Scripture reading – Mark 6; Luke 9

Note – The length of today’s Scripture reading (118 verses) encourages me to be brief in commentary. In addition, you will find we have covered similar content in the Gospel of Matthew.

By now, the term, “Synoptic Gospels” has become familiar as we continue our study of the Gospels by that term (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). You will notice in our Scripture reading a parallel of events that were considered in Matthew 13. For instance, we have seen Jesus rejected by the people of Nazareth, His hometown (Matthew 13:53-54), and the same rejection was recorded in Mark 6:1-6.

Matthew and Mark observed the tragic result of Christ’s final visit to Nazareth. Though His neighbors were astonished at His teaching, and had heard of the “mighty works…wrought by His hands,” they nevertheless rejected Him (Mark 6:2). They knew Him as “the carpenter, the son of Mary,” and knew His brothers and sisters (Mark 6:2-3). By the way, Mark 6:3 debunks the perpetual virginity of Mary, the false doctrine espoused by the Roman Catholic Church. Mary was the virgin mother of Jesus (He being of the seed of the Holy Ghost); however, she and Joseph were blessed with sons and daughters after our Lord’s birth (Mark 6:3). Tragically, because the people of Nazareth did not believe, Jesus “could there do no mighty work” (Mark 6:5).

A second example of a parallel event discovered in today’s Scripture reading is of when Jesus sent out the Twelve as apostles (Mark 6:7-12; Luke 9:1-5, Matthew 10:1-14). A third parallel event recorded in the Synoptic Gospels was the beheading of John the Baptist by Herod (Mark 6:14-29; Luke 9:7-20; Matthew 14:1-12).

The news of John’s fate, and the return of the disciples with news of their ministering to the cities and villages of Galilee, gave impetus for Jesus to seek a quieter place in the desert (Mark 6:30-32), yet the people followed Him along the seashore until they came to the place where He and the disciples anchored (Mark 6:33-34; Luke 9:10-11; Matthew 14:13-14).

Hardheaded, Hardhearted Disciples (Mark 6:35-52; Luke 9:12-17)

Two other events found in today’s study have captured the imaginations of children for two millennium: “The Feeding of the 5,000” (Mark 6:35-44; Luke 9:12-17; Matthew 14:15-21) and Jesus “Walking on the Water” and saving the lives of His disciples who were caught in a great storm (Mark 6:45-52; the same was recorded in Matthew 14:22-33).

Closing thoughts – Time and space do not allow a thorough study of today’s Scripture; however, I close with a question to ponder: After the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 (with only two fish and five loaves), why did Jesus send His disciples into a great storm where they feared for their lives?

Answer – The disciples “considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened” (Mark 6:52). Of course, Jesus knew the condition of their hearts. Though they had witnessed the miracles, and served the bounty of the miracle to the people, they were spiritually blind. They missed the significance of the feeding of the 5,000, though that miracle demonstrated Jesus’ power and authority over nature. When they saw Jesus walking on the troubled waters of the Sea of Galilee, they “worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God” (Matthew 14:33).

Are you in a personal storm of doubt, disappointment, sickness, or sorrow? Is your trial about to overwhelm you? Think for a moment and consider, as the storm worked God’s purpose in the lives of the disciples, so too did the words of the Savior, when He spoke: “Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid” and the “wind ceased” (Mark 6:50). You may find the extremity of your need is the window of opportunity for the LORD to speak into your life, and give you His strength and comfort.

Psalm 18:30 – As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.

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