1. Mark 6:45 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

Why does it look like Jesus needed to almost force his disciples into the boat?

Mark 6:45 (ESV)

45 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.

After the miraculous festive meal on the steppe (Mark 6:30–44) one could expect a greatly increased enthusiasm from the crowd. In fact, John mentions here that they would like to make Jesus king (John 6:15). Mark does not mention this. He does say, however, that after this climax, Jesus suddenly broke his contact with the crowd. After the meal, he forces the disciples to step into the boat immediately (Mark 6:45): the enforcement that was needed suggests that the disciples also thought the time was ripe to stay for a while. They must, however, advance to the other side, to Bethsaida. Jesus himself will follow as soon as he has dismissed the crowd. He had come to this place only to give his twelve apostles time to rest for a while (Mark 6:31). That time is now past and the work to be done is not found here in the seclusion but at the cities of Israel.1