EXTRAORDINARY UNBELIEF (Mark 6:1-5)

“He went away from there and came to His hometown, and His disciples followed Him.  When the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard Him were astonished.  “Where did this man get these things?” they said.  “What is this wisdom given to Him, and how are these miracles performed by His hands.” Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon?  And aren’t His sisters here with us?”  So they were offended by Him.  (Mark 6:1-3)

“Then Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown, among his relatives, and in his household.”  So He was not able to do any miracles there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.  And He was amazed at their unbelief.”  (Mark 6:4, 5)

In this portion of scripture we are faced with the uncomfortable reality of unbelief.  It is not an unbelief that is understandable, but one that reveals the sinful presence of pride and jealousy toward a person that should have been greatly loved and appreciated.  Jesus was from Nazareth; His relatives were there, friends He grew up with, and people He knew.  However, it was there that He could only do a few miracles because they were offended by Him and unbelieving.   

A year earlier, as recorded in Luke’s Gospel, He revealed Himself in Nazareth for the first time  (Luke 4:16-30).  He spoke in the synagogue, and at that time the people began to speak well of Him, and even though they were amazed at His wisdom and teaching they began to say, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”  Jesus went on to prophesy the truth, which means He called them sinners, the reason many Old Testament prophets were rejected and killed. 

It is not as though prophets are only rejected in their home town, but there the rejection is the most profound, obvious, and in a way, unexpected.   We love it when a home town boy makes it big, and we can feel part of his success, because we come from the same place.  But Jesus was not just successful—He godly. 

A godly man preaches a transcendent message, and actually gets his words from God.  In our day God’s words are found in the Bible.  Unfortunately, most men who speak from it twist it’s message to suit their hearers.  Men do not want to hear what God has to say, because His standards are too high, and they do not coincide with how we want to live our lives.  Furthermore, repentance grates on our pride far too much, it tells us that there is something radically wrong with us. 

Jesus was not rejected because He did bad things, He certainly was not rejected because He healed people of their diseases or cast out demons.  Jesus was rejected because of His message.  People are still rejecting Jesus today and for the same reason.  Today most people want to know that scientists are correct, and we are the source of our own beginning.  Many want to know that man is getting better by himself, and we do not need God.   For this reason men are willing to believe that everything came from nothing, and in that way no one will be held accountable for the way they live before God.  Accountability is why the prophets were rejected, and that is why the greatest man who ever lived, the most beneficent, gracious, and loving, and who proved it by mighty miracles was rejected more than all others.   

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