He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. 2 And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? 3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. 4 And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” 5 And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went about among the villages teaching.
I have a cousin whose dad owned a condo years back in some tourist town on the west side of Michigan. When he went to sell the condo one of Michigan’s celebrities, Kid Rock, was interested in it and set a meeting with her father to inspect it. On the day of the meeting my cousin went with her father but when they arrived she apparently got star-struck and nerved out and waited in the car.
I consider this story a contrast to what happed when Jesus went to preach in his hometown.
The Gospel of Mark is largely concerned with the identity of Jesus. Some people thought he was John the Baptist come back to life after being beheaded by King Herod, some thought he was Elijah of old, and still others thought that he was one of the prophets, but to the people of Nazareth, he was just Jesus; Mary’s boy. The people of Nazareth were most familiar with Jesus and they had the least faith of all peoples with the result that he couldn’t do any great miracles there in his home town.
Familiarity Breeds Contempt…
In some ways, most of us are like the people of Nazareth because we are often too familiar with Jesus. We all have some form of knowledge about Jesus that we believe and are accustomed to, and this accustomed knowledge (whether right or wrong) is what we are familiar with. It is very common in our American culture to have some sort of familiarity with Jesus and the church.
From the time of our births we have each been raised by our parents to have a faith or belief system, whether it’s a non-faith or the other extreme of a heavily denominated-faith; each of us knows or believes something about Jesus. Right or wrong, it is this belief system that causes us to be familiar with the idea of who Jesus is. And whenever someone suggests something different than what we already think and know, we tend to get combative in the holding of our own opinions and positions.
What We Need…
Disagree with me if you like but if you truly don’t know anything about Jesus and church, please give me a call and I will be happy to share with you what the Scriptures teach about him.
For the rest of us, what we all need is a Holy Spirit awakening in our souls and minds. We need God to shake us up and the Holy Spirit to open our spiritual eyes as to who Jesus the Messiah actually is. Without such a revelation we will always be familiar with our own ideas and denominational dogmas. For each of us, my prayer is that the Glory of the resurrected Jesus might be fully revealed to us so that we shudder in understanding who it is that we are in the presence of.
But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. 4 And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6 But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”