Are You Amazed?

Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.

“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles! Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.

And he was amazed at their lack of faith.

Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village.
Mark 6:1-6 (NIV)

“Sin is the dare of God’s justice, the rape of His mercy, the jeer of His patience, the slight of His power, and the contempt of His love.” -John Bunyan
In these verses we find Jesus returning to His hometown of Nazareth–and His welcome is anything but warm. Jesus was experiencing the truth of the old adage that familiarity often breeds contempt.

Despite the fact that they readily acknowledged Jesus’ wisdom and miraculous powers, these Nazarenes simply could not get passed Jesus’ lineage. His roots were too ordinary for their liking. Jesus amazed them with His teaching, yet they could not accept the truth of His words. “Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?”

It is no wonder our Lords states He is a prophet without honor. But because His hometown hearers were offended, their bias was their downfall. What can we learn from this? Our prejudices and lack of understanding can prove to be a stumbling block! In the Old Testament we are reminded not to trust in our natural inclinations but in the Lord:

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! -Isaiah 30:18

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Take It to Heart

Because of their lack of faith and persistent unbelief–Jesus did few miracles in his own hometown. His achieving power was never limited, but it was performed primarily in the presence of faith. Sadly, so far as scripture records, Jesus never returned to Nazareth.

“God’s willingness to show mercy appears by His joyfulness when sinners take hold on His mercy. God’s goodness is that He rejoices at the salvation of sinners and is glad when His mercy is accepted. God rejoices when a poor sinner comes in and takes hold of His mercy. What an encouragement to believe in God!  He is a God of pardons. Mercy pleases Him. Nothing prejudices us but unbelief. Unbelief stops the current of God’s mercy from running, shuts God’s bowels, closes the cavity of Christ’s wounds, so no healing virtue will come out. As far as the heavens are above the earth, so far is God’s mercy above our sins. What will tempt us to believe, if not the mercy of God?” (Thomas Watson, Glorifying God)