Mark 6:14-44: Passion or Compassion?

Tell us about the most enjoyable dinner party or wedding reception you've ever attended. In this passage, we see two very different kings giving very different feasts.

Let's read it. (Have one volunteer read verses 14-29, and a second read 30-44. Or listen to the whole passage on tape.)

The flashback about King Herod and John the Baptist is bookended by the disciples' mission trip and their report of it to Jesus. Why do you think Mark recounts it here? (Several connections can be made between the disciples and John. Both preached repentance, and Herod himself connected the two ministries when he heard of the miracles. Jesus had just warned the Twelve that they would meet opposition, of which Herod is an example. Suffering is part of being a witness.)

What opposition, if any, have you encountered when sharing your faith?

So, who are the two kings giving feasts? (Herod, Jesus)

Why did each give a feast? (Herod wanted others to celebrate his own birthday with him, whereas Jesus cared for hungry people whom the disciples had wanted to send away.)

What happened at each feast? (Herod's feast featured sensual dancing, a showy offer of generosity, and the murder of a prophet. Christ's feast supplied spiritual, then physical food. It included prayer, satisfaction, and plenty of food to spare.)

Describe each king. (Herod was selfish, lusting after his brother's wife and daughter. He took life and sought satisfaction from fleshly desires. Just the opposite, Jesus is unselfish and loves all. He gives life and true satisfaction.)

The king of self still seeks to steal our allegiance from King Jesus. How are you doing in this struggle?

How do you sense the disciples are doing in verses 30-36? (After a mission trip, they were ready for time to rest and relax. They had missed at least one meal due to the crowds, and complained that the crowds remained "late in the day".)

How did Jesus view the crowd differently than did His disciples? (While Jesus took the opportunity to teach and feed them, the disciples seemed annoyed by them and wanted to send them away. His compassion superseded His own need to retreat.)

Do weariness and stress blunt your desire to care for people? How can you view people more like Jesus does?

Tell us of a time that Jesus took your limited resources, multiplied them, and used them to do something great.

Let's pray now for strength to live not by our passions, but by Christ's compassion.