The effect of growing unbelief
Jesus left that part of the country and returned with his disciples to Nazareth, his hometown. The next Sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. They asked, “Where did he get all this wisdom and the power to perform such miracles?” Then they scoffed, “He’s just a carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us.” They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him. Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.” Mark 6:1-4
Jesus returns to His hometown, and His disciples are with Him. Jesus’ reputation obviously has preceded Him because He is asked to teach on the Sabbath. The people are astonished when He concludes. The contrast between the Jesus they know and the Jesus who has just taught them is enormous. The hometown people had known Jesus from the time He was about two years old until He had left the village to begin His service when He was about thirty years old. He was a carpenter, having learned the trade from His father Joseph. After He spoke, the people in the synagogue raised questions. The first two questions showed that they were confused for they could not fathom that Jesus would speak with authority and clarity. The third question concerns the powerful works He does. This question is asked because Jesus’ reputation for powerful works has spread to His hometown. Despite of this astonishment, the people rejected Jesus because they are offended at Him. This is why He quotes a proverb common both to Jewish and Greek culture that “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.” The wonder at His teaching leads them to unbelief. We think that if we had been in the crowd at Nazareth, we would not have been so hardheaded. Yet time and again, we also reject current information based upon our past experience. Familiarity breeds contempt. These people had known Jesus for thirty years. They knew his earthly family. Some of them had perhaps hired him to do work for them. Their lack of faith prevented them to believe. It is often hard to recognize greatness when we are confronted with it daily. When we get too familiar with spirituality and our relationship with God becomes ordinary and dry, this could dull us to the demands of having deep relationship with God. This will prevent us from exercising our faith and missed out on the possibility of experiencing God working His will in our life. We must never allow our growing familiarity rob us of the amazement and demands of our faith. If we continue to be distant with God, we are rejecting the very thing that can help us. “And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them” (Mark 6:6).