Luke 9:6-10

Luke 9:6 (KJB)
And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where.

Then Jesus sends them out and gives us a description of their ministry. The first and most important facet of their ministry was the preaching of the gospel. (Mark 6:12 KJV) And they went out, and preached that men should repent. Now repentance is the same as salvation. The word “repent” means to have a change of mind.” The only way a person has a change of mind is if they become saved first. (Eph 4:18 KJV) Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: The natural man has a darkened mind because of sin and no matter what he does, he can never change it. Only Christ can change the mind by taking it out of darkness and bringing it into the light. (1 Th 5:5 KJV) Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Once a person becomes saved, they have a different perspective on everything because of the mind which now dwells in light.

Luke 9:7 (KJB)
Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him: and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some, that John was risen from the dead;

The Herod mentioned here is Herod Antipas who was a son of Herod the Great’s fourth marriage. His mother Malthace was a Samaritan and he was educated in Rome. Upon the death of Herod the Great, the kingdom was divided into four sections. (Mat 14:1 KJV) At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus,  The name “tetrarch” means “ruler of a fourth part.” He ruled the area of Galilee and Peraea from 4 B.C. to 39 A.D. The verse begins with “Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him.“ At that time” which is probably the time when the reports of the miracles of Jesus came to Herod and was probably several months after the martyrdom of John the Baptist. Hearing of these mighty miracles which Jesus did caused Herod Antipas much consternation because he had thought that John the Baptist was risen from the dead and was now doing mighty miracles. He no doubt believed the way of the Pharisees because they believed in the resurrection while the Sadducees did not. While John was alive, he did not work any miracles because his ministry was to introduce the Messiah to the nation of Israel as prophesied in Malachi.

Luke 9:8 (KJB)
And of some, that Elias had appeared; and of others, that one of the old prophets was risen again.

Probably some of Herod’s advisors were trying to quench his fear of John the Baptist being resurrected. John the Baptist may have given the impression that the coming Messiah may have been a person like Elijah. Between the Testaments, the Jewish people had believed that Elijah would come and prepare the way for Israel to be delivered in the final days and that he would be the High Priest of the messianic age. Elijah was a very popular figure with the Jews. There were probably many in Israel who had longed for the resumption of prophetic activity in the last days.

Luke 9:9 (KJB)
And Herod said, John have I beheaded: but who is this, of whom I hear such things? And he desired to see him.

Then Herod seemed to be in a state of confusion because he knew that he had John the Baptist beheaded so it could not have been him unless he was resurrected from the dead. Herod then begins to wonder who Jesus was when the reports had come to Herod of the great miracles He performed and the great crowds that followed Him. From the time he started receiving reports about Jesus, he wanted to see Him. The word for “desired” in the Greek carries with it the meaning of “seek or look for.” So Herod had set out to search for Jesus and hopefully meet Him. Apparently John the Baptist had an effect upon him and maybe he had more questions concerning spiritual things.

Luke 9:10 (KJB)
And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all that they had done. And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida.

Now the twelve Apostles completed their missionary journey and it may have been this missionary journey which caused Herod to believe that John the Baptist was risen from the dead. Then the apostles had come unto Jesus and reported to Him their teachings and the works which accompanied those teachings. Those works included miracles of healing and casting out devils from possessed people. Then Jesus seeing that the twelve were probably exhausted from their missionary journey had now told them that they should come apart into a desert place for a rest. There is nothing written in Scripture that we are to burn out for the Lord. He wants us to rest because ministry can be very exhausting and after all, we are still in the flesh and flesh gets tired. Even in the place where they were, there were many people who were still coming and going, and they were so busy that they did not even have time to eat, so a period of rest for them was definitely needed. Bethsaida was on the northeastern shore of the Sea of Galilee.