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Mark 6:13

ESV And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.
NIV They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.
NASB And they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them.
CSB They drove out many demons, anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.
NLT And they cast out many demons and healed many sick people, anointing them with olive oil.
KJV And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.

What does Mark 6:13 mean?

The Twelve have witnessed Jesus calm a stormy sea, expel a legion of demons, and raise a dead girl. They've also seen Him rejected by His family (Mark 6:1–6) and know that John the Baptist has been executed (Mark 6:14–29).

Now it's their turn to engage the world. Jesus chooses them for the purpose of being with Him, preaching, and freeing people from demons (Mark 3:14–15). He teaches them what to expect (Matthew 10) and gives them authority to heal and even raise the dead (Matthew 10:8). He equips them with the bare minimum so that they won't get distracted from their mission (Mark 6:8–9). This effort works. They are so successful in their mission that when they rejoin Jesus, the crowds will recognize them as much as they do Him (Mark 6:33).

This is the only time Mark mentions using oil to heal. In all four Gospels, Jesus never uses oil. In the entire New Testament, healing oil is only mentioned here, in the story of the Good Samaritan, where it is medicinal (Luke 10:34), and in James' instructions for the church (James 5:14).

The Old Testament mentions oil quite often as a symbol of blessing and consecration for God's use. Like the woman touching Jesus' robe (Mark 5:28) and Jairus wanting Jesus to lay His hands on his daughter (Mark 5:23), the oil may be a tactile, recognizable symbol that God's blessing is at work, even though the healing comes from faith, not touch (Mark 5:34, 36).

The Christian life is full of such symbolism. Baptism represents being raised from the dead in Christ. Communion reminds the church body that we are spiritually nourished by Jesus' broken body and cleansed by His blood. We are not saved by baptism or communion, just as healing does not come through robes, hands, or oil. But when the symbol is associated with faith, it can deepen our understanding of God's grace.
What is the Gospel?
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