6:1He left there and went into his hometown, with his disciples following.6:2On one Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and when they heard him, many were dumbfounded and said, “Where did this come from? And how did he get this wisdom, or the power to do such things through his hands?6:3Isn’t he the craftsperson, the son of Mary and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And aren’t his sisters here with us?” So they took offense at him.
6:4Then Jesus said to them, “A prophet is honored everyplace except in their own hometown and among their own relatives and household!”6:5And he was unable to do any powerful deeds there, except to place his hands on a few chronically ill people and heal them;6:6their lack of faith was disturbing. And he went around teaching in the villages.
6:7Then he calls the Twelve together and begins to send them out two by two. He gave them jurisdiction over the unclean spirits6:8and told them not to take anything extra on the trip except a walking stick: no bread, no luggage, no wallet.6:9They could wear sandals but not an extra tunic.6:10And he added, “Whenever you enter into a house, stay there until you leave that place.6:11If they don’t welcome you and refuse to listen to you, shake the dust from beneath your feet1 as a testimony against them.”6:12So they went out and proclaimed that people should change their minds.6:13They also expelled many demons, and rubbed oil on the chronically ill to heal them.
6:14Now King Herod heard about this, because Jesus’ name had become well-known. People were saying that John the Immerser had been raised from the dead, since he had these powers.6:15Others said he was Elijah, and still others that he was a prophet like the prophets of old.6:16But when Herod heard this he said, “It is John, whom I had beheaded! He has been raised from the dead!”
6:17(Herod had ordered that John be arrested and jailed, because Herod had married the wife of his brother Philip6:18and John had told him, “It is illegal for you to have your brother’s wife.”6:19So Herodias was out to get John and wanted to kill him. But she couldn’t6:20because Herod feared John and knew him to be a righteous and holy man, so he protected him. He was intrigued with him and listened to him eagerly.
6:21But then came the opportune moment. On his birthday, Herod was hosting a dinner for all his important guests, including legion commanders and leading citizens of Galilee.6:22When Herodias’ daughter came in and danced for them, this pleased Herod and his guests. So the king said to the young girl, “Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you.”6:23And he swore a strong oath to her: “Anything you ask of me, I will give to you— even up to half my kingdom!”
6:24So she went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?”
“The head of John the Immerser!” she replied.
6:25So she quickly went straight to the king and said, “I choose that you immediately give me, on a platter, the head of John the Immerser!”
6:26The king was devastated. But because of his oaths and the dinner guests, he didn’t want to decline her request.6:27So right away the king dispatched his executioner to bring John’s head, so he left and beheaded him in the prison.6:28Then he brought it on a platter and gave it to the young girl, who gave it to her mother.6:29Upon hearing this, his disciples came and carried away the corpse and buried it.)
6:30Then the ambassadors met with Jesus and told him about all that they had done and taught.6:31And he said to them, “Come with me; you need a little rest for yourselves in a quiet place.” (So many people were coming and going that they didn’t even have a chance to eat.)6:32So they went off alone in the boat to a remote place.6:33But many people found out where they were going, so they went on foot as fast as they could from all the cities and got there ahead of them.
6:34Upon leaving the boat Jesus saw the large crowd, and he was moved with compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began to teach them many things.6:35But it was already late in the day, and his disciples came to him and said, “We’re out in the middle of nowhere and it’s getting late.6:36Dismiss them so they can go into the farms and villages to buy themselves something to eat.”
6:37“You give them something to eat!” he answers.
“How are we supposed to do that?!” they reply. “It would take 200 days’ wages2 to buy enough bread for them to eat!”
6:38Then he asks them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and check.”
So they checked and reported, “We have five loaves and two fish.”
6:39So he had them all sit down in equally-sized groups on the green grass,6:40and they reclined according to a grid of plots in groups of hundreds and fifties.6:41Taking the five loaves and two fish, Jesus looked up into the sky, blessed the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to hand out; the same with the fish. It was divided among them all,6:42and they all ate and were satisfied.6:43Afterwards they picked up twelve baskets full of scraps of bread and fish;6:44there were five thousand men there.
6:45Right away he compelled his disciples to get on the boat and go to the other side near Bethsaida, while he stayed and dismissed the crowd.6:46After bidding them farewell, he went into the mountain to pray.6:47By evening the boat had reached the middle of the sea, and he was alone on land.
6:48He sees that they are straining at the oars because the wind was against them, so at about three in the morning3 he starts coming toward them, walking on the sea! He intended to walk right past them,6:49but they screamed because they thought they were seeing a ghost;6:50they all saw him and were quite disturbed. But right away he starts talking to them: “Have courage, it is I! Don’t be afraid.”6:51Then he went toward them and got into the boat, and the wind died down. They were completely and totally beside themselves,6:52because they were still clueless about the bread; they weren’t terribly bright.4
6:53When they finally reached land, they anchored at Gennesaret.6:54As they disembarked they were recognized right away,6:55and the people of the area started running from all over, carrying the sick on cots to where they heard he was.6:56And wherever he went, whether villages or cities or out in the fields, they would place the disabled in the city squares and plead with him to let them touch the hem of his cloak. And whoever did so was restored.
- 1The gesture of shaking the dust from one’s feet is what Jews would do to show that they considered someone no better than a Gentile, since they considered even the dust on Gentile ground ritually unclean.
- 2Lit. 200 denarii.
- 3“three in the morning” is literally “the fourth watch of the night,” with one watch being three hours, starting at 6 p.m.
- 4Notice also that Mark makes no effort to hide the fact that the disciples were slow to put two and two together. This has significance as to theories claiming these same people would later concoct a plot to fake Jesus’ resurrection. It also mitigates against them faking the Gospel accounts, since they would not portray themselves in such an unflattering way.