Over familiarity breeds contempt
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
From the text, Mark recorded the rejection Jesus experienced when He returned to his hometown in Nazareth. It follows right after the manifestation of His power calming the storm when He was with His disciples at the Sea of Galilee. Then it was followed by a miracle where He freed the man from Gerasene possessed by demons. Jesus’ reputation obviously has preceded Him because He is asked to teach on the Sabbath at synagogue. The people are astonished when He concludes. The contrast between the Jesus they know that grew up in Nazareth 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. The hometown people knew Jesus’ family who seemed ordinary enough. They also knew Jesus was the son of Mary. In v. 3, “The son of Mary” is an unusual description in Jewish thought, and perhaps indicates the idea that the people thought that Jesus was illegitimate. When He finished teaching, the local people asked Him questions. Where did He get the wisdom given to Him? This question is an acknowledgment that Jesus has the ability to teach Jewish religious truth from God. And from other parts of Mark, we know that Jesus taught with authority and clarity. Then the next question was about the powerful works He does. This question is asked because Jesus’ reputation for powerful works has spread to His hometown. Although these questions imply that people recognize His authority and power, yet the contrast between the local kid and the great teacher is too wide. “Then Jesus told them, ‘A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family’” (v. 4). Earlier, Mark related an incident when Jesus’ family had gone out to seize Him and take Him home because they thought He was out of His mind (see Mark 3:21). Everyone in Nazareth rejected Jesus, including His own family. The amazement at His teaching leads them to unbelief. This lack of trust means that Jesus is unable to do powerful deeds in His hometown (v. 5). Rejection automatically results in a lack of trust. If there is no trust, there is no power. Power is the natural result of having trust. Christians must live by trust if they want God’s power manifested. If there is no demonstration of trust, then we cannot expect that God is able to work as powerfully as He would like. We might think that if we had been in the crowd at Nazareth, we would not have been so hardheaded. Yet time and again, we also resist God’s working in the present times due to the information that were based upon our past experience. Rejection could take place when we take lightly God’s authority because we could become too familiar with our relationship with Him. This could lead us to become dull in listening and obeying Him when He is speaking to us. The more we grow in knowing Christ, the more our trust in Him gets established.