This passage gives three
“snapshots” of what a servant of God should be prepared for.
“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).
Did You Know…?
“His own country” (6:1): Nazareth, Jesus’
hometown (cf. Lk 4:16).
Carpenter (6:3): Of the four gospel books, only
Mark refers to Jesus as a carpenter—a common laborer.
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.
James, Judas, and Simon should not be confused
with three of the twelve apostles by the same common names.
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.
“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
“Anointed with oil” (6:13): Probably olive oil,
which was widely used as a medicine.
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).
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).
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.
“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).
1. From what happens to each of
the following, what can we learn about a servant’s life?
1c. John the Baptist
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
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?
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
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?
9. Who did Herod think Jesus was?
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
12. Why did John continue to
speak to Herod? Compare him to Jesus, who remained silent before Herod (Lk
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?