The Gospel of Mark – Part 20
Responses to Jesus – Mark 6:1-16
Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – Jan. 5th, 2020
- This morning we are returning to our series in the Gospel of Mark as we start back up in chapter six. It has been four weeks since we have been in this Gospel, so I am going to do a review to put us back into this book and what we have covered so far.
- The Gospel of Mark was written by a guy named Mark (some places call him John-Mark). He came from a strong Christian family (Acts 12:12) and was a cousin of Barnabas (Col. 4:10), who was one of the apostle Paul’s significant ministry partners and traveling companions (see Acts chapters 11-16). Mark was with Barnabas and Paul on an early missionary journey and left before the mission was complete (Acts 12:25-13:14). Later, Paul wanted to return and visit the places they had been, and he asked Barnabas to go with him. Barnabas wanted to take Mark along with them and Paul would have none of it, so Barnabas and Mark went one way and Paul chose Silas to go with him (Act 15:36-40). Later, Mark was reunited with Paul and they were in ministry together again (2 Tim. 4:14).
- Mark also had a very close relationship with the Apostle Peter, so much so that Peter called Mark his “son” (1 Peter 5:13). The Gospel of Mark is based upon the preaching and teaching of Peter and was the first and shortest Gospel.
- The whole book of Mark deals with the question of the identity of Jesus. Mark starts this Gospel with his assertion: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1 ESV). Mark gives us his conclusion from the opening line. The whole book, in what it records, is given to help the reader understand the truth of his opening statement.
- The question is asked outright in the middle of the book when Jesus asks, “Who do people say that I am?” and then more pointed, “Who do you say that I am?” (Mark 8:27-29). Peter puts forth his answer by saying, “You are the Christ.”
- After this point, this Gospel then turns its focus toward Jesus’ death and resurrection as Jesus tells His disciples three times what is going to happen. Mark records what, indeed, did happen, including the confession and conclusion of the centurion at the crucifixion of Jesus, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:39 ESV).
- This whole book is about the “good news” the “Gospel” of Jesus Christ and each person after reading this gospel has to make a decision as to “Who you do say that I am?” and either choose to put their faith in Him and follow Him or write Him off and go on their way.
- Mark records the highlights and the headlines of the story of Jesus to build the case for His identity. He skips over the genealogies and birth of Christ and goes immediately to the fulfillment of Old Testament scripture with John the Baptist coming on the scene to “prepare the way of the Lord.” Then Mark moves directly into the baptism of Jesus, followed by the temptation of Jesus and how Jesus started His ministry by “proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is a hand, repent and believe in the gospel’” (Mark 1:14-15 ESV).
- Jesus then calls His first disciples and ministers with authority in His teaching, commanding unclean spirits and healing many including lepers and paralytics. People were coming to Him from all over and it became very difficult for Him to go anywhere without a crowd gathering.
- The religious leaders caught wind of what was going on and Mark gives us 5 “conflict” stories of Jesus’ interaction with the religious leaders in His actions and teaching (forgiveness and healing of a paralyzed man, the question of fasting, the calling of Levi and eating with “sinners,” the picking of grain on the sabbath, and the healing of a man with a shriveled hand on the sabbath (Mark 2:1 – 3:6). At the end of these stories Mark records that the religious leaders began to plot how they could kill Him. All the while the crowds keep growing bigger and bigger.
- Jesus then goes away to pray, appoints the 12 and gives them authority. Jesus then was confronted and accused by His family of being crazy and accused by the religious leaders of being possessed by the devil. Jesus uses logic from the Old Testament to refute the religious leaders and teaches who His family really is (Mark 3:13-34).
- Chapter 4 starts the section where Mark gives us four teachings of Jesus about the word and kingdom of God (seed and soil, lamp and basket, the power of seeds, and the illustration of a mustard seed). After these four teachings, Mark then gives four examples of Jesus demonstrating His power and authority over all things in contrast to the limits of our power and authority. We see this demonstrated first by the calming of a storm, then delivering a man from a legion of demons, then healing a woman with a long-standing bleeding issue and lastly raising a girl from the dead. There has never been nor ever will be someone who is greater than Jesus. And every person must wrestle with the identity of this man and how they will respond to Him.
- Mark, after writing for us all these things, next records again how people are responding to Him. In doing so, it puts the question of the identity of Jesus back in our mind and forces us to resp0ond to Him as well.
- Chapter 6 opens with Jesus ministering in His hometown of Nazareth where the people do not honor Him. Next, He sends out the twelve, two by two, giving them instructions as to what they are to do and how they will be treated, where some will reject the message. Then Mark reports how the King responds and mistakenly identifies who Jesus is. As in Jesus’ day and age, so it is in ours, that people still dishonor, reject and misidentify Christ, and we should not be surprised by these reactions to Him. My hope is that all of us in this room grow in our knowledge of who Jesus is and from this reality respect, honor and love Him more and more deeply, and profoundly as we live to know Him and make Him known.
Jesus is Dishonored
Mark 6:1-6 ESV
He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. 2 And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? 3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. 4 And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” 5 And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went about among the villages teaching.
- After ministering in the city of Capernaum and the region of the sea of Galilee, Jesus went away from there, and traveling by land came to His hometown of Nazareth with His disciples. On the Sabbath (the Jewish holy day – Saturday) Jesus began to teach in the synagogue (which was His custom). The people were “astonished” – that is according to the Greek “pounded flat” or “made low” – and then they responded to Him by looking to dismantle Him and tear Him down. You can see their intent in their questions and thought process: “Where did this man get these things? Which means He could not have come up with this on his own (because he is not smart enough, etc.) and “What is the wisdom given to him?” Someone had to give him this information and teaching. And then they asked, “How are such mighty works done by his hands?” He is not powerful enough to do these things, there must be something else going on. “Is not this the carpenter?” Or he is just a common carpenter, without some special position and also he is “the son of Mary” – not the son of Joseph and Mary, which is saying that he is illegitimate, from a mom with questionable morals, “And brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” We know his family and they are ordinary people. They are still here, and they are no different than us, And they took offense at him. Who does this guy think he is, he is no better than us, he has no right or authority above or over us.
- So in their questions and their thoughts they cut him “down to size” and did not honor him or recognize him for who he really was. As people did to Him then, they still do today, saying that Jesus is not above them and dismiss His words and His works. This response tends to happen especially to those who are familiar with Jesus and His story, and because of their pride, look to dismantle and deconstruct Jesus to strip him of his identity and authority and bring him down to their level.
- Jesus “marveled” at their unbelief – like if anyone should know who he really was, they should because they were the ones who had the longest exposure to him. And because of their lack of receptivity to Him because of their unbelief, He could only do a few things there. There was limited receptivity to the word, so there were limited results of the word. And the same is true today.
- Jesus continued to teach in the town and villages in that region and then began to send the twelve out two by two with His authority and teaching, instructing them what to do and how they will be rejected by some.
Jesus is Rejected
Mark 6:7-13 ESV
And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8 He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts— 9 but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. 10 And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. 11 And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12 So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.
- Jesus sent the twelve out two by two with the commission and authority to teach, deliver and heal. And they were not to take anything with them for the journey, except a staff. Why? Wouldn’t this be a burden upon those who they were connecting to? Wouldn’t this make them more vulnerable and dependent upon others? First, it made the twelve trust in God for everything they needed and made this mission about God and not about themselves. Second, with receptivity to the word comes responsibility for the word. The people who received them and the message of repentance and the good news of Jesus had opportunity and responsibility to partner and support that work and the word. The receptivity to the word always brings responsibility for the word to produce the results from the word. And not everyone will listen and not everyone will receive the word, they have made their choice and their fate is in their hands. The rejection of the word will be a testimony against them, we are to “shake it off” and move on. To those who do listen and repent they will experience freedom and healing and new life.
- Mark then turns to how the news of Jesus and His identity is being received by those in power, where His identity is mistaken.
Jesus is Mistaken
Mark 6:14-16 ESV
King Herod heard of it, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some said, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead. That is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” 15 But others said, “He is Elijah.” And others said, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16 But when Herod heard of it, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.”
- Jesus name had become known, and people had different opinions as to who He really was. Some thought he was John the Baptist come back to life (because he had just been killed, and he was a mysterious and powerful man), others thought that he was Elijah (this was the one who was to come before the messiah, to prepare his way – these people thought that Jesus could not be the one because he did not do what they thought the messiah was going to do, so perhaps he was the one that prepared them for the real messiah), and others thought that he was in the line of the prophets of old, that he was a messenger of God, but was not God himself. King Herod came to the conclusion that it must be John the Baptist, that he had beheaded, he must have been raised. Mark then goes on to tell the story of what happened to John the Baptist (we will cover this next week). King Herod thought that John the Baptist was a “righteous and holy man” and was “exceeding sorry” about taking his life. Perhaps he hoped that in beheading John it was not the end of John and hoped that Jesus was John come back to life. Our bias and desires affect how we see and interpret the world, people and God. God grant us clarity to see what is, truly for what it is – the world, people and God.
- Common and royal alike, all people must come to a conclusion about who Jesus is. At this point, Mark includes the thoughts in the “royal circles” as well to further illustrate and drive home the point of the importance of understanding who Jesus is. Even with their “lofty” position, they have no advantage over others and can still get Jesus wrong.
- People have and still get the identity of Jesus wrong. He was and is still dishonored, rejected and mistaken by those of His creation. However, there are those who do listen and receive Him for what and who He is. “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12-13, ESV).
- Those of you who believe, renew your commitment and allegiance to Jesus the Son of God. Honor him by choosing to follow him in everything, by treasuring His word and living your life according to what is written.