Read Mark 6:1-6
Jesus returns to his hometown. In my head, this should be a hero’s welcome. I’ve seen the movies, I know how these things go down – the local boy has done good, he’s become a sensation, people are traveling for days to hear him speak, this guy is popular beyond belief. And yet, that’s not how it plays out. Jesus heads home and begins to speak at the local synagogue, but rather than applause, criticisms abound. “Who does Jesus think he is? We saw him grow up; he’s no one special”. The community that should have been his biggest supporters was the first to reject him. And through it all, Jesus is astounded by their disbelief.
My bible, like a lot of bibles, breaks the book of Mark up into little subheadings. Most of the time I find this quite helpful and useful, however in this passage it annoys me a little. Not because there is a segment break, but because of where it is placed – in the middle of verse 6. Now if your bible isn’t broken up like mine this probably seems like the ravings of a crazy man – but hear me out. Today’s segment in my bible ends with the words ‘And he was amazed, at their unbelief’1 and the second half of the verse, ‘Then he went among the villages teaching’1 is used to kick off the next section. But see, here is where I think they have got it all wrong. ‘Then he went among the villages teaching’1 isn’t the beginning of the next part of the story, but the conclusion to this part – because of their unbelief, Jesus moved on from them. Sometimes we seem to think that Jesus desperately needs to be needed by us – that he is somehow not who he claims to be unless we accept him. But that’s never how Jesus is portrayed in the bible. Whenever someone rejects Jesus – he lets them. There is no force; Jesus doesn’t try convincing them or running after them. Jesus didn’t perform bigger and better miracles in Nazareth to prove who he was or to gain the acceptance of the community he grew up in.
I don’t believe Jesus desperately needs us to follow him. Sure he wants us too, even desperately so – but he wants that because it leads to eternal life for us and he loves us, not because his claims suddenly find validity because we believe in him. We have an invitation here – to have faith in Jesus and to dedicate our lives to follow him. And as we place faith in Him, I believe also we will be witnesses to His extraordinary power. Do you have faith?
- What stood out for you in today’s story? Do you have any questions?
- Why do think the people in Jesus’ hometown rejected Jesus?
- If Jesus doesn’t need us to validate who he is, why do you think He went to such an effort to make a way for us to have a friendship with him?
- Who could you bless this week by living generously through your words or actions?