What does Mark 6:53 mean?Jesus and the Twelve had been near Bethsaida, on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee on the "other side" or east of the Jordan River. John 6:17 says the Twelve had planned to go to Capernaum, but Jesus lands them at Gennesaret, three miles south, instead (John 6:21). It's possible that the fierce winds blow them off course (Mark 6:48). More likely, Jesus doesn't want to deal with the mob that is shortly going to seek them in Capernaum (John 6:22–24). Mark, who focuses on actions, only mentions that Jesus heals people. John, who emphasizes Jesus' teachings over His miracles, says that Jesus returns to Capernaum and gives His lesson on being the bread of life (John 6:22–59).
Gennesaret is a three-mile-long fertile plain between Capernaum and Tiberias. Tiberias is the capital of Herod Antipas, the self-styled king who ordered John the Baptist's death (Mark 6:14–29). Antipas suspects that the same spirit that compelled John to condemn Antipas' marriage to his sister-in-law Herodias now resides in Jesus, yet he does nothing. Jesus knows that Antipas killed John, but He has no fear in coming closer. Later, when Jesus knows if He goes to Jerusalem He will die, He goes willingly (Mark 10:32–34).
Antipas will have a role in the crucifixion. Antipas happens to be in Jerusalem and, since Jesus is from his territory, Pilate delivers Jesus to him. Antipas hopes that Jesus will be as entertaining as John had been, but when Jesus refuses to speak, Antipas' guards mock Jesus, put Him in "splendid clothing" and return Him to Pilate (Luke 23:6–12).
Paul experiences something similar. During his third missionary journey, disciples from Tyre tell him not to go to Jerusalem (Acts 21:4). Then a prophet from Caesarea repeats the warning (Acts 21:8–12). Paul knows it is time, however, and he willingly goes to Jerusalem where he is arrested and held by Festus in Caesarea before being taken to Rome for imprisonment.
Jesus and Paul know that when they are in God's will, nothing can harm them until it is God's will that they be harmed. They value God's will more than their lives—they consecrate their lives to God's will. Learning to follow their example and offer our lives and death for Jesus is part of becoming sanctified. As we grow as a servant of God, we will find we are no longer slaves to the sin that keeps us from living a life free of fear.