John the Baptist Beheaded
14 At that time Herod [Antipas], the tetrarch [who governed a portion of Palestine including Galilee and Perea], heard the reports about Jesus,(A) 2 and said to his attendants, “This is John the Baptist; he has been raised from the dead, and that is why the miraculous powers are at work in him.”
3 For Herod had John arrested and bound him and put him in prison [at the fortress of Machaerus, east of the Jordan, to keep him away] because of [a]Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip,(B) 4 for John had said to him, “It is not lawful (morally right) for you to have her [living with you as your wife].”(C) 5 Although Herod wished to have him put to death, he feared the people, for they regarded John as a prophet.
6 But when Herod’s birthday came, [his niece Salome], the daughter of Herodias danced [immodestly] before them and pleased and fascinated Herod, 7 so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. 8 She, being coached by her mother [Herodias], said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” 9 The king was distressed, but because of his oaths, and because of his dinner guests, he ordered it to be given her. 10 He sent and had John beheaded in the prison. 11 His head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother [Herodias]. 12 And John’s disciples came and took away the body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus.
Five Thousand Fed
13 When Jesus heard about John, He left there privately in a boat and went to a secluded place. But when the crowds heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities.(D) 14 When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt [profound] compassion for them and healed their sick.
15 When evening came, the disciples came to Him and said, “This is an isolated place and the hour is already late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!” 17 They replied, “We have nothing here except five loaves and two fish.” 18 He said, “Bring them here to Me.” 19 Then He ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and He took the five loaves and the two fish and, looking up toward heaven, He blessed and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people, 20 and they all ate and were satisfied. They picked up twelve full baskets of the leftover broken pieces. 21 There were about 5,000 men who ate, besides women and children.
Jesus Walks on the Water
22 Immediately He directed the disciples to get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side [of the Sea of Galilee], while He sent the crowds away.(E) 23 After He had dismissed the crowds, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When it was evening, He was there alone. 24 But the boat [by this time] was already a [b]long distance from land, tossed and battered by the waves; for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night (3:00-6:00 a.m.) Jesus came to them, walking on the sea.(F) 26 When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately He spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I! Do not be afraid!”(G)
28 Peter replied to Him, “Lord, if it is [really] You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 He said, “Come!” So Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw [the effects of] the wind, he was frightened, and he began to sink, and he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus extended His hand and caught him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you [c]doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 Then those in the boat worshiped Him [with awe-inspired reverence], saying, “Truly You are the Son of God!”
34 When they had crossed over [the sea], they went ashore at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent word throughout all the surrounding district and brought to Him all who were sick; 36 and they begged Him to let them merely touch the fringe of His robe; and all who touched it were perfectly restored.(H)
- Matthew 14:3 Herodias was not the lawful wife of Herod Antipas. She was married to her uncle, Herod Philip I. She deserted him in order to live with another uncle, Herod Antipas, whose legal wife was the daughter of Aretas, King of Arabia.
- Matthew 14:24 Lit many stadia; a stadion being about an eighth of a mile or 192 meters.
- Matthew 14:31 I.e. allow yourself to be drawn in two directions.
Teaching at Nazareth
6 Jesus left there and came to His hometown [Nazareth]; and His disciples followed Him.(A) 2 When the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue; and many who listened to Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things [this knowledge and spiritual insight]? What is this wisdom [this confident understanding of the Scripture] that has been given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands? 3 Is this not the carpenter, [a]the son of Mary, and the brother of [b]James and Joses and [c]Judas and Simon? Are His sisters not here with us?” And they were [deeply] offended by Him [and their disapproval blinded them to the fact that He was anointed by God as the Messiah]. 4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor (respect) except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” 5 And He could not do a miracle there at all [because of their unbelief] except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 He wondered at their unbelief.
And He was going around in the villages teaching.
The Twelve Sent Out
7 And He called the twelve [disciples] and began to send them out [as His special messengers] two by two, and gave them authority and power over the unclean spirits. 8 He told them to take nothing for the journey except a mere walking stick—no bread, no [traveler’s] bag, no money in their belts— 9 but to wear sandals; and [He told them] not to wear [d]two tunics. 10 And He told them, “Wherever you go into a house, stay there until you leave that town. 11 Any place that does not welcome you or listen to you, when you leave there, [e]shake the dust off the soles of your feet as a testimony against them [breaking all ties with them because they rejected My message].”(B) 12 So they went out and preached that men should repent [that is, think differently, recognize sin, turn away from it, and live changed lives]. 13 And they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many who were sick, and healing them.
John’s Fate Recalled
14 King Herod [Antipas] heard about this, for Jesus’ name and reputation had become well known. People were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why these miraculous powers are at work in Him.” 15 But others were saying, “He is [f]Elijah!” And others were saying, “It is a prophet, like one of the prophets [of old].” 16 But when Herod heard [of it], he kept saying, “John, whom I beheaded, has risen [from the dead]!”
17 For Herod himself had sent [guards] and had John arrested and shackled in prison because of [g]Herodias, the wife of his [half-] brother Philip, because he (Herod) had married her.(C) 18 For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful [under Mosaic Law] for you to have your brother’s wife.”(D) 19 Herodias had a grudge against John and wanted to kill him, but she could not, 20 because Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he continually kept him safe. When he heard John [speak], he was very perplexed; but he enjoyed listening to him. 21 But an opportune time [finally] came [for Herodias]. Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his officials (nobles, courtiers) and [h]military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22 Now [Salome] the daughter of Herodias came in and danced [for the men]. She pleased and beguiled Herod and his dinner guests; and the king said to the [i]girl, “Ask me for whatever you want and I will give it to you.” 23 And he swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give it to you; [j]up to half of my kingdom.”(E) 24 She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” And Herodias replied, “The head of John the Baptist!” 25 And she rushed back to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter!” 26 The king was deeply grieved, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests [who might have regarded him as weak], he was unwilling to [break his word and] refuse her. 27 So the king immediately sent for an executioner and commanded him to bring back John’s head. And he went and had John beheaded in the prison, 28 and brought back his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard about this, they came and took away John’s body and laid it in a tomb.
Five Thousand Fed
30 The apostles [who had been sent out on a mission] gathered together with Jesus and told Him everything that they had done and taught. 31 He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a little while”—for there were many [people who were continually] coming and going, and they could not even find time to eat. 32 And they went away by themselves in the boat to a secluded place.(F) 33 Many [people] saw them leaving, and recognized them and ran there together on foot from all the [surrounding] cities, and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd [waiting], and He was moved with compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd [lacking guidance]; and He began to teach them many things. 35 When the day was nearly gone, His disciples came to Him and said, “This is an isolated place, and it is already late; 36 send the crowds away so that they may go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But He replied, “You give them something to eat!” And they asked Him, “Shall we go and buy 200 [k]denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?”(G) 38 He said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go look!” And when they found out, they said, “Five [loaves], and two fish.” 39 Then Jesus commanded them all to sit down by groups on the green grass. 40 They sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties [so that the crowd resembled an orderly arrangement of colorful garden plots]. 41 Taking the five loaves and two fish, He looked up to heaven and said a blessing [of praise and thanksgiving to the Father]. Then He broke the loaves and [repeatedly] gave them to the disciples to set before the people; and He divided up the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied. 43 And the disciples picked up twelve full baskets of the broken pieces [of the loaves], and of the fish. 44 Those who ate the loaves were five thousand men [not counting the women and children].
Jesus Walks on the Water
45 Jesus immediately insisted that His disciples get into the boat and go ahead [of Him] to the other side to Bethsaida, while He was dismissing the crowd.(H) 46 And after He said goodbye to them, He went to the mountain to pray.
47 Now when evening had come, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and Jesus was alone on the land. 48 Seeing the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night (3:00-6:00 a.m.) He came to them, walking on the sea. And [acted as if] He intended to pass by them.(I) 49 But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost, and cried out [in horror]; 50 for they all saw Him and were shaken and terrified. But He immediately spoke with them and said, “Take courage! It is I (I Am)! Stop being afraid.”(J) 51 Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased [as if exhausted by its own activity]; and they were completely overwhelmed, 52 because they had not understood [the miracle of] the loaves [how it revealed the power and deity of Jesus]; but [in fact] their heart was hardened [being oblivious and indifferent to His amazing works].
Healing at Gennesaret
53 When they had crossed over [the sea], they reached the land of Gennesaret and anchored at the shore. 54 They got out of the boat and immediately people recognized Him, 55 and ran throughout that surrounding countryside and began to carry around on their mats those who were sick, to any place where they heard He was. 56 And wherever He came into villages, or cities, or the countryside, they were laying the sick in the market places and pleading with Him [to allow them] just to touch the fringe (tassel with a blue cord) of His robe; and all who touched it were healed.
- Mark 6:3 This question was intended as an insult because a Jewish man was never referred to as his mother’s son even if she was a widow.
- Mark 6:3 James later became a leader in the Jerusalem church and authored the epistle of James.
- Mark 6:3 Heb Judah, authored the epistle of Jude.
- Mark 6:9 It was common for travelers to wear two tunics which could be switched.
- Mark 6:11 A symbolic act expressing contempt for a place that had rejected the message of salvation.
- Mark 6:15 Many of the Jews believed that the prophet Elijah would return before the Messiah appeared.
- Mark 6:17 See note Matt 14:3.
- Mark 6:21 Gr chiliarchois, originally referring to a commander of 1,000, but in Roman times of 600.
- Mark 6:22 Salome was probably only fourteen or fifteen years old.
- Mark 6:23 This was intended as an expression of generosity rather than a literal offer. In reality Herod was a tetrarch, a puppet ruler under Rome, and did not have authority over a “kingdom.”
- Mark 6:37 One denarius was about a day’s wage.
Ministry of the Twelve
9 Now Jesus called together the twelve [disciples] and gave them [the right to exercise] power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. 2 Then He sent them out [on a brief journey] to preach [a]the kingdom of God and to perform healing.(A) 3 And He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey [that might encumber you]—neither a walking stick, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not even have two [b]tunics apiece. 4 Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that city [to go to another]. 5 And as for all those who do not welcome you, when you leave that city, shake the dust off your feet [breaking all ties with them] as a testimony against them [that they rejected My message].” 6 So they began going from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing the sick everywhere.
7 Now Herod [Antipas] the tetrarch [who governed a portion of Palestine including Galilee and Perea] heard about all that was being done [by Jesus], and he was thoroughly perplexed, because it was said by some that John [the Baptist whom he had ordered beheaded] had been raised from the dead,(B) 8 and by others that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the [other] prophets of old had been resurrected. 9 Herod said, “I personally had John beheaded. Who is this man about whom I hear such things?” And he kept trying to see Jesus.
10 When the apostles returned, they told Him all that they had done. He took them with Him and He privately withdrew [across the Jordan] to a city called Bethsaida.(C) 11 But when the crowds learned of it, they followed Him; and He welcomed them and He began talking to them about the kingdom of God, and healing those who needed to be healed.
Five Thousand Fed
12 Now the day was ending, and the twelve [disciples] came and said to Him, “Send the crowd away, so that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside and find lodging, and get provisions; because here we are in an isolated place.” 13 But He said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless perhaps we go and buy food for all these people.”(D) 14 (For there were [c]about 5,000 men.) And He said to His disciples, “Have them sit down to eat in groups of about fifty each.” 15 They did so, and had them all sit down. 16 Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and He looked up to heaven [and gave thanks] and blessed them, and broke them and kept giving them to the disciples to set before the crowd. 17 They all ate and were [completely] satisfied; and the broken pieces which they had left over were [abundant and were] picked up—twelve baskets full.Read full chapter