Life-Study of Markby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
We come in this message to 6:1-44. In this section of the Gospel of Mark we have four matters: the Slave-Savior being despised by the Nazarenes (vv. 1-6), the sending forth of the twelve to preach (vv. 7-13), the martyrdom of the forerunner of the gospel (6:14-29), and the feeding of the five thousand (vv. 30-44).
As we read 6:1-44, it may appear that this section is not impressive concerning the matter of life. It may seem to us that the four incidents recorded here are merely stories. However, we believe that this record is part of the holy Scriptures breathed out by God. Of course, this chapter was written by Mark. Nevertheless, it is an inspired portion of the Word of God. Therefore, we need to look to the Lord for insight in order that we may get into the depths of such a record.
First, in 6:1-6 the Lord was despised and rejected by the Nazarenes. Actually, this rejection did not disturb Him or disappoint Him. Even though He left them because of their rejection of Him, this does not mean that He was disappointed or that He gave them up. The Slave-Savior wanted to do something for the Nazarenes, but they would not open to Him. Mark 6:5 says, “And He could not do any work of power there, except to lay His hands upon a few sick people and heal them.” The unbelief of the Nazarenes kept the Lord from doing many works of power among them.
Instead of being discouraged and disappointed by the rejection of the Nazarenes, the Lord was encouraged. This is proved by the fact that in 6:7-13 He sent out the twelve to do the same thing He was doing. In particular, “He gave them authority over the unclean spirits” (v. 7). The Lord appointed the twelve to do what He was doing.
In 6:14-29 we have the martyrdom of the forerunner of the gospel, John the Baptist. Humanly speaking, this must have been very disappointing. Actually, the Lord Jesus was not disappointed even by the martyrdom of John the Baptist. Following John’s martyrdom, we have the case of the Lord’s feeding and satisfying the five thousand. The rejection of the Jews in His country did not disappoint Him; rather, that rejection encouraged Him to send out His disciples. Likewise, the martyrdom of His forerunner did not disappoint Him; instead, it encouraged Him to feed more people.
In 4:35—5:43 we saw how the kingdom of God meets the need of the human condition. As we pointed out, the situation of human society is portrayed in this section of the Gospel of Mark. Human society, and every individual human being as well, is full of “storms” of rebellion, demons, unclean industry (hog raising), death-sickness, and death. This is the actual situation of mankind. But the Slave-Savior has brought the kingdom to us, and the kingdom is the answer to the condition of fallen man. The kingdom subdues rebellion, the kingdom casts out demons, the kingdom clears up the unclean industry, the kingdom heals the sick, and the kingdom raises the dead. In 4:35—5:43 we see a demonstration of the kingdom of God meeting the needs of human society. What a wonderful picture this is!
In 6:1-44 Mark presents a different picture. In this picture we see rejection, hatred, and martyrdom. No matter how much blessing is brought in by the kingdom and the preaching of the gospel, the world still hates and rejects the Slave-Savior and those who work together with Him. In 6:1-44, therefore, we see the attitude of the worldly people toward the gospel. What shall we do in the face of such an attitude? What should we do when we are despised, rejected, and hated, and when some are even killed? Should we be disappointed? Should we stop preaching the glad tidings and cease from our work for the kingdom? Certainly not! Instead of being disappointed, we should be encouraged by the negative attitude shown by the worldly people toward the gospel.
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