Read Mark 6

Highlights:

Like the disciples, we're all on a mission (Mark 6:7-13). Follow Jesus as He feeds the multitudes, walks on water, teaches inner holiness (6:30 — 7:23; Heb. 12:14). Even the crumbs of faith are rewarded (Mark 7:25-30).

Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great who ruled when Jesus was born (Matt. 2:1), ruled Galilee during the time of John the Baptist's preaching ministry. Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just (godly) man and an holy (man), and observed him (kept him safely) . . . and heard him gladly (Mark 6:20). But, like his father, Herod Antipas failed to prepare his heart and life for the coming Messiah. John had said: Make straight the way of the Lord (John 1:23). He had called upon Herod and the people to repent of their sins and be baptized. Herod had repeatedly heard the Gospel, but he refused to accept the greatest Gift to mankind — Jesus Christ, the Holy Son of God. Herod had to know that, when Jesus appeared at the Jordan River to be baptized, John said to his disciples: Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world (1:29). At that time, most of John's followers left him and followed Jesus.

John recognized his subordinate mission and told his remaining disciples: He must increase, but I must decrease (3:30). Little did John realize how much he must decrease and that one of his admirers (Herod), who had heard him gladly, would soon consent to murder him. This horrifying sin is a warning of how dangerous it is to put off turning from sin and the crowd of unbelievers and receiving Christ as Savior and Lord of our lives. Jesus said: No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon (Matt. 6:24).

It's a fact! Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation (II Cor. 6:2) to receive Christ as Savior and LORD of your life. Tomorrow may never come. King Agrippa said to Paul: Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian (Acts 26:28). But to go no further than being almost saved is to be completely and eternally lost.

John the Baptist could have lived a life of comfort and prestige if he had spoken with more diplomacy. However, he would rather relinquish life itself than to compromise his loyalty to God. John, like Moses, chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches . . . for he had respect unto (looked forward to) the recompence of the reward (Heb. 11:25-26).

Thought for Today:

He limiteth a certain day, saying . . . To day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts (Heb. 4:7).

Cross References:

For Mark 7:6-7: See Is. 29:13. Mark 7:10: See Ex. 20:12; 21:17; Lev. 20:9; Deut. 5:16.

Word Studies:

6:25 charger a large dish; 7:19 purging all meats declaring all food ceremonially clean.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Government Official: Rep. Rush Holt (NJ) • Country: Brunei (400,000) on the northern coast of Borneo • Major languages: Malay and English • Limited religious freedom • 66% Muslim; 19% Chinese religions; 6% animist; 4% Protestant; 4% Roman Catholic • Prayer Suggestion: Ask for boldness in telling others about the Lord (Ps. 119:46).

Memory Verse for the Week:

Matthew 7:2