Expect Rejection & Suffering

A Bible Exposition Of Mark 6:7-30

This morning we are going to see a theme that runs throughout the Gospels. It is one that we would prefer to avoid if we are honest. In fact, I find personally that this is one of the truths that my heart just bristles against. If I were writing the script I would leave it out.

Here it is: faithful ministry means rejection and suffering. Faithful ministry means rejection and suffering.

The problem is we love Jesus, and we also love… comfort, and safety, and relational peace, and the absence from threats or interpersonal conflict. And yet very often those things I just mentioned are at odds.

In other words, you can’t have fidelity to the Lord Jesus Christ and still preserve your life the way you want it. 

The fundamental issue is this: Jesus is in the main unpopular and even hated. And so, you cannot expect to identify yourself with someone who is hated and not get some of that on yourself too.

We are not following a beloved icon. 

As you remember from last week, Jesus has just been spurned by the people who from an earthly perspective knew Him best. We saw in vv. 1-6 of Chapter 6, that His small, hometown village of 500 or so people in Nazareth, the people who had watched Him grow up without sin, couldn’t stomach that this blue-collar, otherwise average guy from a no-name village, could possibly be their Messiah.

This is a shift now in the chronicling of the life of Jesus. Jesus is now making a final sweep throughout Galilee. When He left Nazareth, it was final. He will never return there again. Verse 6 says that “He was going around the villages teaching.”

This was according to His custom. Jesus is teaching and preaching that the kingdom has arrived, and He is calling Israel to repent. But it is time for Jesus to expand His ministry efforts by spreading out. And He also wants to further the disciples’ preparation for future ministry.

Mark doesn’t give us a time indication, or tell us where Jesus was during this time. Overall it was relatively short—it is essentially a short-term missions trip.

Mark here is chronically the resetting of expectations that Jesus is doing for the disciples. This path to glory is going to be marked by rejection and suffering. And the glory doesn’t come in this life, but in the life to come.

This is a reshaping. Sure, the disciples knew following Jesus involved some initial sacrifice. But they are still at this point, expecting a full-reception, an earthly kingdom, spots of prominence around the king.

Jesus is re-aligning their perspectives on how the kingdom is going to take shape. Their hopes will be realized one day, but for now the kingdom is going to be rejected by most. Being in this kingdom doesn’t result in more honor, but in less.

Jesus is going to do this by letting out the rope a little bit, and kicking the disciples out of the nest. You get to that point, where you’ve got to start learning some lessons on your own. That’s the spot that we are in.

Cut the cord so to speak, start getting your legs about you. But it is just a little test. A short-term missions trips if you will.

And Mark has a literary purpose in all of this. He is building one of his famous, Markan sandwiches. The bread is the disciples being sent out, and then middle is Herod’s slaughter of John the Baptist.

It isn’t two separated stories. I was going to approach the account of Herod/John as a separate story. It’s all about faithful preaching, and then a character study on Herod’s self-preservation and cowardice. That’s all true. That is a great sermon. It would be good to preach on all of that.

But that isn’t why Mark puts the account of Herod and John here. The point of the sandwich isn’t to eat the middle and leave out the bread. It’s a unit. And so, we see that Mark is demonstrating in the middle of this record about the disciple’s mission, what discipleship will cost them.

John’s ministry is a foreshadowing of the ministry of Jesus, which foreshadows the ministry of the apostles, which brings us to the church. It’s really quite masterful.

5 Components as the Disciples Get a Test Run

  1. The Commission (7)
  2. The Conditions (8-11)
  3. The Compliance (12-13)
  4. The Commentary (14-29)
  5. The Conclusion (30)

Mark 6:7–30 (NASB95) 

7 And He summoned the twelve and began to send them out in pairs, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits; 8 and He instructed them that they should take nothing for their journey, except a mere staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belt— 9 but to wear sandals; and He added, “Do not put on two tunics.” 10 And He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave town. 11 Any place that does not receive you or listen to you, as you go out from there, shake the dust off the soles of your feet for a testimony against them.” 12 They went out and preached that men should repent. 13 And they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them. 14 And King Herod heard of it, for His name had become well known; and people were saying, “John the Baptist has risen from the dead, and that is why these miraculous powers are at work in Him.” 15 But others were saying, “He is Elijah.” And others were saying, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16 But when Herod heard of it, he kept saying, “John, whom I beheaded, has risen!” 17 For Herod himself had sent and had John arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, because he had married her. 18 For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death and could not do so; 20 for Herod was afraid of John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. And when he heard him, he was very perplexed; but he used to enjoy listening to him. 21 A strategic day came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his lords and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee; 22 and when the daughter of Herodias herself came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you want and I will give it to you.” 23 And he swore to her, “Whatever you ask of me, I will give it to you; up to half of my kingdom.” 24 And she went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist.” 25 Immediately she came in a hurry to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26 And although the king was very sorry, yet because of his oaths and because of his dinner guests, he was unwilling to refuse her. 27 Immediately the king sent an executioner and commanded him to bring back his head. And he went and had him beheaded in the prison, 28 and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard about this, they came and took away his body and laid it in a tomb. 30 The apostles gathered together with Jesus; and they reported to Him all that they had done and taught.