Pastor Asafa Rajaofera


3 mins
July 6, 2021

Mark 6:1-13

So far, in the past few weeks, we've focused on Jesus and the disciples getting in the boat to go across to the other side because on the other side, help is needed. The man possessed by a demon needed to be freed, Jairus' daughter died and was brought to life, a woman who was bleeding for 12 years was healed. Wherever Jesus went people crowded him. He is the great miracle worker who heals the sick, casts out demons, calms storms, and gives life to the dead. But that was Capernaum. This morning here in our text, it is Nazareth. 20 miles away from Capernaum. Though his fame has spread, no adoring crowds await him in Nazareth, his hometown. 

Jesus returns home and he is not wanted, he is rejected. We've all experienced rejection at some point in our life. It is painful. It hurts. But the pain must be worse when we are rejected by those closest to us. Here Jesus is rejected by his own people, his relatives, his hometown. I am glad that Mark included this story of Jesus being rejected instead of hiding it away. I mean he didn't have to include this story in here, but he did. Maybe it is to show us that hey Jesus knows what it's like to be rejected. And he shows us how to cope with it.

Let's look at what happens when Jesus came home and why his own people rejected him. Then let's see what Jesus does in face rejection and what we should do as well.

Our text tells us Jesus goes to the Nazareth synagogue and teaches, just like he did in Capernaum. I'm sure his preaching in Nazareth was no different than it was in Capernaum. Wherever he went, Jesus preached that the kingdom of God has come and that one may enter it only by faith and repentance. In the beginning, those present in the synagogue were astonished at Jesus' teachings. In the end, Jesus is the one who's amazed at their unbelief. The crowds in Capernaum and Nazareth were astonished. But their attitudes toward Jesus could not be more different. Remember the awe in Capernaum: "What is this?" they said, "A new teacher with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him." (Mark 1:27)

Arrogance, Not Awe

That awe is found nowhere in Nazareth. Arrogance, not awe, marks its reaction. "Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done 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 took offense at him." (Mark 6:2-3)

It was not so much the nature of the job as a carpenter that was in question but the ordinariness of it. "We know this boy," they were saying. "How can he talk as he does, putting on airs? What fancy schools has he gone to? Where are his credentials? Who does he think he is telling us what to do? Is he not Mary's son?" These last words are not meant as mere facts. They're actually an insult. At the time, it was considered extremely rude to refer to anyone only by the name of their mother. Both the mother's and father's name had to be used in polite company.

What's happening here? The people of Nazareth, his own people had an attitude of "who does he think he is." We know this guy! He is the son of Mary. In other words, they're saying we know he is illegitimate. We know he is a carpenter. We know his siblings. We know everything about him. There's no way he is the son of God. There's just no way he could do all those miraculous signs and wonders and healings on his own. And it says here in our text that Jesus was amazed at their lack of faith. And he could do no deeds of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. (v. 5) 

"And he could do no deeds of power there." 

This does not mean that Jesus couldn't perform miracles there but Jesus' miracles were not sideshows. He didn't perform miracles in order to show off his power. No, his miracles were either in response to faith or to call forth faith. Faith was not present nor was it forthcoming in Nazareth. They were hardened in their unbelief beyond remedy. Therefore, few miracles were displayed in their presence.

You know, for us reading this story that happened 2000 years ago, it might be easy to judge these Nazarenes who neither honored Jesus nor were opened to his teaching. But the problem is we are the people of Nazareth. We are not different from. We are the people who have known Jesus all our lives. We are the ones who have pictures of him in his manger-cradle. We have watched him grow, we know his mother and his father, he is extremely familiar to us. We have grown so accustomed to attending services and living a Christian life that we have lost our awe and wonder of the Lord. We do have the opportunity to learn of Jesus every time we come to church or open the Bible for that matter. We have the written Word that reveals the Living Word through the direction of the Holy Spirit. And yet often we come with a half-hearted attitude, our mind on everything but the Lord, and leave wondering why we didn’t receive anything at church. Many give the Lord no thought prior to arriving for service.

A few back then wanted their physical need met but no spiritual needs were addressed. Doesn't that sounds a lot like the modern church? We no longer have a burden for revival; we’re not interested in a closer walk with Jesus or seeing souls saved. Much of our emphasis is on physical needs. 

Is Jesus Still Welcome?

The question for us this morning is: Is Jesus still welcome among us? If we would be honest, Jesus is not always welcome as He should be. He wants to do so much through our lives, but we must be willing to welcome Him. Has God spoken to your heart? Are there issues you need to bring before Him? Maybe you are like many in Nazareth who denied Jesus as the Christ, never receiving Him as their Lord and Savior. You have heard the truth. How will you respond? Will you embrace Jesus as your personal Savior or continue to deny Him? Coming to Jesus is not coming to church.  Coming to Jesus is not coming to communion. Coming to Jesus is being sorry for your sin. Calling upon his name and have the faith to follow. 

A.W. Tozer says the Gospel message consists of three distinct elements – an announcement, a command, and a call. It announces the Good News of redemption.  It commands all men everywhere to repent and it calls all men to surrender to the terms of grace by believing on Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Up to the point that you repent and have the faith to follow, Jesus keeps saying “come.” Come you who are unworthy. Come you who are weary. Come you who are thirsty. Then, once we’ve come to Jesus, while we continue to follow, he adds another verb. Go. 

This article was orginally reported by
Pastor Asafa Rajaofera

Rev. Asafa Rajaofero was born in Madagascar and serves as pastor of the United Church of Christ parishes in Greenwood and Owen, Wisconsin.