Mark 6:11-15

Mark 6:11 (KJB)
And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

One thing that Jesus is preparing the apostles for and that is that not everyone is going to be amenable to their Gospel message. This has been something which has been carried down through the ages. In fact, the majority of people on this earth will not agree with the Gospel message. So Jesus is telling them that if you go to a place and you are not received nor are heard, then you are to depart to another city. Then in a symbolic gesture of rejection, they are to shake the dust off their feet as they depart. When Jews had returned from traveling to a foreign land, they were to shake the dust off their feet before they entered Israel again. Soil from foreign lands was considered unclean. So when the disciples shook the dust off their feet, it was saying that whoever heard the proclamation of the Gospel and rejected or opposed it, was like the pagan from the foreign land who held no regard for the teachings of the Scriptures. Then Jesus states that it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of Judgment, than for them. The reason for this is found in Matthew 11:23. (Mat 11:23 KJV) And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. Sodom and Gomorrha did not have the miracles and works done by Jesus but Capernaum and the areas around Galilee did. So those who saw the miracles and still rejected Christ would be more culpable than those who did not see any miracles or heard of Christ.

Mark 6:12 (KJB)
And they went out, and preached that men should repent.

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. 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.

Mark 6:13 (KJB)
And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.

They then proceeded to cast out many devils out of possessed people which showed the Kingdom of God had total authority over the kingdom of Satan. Then they anointed those who were sick with oil which was a symbolic gesture. The apostles were able to tell the difference between those who were bodily sick with a disease and those who were possessed of devils. The anointing with oil was symbolic of the Holy Spirit although in some cases it have medicinal uses but here it was symbolic of the Holy Spirit. They were in essence stating that it was the Holy Spirit that was making the sick people well. After all, if the Holy Spirit can partake in creation, He can surely heal a body.

Mark 6:14 (KJB)
And king Herod heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad:) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do show forth themselves in him.

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 “And king Herod heard of 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.

Mark 6:15 (KJB)
Others said, That it is Elias. And others said, That it is a prophet, or as one of the prophets.

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.