“Unit 8, Day 2: Mark 6–8,” New Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2016)
“Unit 8, Day 2,” New Testament Study Guide
Jesus was rejected in His hometown of Nazareth. He sent forth the Twelve Apostles to preach the gospel. John the Baptist was killed by order of Herod Antipas. Jesus miraculously fed a multitude of more than 5,000 people, walked on water, calmed a storm, and healed the sick. He then compassionately healed a child possessed by a devil, as well as a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment. He fed 4,000 people near the Sea of Galilee and traveled to Bethsaida, where He healed a blind man in stages.
Consider the following situation: A newly called missionary is very nervous about leaving home for his or her mission. This person struggles in giving talks and in social settings.
What would you tell this young man or woman?
As you study Mark 6, look for a principle that would help this young missionary, and all of us, when we feel inadequate to do what the Lord has asked of us.
Mark 6:1–13 tells how Jesus was rejected in His hometown of Nazareth. (This will be covered in greater detail when you study Luke 4:14–30.) While there, He sent the Twelve Apostles out two by two to preach the gospel. While preaching the gospel, they also cast out devils and healed the sick. Mark also mentions that the Savior’s Apostles anointed the sick with oil.
When Herod Antipas heard about the many miracles that Jesus performed, he feared that John the Baptist had risen from the dead and was performing these miracles (see Mark 6:14). (We learn in Mark 6:17–29 that Herod had earlier had John the Baptist beheaded to satisfy Herod’s wife.)
Mark 6:30–33 relates that the Twelve Apostles returned from preaching the gospel, and Jesus and the Apostles boarded a ship to travel to a place where they could be alone and rest. However, people from several nearby towns traveled to where Jesus would land and were waiting for Him when He arrived.
Read Mark 6:34, looking for how the Savior responded to the multitude even though He and His disciples sought to rest and be alone.
Ponder an experience when you saw a modern example of someone sacrificing personal time to serve others like Jesus did.
After teaching the multitude all day, the Savior performed a great miracle. Read Mark 6:35–44 and Matthew 14:18, and number the following events in chronological order. (The answers are at the end of the lesson.)
The Savior multiplied what the disciples brought, meeting and surpassing what was needed.
The disciples said they had five loaves and two fishes.
The disciples proposed sending the people away to buy food.
The Savior asked what the disciples could provide.
The Savior told the disciples to give the people food.
The multitude had nothing to eat.
The Savior asked the disciples to give Him what they had.
The Greek text of Mark 6:44 makes clear that the phrase “five thousand men” meant five thousand adult males. Thus, the number fed was greater, considering that women and children were also present (see Matthew 14:21).
Notice that before performing this miracle, the Savior first asked His disciples to offer the five loaves and two fishes—all that they had—to Him. The Savior magnified this food to feed the multitude.
One principle we can learn from this account is that when we offer the Savior all that we have, He can magnify our offering to accomplish His purposes.
While the Savior has not asked us to bring Him all the food that we have, He does invite those seeking to accomplish His purposes to give Him all of their desires, abilities, talents, skills, strengths, gifts, and efforts (see 2 Nephi 25:29; Omni 1:26).
- Consider again the situation of the nervous, newly called missionary mentioned earlier, and answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
Based on the principle above, what do you think this missionary could do to give all he or she had to the Savior? What do you think the Savior would do?
What are some other situations a young member of the Church might face where knowing this principle would be helpful?
How has the Lord magnified your efforts to accomplish His purposes?
Mark 6:45–56 tells that, after feeding more than 5,000 people, Jesus instructed His disciples to sail in a ship to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. He then sent the multitudes away and went and prayed on a mountain. During the night a storm arose, and the Savior watched from a mountain as His disciples struggled against the wind. He then walked to them on the water and calmed the storm. The information in these verses was covered earlier in greater detail during your study of Matthew 14.
As you study Mark 7–8, look for what the Savior taught us to do when we notice someone in need.
In Mark 7:1–23 we read that the Savior rebuked the Pharisees for following incorrect traditions, and He taught them and His disciples that it is “from within, out of the heart” (Mark 7:21) that evil thoughts and actions begin and, consequently, defile someone.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught the following about “the tradition of the elders” (Mark 7:5):
“Rabbinical ordinances and interpretations were added to the Mosaic law by the scribes and teachers over the years. These traditions were actually and formally deemed to be more important and have greater binding force than the law itself. Among them, as supposed guards against ceremonial uncleanness, were the ritualistic washings which Jesus and his disciples had ignored.
“This same process of transforming truth into traditions—of changing the law of God into ‘the doctrines and commandments of men’ [Joseph Smith Translation, Mark 7:7], by the interpretations and additions of uninspired teachers—is precisely what took place in the great apostasy of the Christian Era. To the pure and simple doctrines of Christ, the scribes and priests of early Christendom added such things as: selling indulgences, which freed the wicked from past sins and authorized them to commit future crimes without divine penalty; forgiving sins (supposedly) through repeated and perfunctory [insincere] confessions; praying to … saints, rather than to the Lord; worshiping of images; … forbidding priests and other church officials to marry; … wearing of expensive robes and costumes by priests and other church officers; using elaborate ministerial titles; augmenting [increasing] the Church treasury by gambling; and so forth.
“All these, and many other like traditions, are counted of more importance by some than the law of God as originally given by the Master. Indeed, the so-called Christian Church today is founded in large part on the traditions of the ‘elders’ rather than on the revelations of heaven” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1965–73], 1:366–67).
In Mark 7:24–30 we read that Jesus healed a Greek woman’s daughter, who was possessed by a devil. Recall that at this time, the Savior’s mission was to the house of Israel, not the Gentiles, yet He compassionately helped this gentile woman who was in need and had faith in Him.
Locate the cities Tyre and Sidon and the Sea of Galilee on Bible Maps, no. 11, “The Holy Land in New Testament Times.” After the Savior left Tyre and Sidon, He traveled to the east side of the Sea of Galilee, to the region of Decapolis, which was an area mainly populated by Gentiles.
Read Mark 7:31–37, looking for how the Savior showed compassion to a man who was deaf and unable to speak well.
Read Mark 8:1–3, looking for a need that Jesus observed.
Notice in verse 2 how the Savior felt toward the multitude.
Read Mark 8:4–9, looking for what the Savior did even though He had not been asked to.
From the Savior’s compassion and actions toward the hungry multitude, we learn that we can follow the Savior’s example by becoming aware of the needs of others and then helping to fulfill those needs.
Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president, taught that in order to follow the Savior’s example in serving God’s children, we need to “first observe, then serve” (“First Observe, Then Serve,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 78). Consider writing this phrase in your scriptures next to Mark 8:4–9.
Praying and asking for Heavenly Father’s help and keeping our thoughts focused on others rather than ourselves can help us better understand the needs of others and help fulfill them. Remember that some needs may not be immediately apparent.
What can get in the way of our ability to notice others’ needs and help fulfill them?
Read the following statement by President Thomas S. Monson:
“How many times has your heart been touched as you have witnessed the need of another? How often have you intended to be the one to help? And yet how often has day-to-day living interfered and you’ve left it for others to help, feeling that ‘oh, surely someone will take care of that need.’
“We become so caught up in the busyness of our lives. Were we to step back, however, and take a good look at what we’re doing, we may find that we have immersed ourselves in the ‘thick of thin things.’ In other words, too often we spend most of our time taking care of the things which do not really matter much at all in the grand scheme of things, neglecting those more important causes” (“What Have I Done for Someone Today?” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2009, 85).
- In your scripture study journal, write about a time when you became aware of a need and paused to help someone. Also, write about a time when someone perceived one of your needs and helped fulfill it.
Pray and watch for opportunities to help meet the needs of others today and in the future.
In Mark 8:10–21 we read that after miraculously feeding the 4,000 people, Jesus sailed with His disciples to a town called Dalmanutha. There the Pharisees asked Him to show them a sign. Jesus refused to give them a sign and, as we learn in the Joseph Smith Translation, taught them that “no sign be given unto this generation, save the sign of the prophet Jonah; for as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so likewise shall the Son of man be buried in the bowels of the earth” (Joseph Smith Translation, Mark 8:12).
In Bethsaida, a blind man was brought to the Savior to be healed. Read Mark 8:22–26, looking for how the Savior healed this man.
Notice in verse 24 that after the first time the Savior put His hands on the blind man, he could see, but he could not see clearly.
In Mark 8:25, after the Savior put His hands on the man the second time, we read that the man’s vision was fully restored.
Why is it important to understand that some blessings, such as gaining a testimony of the gospel or receiving physical or spiritual healing, often come gradually or in stages, rather than immediately or all at once?
In Mark 8:27–38 we read Peter’s declaration that Jesus is the Christ. The Savior told His disciples to not make His identity as the Christ, or Messiah, public yet. He also began teaching them about His impending suffering and death in Jerusalem.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Mark 6–8 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: