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(Eating, of course, will be a major theme in the feeding of the 5000 in Mark -52, which, unfortunately, the lectionary does not make available to our congregants in year B, the year of Mark.) Jesus and the disciples head for a "deserted place," but "many saw them going and knew them." NRSV has "recognized them." The word is , a term indicating "knowing" in an intimate and profound way.

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After this use of "apostles," Mark will return to referring to the disciples as "disciples" for the remainder of his account.

(Curiously, though Jesus sent the disciples out without money or food, somehow they wind up with both.

And crossing over, they came upon the ground into Gennesaret and they were drawn to shore.

And when they got out of the boat, immediately they knew him.

Seeing the large crowd, Jesus is "moved with compassion"--, "moved in the bowels," or "having one's 'guts' torn apart." He was moved because the people were "like sheep without a shepherd," a line of great portent, with political implications.

Sheep without a shepherd: The reference is to Number 27: 16-17: "Let the Lord...appoint someone over the congregation who shall go out before them and come in before them, who shall lead them out and bring them in, so that the congregation of the Lord may not be like sheep without a shepherd." The one appointed in Numbers is Joshua--, in Hebrew, the same name as Jesus, a serendipity that, in my view, Mark fully intends.

The Jesus movement is expanding: Three places are identified for Jesus' "coming in"--towns, cities, and fields.

We are used to Jesus moving through the countryside and towns.

The gap in the middle of the reading is Mark's account of the feeding of the 5000.

That story will appear in next week's lection, though the text will be from John and not Mark.

Background and situation: The lection begins following Mark's account of the death of John the Baptist (-29).

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