If Mark’s Gospel is about the good news of the imminent kingdom, then this raises the question about the type of king who is coming and whether this is the king that people want. Here in Chapter 6:1-6 we see that many people reject Jesus, he is not the king they want. In his home town of Nazareth, he is rejected, they see him as just Joseph the carpenter’s son. They dismiss him. Familiarity breeds contempt!
He commissions and sends out the twelve as his ambassadors -doing the same things they’ve seen him do. They will be received in some places but rejected in others. They are to move on when rejected (6:7-13)
We are then presented with two kingly banquets. At the first, Herod, the alternative king is the centre of attention. The party is all about him. It is a banquet of death as it results in the murder of John the Baptist. A corpse is served up (6:14-29).
The other banquet has Jesus at the centre and his concern is to provide for the needs of others with the miraculous multiplication of fish and bread. It is a banquet of life as Jesus the bread of life feeds those gathered. We cannot hep but observe that where Herod served up John’s body, Jesus invites us to feed on himself. Of course, the murder of John is also a rejection of God and his true king Jesus (30-34).
The disciples cross the lake again and again they are struggling with the elements against the wind. This perhaps is a visual lesson of what life without Jesus means. Will they choose to throw their lot in completely with him? He comes to them walking on the water. His arrival in the boat brings and end to the wind’s resistance. He tells them not to be afraid but they remain fearful and confused. Mark links this to a lack of faith with hard hearts and a lack of understanding. They don’t grasp the significance of the feeding of the 5000.
On the other side, he is welcomed and received. They look to him for healing.
Big Theme: Jesus is the life bringing king. However, not everyone wants this king. We choose between life and death, blessing and curse
Questions to consider
- What does it mean for you and I to choose or reject Jesus?
- To what extent is the commissioning of the 12 unique and to what extent does it offer a model/example for evangelism?
- How does Jesus feeding the 5000 echo t he feeding of the people in the wilderness?