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Mark Chapter Six


I. Content of the Chapter


Though the Bondman the Savior Was Rejected, He Was Moved with Compassion

A.   He was rejected by His own country (v.1-6);

B.   He sent the twelve disciples to seek those who would receive them (v.7-13);

C.   His forerunner John the Baptist was killed by King Herod (v.14-29);

D.   He was moved with compassion for the sheep not having a shepherd ---- five bread and two fish (v.30-44);

E.   He was moved with compassion the disciples who strained at rowing ---- walking on the sea (v.45-52);

F.    He showed mercy to those who were sick ---- healing those who were sick in the land of Gennesaret (v.53-56);


II. Verse by Verse commentary


Mark. 6:1 Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him.

YLT: “And he went forth thence, and came to his own country, and his disciples do follow him,”

Literal Meaning: “came to His own country”, it meant He came to Nazareth in Galilee (Matt. 2:22-23; Luke 4:16).

Spiritual Meaning: men in the Lord’s own country here referred to the Jews who did not believe Him.


Mark. 6:2 And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, "Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands!

YLT: “and sabbath having come, he began in the synagogue to teach, and many hearing were astonished, saying, `Whence hath this one these things? and what the wisdom that was given to him, that also such mighty works through his hands are done?”

Literal Meaning: “And many hearing Him were astonished, saying”, in the original, it meant that they felt strongly astonished and shocked.

  “Wisdom” referred to what He had said; “Mighty hands” referred to what He had done. They were amazed by His words and works, for He was different from the “man” they had ever known before.


Mark. 6:3 Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?" So they were offended at Him.

YLT: “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 were being stumbled at him.”

Literal Meaning: “Is this not the carpenter?” ---- They just teased the Lord, indicating that: “it he not a common man who labors by his hands, like us?”

  “The carpenter”, He was “the son of the carpenter” (see Matt.13:55). Probably, after the death of Joseph, Jesus, as the older brother, had been a carpenter in order to make the living of his whole family.

“The Son of Mary”, Joseph might have already been dead at this time, so here it mentioned Mary only.

“They were offended at Him.” ---- It showed that they neither believed Jesus was different from them, rather nor believed He was especially anointed by God, for they knew him in the flesh before.

Spiritual Meaning: “Is this not the carpenter?” ---- “Carpenter” builds the house. The Lord Jesus is the builder of the church (see Matt. 16:18).

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    They despised the Lord Jesus for they knew His physical birth, and this was the greatest reason why the Jews did not believe “Jesus is Christ”.

2)    We should not know one according to flesh (2Cor.5:16), lest we lose the opportunity of receiving the blessing of God.

3)    Concerning those who lead us and all brothers and sisters, we shall only pay attention to the grace of God on them and to the spiritual help given to us by them, and not to the shortcoming or faults of their own.


Mark. 6:4 But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house."

YLT: “And Jesus said to them -- `A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his kindred, and in his own house;'”

Literal Meaning: “A prophet”, “prophet” refers to the one who speaks for the Lord.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Blessed is whoever shall not be offended in me (Matt. 11:6).

2)    Let those laboring in word and teaching be esteemed worthy of double honor (1Tim. 5:17). However if we know the Lord’s servants according to flesh, it will prevent us from receiving more the Lord’s words.


Mark. 6:5 Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.

YLT: “and he was not able there any mighty work to do, except on a few infirm people having put hands he did heal ;”

Literal Meaning: “Now He could do no mighty work there”, it was not because He had no power to do signs in Nazareth, but because He would not do signs in such unbelieving atmosphere.

  They did not believe the Lord, for they knew the Lord according to flesh. And they received no gracious works of the Lord because of their unbelief of the Lord.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    But without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb.11:6).

2)    The unfaith of many people may block the mighty works of God. Faith is the precondition for us to experience the great power of God.

3)    God distributes His grace according to the measure of men’s faith. If our faith is small, the Lord’s works shall be restricted.


Mark. 6:6 And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.

YLT: “and he wondered because of their unbelief. And he was going round the villages, in a circle, teaching,”

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Those who do not believe the Lord marvel that why Christians believe the Lord and regard us as superstition. However, what is really astonishing is their unbelief, for there is no reason for it.

2)    The Lord did not stopped working because of men’s unbelief in his own country. When we believers preach the gospels, we should neither be discouraged nor fainted for men’s rejection of believing.


Mark. 6:7 And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits.

YLT: “and he doth call near the twelve, and he began to send them forth two by two, and he was giving them power over the unclean spirits,”

Literal Meaning: “disciples” referred to those who followed the Lord and received the strict training and discipline of the Lord.

  “Send them out two by two”, they went out two by two, for it was not only because two witnesses were credible (see Deut 17:6), but also for the purpose of making them help each other in the process of the training. 

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The workers of the Lord are out of the selection of the Lord, not of men’s own willingness. Only the “disciples” who are perfectly trained and disciplined by the Lord are worthy of being sent to do the Lord’s work.

2)    “Twelve” is an eternal and perfect number. The Lord Jesus will make the twelve disciples a perfect testimony and example, and take them as the foundation of God’s building forever (see Rev. 21:14).

3)    The Lord sends the disciples two by two, which indicates that we shall cooperate with and help each other instead of acting individually in the service of the Lord.

4)    Since Jesus “called” them, He would surely “give them power”. It means that the Lord will provide sufficient power for those who are called by Him. The calling and commitment of the Lord will never go beyond His gracious provision.

5)    The authority is for the works of the Lord. He who is willing to receive the sending of the Lord is worthy of receiving the authority.

6)    The spiritual power in the service is due to the Lord’s commitment. If there is no commitment of the Lord, there will be neither spiritual power nor true spiritual effect.

7)    There are two advantages of the spiritual power in the church ---- one is to deal with the enemy of God, Satan and its armies, and the other is to help believers in spiritual life and make their life grow up soundly.

8)    That the Lord came to the earth was not going to gain a so-called work of Christianity, but a group of men. He firstly gave Himself to them and made Himself in them, and then He would be manifested by such group of men. 


Mark. 6:8 He commanded them to take nothing for the journey except a staff--no bag, no bread, no copper in their money belts--

YLT: “and he commanded them that they may take nothing for the way, except a staff only -- no scrip, no bread, no brass in the girdle,”

Literal Meaning: “provide”: to purchase or gain something purposely; “bag”, it refers to the bag used to keep foods; “money belts”: the drapes in the belts of the garment, which were functioned as the pockets of the modern clothes ---- being used to put one’s stuff and money.

Controversial Clarification: this rule of taking nothing (neither money nor basic necessities) for the journey had been cancelled before the Lord was taken (see Luke 22:35-38). Therefore when we read this verse today, we should understand it in spirit instead of following it literally. The principle of the life of a Lord’s worker is neither to prepare, nor to plan, nor to consider for himself, but to prove in him that God is able to feed us and He takes the responsibility for us all.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    He who works for the Lord should give up both the enjoyment in this age and the reliance besides God, so the Lord says one shall neither take garment nor food nor money. However, the spiritual work requires spiritual power ---- staff, and the consecrated position ---- sandals (see v.9), so the Lord commands to bring staff and sandals.

2)    Workers of the Lord should have faith towards God and should not trust on the uncertainty of riches, but in the God who affords us all things richly for enjoyment (1Tim. 6:17).

3)    Those who serve the Lord should not be distracted by material enjoyment on earth. Having sustenance and covering, we will be content with these (1Tim. 6:8).

4)    No matter how weak we are, we are still God’s children. We represent God in the world and therefore we should not live a random life.

5)    The life of the Lord’s workers should be the life of faith. If the Lord has not done anything, we dare not prepare anything for us by ourselves.


Mark. 6:9 but to wear sandals, and not to put on two tunics.

YLT: “but having been shod with sandals, and ye may not put on two coats.”

Literal Meaning: the Lord has ordained those who announce the glad tidings should live of the glad tidings (1Cor. 9:14). Therefore the workers of the Lord who are sent to work among God’s people need not make unnecessary preparation for their daily necessities. However, the Lord’s workers should gain nothing from unbelievers (see John 7).


Mark. 6:10 Also He said to them, "In whatever place you enter a house, stay there till you depart from that place.

YLT: “And he said to them, `Whenever ye may enter into a house, there remain till ye may depart thence,”

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Our relationship with men should be established on our relationship with the Lord.

2)    Those who fear God in heart will assuredly respect and receive those who have been sent by God.


Mark. 6:11 And whoever will not receive you nor hear you, when you depart from there, shake off the dust under your feet as a testimony against them. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!"

YLT: “and as many as may not receive you, nor hear you, going out thence, shake off the dust that is under your feet for a testimony to them; verily I say to you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom or Gomorrah in a day of judgment than for that city.'”

The Background: “shake off the dust from your feet”, when the Pharisees departed from a gentile place, they would do this symbolic action, indicating that they had nothing to do with the “uncleanness” of the Gentiles.

Literal Meaning: “as a testimony against them”: “as a warning to them”;

Spiritual Meaning: “shake off the dust from your feet”, it shows that the men or place that have rejected Christ should suffer their own actions and their endings in future have nothing with the dsiciples (Acts. 13:50-51).

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Our relationship with the world should be established on the ground whether they receive the Lord or not. To those who do not receive the Lord, we should not maintain earthly intimate relationship with them.

2)    The disguised social services should not replace the gospel of Christ. What the Lord cares about is whether men receive the glad tidings that we have preached, not whether we have helped them to improve their living standard.


Mark. 6:12 So they went out and preached that people should repent.

YLT: “And having gone forth they were preaching that might reform,”

Literal Meaning: this was the beginning that the disciples were sent by the Lord to preach the Lord’s word (see 3:14-15).


Mark. 6:13 And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them.

YLT: “and many demons they were casting out, and they were anointing with oil many infirm, and they were healing .”

Literal Meaning: “and anointed with oil many who were sick”, in the old days, the olive oil was wildly used as medicine by the Jews (see Is. 1:6; Luke 10:34; James 5:14).


Mark. 6:14 Now King Herod heard of Him, for His name had become well known. And he said, "John the Baptist is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him."

YLT: “And the king Herod heard, (for his name became public,) and he said -- `John the Baptist out of the dead was raised, and because of this the mighty powers are working in him.'”

Meaning of Words: “powers are at work”: operate, miraculous power;

The Background: “Herod” is the fourth son of Herod the Great (Matt. 2:1) and he was also called Herod Antipas. He reigned over Galilee and Libya (in the southeast of the lake of Jordan) from A.D. 4 to A.D. 39.

Literal Meaning: “John the Baptist is risen from the dead”, the process that John the Baptist was put into prison and killed was recorded in the following verses from verse 17 to verse 28.

Spiritual Meaning: “Herod the tetrarch”, the Roman Empire granted Herod to be king and therefore he typified the situation that the world reigned among God’s people.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    When the Lord was rejected by people in His own city, that was to say, when God’s people did not allow God to govern them, the world would replace the position of God and reign over God’s people.

2)    “Herod” was an unbeliever, a politician (“the tetrarch”) and a typical sinner. He represented the unbelieving Gentiles who knew the Lord Jesus according to others’ report (“heard the report about Jesus”).

3)    The world does not know Christ because their thoughts are blinded by the god of this world (2Cor. 4:4), and thus living in darkness.

4)    Pagans have blind faith in spiritual things and hold that Jesus is one of those who have powers (“these powers are at work in him”), but do not know that He is the only-begotten Son of God.

5)    Only doing mighty works cannot make men know the true God (See Matt. 7:22-23).

6)    Herod misunderstood the Lord Jesus was John the Baptist who is risen from the dead, which proves that John was really “like” Christ. He was a real witness of Christ. Christ had been magnified in John whether by life or by death, and “for him to live Christ, and to die gain” (see Phil. 1:20-21).


Mark. 6:15 Others said, "It is Elijah." And others said, "It is the Prophet, or like one of the prophets."

YLT: “Others said -- `It is Elijah,' and others said -- `It is a prophet, or as one of the prophets.'”

Literal Meaning: “prophet” wad the one was sent by God to preach the word of God to the people of God; “Elijah” was the most famous prophet among the Jews.


Mark. 6:16 But when Herod heard, he said, "This is John, whom I beheaded; he has been raised from the dead!"

YLT: “And Herod having heard, said -- `He whom I did behead -- John -- this is he; he was raised out of the dead.'”

Literal Meaning: probably Herod was not peace in his conscience for he had killed John the Baptist. Besides, he was so superstitious that he was afraid that the spirit of John the Baptist would come back to haunt him.


Mark. 6:17 For Herod himself had sent and laid hold of John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife; for he had married her.

YLT: “For Herod himself, having sent forth, did lay hold on John, and bound him in the prison, because of Herodias the wife of Philip his brother, because he married her,”

The Background: “Philip” was the consanguineous brother of Herod. He was also called Herod I. He did not reign as the king and lived in Roman. “Herodias” was the granddaughter of Herod the Great. She was married to her uncle Philip in Roman and then was married to her another uncle Herod Antipas.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Pagans seem to fear those who have mighty power (those whom John the Baptist represent) in appearance, but actually their god is their belly (Pill. 3:19). If one is unable to help them to satisfy their lusts and blocks them, no matter who he is, he will be oppressed by them (“Herod had laid hold of John and bound him, and put him in prison”).

2)    Herod represented Roman political power ---- the main political system in the world at that time ---- which was full of evil, corruption and darkness. The politicians serve the people in appearance, but actually they give priority to their own benefits instead of that of the people and utilize authority to discriminate those who have different views.


Mark. 6:18 Because John had said to Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife."

YLT: “for John said to Herod -- `It is not lawful to thee to have the wife of thy brother;'”

Meaning of Words: “not lawful”: not just, not right;

The Background: according to the Law of Moses, if one’s brother is still alive, it is forbidden to marry his brother’s wife (see Lev. 20:21).

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Though believers in the New Testament are not under the ordinance of the Law (Col. 2:20-21), we still have to walk in order (Col. 2:5, 1Cor. 14:40).

2)    Believers should not only walk according to reasons in the sight of men, and what’s more important is that we should judge whether it is right in the sight of God in everything (see Acts. 4:19).


Mark. 6:19 Therefore Herodias held it against him and wanted to kill him, but she could not;

YLT: “and Herodias was having a quarrel with him, and was willing to kill him, and was not able,”


Mark. 6:20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and he protected him. And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.

YLT: “for Herod was fearing John, knowing him a man righteous and holy, and was keeping watch over him, and having heard him, was doing many things, and hearing him gladly.”


Mark. 6:21 Then an opportune day came when Herod on his birthday gave a feast for his nobles, the high officers, and the chief men of Galilee.

YLT: “And a seasonable day having come, when Herod on his birthday was making a supper to his great men, and to the chiefs of thousands, and to the first men of Galilee,”

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The celebration of one’s birthday is to remember the beginning of one’s life in the flesh, which is to follow the mind of the flesh according to the spiritual meaning. The mind of the flesh is enmity against God and it brings about death consequently (Rom. 8:6-7).

2)    This verse is the only place in the Bible to mention birthday, which shows that the celebration of one’s birthday is not good and is easy to cause trouble, for sin may easily come through men’s happiness.


Mark. 6:22 And when Herodias' daughter herself came in and danced, and pleased Herod and those who sat with him, the king said to the girl, "Ask me whatever you want, and I will give it to you."

YLT: “and the daughter of that Herodias having come in, and having danced, and having pleased Herod and those reclining (at meat) with him, the king said to the damsel, `Ask of me whatever thou wilt, and I will give to thee,'”

The Background: according to the research of the Jewish historian Joseph, “the daughter of Herodias” was named Salome. She was at that time in her teens and danced beautifully and attractively. Later she was married to her another grand uncle who ruled the northern districts, i.e. Herod Philip II (the consanguineous brother of Philip I).

Enlightenment in the Word: “celebrating one’s birthday” is to remember oneself and exult oneself. “Dance” represents fulfilling the fleshly lust. Under such condition, men were easily to make mistakes------he promised with an oath and killed John the Baptist (see v.24-27).


Mark. 6:23 He also swore to her, "Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half my kingdom."

YLT: “and he sware to her -- `Whatever thou mayest ask me, I will give to thee -- unto the half of my kingdom.'”

Meaning of Words: “promised”: acknowledge, confess, announce;

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Once a man has promised something, he is beyond the control of himself. Every one that practices sin is the bondman of sin and he does not have freedom (John. 8:44).

2)    There is a common saying going like this, “one gets dizzy with success”. Men are most easily to lose self-control in their extreme cheerfulness.

3)    Man cannot restrain his flesh by themselves, for it is uncontrollable.


Mark. 6:24 So she went out and said to her mother, "What shall I ask?" And she said, "The head of John the Baptist!"

YLT: “And she, having gone forth, said to her mother, `What shall I ask for myself?' and she said, `The head of John the Baptist;'”


Mark. 6:25 Immediately she came in with haste to the king and asked, saying, "I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter."

YLT: “and having come in immediately with haste unto the king, she asked, saying, `I will that thou mayest give me presently, upon a plate, the head of John the Baptist.'”

Literal Meaning: “platter” is a kind of flat plate made of wood and is used to hold meat to serve the guests.


Mark. 6:26 And the king was exceedingly sorry; yet, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he did not want to refuse her.

YLT: “And the king -- made very sorrowful -- because of the oaths and of those reclining (at meat) with him, would not put her away,”

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    When men walked according to the lust of the flesh, the first result is “being sorry”------the unpeaceful consciousness.

2)    For grief according to God works repentance to salvation, never to be regretted; but the grief of the world works death (2Cor. 7:10).

3)    Herod was sorry because he talked boldly. Once a man speaks incautiously, he may become the first one being snared by his own words (“because of the oaths”).

4)    Since Herod was keen on face-saving (“because of those who sat with him”), he disregarded the unpeaceful conscience (“was sorry”). Those who love to brag are every sensitive to their reputations. Those who are keen on face-saving are easy to make things worse by repeated delays.


Mark. 6:27 Immediately the king sent an executioner and commanded his head to be brought. And he went and beheaded him in prison,

YLT: “and immediately the king having sent a guardsman, did command his head to be brought,”

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Herod rather respected John the Baptist in the beginning and desired the spiritual things under John’s guidance (see v.20). However, he later made terrible mistake for the sake of his indulgence of this time, and was too late to repent. This was a great warning example for those who desire to seek the Lord. We should not ruin our spiritual future for the sake of the temporary relaxation (pleasure) or pride (oath), and thus regretting lifetime.

2)    The mind of the flesh is death (Rom. 8:6). Because Herod killed the witness of the Lord (John), he was isolated from the lord of life and his end was death (eternal perdition).

3)    Herod dared not kill John for he feared the crowd (see Matt.14:5), but here he did not have any scruple since he had fulfilled his lusts. Therefore, the lusts may rob a man of his rationality.


Mark. 6:28 brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother.

YLT: “and he having gone, beheaded him in the prison, and brought his head upon a plate, and did give it to the damsel, and the damsel did give it to her mother;”

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    When the girl brought the platter with a head which was dripping with blood to her mother, the mother and the daughter were actually with perfect composure. It showed that the lust of the flesh made men extremely audacious.

2)    It indicated that Herod married Herodias because they both liked each other and corrupted public morals together. Moreover Herodias hated John the Baptist deeply in her heart for being blamed by him and waited for the opportune moment to kill him. Herodias exposed the nature of a vicious woman.

3)    Believers should not partake in the sins of others, but keep themselves pure (1Tim. 5:22). Once a man is not cautious and partakes in the sins of others, he will be easily against the truth with others.


Mark. 6:29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took away his corpse and laid it in a tomb.

YLT: “and having heard, his disciples came and took up his corpse, and laid it in the tomb.”

Enlightenment in the Word: “buried it”, it means to cover the proof of being treated unfairly. It is of the most vanity to see the corpse and sorrow all day. 


Mark. 6:30 Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught.

YLT: “And the apostles are gathered together unto Jesus, and they told him all, and how many things they did, and how many things they taught,”

Meaning of Words: “apostle”: messenger, he that is sent;

Literal Meaning: “the apostles gathered to Jesus”, here, it is the only place in this book where the word “apostle” appears. Here, the apostles refer to the twelve disciples appointed by the Lord Jesus (see 3:14). 

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    “All things” include both the sorrowful and joyful things. When believers are sad, they may pray to the Lord for help. However, when they are joyful, they may easily forget the Lord.

2)    “Both what they had done and what they had taught”, the disciples told the Lord what they had said to men. All that we “cannot” or “should not” say to the Lord should also not be preached to men.


Mark. 6:31And He said to them, "Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while." For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.

YLT: “and he said to them, `Come ye yourselves apart to a desert place, and rest a little,' for those coming and those going were many, and not even to eat had they opportunity,”

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Though diligent work is important, we should not forget to “rest a while”. The Lord likes us to have proper rest instead of laboring excessively.

2)    The Lord’s words go like this: “come aside by yourselves … rest a while”. The rest in the presence with the Lord is far greater than our rest alone ---- for that will not only give us sweet rest and renew our strength as well.

3)    In the service of the Lord, we should learn to withdraw to the deep inside and have rest with the Lord when we are fully engaged.

4)    The Lord and His disciples were busy working, and “they did not even have time to eat”. Yes, there are full of spiritual request on the earth. Are we willing to sacrifice our own enjoyment and coziness and care for the need of others?


Mark. 6:32 So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves.

YLT: “and they went away to a desert place, in the boat, by themselves.”

Literal Meaning: “so they departed to a deserted place by themselves”, that was a deserted place outside the city of Bethsaida (see Luke 9:10)

Enlightenment in the Word: “so they departed to a deserted place by themselves”, they departed in order to draw near to God. We should also have the experience of withdrawing to a private place to pray (see Matt.6:6).


Mark. 6:33 But the multitudes saw them departing, and many knew Him and ran there on foot from all the cities. They arrived before them and came together to Him.

YLT: “And the multitudes saw them going away, and many recognised him, and by land from all the cities they ran thither, and went before them, and came together to him,”


Mark. 6:34 And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things.

YLT: “and having come forth, Jesus saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion on them, that they were as sheep not having a shepherd, and he began to teach many things.”

Literal Meaning: “they were like sheep not having a shepherd”, it was quoted from the Book of Numbers (27:17), which described the miserable condition that there were no one who looked after the people of Israel.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Though the Lord was very tired (v.31), He still devoted His rest time to deal diligently with the need of men, for He cared for men. It indicated that serving God was working according to the need and burden, not the “fixed time table”.

2)    Though men reject the Lord, He is still merciful to men.

3)    For we have not the Lord not able to sympathize with our infirmities. Let us approach therefore with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and find grace for seasonable help (Heb. 4:15-16).


Mark. 6:35 When the day was now far spent, His disciples came to Him and said, "This is a deserted place, and already the hour is late.

YLT: “And now the hour being advanced, his disciples having come near to him, say, -- `The place is desolate, and the hour is now advanced,”

Literal Meaning: “When the day was now far spent”, there were two evenings for the Jews. One started from three o’clock in the afternoon and the other began from six o’clock in the afternoon when the sun set. Here, it referred to the first evening.


Mark. 6:36 Send them away, that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy themselves bread; for they have nothing to eat."

YLT: “let them away, that, having gone away to the surrounding fields and villages, they may buy to themselves loaves, for what they may eat they have not.'”

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    “The hour is late in a deserted place”, and the need of the multitudes were so urgent and huge. We may often be encountered with such predicaments. The way to solve it is “to come to the Lord”, and one shall not voice one’s own opinions.

2)    “Send the multitudes away”, it is to ask the multitudes to depart from the Lord and we may usually have this tone. “They may buy themselves food.” ---- It is an irresponsible attitude.

3)    The disciples suggested to “sent the multitudes away” and “buy themselves food”, for they did not know the fullness of Christ, who is able to meet all the need of men. Those who do not know the Lord always ask men to rely on themselves.


Mark. 6:37 But He answered and said to them, "You give them something to eat." And they said to Him, "Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?"

YLT: “And he answering said to them, `Give ye them to eat,' and they say to him, `Having gone away, may we buy two hundred denaries' worth of loaves, and give to them to eat?'”

Literal Meaning: “shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?” ---- “two hundred dearii”, a common worker at that time earned about one denarii (see Matt 20:2) per day, so two hundred denarii would be earned through almost a year. The disciples here meant that it would be costly to feed so many people.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The Lord said, “you give them something to eat.” The Lord’s words were to compel the disciples to turn to Him so that they would know and experience Him as the merciful and mighty Lord.

2)    “You give them something to eat.” The Lord’s words showed that the disciples actually had something that could be given to them, yet they did not know. The Lord always firstly supplies those who draw near to Him before supplying the multitudes.

3)    Asking men to “buy themselves food” was the principle of the law ---- one can only have enjoyment through his works. “You give them something to eat”, this is the principle of grace ---- one shall obtain enjoyment by free grace instead of his own works.

4)    If believers love the Lord, they will take care of and feed the lambs of the Lord (John. 21:15-17).


Mark. 6:38 But He said to them, "How many loaves do you have? Go and see." And when they found out they said, "Five, and two fish."

YLT: “And he saith to them, `How many loaves have ye? go and see;' and having known, they say, `Five, and two fishes.'”

Spiritual Meaning: “five loaves and two fish”, they on one hand symbolize the poorness of believers themselves, e.g. the limited power, wisdom and physical strength, and on the other hand they also typify the limited property that we have received from the Lord and the experience of the risen life of Christ.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    What we have in our own hands are too limited to meet the great need of the multitudes before our eyes.

2)    Believers must know that they are nothing and then turn to trust in God who calls the things which be not as being (Rom. 4:17).


Mark. 6:39 Then He commanded them to make them all sit down in groups on the green grass.

YLT: “And he commanded them to make all recline in companies upon the green grass,”

Meaning of Words: “group”: a drinking-party, company; “sit”: lean back, lay;

Spiritual Meaning: “sit down on the grass”, it symbolizes that one has stopped his struggle and effort and rests at the feet of the Lord (see Luke. 10:39).

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Corporate fellowship is different from that of individuals ---- for it embraces a special enjoyment and even much fuller.

2)    If we want to enjoy the Lord, we have to be quiet (“sit down”) first.


Mark. 6:40 So they sat down in ranks, in hundreds and in fifties.

YLT: “and they sat down in squares, by hundreds, and by fifties.”

Meaning of Words: “rank”: a garden plot, flower-bed;

Literal Meaning: “so they sat down in ranks”, “in ranks” meant “cluster by cluster” in the original. The multitudes sat down in good order, just like the flower-bed with clusters of flowers on the green.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The Lord Jesus always sets things in good order when He makes arrangement for something. In the service of the Lord, we shall also have decent and proper arrangements.

2)    Let all things be done decently and with order (1Cor.14:40).


Mark. 6:41 And when He had taken the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and the two fish He divided among them all.

YLT: “And having taken the five loaves and the two fishes, having looked up to the heaven, he blessed, and brake the loaves, and was giving to his disciples, that they may set before them, and the two fishes divided he to all,”

Spiritual Meaning: this verse reveals us the process of becoming the blessing of others:

1.   Jesus had taken”, it indicates that one shall devote himself to the Lord.

2.   “Looked up to heaven, blessed”, God, the fountainhead of all provisions, bestows us the necessary spiritual equipments ---- including gifts, enlightenments, power and etc.

3.   “Broke the loaves”, it symbolizes being dealt with and being broken by the cross.

This verse also reveals the course of passing on the blessings:

1.   “Jesus had taken”, being devoted to the Lord firstly;

2.   “Gave them to His disciples”, returning back to us after the Lord’s blessing;

3.   “To set before them … divided among them all”, sharing with each other;

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Before we give something of ourselves to others, we should first let the Lord “take” it ---- only by devotion to the Lord can we receive the spiritual value.

2)    If the limited things of us linger in our own hands, they will be nothing. But it they are devoted to the Lord, they will become blessings for many people.

3)    The key point does not rest on the amount of the loaves in our hands, but whether the Lord has given blessings or not. When we are unable to meet the present need, if the Lord grants His blessings to us, there will be more than sufficient provisions.   

4)    If the loaf remains perfect, it will never satisfy the need of others. But if it has been broken and distributed to others, it will bring about satisfaction to more people.

5)    If believers love their souls and are not willing to be broken by the Lord, they are of no value.

6)    The word “gave” shows that believers are merely the channels of the Lord to deliver the Lord’s provisions.

7)    The disciples delivered something to others (“the disciples gave to the multitudes”) because they had received from the Lord (“He gave the loaves to the disciples”). The Lord makes us experience His life first and then we can supply others with His life.

8)    We shall not hide the experience that we have obtained from the Lord every time, even though it seems so limited. Instead, we should learn to share it with others.

9)    We are just the “loaves” in the hand of the Lord. Those who have eaten the bread are grateful to “the One who distributes the bread” ---- the Lord, not to the “loaves” ---- us. As for the service and provision in the assembly, all glory and gratitude should be given to the Lord, not ourselves.


Mark. 6:42 So they all ate and were filled.

YLT: “and they did all eat, and were filled,”

Spiritual Meaning: “they all ate”, everyone can enjoy Him. “Were filled”, He can satisfy men.

Enlightenment in the Word: though the five barley loaves and two small fish are limited, if one is reluctant to devote them to the Lord, they will be even insufficient for his own need. However, once they are devoted to the Lord, they will produce abundant provisions after the Lord’s blessing.


Mark. 6:43 And they took up twelve baskets full of fragments and of the fish.

YLT: “and they took up of broken pieces twelve hand-baskets full, and of the fishes,”

Literal Meaning: “took up … full of fragments and of the fish”, we should not ruin or waste food, for it is gifted by God (see John. 6:12).

“Basket”, it was a kind of vessel that the Jews usually took along on their person, which could be hitched on their arms to carry food or other sundries.

Spiritual Meaning: “the fragments”, they typify that the provision of the Lord is more than sufficient. “Twelve baskets”, the number of “twelve” is connected with perfectness and fullness ---- His provision is fully complete.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    To gather up the fragments that remain teaches us we should value the grace of the Lord. We should preserve the superfluous part for possible future use instead of wasting it.

2)    When we have learned to give the unsearchable fullness to others, we will find what we have received again (“filled twelve baskets”) is much more than what we have devoted (“five barley loaves and two small fish”).


Mark. 6:44 Now those who had eaten the loaves were about five thousand men.

YLT: “and those eating of the loaves were about five thousand men.”

The Background: according to customs of the Jews, women and children were not allowed to eat with men in public. Therefore woman and children had eaten in another place and their number was not in detail.

Spiritual Meaning: “those who had eaten were about five thousand”, “five” in the Bible symbolizes “responsibility”. Therefore this verse symbolizes that the Lord is responsible for supplying all the needs of men.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    No matter how great our need is, the Lord can deal with all of them

2)    In other places of the Bible it is recorded that one hundred people were filled by twenty loaves (2Kings. 4:42-44) and four thousand people by seven loaves and several fish (Matt. 15: 32-39). Here, there was the least amount of loaves and the largest number of men who had been fed, for the loaves were broken into many pieces. It did not lie in the number of the loaves, but the extent how the loaves had been broken that counted ---- the more they had been broken, the more people would be satisfied.


Mark. 6:45 Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away.

YLT: “And immediately he constrained his disciples to go into the boat, and to go before to the other side, unto Bethsaida, till he may let the multitude away,”

Literal Meaning: “Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat”, “made”: compel, constrain (see 2Cor5:14), so it could also be translated in this way ---- “the Lord compelled the disciples to the boat”.

Spiritual Meaning: “Jesus made His disciples get into the boat”, it symbolizes that the Lord wants believers to live in the assembly.

  “Go to the other side”, it indicates that believers are strangers and sojourners on the earth and they are on the way to a better country, that is, a heavenly one (Heb. 11:13-16).

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The sign of “five barley loaves and two small fish” unveiled that the Lord had been dead for us on the cross, thus enabling us to enjoy His life. “Going over the sea” remarked that the Lord had become the enjoyment of our life, thus giving us strength to walk in the heavenly way ---- just as the people of Israel who ate the lambs of the Passover to walk in the way out of Egypt. Therefore when they were eating, their loins had to be girded, their sandals on their feet, and their staff in their hand (see Ex 12:11, 42).

2)    There is a way in which we shall walk after we have been saved. It is of most crucial significance for every Christian to seek the ordained way by the Lord and then walk in it faithfully.


Mark. 6:46 And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray.

YLT: “and having taken leave of them, he went away to the mountain to pray.”

Spiritual Meaning: “He departed to the mountain to pray”, it symbolizes that He is the great high priest who has passed through the heavens (Heb. 4: 14) and intercedes for us before God (Heb. 7:25).

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The Lord remains us on the earth to run the way appointed by Him, and we are not lonely, for He always remembers us in the heaven and intercedes for us.

2)    Sometimes the Lord’s presence is obvious (v.13-21) and sometimes His presence is hidden (v.22-26).

3)    No matter how busy we are, we cannot stop praying. Doing the Lord’s work cannot replace praying. Only those who draw near to God are able to do God’s work well.

4)    We need not only to pursue and pray with saints (2Tim. 2:22) but also to pray quietly “by ourselves”.


Mark. 6:47 Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land.

YLT: “And evening having come, the boat was in the midst of the sea, and he alone upon the land;”

Spiritual Meaning: “when evening came”, it refers to the period from the ascension of Christ to His second coming. The world has been in a long dark night.

    “The boat was in the middle of the sea”, “boat” typifies the church. “Sea” symbolizes the world. The church on the earth is just like the boat in the sea.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    It is the time that the night is far spent and the day is near (Rom. 13:12). We feel the darkness all around us in the world, but the Lord the morning star is going to appear.

2)    The boat remains still in the sea and has not got into shore, and our journey has not arrived at the destination yet. The problem of eternal life and death has been resolved, but the end in the future ---- victory or failure, “being faithful till the end” or “giving up halfway” ---- depends on how we run today.


Mark. 6:48 Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by.

YLT: “and he saw them harassed in the rowing, for the wind was against them, and about the fourth watch of the night he doth come to them walking on the sea, and wished to pass by them.”

The Background: according to Roman time of measure, there were four hours in the night: (1) from six o’clock to nine o’clock in the evening; (2) from nine o’clock in the evening to the midnight; (3) from the midnight to three o’clock early in the morning; (4) from three o’clock to six o’clock early in the morning.

Literal Meaning: “about the fourth watch of the night”, it refers to the period from three o’clock early in the morning to six o’clock.

  “Walking on the sea”, it reveals that the Lord is the Master of all things, who has the power transcending everything (see Ps.89:9; Is.51:10, 15; Jem. 31:35).

Spiritual Meaning: “sea” symbolizes the world at present. The “wind” represents all the temptations and troubles around us raised by the power of darkness.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    On the earth the assembly will unavoidably encounter attacks and obstructions from the enemy.

2)    It will be abnormal if we believers always run smoothly in the world, and contrarily it blocks us from experiencing the peace in the Lord (see John. 16:33).

3)    If a believer stands for the sake of the Lord, he will inevitably suffer from the adverse wind. To row in the adverse wind is much better than to drift in the smooth wind. To drift in the smooth wind does not require any labor, but it will never lead a man to the end. It requires little labor to love the world, but it will definitely make a man draw back and fall down.

4)    The darker the environment is (“it was already dark”), the sooner will we meet our Lord (or the Lord will come to meet us).

5)    Meyer said: “the secret of a man to receive great success from God is to keep till the end “about the fourth watch of the night”.

6)    The risen Christ who has ascended into heavens has overcome sins, death, the Satan and all tribulations (“walking on the sea”).

7)    The assembly should enter into the eternal age from this age and our Lord is coming to meet us. The Lord who prays for and takes care of the assembly is the one who walks on the waves of the sea. He is above every principality and authority and all things are under His feet (Eph. 1: 21-22).

8)    The Lord came to the disciples according to the way that He had commanded them to walk in ---- “He came to them”. If believers had not walked in the ordained way of the Lord, they wouldl miss being caught by the Lord.

9)    When we are in troubles, it mostly seems that the Lord has not visited us (“He would have passed them by”). But actually He is watching us attentively, and He is looking at every step that we have passed and taking care of every trouble that we have met.

10)  Although the Lord Jesus had departed again to the mountain by Himself alone (see v.15), he did not forget the disciples who were laboring to row on the sea and walked in the sea to help them. We shall not only “enter the veil” to enjoy the sweet fellowship with God by ourselves, but also “go without the camp (see Heb. 13:13) to help those who are in need of help.


Mark. 6:49 And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out;

YLT: “And they having seen him walking on the sea, thought to be an apparition, and cried out,”

Enlightenment in the Word: since we have not full known the Lord, when we see wonderful works of the Lord, we fear and even think it is of the devil (“It is a ghost”). Therefore we should not judge unprecedented things abruptly by traditional thoughts or old concepts, but wait until the Lord clear it up with His words by Himself (v.50) and thus everything is clear.


Mark. 6:50 for they all saw Him and were troubled. But immediately He talked with them and said to them, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid."

YLT: “for they all saw him, and were troubled, and immediately he spake with them, and saith to them, `Take courage, I am , be not afraid.'”

Literal Meaning: “be of good cheer! It is I.” In the original “it is I” is “I am”. The name of God is “I am” (Exod. 3:14). The moment the Lord said that “I am”, men went away backward and fell to the ground (John. 18:4-5), for He is God.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    As long as believers have the presence of the Lord (God), they are of good cheer and need not fear.

2)    Provided that we have the words of the Lord, we are able to be of good cheer in every adversity. We should ask the Lord for giving us a word (Matt. 8:8), and that will be enough to satisfy our needs.

3)    Only can those who have intimate fellowship with the Lord and are familiar with Him recognize this voice of “I am”, thus obtaining comfort and encouragement. That’s why we shall draw near to the Lord as much as possible.


Mark. 6:51 Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled.

YLT: “And he went up unto them to the boat, and the wind lulled, and greatly out of measure were they amazed in themselves, and were wondering,”

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    As long as the Lord is in the boat (the assembly), all the winds will pass away.

2)    The Lord considers us who are pilgrims on the way to the heavens and always guides us out of difficulties by himself.


Mark. 6:52 For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened.

YLT: “for they understood not concerning the loaves, for their heart hath been hard.”

Literal Meaning: “for they had not understood about the loaves”, if they could know His person from the sign of five loaves and two small fish, they would not be marveled at the fact that He walked on the sea and removed the wind.

  “Their heart was hardened”, it indicated that their mind was closed, so they were hardened and did not believe.

Enlightenment in the Word: the disciples “marveled (v.51)”, for “their heart was hardened”. All those who spiritual mind has not been opened may often be marveled at the Lord’s guidance and even cry out ---- “they suppose it is a ghost” (see v.49).


Mark. 6:53 When they had crossed over, they came to the land of Gennesaret and anchored there.

YLT: “And having passed over, they came upon the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore,”

Meaning of Words: “Gennesaret”: garden of the prince;

Literal Meaning: the Sea of Galilee (Matt. 4:18) was also called the lake of Gennesaret (Luke. 5:1). Therefore “the land of Gennesaret” was the plain in the northern part of the Sea of Galilee.

Spiritual Meaning: “the land of Gennesaret” is the type of the garden of God. This verse symbolizes that when the Lord comes back, He will take believers into the kingdom of a thousand years.


Mark. 6:54 And when they came out of the boat, immediately the people recognized Him,

YLT: “and they having come forth out of the boat, immediately having recognised him,”

Spiritual Meaning: when the Lord comes back, the earth shall be full of the knowledge of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea (Is. 11:9). Every one shall know Him as “Jehovah the salvation” (the meaning of “Jesus” in the original).


Mark. 6:55 ran through that whole surrounding region, and began to carry about on beds those who were sick to wherever they heard He was.

YLT: “having run about through all that region round about, they began upon the couches to carry about those ill, where they were hearing that he is,”


Mark. 6:56 Wherever He entered, into villages, cities, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged Him that they might just touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched Him were made well.

YLT: “and wherever he was going, to villages, or cities, or fields, in the market-places they were laying the infirm, and were calling upon him, that they may touch if it were but the fringe of his garment, and as many as were touching him were saved.”

Spiritual Meaning: when the Lord comes back, all those who come to Him and touch Him by faith (“they only touch the hem of His garment”) will experience His healing power (see Matt. 8:16-17).


III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons


Christ in This Chapter of the Book of Mark

A.   Christ who was rejected by men (v.1-6);

B.   Christ who sent disciple to fulfill the ministry (v.7-13);

C.   Christ’s forerunner was killed (v.14-29);

D.   Christ who met men’s need (v.30-44);

E.   Christ who has passed through the heavens and intercedes for us (v.45-46);

F.    Christ who saved the believers who were met with difficulties (v.47-52);

G.   The glory of Christ (v.53-56);


Three Wrong Knowledge of Men toward the Lord

A.   Men in the Lord’s country knew Him according to their past experience, and finally rejected Him (v.1-6).

B.   Herod knew Him according to men’s rumors, and finally misunderstood Him as John the Baptist (v.14-16).

C.   The disciples knew Him according to what they had seen through their physical eyes, and misunderstood Him as a ghost (V.47-49).


The Workers of the Lord

A.  Who are chosen and sent by the Lord ---- Jesus called …to Himself, and began to send them out (v.7a);

B.  Who are equipped by the Lord ---- gave them power (v.7b);

C.  The Lord will provide them all their need in life (v.8-10).

D.  Who have none earthly association with the world (v.11),

E.  The chief mission ---- preach the Lord’s word and make men repent (v.12);

F.   The effective work (v.13);


The Uneasiness of Herod

A.   He sought the Lord’s word for he had no rest (for he had sinned).

B.   He still had no peace after seeking the Lord’s word (he did not repent after being condemned).

C.   He had no peace after rejecting the Lord’s word (he killed John the Baptist).

D.   He felt uneasier after rejecting the Lord’s word (his conscience was accused).


The Comparison Between the Two Kinds of Feast

A.   Herod held the feast (v.21) ---- Jesus distributed the bread (v.41);

B.   Place: the former was in the palace, and the latter was in the wilderness (v.35)

C.   Object: the former invited the nobles (v.21), and the latter invited poor men.

D.   Purpose: the former was for “his own” birthday (v.21), and the latter was for others (v. ).

E.   Condition: the former was unnecessary, and the latter had exactly met men’s need.

F.    Result: the former brought death (v.27), and the latter brought life.

G.   Conclusion: the former ended in a tragedy (v.29), and the latter had a great deal of fullness reserve (v. 43).


Three Spiritual Types

A.  The Lord fed five thousands with five barley loaves and two small fish (v.35-44) ---- which typified that the Lord had crucified for us and broke His body and shed his precious blood (see John 6:48-58).

B.  The disciples were in the boat and the Lord departed to the mountain to pray (v.45-46) ---- which typifies that the Lord is the great high priest who has passed through the heavens and intercedes for us before God (see Heb. 4:14-16; 7:25).

C.  When the boar had crossed over, the Lord healed many people (v.53-56) ---- which typifies that a lot of men will be healed in the second coming of the Lord.


Five Loaves and Two Fish (v.41-43)

A.   Be devoted to the Lord ---- “Jesus took”;

B.   Through the Lord’s blessing ---- “looked up to heaven”;

C.   Be broken by the Lord’s cross ---- “broke the loaves”;

D.   Be the channel of the Lord ---- “gave them to His disciples to set before them”;

E.   The sufficient provision ---- “they all ate and were filled”;

F.    One shall not waste the Lord’s grace ---- “took up the fragments and of the fish”;

G.   The full and abundant grace ---- “twelve baskets”;


The Relationship of Us with the Lord

A.   His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side (v.45) ---- believers in the church should run the heavenly way according to the commandment of the Lord from the present age to the eternal age.

B.   He departed to the mountain to pray by Himself (v.46) ---- now the Lord is the great high priest in the heavens and intercedes for us before God (see Heb 7:25).

C.   The boat was in the sea, and the disciples were straining at rowing, for the wind was against them (v.47-48) ---- the church had suffered many troubles and persecutions in the world. On one hand, Satan made waves to block the growth of the church, and on the other hand, it was dominated by the Lord so that we might know Him and experience Him more.

D.   Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them (v.48b) ---- the Lord is the Master over all, and He will come to receive us again.

E.   The disciples misunderstood Him as a ghost and were comforted by the Lord’s revelation (v.49-50) ---- it is the time for us to know more about the Lord.

F.    The wind was stopped the moment when the disciples met the Lord (v.51) ---- all the troubles will pass away in the second coming of the Lord.


The Microcosm of the Kingdom of a Thousand Years

A.   All of those who are of the Lord will come to the garden of God ---- “the land of Gennesaret” (v.53).

B.   The earth shall be full of the knowledge of Jehovah ---- “the people recognized Jesus” (v.54).

C.   To enjoy the Lord’s healing power ---- “all the patients were made well” (v.55, 56).


── Caleb HuangChristian Digest Bible Commentary Series

   Translated by Mary Zhou