Jesus “the Rabbi” produced 2 reactions when He returned to Nazareth:
1. The majority of the folks “were offended at Him” and rejected His ministry.
2. A few believed and Jesus changed their lives for all eternity.
Big Lesson from Nazareth: Jesus is willing to be rejected!
“Though Jesus will do everything in His power to draw us to Himself by His incredible love, He will not trample our freewill by forcing Himself upon us!”
Starting in Nazareth, over the next year Jesus is going to find His opposition grow bolder and bolder as they look for the perfect moment to do Him in!
Knowing this is the dynamic facing Him, Jesus “the Rabbi” decides it’s time to give His disciples a little on the job training....
[Mark 6:7] “And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits.”
This is the first of two such occasions where Jesus sends out His disciples for some practical ministry experience.
1. In this instance, Mark tells us Jesus sends out only the twelve.
2. In Luke 10, Jesus charges 70 disciples with almost an identical commission.
Marks says Jesus “began to send them out two by two....”
The phrase “to send” - the Greek word “apostello” - English word “apostle.”
“Apostle” is “one who’s been sent forth.” “Disciple” is “one who learns.”
Marks says Jesus “gave them (the twelve) power....”
Bad theology has been formed by failing to recognize the difference between the “power given to the apostles” and the “power promised to the church.”
In Luke 10, there is no mention of Jesus giving any power to “the 70 disciples.”
In Acts 1:8, they would “receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.”
“Power” - Greek word “dynamis” - meaning “inherited strength.”
In Mark 6:7, Jesus “gave them power.”
“Power” - Greek word “exousia” - meaning “power bestowed by a King.”
“Exousia” is never given to the church and is only give to these 12 men.
The only other place we see “exousia” being used is in Revelation when “power” is given to the Anti-Christ to preform supernatural signs and wonders.
By failing to recognize the distinction between the “power given to the apostles” and the “power promised to the church” - and by viewing them as being one in the same two extreme theological positions have formed:
1.Since “Apostolic power” seems to have ended with the Apostles, some believe the unique “power of the Holy Spirit” was also only given to the apostolic generation.
Position minimizes the supernatural by discounting the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Mainline denominations like the Baptists and Methodists.
2. Since the Bible indicates “Holy Spirit power” was not limited to the apostolic generation, some believe the unique “power of the Apostles” is available today.
Position over-emphasizes the supernatural with “modern day apostles” claiming to possess the kingly authority of God and power to preform miracles.
Mainline Pentecostal movements as well as those promoted on TBN.
What’s interesting is both positions are right and wrong!
Yes, the “power-exousia” given by Jesus to the twelve apostles is unique and intended only for them. The Apostles were given Kingdom authority to represent Jesus, author Scripture, and establish the church.
However, the “power-dynamis” provided by the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts was indeed given to the church at large. The Bible is clear this power (imparted by the Holy Spirit) has been available to all believers during all times.
Though the “power given to the apostles” is different than the “power given to the disciples,” the commission is almost identical.
[Mark 6:8-9] “Jesus commanded them to take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bag, no bread, no copper in their money belts— but to wear sandals, and not to put on two tunics.”
Jesus is wanting them to travel light.
Lesson: Depend on God for even their most basic provisions.
[Mark 6:10-11] “Also He said to them, “In whatever place you enter a house, stay there till you depart from that place. And whoever will not receive you nor hear you, when you depart from there, shake off the dust under your feet as a testimony against them. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!”
If someone accepts you, be hospitable.
If someone rejects you....
1. “Depart from there....”
2. “Shake off the dust under your feet as a testimony against them....”
It was a common, Jewish, hyper-religious custom to “shake off the dust” of a Gentile country before reentering the Promised Land.
The testimony would compare their unbelief as being on par with Gentile paganism.
3. Trust that God will enact the appropriate amount of retribution on your behalf.
Simple Observation: Principle of Proportional Judgment
This statement by Jesus that “it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!” illustrates the amount of God’s judgment will be directly proportional to the amount of God’s revelation.
[Mark 6:12-13] “So 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.”
1. They “preached that people should repent.”
Activity: “Preached” literally “to announce news to others.”
Goal: “Repentance” - Greek word “metanoeo” meaning “to change one’s mind.”
The goal of their message was repentance!
2. They exercised demons.... engaged in spiritual warfare!
3. They ministered to people.... “anointed with oil many who were sick.”
“Anointed with oil” literally, “oiling them with oil.”
Only other reference is in James 5:14, “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick....”
Oil is a typographical picture of the Holy Spirit.... sometimes our faith needs an object!
One commentator commented that “anointing with oil also had a medicinal purpose in the ancient world. This could be a reference to providing proper medical treatment.”
1. The concept of Jesus sending people is....
1. The concept of Jesus sending people is Revolutionary!
Encountering God required you to come to a centralized location....
Abraham go to a land that I will how you....
Hebrew people leave Egypt and return to the Promised Land....
The tabernacle, later the temple, the synagogue....
Most of the O.T. prophets were raised up from within (one exception is Jonah)
People came out to hear Jesus.
What Jesus does in Mark 6 is really without precedent in Scripture!
Instead of calling people to come, Jesus equips His disciples, empowers them for a task, and sends them out as His proxies to reach the world with the Gospel!
2. The concept of Jesus sending people is Symbolic!
In Mark 6, Jesus sent out His disciples “two by two.”
In Genesis 7:15, God called “two by two of all flesh in which is the breath of life” to come to the ark so they could be saved from the coming judgment.
3. The concept of Jesus sending people is Practical!
Jesus’ ministry experienced the very natural limitations of human flesh.
Following His ascension in heaven, Jesus would be able to extend His ministry reach further than ever through His disciples.
A disciples job was represent and immolate their Rabbi.
Disciples ministry - looked like Jesus’ ministry - foreshadowing our ministry.
2. Christianity 101: Monkey see, Money do....
Jesus has sent you into the world with power to do what He would do: preach the Gospel, engage the enemy, and minister to those in need!
[Mark 6:14-16] “Now King Herod heard of Him, for His name had become well known. And he said, “John the Baptist is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him.” Others said, “It is Elijah.” And others said, “It is the Prophet, or like one of the prophets.” But when Herod heard, he said, “This is John, whom I beheaded; he has been raised from the dead!”
There were 3 common opinions as to who Jesus was:
1. Elijah - Malachi 4:5 promised Elijah would return before God’s judgment.
2. Prophet - Jesus clearly heralded the Word of God fulfilling the role of prophet.
3. Messiah - In Matthew 16:16, Peter shares this popular opinion.
4th opinion.... King Herod believed that Jesus was either John the Baptist resurrected from the dead or He was at least possessed by John’s Spirit.
Why would Herod have such an opinion of Jesus?
- Josephus states that they looked very similar (same age and family).
- They were both preachers with parallel messages.
- Most of John’s disciples became Jesus’ disciples.
- They shared a similar set of enemies.
Herod was convinced that John was such a godly man resurrection was possible.
In order to provide the backstory between the relationship Herod had with John the Baptist, Mark flashes back to an event that occurred more than a year prior.
[Mark 6:17-20] “For Herod himself had sent and laid hold of John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife; for he had married her. Because John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
Therefore Herodias held it against him and wanted to kill him, but she could not; for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and he protected him. And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.”
History of the Herodian Dynasty
Herod the Great was appointed King of Judea by Caesar Augustus in 30 B.C.
As a paranoid man, Herod executed his first three sons.
Aristobulus IV (3rd son executed) had two significant children:
1. Herodias would marry Herod the Great’s youngest son Philip.
2. Agrippa would have a significant role later on in this story.
Because Herod failed to divide out the kingdom, following his death in 4 B.C. Caesar Augustus divided the kingdom into 3 territories giving them to Herod’s three sons.
Archelaus was given one half of the kingdom.
Philip and Antipas split the other half (including Jerusalem and Galilee).
While Philip traveled to Rome, Herod Antipas (the Herod in Mark 6) divorced his wife and shacked up with his Philip’s wife Herodias (who was also his own niece).
John spoke out against this illegal and immoral marriage.
Herodias Reaction: She hated John and “wanted to kill him.”
Herod Antipas’ Reaction: “He feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and he protected him.” Herod had a weird fascination with John.
Simple Observation: Immoral behavior must always be confronted with the truth.
[Mark 6:21-25] “Then an opportune day came when Herod on his birthday gave a feast for his nobles, the high officers, and the chief men of Galilee. And when Herodias’ daughter herself came in and danced, and pleased Herod and those who sat with him, the king said to the girl, “Ask me whatever you want, and I will give it to you.” He also swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half my kingdom.” So she went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist!” Immediately she came in with haste to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”
Scene of Activity:
1. Herod’s party.
2. Salome’s dance.
3. Herodias’ request.
4. John’s Tragic end.
[Mark 6:26-29] “And the king was exceedingly sorry; yet, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he did not want to refuse her. Immediately the king sent an executioner and commanded his head to be brought. And he went and beheaded him in prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard of it, they came and took away his corpse and laid it in a tomb.
Herod fears appearing weak so he capitulates and has John executed.
Simple Observation: Being sorry isn’t the end game!
There are two things we know concerning Herod:
1. His conscience had been pricked by John the Baptist.
2. He was sorry his indiscretion had lead to John’s death.
The idea that Herod “was exceedingly sorry” implies more than he had a “frowny-face” - the Greek word “perilypos” - from which we get the English word “peril” means Herod was “overcome with sorrow to the point of death.”
2 Corinthians 7:10, “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation.... but the sorrow of the world produces death.”
What happens to Herod Antipas and Herodias?
According to Josephus, immediately following John’s execution, Herod is drawn into a complicated military conflict with a powerful Arab King who was still bitter He had divorced his daughter.
This unrest would garner the attention of the Romans who would have to intervene.
In 39 A.D. Caligula summons Antipas and Herodias back to Rome. When they arrive they discover Agrippa (Herodias’ brother) had accused Antipas of treason.
In the same year, Antipas and Herodias were exiled to Gaul and Caligula would give control of the region to King Agrippa (he’s the Herod we find in Acts).
Legend states that Antipas and Herodias would ultimately commit suicide.