Mark 6:30-52 Exploring the Passage

Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).

1. Why does Jesus take His disciples to a remote region on the far side of the Sea of Galilee? See Mark 6:30-31 (printed below)

The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported everything to him, all that they had done and all that they had taught (31) Then he said to them, Come with me to a remote place, and rest for a while. Because there were so many people coming and going, they had no leisure time, not even enough time to eat. (Mark 6:30-31)

Jesus takes His disciples to this remote region in an effort to provide them with some time for rest and relaxation. Because there were so many people flocking to Him in Judea, they had no time to even eat.

2. What does Jesus do when He and His disciples are met by a large crowd in this remote region? See Mark 6:34-37a (printed below)

When Jesus came ashore and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; so he began to teach them many things. (35) When the day was almost over, his disciples came to him and said, This is a remote area, and the day is now almost over; (36) send them away, so that they may go to the surrounding (37) But he replied, You give them something to eat. countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat. (Mark 6:34-37a)

When Jesus saw the large crowd of people, He had compassion on them. Rather than send them away, He began to teach them. At the end of the day He refused to dismiss them; He insisted that His disciples feed them.

3. Read carefully the details of this account given in Mark 6:34 and 39 (printed below). What Old Testament passage does this bring to mind?

When Jesus came ashore and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; so he began to teach them many things… (39) Then he commanded everyone to sit down in groups upon the green grass. (Mark 6:34,39)

Mark describes the people as “sheep without a shepherd.” Then he reports that Jesus made them sit down on “the green grass.” Mark wants us to recall Psalm 23 and understand that Jesus is the Good Shepherd who provides for His people and leads us to green pastures.

4. Following the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus immediately made His disciples leave by boat while He sent the people away. Why did Jesus do this? Note John 6:14-15 (printed below)

Now when the people saw the sign that he had performed, they said, Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world. (15) Jesus, perceiving that they were about to come and take him by force in order to make him king, withdrew again into the hills by himself. (John 6:14-15)

Jesus perceived that the people wanted to make Him king (see John 6:14-15). They equated His miraculous provision of bread in this desolate region with the miraculous provision of manna for the Israelites in the wilderness. Then they remembered that Moses prophesied that God would send Israel another great prophet. The people recognize that Jesus is that divine Prophet, but they misinterpreted His mission. Therefore, Jesus sent them away so that He would not be diverted from the ministry His Father gave Him to accomplish.

5. Once again the disciples find themselves in the midst of a raging storm (Mark 6:45-51a printed below). What similarities and what differences are there between this incident and the first one recorded in Mark 4:35-41 (printed below?)

Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat, in order to go on ahead of him to the village of Bethsaida, while he sent the crowd away. (46) After he had left them, he went up into the mountains to pray. (47) When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, while Jesus was alone on the land. (48) Seeing them straining at the oars, because the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the water. He desired to pass by them, (49) but when they saw him walking on the water, assuming that it was a ghost, they cried out; (50) for they all saw him and were terrified. But he immediately spoke to them, saying, Take courage. It is I; do not be afraid. (51) Then he climbed into the boat with them; and the wind died down. (Mark 6:45-51a)

On that day when evening came, he said to them, Let us go over to the other side of the lake. (36) So leaving the crowd, they took him with them, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. (37) A fierce gale of wind came up on the lake, and the waves began to break over the boat so much that the boat was now filling with water. (38) But he was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They roused him and said, Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing? (39) He awoke and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, Peace, be still. The wind ceased and there was a great calm. (40) Then he said to them, Why are you afraid? Do you not yet have faith? (41) Then they became exceedingly afraid and said to one another, Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him? (Mark 4:35-41)

In both instances the disciples find themselves in the midst of a demonically raging storm in the middle of the sea in the darkness of the night. Whereas on the first occasion Jesus was with them in the boat, on this occasion they do not know where Jesus is. Nevertheless, just as on that first occasion, Jesus, who has been watching over His disciples (verse 48), preserves them and comes to their rescue.