Faith and Recognition
God of the nations, I thank You for the freedom in this land and the spiritual freedom I have found in You.
Read Mark 6:1-6
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him” (John 1:11). Imagine how hard that must have been for Jesus.
Have you ever had the experience of returning to the place where you grew up? It can trigger a range of memories that may not always be pleasant. I doubt, however, that we will have experienced the kind of rejection Jesus encountered.
On his return to his home town, Jesus goes into the synagogue and teaches the people. The astonished people ask questions that demonstrate, despite all Jesus has said and done (2), that they cannot get past his modest and well-known origins. They know he has done amazing things, but the miracles themselves do not produce faith. Jesus’ teaching and miracles demonstrated to his audience that God was at work in him, but the people would not respond to him because they knew who he “really” was. (Contrast that with the recognition given him by the demons in 5:7.) In response, Jesus quotes a proverb about the prophet’s lack of recognition (4), prompting an editorial comment about the impact such a lack of recognition had upon Jesus’ ministry (5). Why did this lack of faith so hinder Jesus? Perhaps part of the reason was that, while faith was not a necessity for a miracle, the absence of faith and the refusal to recognize that God was at work in Jesus meant that few miracles would take place.
We cannot draw conclusions from this about faith and miracles today. All we can say is that, in this context, lack of faith (by others) in some way hindered Jesus’ work. Still, there is more. People will often say that they reject God because he has not healed the one they loved. This story suggests that even when he does bring healing, faith does not automatically result. Faith comes through recognizing who Jesus is, listening to his message and responding to what he came to do.
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Heb. 11:1). Have you recognized who Jesus is? How is that evident?
Lord Jesus, You are the One I hope for, the One I trust for my salvation. Thank You for revealing Yourself to me.