Rejected

Jesus experienced growing conflict as he began his journey to Jerusalem. In Galilee, he displayed his authority over nature, demons, disease, and even death, and the crowds welcomed him enthusiastically. However, in his hometown, and among his family members, he met unbelief, hostility, and the rejection of his ministry.

His experience serves as a warning to anyone who would follow Jesus. His would-be disciples must be prepared for rejection, even by friends and family. To emulate him means offending the world, its values, and sensibilities. Discipleship includes personal risk and often substantial costs.

Alpine Village - Photo by Sven on Unsplash
[Photo by Sven on Unsplash]

Jesus warned his disciples that the time would come when “
brother will deliver up brother unto death and children will revolt against parents and put them to death; you will be hated by all men because of my name.”

Thus, we should not be surprised when we are rejected and betrayed by individuals that we might least suspect would betray us - (Mark 1:14-3:6, 3:7-6:6).

  • And he went out from thence and he came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. And when the sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue; and many hearing him were astonished, saying, Whence has this man these things? And, What is the wisdom that is given to this man, and what mean such mighty works wrought by his hands? 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 were offended by him. And Jesus said to them, A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, and among his kin, and in his own house. He could there do no mighty work, except he laid his hands upon a few sick folks, and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages teaching” – (Mark 6:1-6).

Previous crowds MARVELED at his authority and deeds, but in his hometown, HE MARVELED at the lack of faith that he encountered, and because Nazareth rejected God’s final “prophet” when he came to announce God’s Kingdom to its inhabitants - (Mark 1:22, 5:20, 6:1-6. Parallel passages: Matthew 13:53-58. Luke 4:16-30).

Nazareth was a small and insignificant village. It is never mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures, and it was viewed with contempt by some Jews of the period. It was in no position to evaluate, judge, and repudiate the Messiah of Israel - (John 1:45-46, “Nathaniel said to him, Can any good thing come from Nazareth?”).

The Greek word translated as “hometown” refers to Nazareth, the place where Jesus grew up and learned his trade. The noun used for “carpenter” or tektōn was a generic term for an artisan. It could refer to several skilled trades, including carpentry and masonry.

The crowd acknowledged the wisdom and mighty deeds of Jesus. His miracles could not be denied. However, the villagers reacted with skepticism because of his lowly origins. They were offended by his ordinary pedigree and social status. He was not a man of great prominence or wealth or even from a priestly family.

OFFENSE AT GOD’S VESSEL


Where did Jesus get his wisdom? He did not attend any of the rabbinical schools, and he lacked the appropriate “credentials” for teaching the Hebrew scriptures. The men of Nazareth did not deny his insight into the Scriptures but could not comprehend how he acquired it. They were offended by the vessel God had sent, not by the contents of his message or the miraculous deeds he performed.

In this ancient culture, heredity and geographical origin had much to do with determining any man’s place in society, and so, the crowd was “scandalized” by his origins and lack of education. Engaging in manual labor was not something one would expect a descendant of the royal house of David to do.

The passage does not say whether his immediate family was present at the synagogue on that day, but the crowd knew his relatives. On a previous occasion, his family had questioned what he was doing and perhaps doubted his sanity - (Mark 3:21, 31).

Thus, his former neighbors rebuffed him. It was not his teachings or miracles that offended others, but the person who taught them and did such impressive deeds. He was rejected by the Pharisees and Herodians previously, and now, he was dismissed by his hometown.

The paragraph ends with Jesus “going around the villages teaching.” The proclamation of the Kingdom was his primary activity, not miracle-working. All too often, his miraculous deeds produced the wrong kind of reactions, including unbelief, confusion, offense, and rejection.

For Jesus and his first disciples, rejection and opposition were normal and even expected reactions to the preaching of the Gospel. Resistance from outsiders was not exceptional. Likewise, the committed disciple of today should be prepared to encounter hostility and even suffer persecution when he or she proclaims the same Gospel that Jesus did.



RELATED POSTS:
  • Kingdom Herald - (After his baptism, the Spirit drove Jesus into the Wilderness to be tested by the Devil. But he overcame and succeeded where Israel failed)
  • Adversity and Fulfillment - (Jesus began to proclaim the Gospel following the arrest of John, which represented the opposition that came to plague his ministry – Mark 1:14-15)
  • Lord of Sabbath - (In response to Jewish religious leaders, Jesus demonstrated that he was Lord even of the Sabbath Day - Mark 2:23-3:6)

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