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Mark 6:46

ESV And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray.
NIV After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.
NASB And after saying goodbye to them, He left for the mountain to pray.
CSB After he said good-bye to them, he went away to the mountain to pray.
NLT After telling everyone good-bye, he went up into the hills by himself to pray.
KJV And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.

What does Mark 6:46 mean?

Jesus had intended to take the Twelve away after their time of ministry (Mark 6:7–13, 30–31), but a large crowd followed them. Now that Jesus plans to leave the area, He could keep the Twelve with Him. Perhaps He doesn't want them infected by the crowd's desire to make Him king (John 6:15). He dismisses the Twelve (Mark 6:45) and draws the crowd's attention to Himself so the mob won't follow the boat. He then slips away to the mountains to pray.

Despite Jesus' willingness to remain where He is needed (Mark 6:33–34), He also makes it a priority to get away from other people to spend time alone with God. After His first evening of healing many, He leaves His bed early to find a solitary place to pray (Mark 1:32–35). The night before the crucifixion, instead of resting for the ordeal ahead, Jesus goes to Gethsemane and spends the night praying (Mark 14:32–42). Jesus brings the thousands to picnic on the green grass (Mark 6:39–42) like the Shepherd He is (Psalm 23; John 10:14). For Himself, however, He knows how to meet God in the wildest of places. As Paul said, "I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:12–13).

Christ's example in this passage offers important insight for those who minister. After intense times of ministry with and for others, it is often important to spend time alone with God the Father in prayer. The crowds will demand more and more; God simply enjoys fellowship with His child. Jesus draws strength from this time with His Heavenly Father both refreshing Him and preparing Him for His next phase of ministry to both His disciples and the crowds.
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