Mark 6:1-6: Family matters.
“Jesus left there and went to his home town, accompanied by his disciples. 2 When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. ‘Where did this man get these things?’ they asked. ‘What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? 3 Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph,[a] Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?’ And they took offence at him. 4 Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honour except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.’ 5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few people who were ill and heal them. 6 He was amazed at their lack of faith. Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village.” NIV UK
Here is a good reason to kick out unbelief. It seems that it hinders the work of Jesus (5,6). I don’t want to be a party to that. Do you?
This chapter seems to start well (2). It sounds impressive when you read that they were ‘’amazed’’ by the preacher. They certainly stayed awake during the sermon! But it wasn’t a good type of amazement. One verse later we read that they were offended by Jesus. (This is something that hasn’t changed, by the way. Although we shouldn’t try to be offensive, the real Jesus offends people. The gospel offends. There is an ‘’offence’’ in the Cross we should not seek to avoid. You can’t ‘preach’ Jesus and have everybody love you, or, at least, like what you’re saying).
Tom Wright says most preachers will remember the first time they spoke in front of their family. It’s like nothing else. If a child becomes a footballer, his folks will have stood on the touch line many times before he plays his first professional match; if she is a musician, they will have heard her practice on numerous occasions before her first big concert. But there is something about preaching which can make you feel so exposed, vulnerable, naked even. It can also be hard for the relatives to hear one of their own kin expressing such deep and serious truths. We don’t know that all Jesus’ family were in the synagogue on this particular day, but he was speaking to his home crowd. They certainly knew his family, and found it easy to dismiss Him.
‘’Isn’t this the carpenter?’’ This may be one of those occasions (like when Mary thought Jesus was the gardener: John 20:15) where we are meant to see a deeper truth, for Jesus truly does fix things!
We know that Jesus’ own family took time to come round. It was a while before they understood His true identity. But it happened (Acts 1:14). ‘’James’’ (3), for example, became the leader of the church in Jerusalem.
Don’t give up on your family – even though you may feel despair at times. Jesus never gave up on you, did He? You take my point!
PRAYER: Lord, increase our faith.