Verse of the Day Devotion. Mark 6:4
“And Jesus said to them, A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.” – Mark 6:4
We now see Jesus coming back to Nazareth to minister. “And He went out from there, and He came into His hometown; and His disciples followed Him.” Mark 6:1. Jesus here arrives in His hometown of Nazareth. It is called His hometown because it was where He was conceived in Mary via the Holy Spirit, and where He was raised and educated. He was willing to go there because He knew many of the citizens and that they could take advantage of what he had to teach and show through His miraculous ways.
Then He began to teach. In order to speak in the synagogue you needed to be invited, and because of Jesus’ invitation to speak in the synagogue, this indicates he had become well-known as a teacher. He says, “And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands?” Mark 6:2b. When the Sabbath arrived, He started teaching in the synagogue, and there were many listening to what He had to say. But there were those who were listening that were questioning what they saw. They asked, where did He acquire the ability to teach like this, and where did He get the ability to heal like He was doing? They asked these questions about the source of Jesus’ wisdom and power because of the fact He had not studied with a rabbi and therefore did not have the proper credentials.
Then they began questioning His humble beginnings. “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, and Joses, and Judas, and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?” And they took offense at Him.” Mark 6:3. There is a question as to what actually was said. Was it, “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary?” Or was it, “Is not this the son of the carpenter and Mary?” I am not going to answer this specifically, however it would be most unusual to refer to a Jewish man as the son of his mother even if she was a widow. But either way, they found it difficult to believe he was any better than His parents or family. In their opinion he was nothing more than an ordinary person who worked as a carpenter. Their physical knowledge of Jesus prevented them from having a spiritual knowledge of who He was. And because of this, they were offended by Jesus.
However, Jesus heard what they were saying and responded to their comments. “And Jesus said to them, A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.” Mark 6:4. The idea Jesus cited is found in various forms in Jewish and pagan literature and is a truism. The early church did not use the title ‘prophet’ because it was inadequate. The words “relatives” and “house” indicate that Jesus’ family joined with their neighbors in rejecting his claims. We read in Mark 3, the following. “And He came home, and the multitude gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal. And when His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, He has lost His senses.” Mark 3:20-21. The phrase ‘His own people’ can be understood as ‘His own kinsmen’. We see later in this chapter that people were saying He was the resurrected John the Baptist. “And King Herod heard of it, for His name had become well known; and people were saying, John the Baptist has risen from the dead, and that is why these miraculous powers are at work in Him.” Mark 6:14.
And lastly we read. “And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands upon a few sick people and healed them. And He wondered at their unbelief. And He was going around the villages teaching.” Mark 6:5-6. We see here that Jesus’ work was limited because of the unbelief of the people. This was in respect to God’s principle of partnership with man. God may work with no belief, but not with unbelief.
And this was just the beginning of His rejection. Later, as we move through Mark and the other gospels, we see the Jewish Leadership rejecting Him for they did not see how He fit in their belief structure regarding the Messiah. Theirs was not a could not, but a would not believe issue. In these verses, His family and neighbors in Nazareth rejected Him because they pretty much saw Him as a simple carpenter as well as Mary and Joseph’s child. They could not see Jesus any other way, for they watched Him grow up and mature. But as His ministry moves forward, we see many who began to believe as the His life here proceeded. According to the apostle John, “For not even His brothers were believing in Him.” John 7:5. That’s incredible. Those who had lived with Jesus for 30 years really did not know him. Not one of Jesus’s brothers is mentioned as a disciple during his pre-crucifixion ministry. But after his resurrection and ascension, there they are in the upper room worshiping him as God. “These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.” Acts 1:14.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.