Dear God, You are known in heartbreak as well as in hope. I pray for a revealing word from You today.
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.
“I’m sure you will agree that home is the hardest place to share the Good News of Jesus. The people we live with (or near) know us too well!” (Michael Green).
“He was amazed at their lack of faith” (6a). How sad and deeply disappointed Jesus must have been. He had not been in his home town since his family’s attempts to restrain him (3:21), and must have hoped that there would be at least a few from his own community and family who would be among the first to fully recognize his authority. Initially, it might have seemed promising. The invitation to teach in the synagogue could be interpreted as demonstrating at least the recognition that Jesus is now a person of significance, and at first the congregation was impressed by what they heard. However, in no time at all this morphed into a hostility which, according to Luke, reached homicidal intensity (Luke 4:28-29). Jesus was confronted by the ugly violence of a lynch mob of former neighbors.
Why such extreme anger and rejection? In both Mark’s and Matthew’s accounts (Matt. 13:54-58), the only explanation offered is that Jesus’ audience simply couldn’t reconcile his wisdom and deeds with the fact that they had known this tradesman since he was a child (3). But was it really just a matter of “familiarity breeds contempt”? Probably not. The extra information Luke provides regarding the substance of Jesus’ message that day provides vital clues. He tells us that not only did Jesus preempt their antagonism by predicting it, which would certainly have fanned the flames of their anger, but he further incensed them by articulating the truth that God sometimes found more willing hearts and ears outside Israel than within it. Jesus was not denying the special significance of Israel, but the Gospel announced by Jesus would not be constrained by tribe, ethnicity or culture. God is God of all nations, and Jesus was in the business of reaching out to all people.
Recall those family and/or friends who do not yet know Jesus and pray now for God to open them to him.
Loving Lord, in my mind and heart, I bring before You those near and dear to me who do not know You. Work in them by Your Spirit and draw them to You.