Mark 6 – Is Jesus an Introvert

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Today’s PassageMark 6

If yesterday’s chapter had two parts that could each be the subject of an entire blog post, then today’s chapter has…several. Jesus returns to his hometown, leaves, sends out the twelve apostles to preach and perform miracles, causes Herod to think Jesus is John the Baptist back from the dead, feeds a crowd with just five loaves and two fish, and walks on water. What ties the chapter together? It’s not some mere philosophical idea or a particular point of doctrine. It’s the same thing that ties all of Mark together: the person and ministry of Jesus Christ.

And what does the chapter tell us about Jesus Christ? Well, among other things, I wonder if it doesn’t tell us that he’s an introvert.

Now, don’t go quoting me on that. I’m wary of attempts to label Jesus with a particular personality type from these various psychological typologies (the Enneagram, Meyers-Briggs, etc.). In that regard, I don’t even know if the gospels give us enough to go on. But after attracting Herod’s attention, Jesus regroups with his disciples, saying, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while” (6:31). It wouldn’t be the first time he retreated to a quiet place away from the crowds (1:35). Is he trying to lay low, lest Herod try to kill “John the Baptist” a second time? Is he doing this to give his disciples a rest after their tour of ministering? Or is he doing this to recharge his own batteries, as an introvert would?

As I said, I don’t know. On the flip side, Jesus spends a lot of time around other people too. We know that he loves people, prioritizing them above laws and principles and “doing the right thing.” (Just ask the man whose hand he healed on the Sabbath.) Mark emphasizes Jesus’ endeavors to stay out of the limelight early in his ministry, but in all the gospels we see plenty of times when he embraces the crowds. Even in the case at hand, when the masses follow him out to the “secluded place” and listen to his teaching well after their dinner time, he engages with them and takes the time to feed them (6:41). So, I don’t know; maybe Jesus is an extrovert.

I’m no psychologist, and if it might be possible at all to determine where on the introversion/extroversion spectrum Jesus falls, there are others better equipped than I for such an undertaking. But this much I know: Jesus values people. He values you and me, and I know that because he gave his life for us.

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