By John Ulrich, Senior Pastor
May 31, 2015
In Mark 6:1-6, Jesus faced absolute rejection in his hometown. In the context of the entire chapter, we are personally challenged to recognize, by faith, Jesus’ authority as both fully God and fully man, and to share Him with a world, which often rejects Him.
When Jesus returned to His childhood home of Nazareth as a rabbi to do the ministry of preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, the town people were amazed (Mark 6:2) at His teachings and previous miracles. Instead of believing in Jesus, however, they chose to take offense because in their minds, He was simply one of them (Mark 6:2,3). Jesus’ response was that He “could not do any miracles there” (Mark 6:5) and was “amazed, [stunned] by their lack of faith” (Mark 6:6).
Three Perspectives on Mark 6:1-6
1. Perspective of Jesus
According to Scripture and the basic doctrine and creeds of the Christian Church through the ages, Jesus is both fully God (divine) and fully man (human). As God, His attributes include being all sovereign, all knowing, and all powerful.
How then could Jesus be “amazed” (Mark 6:1) at anything? Had He lost His power (like Superman) when He “could not do any miracles” (Mark 6:5)? No, Jesus (fully man), willingly and lovingly, gave up the exercise of His powers and became totally subject to the Father, who at this point chose to respond to the folks in Nazareth with a lack of miracles.
2. Perspective of the Audience
Compare the parallel stories of the people in Capernaum in Mark 1:21-27 with the hometown folks in Nazareth (Mark 6:1-6). The words and concepts are virtually identical as the town people faced Jesus, but the endings differed dramatically. In Capernaum, the response to Jesus’ teaching and miracles was faith in His authority. Later at in Nazareth, however, the people overlooked His many teaching and miraculous deeds (Mark 1-5) and chose rejection. After all, “familiarity does breed contempt.”
Which choice would we make: faith or rejection of Jesus?
As individuals, do we give excuses to keep God’s Word from touching us: e.g., “Jesus is kind of amazing but I’m just not impressed and find His demands to believe in His authority offensive.” Or “I choose to follow only my mind, and find that faith in Jesus does not make sense to me.”
As a church, are we ready to do His will and follow Him, or are we always second-guessing Him with our minds? How much of Jesus do we want?
Notice the chilling nature of God here in this story of Jesus in Nazareth: With no wrath or lightening bolt, Jesus simply left the town people. This is a warning that folks who justify their unbelief (He is just a carpenter; we know his family; he is just one of us.) may find that God sometimes just leaves us, taking away His support to help in the ability to believe — because of our very choice not to believe.
3. Perspective of the Disciples
Jesus’ acceptance or rejection by others does not determine His validity. He is just as authentic in Nazareth as He is in Capernaum.
If we do not have faith in Him, He could accept our rejection as fact (Mark 6:4), and we would experience none or very little of God in our lives.
If we choose faith, Jesus shows us what to do next. As Jesus told His twelve disciples (Mark 6:6-13), we are to share the Good News with others and move on with His message if they choose rejection. Certainly our world will have mixed responses to Jesus, but no matter what the response, we are to tell others that Jesus is indeed the way to the Father.
Our world needs to hear about Jesus Christ. Like His disciples, we lovingly carry the words of Jesus to a world that truly needs Him.