Christ’s Power Over Every Need
The Gospel of Mark Sermon Series
The Equation of Trust
Mark 6:1-13, 30-52
How well do we trust God’s saving power in our lives? Luke Aikins is a professional skydiver who jumped from twenty-five thousand feet without a parachute. He spent two years preparing to perform this stunt. He completely trusted the specially constructed net to catch him in a manner that would not cause injury. Dramatically, Aikins successfully landed in the net and walked away without a scratch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPC_h9Vmlxw.
No Effort Minus Jesus Equals Nothing (vv. 1- 6a)
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.
We see Jesus’ family mentioned in Mark 3:20-21 “Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. 21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.” and 3:31 “And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him.” and now he leaves his established ministry home of Capernaum, and returns to his childhood home, his hometown of Nazareth.
This was probably the first time that the people of Jesus’ hometown had ever heard him preach and many of them were amazed. “They do not deny the wisdom of his words, nor the wonder of his works, but the townspeople knew Jesus and they had never suspected that he possessed such gifts and graces.”
Like the scribes and Pharisee we have seen before, they are asking the right questions, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands?” The answer is that he is the Son of God, the Messiah, etc. But they couldn’t get past . . .
(v. 3) “Is not this the carpenter” – This phrase tells us that Jesus was the son of a carpenter (Matt. 13:55), and here we see that he carried on the carpentry family business. The word tekton means to beget, create, craft, art. “It was a very old word, from Homer down.”
(v. 3) “And they took offense at him.” – The hometown was offended that someone like Jesus, Mary’s son, a mere carpenter would dare to make such claims. Familiarity breeds contempt. “The people of Nazareth were incapable of appreciating who Jesus was because, like Jesus’ own family, they identified him with themselves so closely.” Some believers who try to share with their family and friends face something similar. They may say, “I grew up with you, I knew you when you were in high school, etc.”
They are convinced, “God is not going to do anything significant here, and especially with someone that we know.” Once a town full of people are convinced that no one of importance could here come from their ranks, nothing godly will ever happen here – they are not going to serve with any significance, or give with any weight, or sacrifice toward making something work. If there is no faith in God working, then not much will happen.
(vv. 5-6) “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.” At this point Jesus has healed countless people, cast out countless demons, taught incredible teachings, and even raised the dead back to life – so, what is it that amazes Jesus? What does He marvel at? What does it take to push people over the line from unbelief to belief? What does it take a people who have an engrained way of thinking to change?
Jesus encounters the faith of the gentile Centurion in Matthew 8:10 “When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.”
Mark is telling us the unbelief as the cause of non-performance of miracles. They simply didn’t give Jesus an opportunity. “The people of Nazareth were so consistently unbelieving that they would not even bring their sick to Him to be healed.”  Jesus also, is not going to go around healing them against their will.
Effort Plus Jesus Equals Results (vv. 6b- 13)
And he went about among the villages teaching. 7 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.1 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.
Earlier in Mark 3:14-15 “And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach 15 and have authority to cast out demons.” The disciples have been with Jesus for some time now, and they have heard him preach, seen him perform miracles, and cast out demons. So, now they are sent two-by-two proclaiming that people should repent, and as proof of the one who sent them, they had the power over demons and to heal the sick. They cannot “preach the full gospel until after the passion and resurrection.”
“The purpose of their going in pairs was so that the truthfulness of their testimony about Jesus might be established ‘on the testimony of two or three witnesses’ (Duet. 17:6.)”
Jesus gives them instructions on what to take, and what not to take on this mission trip. Take a friend (two-by-two) and a staff, regular set of clothes. Do not take special traveling shoes, no extra clothes, no food, no money or a bag to put it all in. Just the bare essentials. Pick a place to stay, don’t float from house to house. They were to have absolute trust in God to supply all their needs.
God Will Provide What They Need!
The message of repentance is what John the Baptist preached (Matt. 3:2) and what Jesus has always preached (Mark 1:15), it’s what the disciples preached, but they don’t seem to understand why (repent)? You repent so that you can receive the Savior. You repent so that you can receive what you need – they don’t understand this yet.
Any time disciples of Christ go out to share His message, there will be those who reject it. He has already began preparing them with the parable of the four soils (Mark 4) where only 25% of the Word will come to fruition. So Jesus says, “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.”
The shaking off the dust from their feet was to make it clear that those who rejected the message must now answer for themselves. Their message brings salvation to those who believe, and judgement to those that do not. This always happens when the gospel is preached. (v. 12-13) “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.”
14-29 death of John the Baptist
Expectation Plus Effort Plus Jesus Equals Solution (vv. 30-44)
30 The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. 35 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. 36 Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But he answered 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 it to them to eat?” 38 And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. 41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And they all ate and were satisfied. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.
(v. 30) “The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught.” As far as we can tell, they preached repentance, healed the sick, and cast out demons, i.e. they did what Jesus sent them out to do. In response to their tour and present condition Jesus says, “let’s take a vacation!” (v. 32) “And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves.”
But recognizing Jesus and the disciples they run to catch up with them. One town would run through the next where others would join in, so that as this group of runners went around the lake it got bigger and bigger as they went through villages, until eventually the crowd equaled five thousand people. (v.33) “But a vigorous crowd of runners would not have many sick.”
This crowd ran a considerable distance to see and experience Jesus. The Good Shepherd saw them as “sheep without a shepherd,” and he had compassion on them, and he taught them many things.
What a difference between the crowd of his hometown and the crowd that literally runs after him wherever Jesus goes. Do you think they were expecting Jesus to do something wonderful?
(vv. 35-36) “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. 36 Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” The disciples reaction to the crowd is not compassion, nor do they ask, “how can we teach them truth?” Their response is “send them away.” Shows over.
The disciples have just returned from performing miraculous healing, casting our demons, and preaching – They did not miss a meal, they had a place to stay, and they accomplished the mission. God provided what they needed (then).
But they don’t see themselves as being apart of the answer to the current situation. Jesus’ hometown could not see God working through someone they knew; here the disciples don’t see that they could be apart of the solution. They don’t think to ask, “How will God provide for this need?
If everyone is sitting around waiting for someone else to solve the problem nothing gets done. Both types of blindness lead to the same place (nothing gets done). Also, it’s way easier to just quit than to try and solve the problem. It’s easy to say “Send them home.”
So Jesus tells the disciples (v. 37) “You give them something to eat.” – Figure it out. Try. Look around, what do you have at your disposal to solve this problem? The disciple’s answer is for everything to end and let the people fend for themselves.
Jesus takes what they have, five loaves and two fish, and solves the problem. Effort plus Jesus equals problem solved.
The disciples have seen Jesus heal countless people at this point, cast out many demons, calm a storm with his words, and even raise a girl from the dead – and they have themselves cast out demons, healed the sick, and preached – but the disciples don’t say, “Jesus what would you recommend?” They try to figure it out in their own small minds, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” – we don’t have enough resources to take care of this problem.
God Will Provide What Is Needed!
They have the right message (repentance) but they don’t have the right heart yet (shepherd’s heart). When they see the crowd, they see a problem (too much money, creates problems, stress). When Jesus sees the crowd, he sees it through a shepherd’s lens (compassion, teaching opportunity, how can we stay together?)
(v. 40) “So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties.” – The word for group here is the same as Palestinian flower garden plots or beds.
(v. 43) “And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish.” – they took the twelve baskets full of bread and fish and loaded them into the boat. Next to each disciple was a basket full of bread and fish.
Experience Plus Jesus Equals Understanding (vv. 45-52)
45 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. 47 And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. 48 And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, 50 for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” 51 And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, 52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.
“Immediately” after the five thousand people were fed, he made his disciples get into the boat and sent them off. John’s gospel (6:15 ff.) tells us that there is the crowd is getting wound up, and that there is danger of a messianic uprising as a result of the miracle. The crowd is recognizing Jesus as the promised prophet and wanted to proclaim him as king.
He apparently does not want the disciples to get swept up into this ideology, and He will try to calm the crowd down and dismiss them. Jesus did not want zealots to steal the movement away and attach their agenda and message to the miracles that Jesus was doing.
(v. 46) In Mark there are three times where Jesus retreats to pray, and in each incident there is a crisis, and there is a temptation not to carry out God’s mission for him – a mission that would ultimately bring suffering, rejection, and death.
“for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.” What was it that the disciples failed to understand? What is it that their hearts are hardened toward? All Powerful God will provide what is needed, “for those who are called according to his purpose.” Jesus as the Son of God is God in the flesh who has come to provide what the entire earth needs – salvation.
Jesus has been revealed as a great teacher, a healer, raiser of the dead, one who can provide your every need – He is not just a miracle worker, He is the Son of God. If the disciples had understood this then when they saw Jesus walking on the water they would not have been terrified.
 This was the last time in the gospel of Mark that Jesus teaches at a synagogue.
 Frank E. Gaebelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 8 (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan Publishing House, 1984) 665.
 Archibald Thomas Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Volume 1 (Nashville, Tennessee; Broadman Press, 1932) 305.
 Robertson, 306.
 Gaebelein, 665.
 Alexander Balman Bruce, The Expositor’s Greek Testament, Volume 1 (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Grand Rapids Book Manufacturers, 1967) 378.
 James A. Brooks, The New American Commentary, Mark (Nashville, Tennessee; Broadman Press, 1991) 102.
 Gaebelein, 667.
 I cover Mark 6:14-29 in the following sermon preached earlier in the year; https://drewboswell.com/how-do-i-please-god-with-my-life-by-persevering-in-the-face-of-difficulty-john-the-baptist-part-3-matthew-141-12/
 Robertson, 315.
 Bruce, 384.
 The night was divided into four watches: 6-9pm, 9-12pm, 12-3am, 3-6am.
 Job 9:8 and 38:16 discuss God walking upon the water.
 Gaebelein, 675. Hurtado also explains how the crowd would have easily seen parallels between the particular characteristics of the miracle and Moses in the wilderness, the feeding of manna, and how the tribes were arranged, etc.
 Brooks, 111.
 Mark 1:35 people not hearing the message of the gospel because they were focused on healing; Mark 6:46 overthrow of the government by uprising; Mark 14:32-36 the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus is facing the cross.