In the beginning of Chapter Six we see Jesus returning to the area where he had grown up and where his family still lived and he starts teaching in the synagogue. Because the people knew him from when he was young, they can’t seem to accept that he is anything special and take offense at him.
Although it is clear from elsewhere that Jesus has power to do anything, when it comes to healing people, it does appear that this requires a certain amount of faith on the part of the person in need of it. If that faith isn’t there, then it becomes hard to perform these types of miracles which is a lesson in itself. Similar to Chapter 3, Jesus shows his human feelings when it says that “ he marvelled at their unbelief”.
In Mark 6:7 we see the first incidence of the apostles being sent out to preach and heal. They were taught not to rely on themselves in terms of their daily needs, a lesson to us all (give us this day our daily bread!)
Then we read about Herod’s beheading of John the Baptist which is a very sad account of random callousness and it was remarked how oddly this seems to be slotted in into this chapter.
Then we have the account of the miraculous feeding of the five thousand after they had listened to Jesus’ teaching. Even the disciples had difficulty grasping the significance and magnitude of this event as we see in Mark 6:52. The reference to “their hearts were hardened” is perhaps a little difficult to understand in this context and we hope to come back to that.
We then read about Jesus walking on the water as the disciples were struggling in the boat and how afraid they were when they saw him. After some discussion it becomes clear that this happened late at night in the dark and was clearly totally unexpected and they wouldn’t have known initially that this “vision” was Jesus until he spoke.
They then came to Gennesaret where Jesus was recognised and clearly, the people there did believe in him and he was therefore able to heal the sick.
It is clear from this chapter and the ones we’ve already read that Jesus and the disciples did a tremendous amount of travelling during his ministry and seemed to have very little time to rest.