracle stories. And each one of them had some point about the relationship between fear and faith. For example, fear can led to rejection in the case of the people who saw Jesus send the demons into the pigs. And here in 6:1-6, the familiarity that those in Jesus’ hometown had with Jesus, bred their contempt. Familiarity breeds contempt. And also their unbelief as he puts it in verse six.

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However, even though it fits well with the previous section, it also forms a nice lead-in to this section due to the appropriate comparison between those in Jesus hometown and their intimate knowledge of him growing up with the disciples knowledge of Jesus. Both have similar responses to Jesus.

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When Jesus was teaching in the synagogue of his hometown of Nazareth verse two, the many listeners were astonished and they asked the question concerning the origin of Jesus wisdom and miraculous power when they say, Mark 6:2 (NASB)“Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands?”

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And they questioned his identity in verse three by referencing his trade, carpentry saying, “is not this the carpenter?” And they also questioned his identity in relationship to his own family. They mentioned four men who were Jesus younger brothers as well as at least two sisters, since the word sisters there is plural. And they took offense at him. Or, end of verse three, they stumbled over him.

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And you remember it was those very people in his family who thought that Jesus had lost his senses, 3:21. The idea then is because they were familiar with his family and with his common job as a carpenter, they stumbled over his true identity. They were so familiar with his job with his family members, that they did not receive Jesus for who he truly is. They did not, just like the disciples at the end of our passage this morning, they did not gain any insight into who those miracles signified him to be. They were in unbelief. And Jesus quotes a common proverb in verse four that teaches that a prophet is honored everywhere else except among those among whom he’s most familiar. So Jesus received no honor there; they did not believe him, verse six, and because they were so familiar with his background, they stumbled over his true identity, verse 3. And so because of their unbelief, verse five, under God’s plan, he did not do many miracles there except healing of just a few sick people.

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And so Mark’s point is that those who are most familiar with the person of Jesus, are in danger of rejecting him as anybody else. And it is the same kind of person who may be able to quote all the verses and wax eloquent on words of theology, but in the end, will stand before the Lord crying out Lord, Lord. And Jesus response will be, “I never knew you; depart from me, you worker of iniquity!”

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For these people in this passage, they probably still viewed Jesus as a nice boy that he was when he was growing up. And they just never really took him seriously. It was great that he could do all those pretty cool things, but they just left it at that. So if you claim to know a lot about Jesus, or you are growing up in a Christian home, like our children here today are, you’d better stop and ask yourself, “have I really received him as the great I AM that he claims to be?”

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Now, why am I saying Jesus is the great I AM and that’s at issue here? B/c in a minute we’ll see that in chapter 6:50, Jesus indicates He’s the great I AM. What does that mean?

During one altercation, when the Jews were testing Jesus, the issue about his age comes up. Jesus responds, John 8:58 (NASB)“Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”

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With that phrase “I am” Jesus is claiming self existence by alluding to Ex. 3:14 and all the Jews knew it. He’s claiming to be God. And this is what these miracles that he did in his hometown point to. They point to his deity. Have you received Jesus as the great God in flesh?

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And now, chapter 6:7-32, Mark’s point here is that those who claim to be his disciples, better count the cost of discipleship.

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You will notice, beginning in chapter 6:7, that Jesus summons the 12 to go out and do the same miracles that Jesus was doing and preaching the same message that Jesus was preaching. Jesus was exercising authority over the unclean spirits, casting out demons, and healing people. Jesus also preached repentance. And the disciples now are to do those exact same things. And then we have, verse 14, Mark recollecting for us how John the Baptist was executed. This story about John the Baptist and King Herod begins in verse 14 and runs down to verse 29. Then, Mark concludes the story of the apostles being sent out to do these miracles and to preach repentance verses 30-32.

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So we have here a story-within-a-story once again. Mark sandwiches the story about King Herod and John the Baptist with a story about the 12 disciples going out to minister among the people.

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So what’s the point of this sandwich then? Why break up the story like this, Mark? The one true disciple in the story seems to be John the Baptist. And he paid the ultimate price for his righteous ministry. Mark seems to be asking, “Are these same disciples willing to pay this ultimate price?” Will they “get it” like John the Baptist did? Sure, they might be ministering for Jesus, but are they willing to have their head put a platter for his sake? That’s Marks point. As you read on in this story of the feeding of the 5000 and Jesus walking on water, it is clear they would not be willing. In fact, before the story of Jesus death and resurrection, Peter will have denied him three times and all the disciples will have fled away. The disciples do not understand. We will see that their hearts are hardened. Jesus’ disciples…if you’re talking about Jesus’ disciples…they can have hard hearts.

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I can’t go over every single detail in this lengthy story; however, suffice it to say here in verses 7 to 13 that Jesus summoned the 12 disciples and sent them out 2 by 2. So there were six groups. Jesus then gives them authority over the unclean spirits, miraculously giving the power that he himself had, and then in verses 8-10, Jesus instructs his disciples to live off of the support of those among whom he ministers. They’re not to take anything with them except a staff; they’re not to bring any bread a bag or money. They can wear sandals verse nine but they’re not to double their clothes, like what we do in winter time here. They are to stay in those households who support them. If anybody does not receive them or listen to their preaching, verse 11, they are to perform that common ceremony there at the end of verse 11 of shaking the dust off the soles of their feet as a testimony against them. So they went out and preached repentance verse 12 and they cast out demons and were healing sick people, verse 13.

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Now, once again in verse 14, Jesus identity comes to the fore. King Herod has his opinion and is fearful that Jesus is John the Baptist raised from the dead. That explains, in Herod’s mind, why Jesus has the ability to do what He’s been doing. There were competing opinions on this as well, verse 15, Jesus miracles reminded the Jews of the miracles of Elijah. They seem to think Elijah had come back as well, which was actually predicted to happen in Malachi 4:5.

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But Herod is nervous that Jesus is a resurrected John the Baptist, whom he had beheaded he says, verse 16. Now Mark goes into flashback mode and recalls how this happened, verses 17-29. You see, Herod arrested John and put him in prison because John was preaching at Herod that he should not have married his brother Philip’s wife. Now Herod, this is Herod Antipas, was Jewish. Herod and Philip were brothers. Philip married Herodias. They divorced. Then Phillip’s brother, Herod Antipas married her. Thus he married his own brother’s wife. This is clearly in violation of Lev 18:16; 20:21.

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So of course, Herodias the wife would not take too kindly of John the Baptist who is preaching to her husband Herod saying it’s not lawful for you to have married her. So Herodias wanted John put to death. Herodias evidently felt that the only safe place for the inscription of her marriage certificate was on the back of the death warrant of John the Baptist.

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So when Herod has this banquet and all these important people come to it the daughter of Herodias comes and dances and pleases Herod and all the dinner guests. Because his own step daughter does this, he swears to give her up to half of his kingdom. And she then goes to her mother Herodias, Herod’s wife now, and asks for advice about what to ask for. Because Herodias knows that John the Baptist was preaching to her husband about the illegitimacy of their marriage, she asks for the head of John the Baptist. Now, Herod kind of enjoyed listening to John the Baptist preach and so this made him very sorry to hear but because of his great promises to her and because of the dinner guests, he went ahead and had it done anyway. So he sends an executioner to go down to the prison and bring back John the Baptist head on a dinner plate. The disciples hear about this and they bury the body of John the Baptist in the tomb.

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With no delay or transition, Mark just notes that, verse 30, the apostles. The apostles gathered together with Jesus. Very interesting to note that this is the only time in Mark’s gospel that they are called apostles. These 12 disciples, these apostles are so-called because they are the “sent ones.” That’s the meaning of the word apostle. And of course Jesus had just sent them out to do ministry, but it also seems to point ahead to when there apostleship begins and ends in a similar fate to John the Baptist. Little do they know, that the cost of following Jesus like this will be the same cost that John the Baptist had just suffered. And as yet, as we will see as we continue in the story, they don’t get it. They haven’t counted the cost of discipleship.

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And as readers, we can’t help but to consider the cost ourselves. We live in strange time and place in the history of the church when followers of Jesus are not actively being persecuted. Other followers of Jesus throughout other parts of the world today are indeed suffering persecution. The vast majority of the parts of the world the history of the world indeed suffered persecution. Those suffering persecution are, I guarantee you, are very motivated to be ready to get an answer concerning the hope that is them. They would be very motivated to give a defense of the faith. When there is a gun pointed at your head, you better have a good reason for trusting in Jesus.

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However today, we are not suffering this kind of persecution, but the persecution that we’re going through is a slow death of the Christian faith as if one drop of blood. The Christian faith is dying in the public arena and biblical revelation is scoffed at. And because Christians today in our land haven’t suffered persecution, we think we can get by without actively defending the faith. But we’re setting up a world for our Christian sons and daughters and their children where they will be much more likely to receive the persecution that we happen to miss out on. And this downgrade of society is all because Christians have failed to rise up and point out the irrationality of the demonically influenced worldviews that are easily demonstrated to be self-refuting.

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The cost of discipleship. Rise up, do the great commission, be ready to give a defense for the hope that is in you, and be pleasing to the Master whom you claim to serve.

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But these disciples in our passage have not yet it seems, counted the cost of discipleship. We turn to that clear indication in the passage next.

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The disciples report to Jesus all of what they did and what they taught and Jesus calls upon them verse 31 to come away by themselves to a secluded place and rest a while and John explains that the reason they were to do this is because of the busyness of their ministry and they did not yet even have time to eat. That’s of course a great contrast to the magnificent banquet that Herod just threw for his military commanders and leading men of Galilee in the previous story. Count the cost!

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Nevertheless, Jesus and the disciples go away in a boat in order to get to a secluded place by themselves. And just as they were about to get some time by themselves after busy hour-upon-hour ministry, Mark describes the rapid gathering of a large crowd. Just when it looked like they were going to get to be by themselves, verse 33 indicates a rapid gathering. All it took was some people seeing them going and then it says many people recognize them and they all ran together on foot from all the cities and, end of v. 33, they even beat them to the other side of the sea where they were trying to get away by themselves. When Jesus got onto the shore verse 34, he sees this large crowd and, instead of wanting to be by himself with the disciples, he feels compassion for them because he understands their spiritual condition. They are like lost sheep. And so Jesus’ response to this, knowing that they are lost, he teaches them many things.

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And it was getting quite late in the night and the disciples aware of this told Jesus that Look this place is desolate and it’s getting to be really late. And so they have suggestion. Their suggestion is that Jesus, verse 36, send them away so that they may go into the surrounding villages and buy themselves something to eat. And you remember, in verse 31, the disciples themselves had not even had anything to eat. And so when Jesus commands them in verse 37, “you give them something to eat!” That seemed outrageous to the disciples. They haven’t had anything to eat and not only that, how on earth would they feed so many people? Although, ironically, by Jesus’ grace, they would end up obeying His command.

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It would cost 200 denarii to feed all those people. That’s about 2/3 of an annual income. One of those denarii was a day’s wage. 200 days worth of income to feed all these people.

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So Jesus then asked them how many loaves of bread do they have and they report they have five and 2 fish. And Jesus commands that all the people sit down in groups and they sit down in groups of hundreds and 50s. And Jesus took those five little slices of bread, which is what they were pretty much, and those 2 fish he blesses the food and he breaks those loaves and … here’s where the miracle begins. It says that he kept on giving that bread and to the disciples. It was the same way with the fish. He divided up those 2 fish among them all!

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And everybody ate and everybody was full. And interestingly enough they picked up after that miracle, they picked up 12 full baskets of the broken pieces. There were 5000 men who ate the loaves. It is likely then that there were around 15,000 people with them if each of those men had a wife and one child. They were just counting the men. Jesus creates. He creates food from other food.

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I think the power of this is not only that Jesus created food from food, which in and of itself is an amazing miracle testifying who we really is… that’s great, but Jesus demonstrated to have complete control over the leftovers.

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The number 12 should sound familiar to you by now, O you disciple of Jesus. You remember in our last message, when Mark told us a story-within-a-story. The healing of Jairus’ daughter and the resurrecting of that little girl. Remember?

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It’s as if Jesus is saying to, the reader, “Do you remember how long that lady had her hemorrhage for before I healed her?” Tell me Chapter 5:25.

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“And do you remember how old the little girl was when she died when I raised her from the dead?” Jesus says… Chapter 5:42. “You who claim to know Me and you who claim Me as your Lord, do you know how old she was?”

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“And do you remember how many of you it was that I sent out in order to minister among the people. How many of you are there?” Chapter 6:7.

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Now, you who claim me as your King, and you who sat at my banquet, do you recall how many full baskets of broken pieces you picked up? Chapter 6:43.

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If you put that together, the only conclusion that you can come to is that Jesus is God because he is in complete control of all of these events. During the very year when that lady got her hemorrhage, that little girl Jesus would resurrect was born. And over the period of those 12 years that that lady had been bleeding, that little girl would soon suffer a fatal illness. But there came a time when the events of both of their lives would come together and they would both meet Jesus at the exact moment that He intends. Jesus controls that.

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And now, with the disciples, after they see Jesus doing this great miracle of multiplying bread, they then go out among the crowd after everybody has been satisfied, and each of them brings one of their little baskets in order to go pick up those pieces of food. They pick up all those leftovers and they each come back and each of their 12 baskets is filled up exactly to the top. Each of them. All 12 filled up exactly to the top. And there they are standing in front of Jesus and they’re probably like, “well ah…Jesus … ah…here we are. We gathered the food and put it into the baskets…thanks for the meal.” They didn’t get it!

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And so the miracle demonstrated, not only Jesus’ ability to multiply bread, but Jesus’ ability to control every detail of that event down to the very morsel of food. Jesus controlled exactly how much each of those men would eat, so Jesus would have to know how much food to multiply and so he was also in control of the hunger of every one of those men and how much they would eat. He was in control of all of that to the point where each of the 12 disciples goes out and picks up exactly a full basket. Each of them.

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And when they pick up all that food and fill up each of the 12 baskets, when Jesus has them go and pick up the leftovers, and report back to him as it were he’s saying to them, “this miracle is for your understanding. Don’t you get it? I didn’t just multiply bread I controlled every last detail of this event. Who do you think I am? Who could do this but the great I AM! Who could do this but God? ”

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But the disciples didn’t get it. And that’s evident in the next story. Verse 45, Jesus makes the disciples get into the boat. Jesus forced them to do this. So at this point, the disciples are not necessarily willing to get back into the boat, but Jesus knows right well that they’re not getting it. So he forces them to get back in the boat and He’s about to do something that should seem oh so familiar to them.

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It’s as if Jesus is now compassionately frustrated over their lack of understanding. Since this is the case, he thinks to himself “Well might as well do something that they’ve seen before. Maybe repetition will aid learning.

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He forces his disciples to get into the boat to go over to Bethsaida while he himself sends away the crowd. He says goodbye to them verse 46, but he himself goes away to a mountain to pray.

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Evening sets in verse 47 and the boat is in the middle of the sea but Jesus is on the land. And Jesus can see them verse 48 straining at the oars literally here they are harassed in rowing. They are harassed because the wind is against them and it’s the fourth watch of the night. And the fourth watch of the night is from three in the morning to six in the morning. So they have been rowing all night. Remember they started when it was evening in verse 47. And now it’s between three and six in the morning. And he comes at them walking on the water. And Mark here notes that he, end of verse 48, he intended to pass by them. As if…if they didn’t recognize who he was, he was going to keep on going.

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And they indeed don’t recognize who he is… verse 49… they think he’s a ghost. And they cried out in terror. They’re terrified verse 50 but Jesus speaks to them and says take courage. …I am. Do not be afraid.”

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And then he gets into the boat and the wind stops. The wind stops just like it did at the end of Mark chapter 4 when he caused that storm to stop. They are utterly astonished because verse 52 they had not gain any insight from the miracle of the loaves but their heart was hardened.

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They couldn’t add it all up. 12 disciples +12 baskets full of leftover food equals somebody who is in complete control of every event of my life! This is God in flesh, the great IAM! But they didn’t get it; they did not understand because their heart was hardened.

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We’re almost done, but let me just point out here, that Mark uses terminology here for the disciples that has previously been reserved for those who are outside of Jesus sphere of disciples or who are actually against Jesus himself. For example, the word “astonished” here is used to describe someone who has experienced some miracle for the first time or some extraordinary miracle. Chapter 2:12 or chapter 5:42. It’s used of Jesus as a derogatory statement by his own family, he had lost his senses they said, chapter 3:21. And now Mark uses this word about the disciples. But they are astonished, as if they’ve experienced this for the first time.

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And the disciples were also “hard of heart.” This is very strong and surprising terminology to use of someone who is a disciple of Jesus. It’s used of one of the apostles, nonetheless!

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The hardened heart was used previously in Mark chapter 3:5 of those Pharisees and Herodians who actually oppose Jesus ministry. But here, it’s used of disciples. What are we to learn from this? Well, as this story fits nicely with the first part of chapter 6 where we saw that those who are most familiar with Jesus may not receive him as God; it’s the same here. The disciples are very familiar with him and his works, but as of yet they have not gained insight. They were not able to see with their eyes or hear with their ears are understand with their hearts so as to be converted, that Jesus should heal them.

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CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of Mark 6.1-56

It very well could be that as of yet these 12 men may not know Jesus in a saving way. So it serves as an impressive warning to us for all who who’ve heard this message, that if you claim Jesus as your King and God, do you really receive him as such? It is a requirement for salvation. You must Paul says confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, that he is God, that he is the great I am! That’s the insight that the disciples should have gained they should have gained the insight into the deity of Jesus Christ. Have you received him as your Lord?

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And it’s ironic that in verses 53 to 56, the people it says verse 54 immediately recognize him. And everybody rushes around to get their sick so that He can heal those with all of those diseases. Those who are most familiar with the person of Jesus are in great danger of rejecting him as their Lord. So Have You Really Counted the Cost and Received Jesus as the Great I AM?

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Hymn 87: second coming.

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Go to Mark Main Page

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Go To BibleTrove Home Page

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