1-2 He left there and returned to his hometown. His disciples came along. On the Sabbath, he gave a lecture in the meeting place. He stole the show, impressing everyone. “We had no idea he was this good!” they said. “How did he get so wise all of a sudden, get such ability?”
3 But in the next breath they were cutting him down: “He’s just a carpenter—Mary’s boy. We’ve known him since he was a kid. We know his brothers, James, Justus, Jude, and Simon, and his sisters. Who does he think he is?” They tripped over what little they knew about him and fell, sprawling. And they never got any further.
4-6 Jesus told them, “A prophet has little honor in his hometown, among his relatives, on the streets he played in as a child.” Jesus wasn’t able to do much of anything there—he laid hands on a few sick people and healed them, that’s all. He couldn’t get over their stubbornness. He left and made a circuit of the other villages, teaching.
Mark 6: 1-6 The Message
The interaction between Jesus and the townsfolk in his hometown is fascinating. At first, they are thrilled with his teaching, and amazed at his insights. Yet in the next breath, they cannot get beyond how they had known him in the past. Yesterday he was just a young boy of the village, and now he was lecturing them!?! There was probably a bit of a feeling like, “what gives him the right to teach us?”
The townspeople found it hard to believe that someone with such great knowledge and wisdom had grown up among them. Surely someone like Jesus could not come from Nazareth. They were unable to get past their early memories of him as a child. They didn’t want to see Him as he was now: a wise man, and God’s son.
The people of Nazareth clung to the idea that since Jesus grew up among them, He could never be more than them. They rejected Jesus not on what He was teaching, but because of what they remembered of him. Can you imagine if your second grade teacher thought that level was all you could achieve in life?
How does Jesus respond? He simply laments their stubborn unbelief, heals a few people, and then moves on. Jesus knew he had much work to do, and He realized that He was wasting precious time in his hometown. What a sad episode in His ministry.
Nazareth was blessed with the presence of the Lord, but the inhabitants of the town were blinded by their own insecurities. Jesus knew that this was not the time for Nazareth to hear the word of the Lord. Perhaps when the story of Christ’s death and resurrection got back to Nazareth, minds were changed. They might have belatedly realized what they had witnessed. Or more accurately, WHO they had witnessed. Then, we hope they turned towards the Lord, instead of away from Him. Initial rejection could have turned into eventual acceptance.
I believe that God speaks to us in ways we never expect. When we open our eyes, we see that the message of Christ’s redemption arising from surprising places. The gospel can be shared by anyone the Lord wants to use as His vessel.
Are we open to God speaking to us, even from an unexpected source?
Do we have a very specific, overly narrow idea of what and who God uses?
May we never be like those people in Nazareth that Jesus wanted to teach. We must always set aside any preconceived notions, and become the sponges to God’s word. Let us be prepared to welcome God’s word every moment, of every single day.
Holy and loving Lord,
Help me to be open to those You place in my life to help me and to guide me. Let me not to be critical or judgmental. Instead, may I constantly welcome a word from You, regardless of the vessel You chose to deliver that word. Also, please give me the words to minister to others. Let me help them to see You, and the love You have for everyone. Forgive me when I am just a sounding board, and fail to see You at work. Lord, give me eyes to see Your truth, even from the most unexpected sources. I pray this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.