Mk. 6:1-6-Jesus returns home, to Nazareth. He speaks in the synagogue and the people there basically reject Him. Because of this He could not do many miracles there...He wondered at their "unbelief". Jesus, though probably disappointed with their response, is not surprised, saying that this is the normal reception that a prophet receives from those in his hometown.
Mk. 6:3-Four half-brothers of Jesus are mentioned in this verse (James, Joses, Judas, Simon) and His "sisters", half-sisters. Only James (the leader of the church in Jerusalem and the one who wrote the book of James) and Judas (Jude-wrote the book of Jude) would ever be mentioned as being a follower of His.
For clarification on Jesus having brothers and sisters, and an explanation on the false teaching that His mother, Mary, was a perpetual virgin, see this site:
Mk. 6:7-13-The commissioning of the 12 Apostles. Jesus sent them out in pairs. Here were their instructions:
- They had authority over unclean spirits
- They were to take nothing with them (except a pair of sandals)
- They were to stay in the house of the one who welcomed them
- They were to shake off the dust from their feet as they left when anyone would not accept them
- They preached that men should repent
- They were casting out demons and anointing with oil the sick and healing many
shake the dust off your feet
Listen to what the Hebrew linguist and the great Jewish scholar John Gill says about this particular idiom:
"The Jews believed that even the dust of a heathen and wicked country contaminated them. To "shake the dust off your feet" was the Jewish way of signifying that they would have nothing more to do with those who would not welcome the people of God, or anything more to say to to those who refused to listen to their message. By shaking the dust off their feet, the Jews looked upon those who acted in this manner as impure and unholy, as they would any heathen city or country. Jesus is alluding to this custom when He speaks to His disciples. He is instructing them that there will come a time when they will need to "shake the dust off their feet" in their desire to communicate with others. By this act, they testify that the very dust they shake off their feet will rise up in judgment against them, and declare that though the good news of God's grace has been proclaimed among them, they have rjected both the messenger and the message, and as a result, will find an aggravation to their condemnation."
- He pronounces a very heavy doom upon those that rejected the gospel they preached (v. 11); "Whosoever shall not receive you, or will not so much as hear you, depart thence (if one will not, another will), and shake off the dust under your feet, for a testimony against them. Let them know that they have had a fair offer of life and happiness made them, witness that dust; but that, since they have refused it, they cannot expect ever to have another; let them take up with their own dust, for so shall their doom be.' That dust, like the dust of Egypt (Ex. 9:9), shall turn into a plague to them; and their condemnation in the great day, will be more intolerable than that of Sodom: for the angels were sent to Sodom, and were abused there; yet that would not bring on so great a guilt and so great a ruin as the contempt and abuse of the apostles of Christ, who bring with them the offers of gospel grace.
Matthew Henry Commentary, Mark 6
Mk. 6:14-29-King Herod hears about Jesus and thinks that John the Baptist had risen from the dead. Others suggested that He was Elijah, or a prophet. Herod was guilt ridden and paranoid. He had illegally (and immorally) married his brother Philip’s wife, Herodias. John had publicly condemned him for his actions. Herodias had a “grudge” against John. Herod was “perplexed” (means: embarrassed, didn’t know what to do) by John because while he enjoyed listening to him preach (:20)…at the same time he knew that John was condemning him. Finally, there was a large birthday party for Herod…everybody who was somebody, was there. Herodias’ daughter danced at the party and she “pleased” Herod so much that he made the audacious statement that she could ask for anything she wanted, up to half of his kingdom, and he would give it to her. She asked her mother what to request…and Herodias said the head of John the Baptist. Herod didn’t really want to do that…but he allowed his ego to be pushed into a corner (:26). He had John beheaded immediately and his head brought to the party and presented to the daughter and her mother. Maybe he did so as proof that he had done so. Or perhaps, since he knew that Herodias was aware of his interest in John and still used pressure in a public setting to force him to do what he didn’t want to do…this was an “in your face” act on his part. Herod was “afraid” (:20) of John while he was alive…and now, he is more afraid of him than ever.
Mk. 6:30-32-The disciples return from the missions that Jesus had sent them on (:7) and give Him a report of what had taken place. He takes them away in a boat to a secluded place so that they can rest. There are so many people that are following them that He is aware that they could become physically, mentally, and spiritually exhausted. While ministry is exhilarating, it is also exhausting
Prayer: Lord, I'm not sure, but it seems that perhaps it was their familiarity with Jesus that led the people in Nazereth to not believe in Him. They had known Him growing up, His whole life...and now, they could not get beyond their preconceptions about Him. Please help me Lord to never become too familiar, to comfortable with Jesus...so that I don't recognize Him for Who He really is.