Verses 1-6, a prophet without honor
Why did the community of Nazareth—the place of Jesus’ boyhood and young adult life—reject his teaching and power?
Verses 7-13, Jesus sends out the twelve
Jesus told these short term missionary disciples not to furnish things for their journey. Read Deut. 1:26-31 and Exodus 19:4-6. What picture of God as provider do you see there? What similar things did the disciples most likely learn about God’s provisions?
Verses 14-29, John the Baptist beheaded
Salome danced before Herod and asked on her mother’s behalf for John’s head on a platter. History reveals that her demise came about when she fell through ice, nearly severing her head and causing her death.
Ten members of this tyrannical family are mentioned in the New Testament. All I could think of when I read the historical that God is not mocked. I suppose that Zechariah and Elizabeth were already dead by the time of John’s demise for they were very old when John the Baby came to them. I so hope they didn’t have to suffer this betrayal and loss of their son.
Verses 30-44, Jesus feeds the five thousand
Jesus and his disciples reel from the news of John’s death, and yet when the hungry need feeding, Jesus sets aside his grief and dons an apron. He had compassion on them because they were like “sheep without a shepherd.” Compare the self-interests of Herod, the Pharisees and teachers of the law to Shepherd Jesus.
Verses 45-56, Jesus walks on water
Jesus arranges to get his disciples a brief rest in a boat and himself some prayer time in the hills. Even after all the miracles witnessed, they didn’t understand the source of Jesus’
power. Read and then picture in your mind verses 54-56 about the storm and Jesus walking on the lake. I refuse to judge these disciples for I fear what my skeptic nature would have thought had I been there. Swamped by water! Swamped by miracles! What a sight it must have been.
Summary Thought: The tenderness of Jesus oozes from this chapter. Even a Roman citizen who later read this could not fail to compare Herod’s wretched beheading of John with the shepherd/healer Jesus. Destruction verses Life.
Prayer Endings: In the name of Jesus my compassionate guide (vs. 34), In the name of Jesus who is able to break through to my understanding and hardened heart (vs. 51-52).