Mark 6:1-13 (ESV)
1 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. 7 And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8 He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts— 9 but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. 10 And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. 11 And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12 So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.
Jesus and his disciples traveled back to his hometown, the city of Nazareth, located in Galilee. Nazareth was primarily Gentile in population. It was a very small city, and historians say only about 500 people lived there (at the most). When he arrived in Nazareth, as was his pattern, Jesus went to the synagogue and taught on the Sabbath. Many of those who heard him were amazed. They wondered how he became so wise and where this ability to accomplish the extraordinary works he did came from. Their amazement wasn’t one of awe and respect though. Instead, their astonishment led to disdain. Why did they respond this way? It was because the people of Nazareth knew who Jesus was. They knew his family. As far as they were concerned, he was the local carpenter, Mary’s son, the oldest of four other brothers and at least two sisters. There was nothing special about Jesus in their minds. And so, verse 3 says, they “took offense at him.” The word for “offense” means they “refused to believe,” or they were “repelled by him.” Jesus, knowing what they thought about, responded, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” His own people should have been the first to embrace Jesus, getting behind him and his teaching. Instead, those from his community and his family rejected him.
Jesus was simply too ordinary for the people of Nazareth. This must have been really painful for him. We all know the hurt of being rejected by those we know and love. Verse 6 says that Jesus marveled because of their unbelief. We realize that Jesus was the sinless Son of God. He preached and taught perfectly, he never did anything wrong, and he worked wonders. Yet these people were offended by him. Even his own family didn’t understand whom he was. If you ever feel frustrated that those around you don’t get the gospel, know that Jesus felt the same way. We must remember that those who embrace the gospel do so by faith, and that faith is a gift from God. Stop and pray for the ones you know and love who don’t see Jesus as they should. Pray that God would make them willing to follow what may seem to our culture like “ordinary” instead of “special” teaching.