Mark 6

Mark 6: Sending of the Twelve

                   Jesus goes into the synagogue to teach and heal on the Sabbath Day, those who are in His presence ask themselves; “…From whence hath this man these things? And what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought with his hands? Is this not the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses… and Simon?” (Mark 6:2-3) The people marveled at this man who was just a simple carpenter. We learn from this statement that Jesus actually had siblings! Meaning, Mary and Joseph had children together after Jesus was born. Making them at least His half-siblings. For further evidence of this please read: Jude 1:1

Jesus marveled at their unbelief, after all He had already performed countless miracles and yet the people still did not believe. Jesus leaves to call His Twelve Apostles:

“And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits; and commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey… no scrip [bag/luggage], no bread [food], no money in their purse.” (Mark 6:7-8) Jesus commanded the Apostles to go out by two’s [pairs] to preach His gospel. He tells His Apostles that they should leave with no bag, food or money. This goes to show that preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ should never be done for money or glory.

Jesus continues to instruct the Apostles; “…In what place soever ye enter into a house, there abide [stay/remain] till ye depart from that place. 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… they went out, and preached that men should repent. And they cast out many devils, and were anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.” (Mark 6:10-13) These same exact things are done today in the LDS church; Missionaries are sent two by two to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the entire world. The LDS Church has a presence in every country that allows by law the preaching of religion. These full time missionaries for the church are currently at almost 90,000 strong, as of 2013. The missionaries are called “Elders” and do exactly what Jesus is instructing here, they preach repentance and heal the sick, among many other things, including service projects.

The fame of Jesus spread throughout the land, many questioned if this man was Elias or John the Baptist back from the dead. When King Herod heard of this fame of Jesus he wondered if this wasn’t the resurrected John the Baptist, who he had beheaded. King Herod had a quarrel with his brother, who was Phillip, because he had taken his wife, Herodias, to marry. John the Baptist instructed Herod that it was unlawful for him to marry his brother’s wife, and King Herod feared John the Baptist, because he knew that he was a just and holy man. On King Herod’s birthday, he had a huge feast and the daughter of Herodias came in to please and dance with King Herod. To commemorate this occasion he told the young lady that she could have any wish, up to half of King Herod’s kingdom. Herodias’s daughter was already instructed by her mother to ask for the head of John the Baptist. When King Herod heard of this he was saddened, but he wouldn’t go back on his word, so he commanded that the head of John the Baptist be brought to Herodias.

Jesus continues to instruct the Apostles and many others who were gathered. While Jesus taught, He commanded His Apostles to bring the people something to eat. The Apostles instruct Jesus that there were five loves of bread and two fishes. Jesus blessed the food and commanded the Apostles to divide the food among the 5,000 gathered there. When everyone was done eating, and full, they gathered up twelve baskets of fragments [leftovers]. Once Jesus was done teaching, He commanded His Apostles to leave by ship to Bethsaida. Jesus them departed His own way to go and pray in the mountain. Jesus meets up with them on the sea later, walking on water! When the Apostles see Him walking on the water, they become afraid and think it is a ghost, but Jesus comforts them: “…Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.” (Mark 6:50) The Apostles were amazed at what they saw; “For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.” (Mark6:52) Even after seeing such an amazing miracle as feeding 5,000 men with 5 loaves of bread and two fishes, the Apostles are still amazed by the power Jesus has.

Jesus board the ship and departs to the land of Gennesaret, where he is met by a large number of people who all meet Him, to be healed of Him.

Matthew 14

Matthew 14:

John the Baptist Dies 

                Herod hears of the fame of Jesus and fears that it is John the Baptist raised from the dead. We learn that John the Baptist had attacked Herod for marrying Herodias, who was John’s sister in law. Because John spoke out about and said it was not lawful for Herod to take Herodias to marry, he was thrown into prison. The daughter of Herodias dances for Herod’s Birthday and pleased him. Because of this Herod promised to give Herodias’s daughter anything she wished. Having been instructed of Herodias prior to dancing, Herodias’s daughter asks Herod for the head of John the Baptist to be delivered on a platter. Herod was grieved of this, but because he made a promise he commanded his men to behead John in prison.

When Jesus gets word of this, he departs unto a desert place, where his followers follow on foot. When they stop, Jesus is filled with compassion and heals their sick and when the evening came, the disciples began to depart to eat in their homes. Jesus, however, says to one of his Apostles; “…They need not depart; give ye them to eat.” (Matthew 14:16) At this moment I am sure the Apostle was puzzled, because he responds; “…We have here but five loves, and two fishes.” (Matthew 14:17)

After having seen all the miracles He has performed in front of the Apostles, I am sure Jesus was a little disappointed when he said; “…Bring them hither to me. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took five loves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.” (Matthew 14:18-19) Jesus ends up feeding about five thousand men, excluding women and children. So he probably fed more like ten thousand people with only five loaves of bread and two fishes. How amazing is that? Yet the Apostles are still in shock and awe. Jesus sends the multitude away and commands the Apostles to leave on a boat, while Jesus goes up into a mountain to be alone and pray.

“…the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit, and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.” (Matthew 14:24-26)

The Apostles had just witnessed Jesus feed over five thousand men, and probably ten thousand or more people with only five loaves of bread and two fishes, yet they are amazed that Jesus could walk on water. This is what Jesus meant by understanding in your heart. Those who have seen him or heard him might not gain a testimony of Him or His Gospel, only those who see with their heart. Therefore seeing is NOT believing, believing is seeing. Signs can be asked for, and even given… but without an understanding of the heart, one will never know for themselves.

Peter answers Jesus from the ship; “…Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink. He cried, saying, Lord, save me.” (Matthew 14:28-30) Even in his unbelief, the Lord permitted Peter to see for himself, but seeing for himself was not enough, because he had fear in his heart. That fear caused him to lose focus of what was important and because of that he began to sink. But the Lord knows our weaknesses and in this situation understood that even Peter lacked faith; “…immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? (Matthew 14:31)

When we are put into situations where storms rise and winds bolster, we need not lose focus on what is right. We need to go let our fear go and walk the stormy waters of life. If we do so, Jesus will walk with us and every once and a while he will pull us up from the dark and dreary waters and ask, Why did you doubt?