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10: A Servant’s Encounters (Mk 6:1-29)
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I.       The Basics

A.     Setting

This passage gives three “snapshots” of what a servant of God should be prepared for.

B.     Key Verse

            “They went out and preached that people should repent. And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them” (6:12-13).

C.     Did You Know…?

1.      “His own country” (6:1): Nazareth, Jesus’ hometown (cf. Lk 4:16).

2.      Carpenter (6:3): Of the four gospel books, only Mark refers to Jesus as a carpenter—a common laborer.

3.      Roman Catholics believe that Mary remained a virgin throughout her life, and therefore Jesus’ siblings were from a previous wife of Joseph who died before he married Mary. However, there is no biblical evidence of this. It is reasonable to assume that Mary had children with Joseph after Jesus was born.

4.      James, Judas, and Simon should not be confused with three of the twelve apostles by the same common names.

5.      Staff, sandals, tunic (6:8-9): Travel accessories. A staff (walking stick) and sandals aided walking, while a tunic (inner garment) provided covering from the cold night air.

6.      “Shake off the dust under your feet” (6:11): The act symbolized that there would be no further contacts, similar to today’s, “washing your hands of him.” Paul and Barnabas did the same when they were rejected (Acts 13:50-51). The Pharisees did this when they passed from Gentile to Jewish soil because rabbinical doctrine taught that the dust of a heathen land defiles.11

7.      “Anointed with oil” (6:13): Probably olive oil, which was widely used as a medicine.

8.      King Herod (6:14): Herod Antipas—the Herod who judged Jesus (cf. Lk 23:7-11). His father Herod the Great killed the babies in Bethlehem (Mt 2:16). Although popularly known as a “king,” he was technically a “tetrarch,” ruling over a fourth of Palestine (including Galilee).

9.      Herodias (6:17): A granddaughter of Herod the Great. She and Herod Antipas both divorced their spouses in order to marry each other. (Mosaic law forbids marriage to one’s brother’s wife while the brother is still living).

10.      Herodias’ daughter (6:22): Possibly Salome, Herodias’ daughter from her former marriage. She was between twelve and fourteen years of age. Though a daughter of kings, she condescended to dance before Antipas and his guests. The dancing in vogue at the time was very similar to our modern ballet. However, given the questionable morals of the Herodians, the dance may have been very sensual.

11.  “Up to half my kingdom” (6:23): This expression is not to be taken literally. It was spoken by kings to signify their magnanimity (cf. Est 5:3, 6; 7:2).

II.    Observation

A.     Outline













B.     Key Words/Phrases

III. General Analysis

1. From what happens to each of the following, what can we learn about a servant’s life?

1a. Jesus

1b. Disciples

1c. John the Baptist

IV.  Segment Analysis

A.     6:1-6

1a. List the characteristics of Jesus’ family that made it ordinary.

1b. List the characteristics of Jesus’ that made Him ordinary.

1c. Compare 6:1-2 to 1:21-22. Why did the Nazarenes end up rejecting Him?

2a. How would the Nazarenes answer their own questions? How would you answer them?

     “Where did this Man get these things?”

     “What wisdom is this which is given to Him?”

2b. What can we learn from the Nazarenes’ rhetorical questions in verse 3?

3a. What did Jesus mean in verse 4? (cf. Lk 4:22-27).

3b. Why was Jesus amazed at the people’s lack of faith? What does this warn us about rejecting Jesus?

4. Why does there seem to be less miracles today than in the early days of the church?

5. What do your family members say when you preach to them? How can you lead them to Christ?

B.     6:7-13

6a. What were Jesus’ instructions to the twelve apostles?

6b.Who is your partner in faith? How is two better than one?

6c.  What did Jesus give the disciples, besides instructions?

6d. Why should the disciples not bring food, money, or extra supplies?

7. It was customary for believers to support the livelihood of God’s workers (cf. 1Kgs 17:9; 2Kgs 4:9-10). How do you support the church workers?

8. What do you do when a person says, “No” when you preach to him or her?

C.     6:14-29

9. Who did Herod think Jesus was? Why

10. Jesus likened John the Baptist to Elijah (Mt 11:13-14). Compare the way John died to how Elijah was taken up to heaven (2Kgs 2:11-12). What does this teach us about being a servant of God?

11. Why did Herod like to listen to John?

12. Why did John continue to speak to Herod? Compare him to Jesus, who remained silent before Herod (Lk 23:9-10).

13. Herodias bore a grudge against John the Baptist (19). What does the Bible teach about grudges?

14. In a festive mood, Herod made a promise without thinking, which he later regretted (26). Describe a time when you made a similar mistake.

15. Describe Herod’s family. What does this tell us about the importance of religious education in a family?

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