Amazing Unbelief

Text: Mark 6:1–6 (NIV)
 
verse 1) In Jesus’ time, Nazareth was a small, obscure village. It covered around 60 acres, and fewer than five hundred people lived there. Nazareth, of course, was not the place of Jesus’ birth (He was born in Bethlehem), but it was the village where He grew up. Having grown up in this tiny place, Jesus probably knew almost everyone in the town. In a small town, everyone knew everyone’s business.
 
(verse 2a) This was not the first time he had spoken and taught in Nazareth (See Luke 4:14–30). The response at that time was less than positive—in fact, the people had tried to kill him, but Jesus had walked away unharmed.
So, this trip to Nazareth is significant. The people of Nazareth were about to receive a second chance to believe. Which shows us something quite remarkable about Jesus.
 

Because of his love and grace, Jesus is willing to give us second chances.

 
(verse 2b) Amazement seemed to be the common response to Jesus’ ministry and teaching. See Mark 1:22; 1:27; 2:12; 5:20.
The difference between the “amazement” of those accounts and the amazement of the people he grew up with in Nazareth is that the people of Nazareth were more amazed (perplexed) about how Jesus could even possibly teach with such authority and wisdom. They questioned his credentials and the source of His authority and power.
 

Amazement in Jesus doesn’t mean you truly believe in Jesus.

 
(verse 2c) Their amazement focused on this man they knew and watched grow up and where he, in particular, had gotten these things (referring to the wisdom of his teaching and the miracles he performed). They were amazed that it was coming from Jesus, of all people.
 
(verse 3a) The people had grown up with Jesus and know him only as the village carpenter, who has worked on their homes, furniture, and farm implements. “He’s no better than we are—he’s just a common laborer,” they said.
 
(verse 3b) Some translations say “Son of Mary.” This wasn’t a term that was intended to honor Mary or Jesus. This was more than likely meant to be a derogatory statement about Jesus’ conception out of wedlock.

(verse 3c) They list his very ordinary siblings. We do not know much about Jesus’ siblings, but one of the things we do know is shocking—during His public ministry, they were not believers.
 
(verse 3d) The Greek word used for “offense” is the word from which we get our English word scandal. It was also the word used of a building stone that was rejected. Jesus, of course, is seen as the rejected stone in Scripture (See Psalm 118:22). The prophet Isaiah foretold that Jesus would be “despised and rejected by men” (Isaiah 53:3).
 

There are only two true responses to the Lordship of Jesus: rejection or subjection. There is no middle ground.

 
(verse 4) Jesus said that a prophet is never honored in his hometown. But that doesn’t make his or her work any less important. If friends, neighbors, or family don’t respect your Christian belief, don’t let their rejection keep you from serving God.
 
(verse 5) That Jesus could not do any miracles in Nazareth does not mean a restriction on his power. Rather, Jesus could have done greater miracles in Nazareth, but he chose not to because of the people’s unbelief.
 

As a general principle, God’s power follows faith!

 
In the Bible, unbelief is regarded as a mind-set, a stubborn refusal to believe, a moral rebellion, not merely a logical conclusion of evaluating the evidence. Jesus did few miracles in his hometown because of the people’s unbelief.
Unbelief blinds us to the truth and robs us of hope.
 
(verse 6a) There are only a couple of times in Scripture that Jesus is amazed by others. This account and Matthew 8:10.
Christ is still amazed by the quality of our faith. Which side of the amazement coin is the quality of your faith? How do you want to amaze Jesus? What do you want him to see in you that makes him say “Wow! I can’t believe that!”?
 
(verse 6b) Being rejected in His hometown, He took His ministry elsewhere — where it would be received.
 
This passage highlights the saying “Familiarity breed contempt.” We all have a tendency to lose our appreciation, wonder, amazement of those things that become familiar, routine, in-close-proximity to us on a daily basis.
 
Does your familiarity with Jesus breed contempt or commitment?
 

Treating Jesus as a familiar friend will leave your faith empty in the end.

 

Read more...