He went away and came to his hometown- This real event is an reflection of the the Parable of the Sower, and the scattered seeds here have fallen on hardened hearts. Is not this the carpenter– Familiarity with him as a mere man impeded the faith as anything more. They took offense– Not because he was wrong, but only out of stubborness: who does he think he is preaching to us? He could do no mighty work- Few came forward to ask for help. He left knowing he could not reap much, yet he did not abandon the few that came to him. He marveled at their unbelief– We can only know this based on someone’s direct testimony, that Jesus had expressed wonder or astonishment. Even if someone anticipates or is aware of a coming rejection, it is still heart wrenching when it actually occurs. I believe this is what we have here.
He sent them out two by two- That no one would be alone or discouraged. Take nothing for thier journey- Buy nothing, make no preparation, strap your sandals to your feet, take your staff if you have one, and go. God will at times will ask of us, or permit us, to have nothing, to be without worldly comforts, as to rely on his provision and protection. Whenever you enter a house– live there until you leave the city or town, do not go from house to house, or else you may show partiality or disturb the peace of who has welcomed you. Shake the dust off your feet- Nehemiah 5:13.
John the Baptist has been raised- the plausibility of ressurection was not denied at the time, likewise we see the reverence with which John was held. He is Elijah– Elijah was supposed to return before the messiah (Malachi 4:5)Whom I beheaded Herod feared John, and more now at the thought of his ressurrection. Herod listened to John, until he spoke the truth of Herod’s sin, which ultimately lead to the taking of John’s life. Even today nothing incites more anger and hate then the truth of what is sin, and some churches compromise on the task of leading others to repentance, in order not to upset the mass. This does no one a service.
The Head of John the Baptist on a platter- what a horrible request, but love for sin will overide a moral judgment.
Because of his oaths and guests- As not to appear to be dishonorable, but there was no honor in the act itself.
He had compassion on them as he does on all of us. You give them something to eat- Jesus knew the disciples did not have enough, and this would provide for the miracle. Never is there so little that God cannot make it more. (See 1 Kings 17:12)
After he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray as he had been trying to achieve without the multitudes around him. He saw they were making headway, painfully– he recognised their struggle, as he recognizes ours, and went to them, regardless of what was percieved to be in between. When Jesus approaches us in our darkest hours, performing the impossible, we have no need to fear.