Good morning my friends, today I’m sharing the message I preached in church yesterday, but it’s even more impacting me than I thought, because there’s a principle that I’ve learned afresh, the importance of persevering in sharing the faith we’ve received no matter what kind of response it provokes in those who hear it. Don’t GIVE UP or GIVE IN when there’s a negative response.
Daily Spirit & Word: 722: Jesus Visits His Home Town.
The Incredible Unbelief in Jesus’ Home-Town of Nazareth.
“FEAR NOTHING”: Said Jesus. “Except: God…” We love all kinds of scary things: wild rides at the fair, scary rides a parks, pranks that make us frightened (the Bush-Man on Facebook), etc… but the one thing we should be afraid of we’re told, “we mustn’t tell people about that” because it’s not NICE to scare people. How is it OK to scare people with ghost, ghool, horror and thriller stories, but it’s NOT OK to scare them about God? My friends, “FEAR GOD”…Why? “Because the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom”.
Good morning my friends, we’re back with Mark’s Gospel again today, this time our focus is upon Jesus visit to His home town in Nazareth. However, instead of receiving a warm welcome, like those who return from war, he encounters unbelief and criticism, but that has tragic consequences for his townsfolk.
Mark 6:1-6 (NIV)
1 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, that he even does miracles!
3 Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offence at him.
4 Jesus said to them, “Only in his home town, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honour.”
5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.
6 And he was amazed at their lack of faith. Then Jesus went round teaching from village to village.
NOTE: 1: Their Initial Amazement.
The Situation: Jesus has just been thronged by thousands, news was spreading fast about all the miracles he’s been performing around the towns and villages and on the edges of The Sea of Galilee. The Deliverance of a man with thousands of demons, the woman who’d been sick for 12 years, the bringing back to life a girl who had died.
But then almost like a Train Hitting the Buffers at Land’s End in Cornwall: It all comes to a CRASHING HALT: Where? In a foreign town? NO! In a Roman Official’s home? No! Amongst the foreigners? No! Where? In Jesus’ Home Town.
He was in town accompanied by his disciples.
One of the things that should have convinced his home town of Jesus’ status should have been the great entourage that accompanied him now.
Jesus Return Home: It’s like a Great General Returning from a Campaign: But instead of a Triumphant Rally, Jesus doesn’t even get a little party.
- What does Jesus do? On the Holy Day: Sabbath: Jesus goes, like a good Jew would, to the Synagogue.
- What does Jesus do in the Synagogue? “He began to teach”
- What’s the initial response? “Amazement”...
Amazement: Is the feeling that accompanies something extremely surprising. Another word could be ‘Astonishment’. (It’s surprise, stupefacation, admiration, wonder, wonderment). Modern words: Impressed.
Listen to their Questions: they asked;
- “Where did this man get these things?”
- “What’s this wisdom that has been given him?
- “He even does miracles!”
Jesus teaching is backed-up by the Miracles and Signs and Wonders He performed: Initial response: Amazement.
How would you feel if Jesus was here right now, teaching you the Secrets of God’s Kingdom?
You’d probably AWESTRUCK right?
You’re mouth would fall open and you’d gaze in wonder and amazement.
A modern word for that is WOW or WOWzer! Jesus is AWESOME.
What would be your response?
However, before you answer that question, let’s look at how they responded.
NOTE: 2) The Unreasonable Unbelief of Jesus Townsfolk and Family Members.
They are initially amazed and awestruck, they knew about the Miracles, but what a SHOCKING and SADDENING result for Jesus.
Listen to the next set of Questions: They KNOW all about Jesus of Nazareth.
- Isn’t this the carpenter?
- Isn’t this Mary’s son?
- Isn’t Jesus the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?”
That’s right, they KNOW Jesus background. They KNOW where he comes from? They KNOW his family? They KNOW his trade / employment.
- He’s a Carpenter: The Son of a Carpenter… “How could a mere Carpenter get so much wisdom, and miracles making power?” … “We know He hasn’t attended any Rabbinical School”… They are offended / scandalised by a mere Carpenter having the audacity to teach them.
- He’s a Son: Of a woman we know all about. He’s just an ordinary man…
- He’s got brothers and sisters amongst us here. (Mary obviously didn’t stay a Virgin after Jesus’ birth, she had other sons and daughters. Only Jesus was Mary’s Divine child).
NOTE: 3) WHY They Refused To Believe or Trust in Jesus:
They were amazed at his wisdom, they knew about the miracles, but the FOCUS instead upon His (human) Personality. Who He IS…
What was their response to Jesus teaching and their questioning and reasoning? “They Took OFFENCE at Him”...
Instead of being so impressed and filled with JOY, as they most certainly should have been, they are simply OFFENDED.
OFFENCE: Is a feeling of anger caused by an offence: i.e. Jesus was only a Carpenter, a Son and a brother, so why is He here ‘preaching and teaching’? Their offence was anger cause by who they thought Jesus was.
The Reason For Their Offence Was, “What right has this Son and Carpenter to TEACH us?” … “Who does He think He is?”… It’s a feeling of being appalled, aggrieved, bruised, outraged, pained, scandalised, violated and wounded… (A litle girl in our gathering yesterday stated “they may have been jealous of Jesus”… Jealously is a powerful emotion).
We don’t even know what it was that Jesus was teaching them in the Synagogue in Nazareth that day: Have you ever wanted to be a “fly-on-the-wall”? I’d love to know what it was they were so Scandalised and Offended about, but we don’t.
The most important thing for Mark (and the Holy Spirit) is that we know that in Jesus Home Town: Amongst Family and Townsfolk: They were offended by His PERSON more than his actual teaching in their Synagogue.
- Their UNBELIEF is UNREASONABLE: Because of the EVIDENCE. (i.e. His wisdom, His Miracles) (No right thinking person when given the evidence they had received would deny Jesus or refuse to Honour Him). It’s just totally unreasonable.
- Their UNBELIEF is INEXCUSABLE: on account of all the evidence. They should have responded with open heart and hands and voices, but they didn’t instead they lacked faith in Jesus because they remained offended.
NOTE: 4) THEIR UNBELIEF IS COSTLY.
However, their Unbelief and Offence: has a terrible consequence for them.
A) They Get a REBUKE from Jesus For Their Unbelief.
Jesus STATEMENT: “Only in his home town, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honour.”
That’s not merely statement of fact: but of OPEN rebuke. i.e. Strangers welcomed and honoured Jesus. Complete Strangers showed Him respect. Complete Strangers listened and responded to His teaching, but His town’s folk and even some of Jesus’ own family: were offended and without faith. They remained in STUBBORN UNBELIEF.
When there’s so much EVIDENCE: That kind of UNBELIEF is a Sin.
GRAVITY: It’s like saying, “I know that Newton Defined The Law of Gravity, but even though I can see an Apple falling from a tree, and every time I drop a cup it falls to the floor and smashed to pieces, I don’t believe in GRAVITY”… How foolish.
I remember an old Government Health and Safety Advert: About the Dangers we face a work:
“Sir Isaac Newton tells us why, an apple falls down from the sky,
and from this fact it’s very plane, all other objects do the same,
A brick, a boot, a bar, a cup, invariably it falls down; NOT up.
And every other working tool, is governed by the self-same rule.
So when you handle tools up there, let your watchword be; take care.”
The Evidence for who Jesus was, and backing up what He was saying and teaching was all around them: Yet even members of his own family and many in his home town remained in stubborn UNBELIEF…
You might be surprised by that, I am and So was our Lord Jesus Christ. Look at verse 6 of our reading today; “He was amazed at their lack of faith”… Their Unbelief is unreasonable, inexcusable, brings a rebuke, but note what happens next…
B) Jesus Wasn’t Able to Perform ANY Miracles.
Except heal only a few people. Surely healing a few people is miraculous, but what the text is telling us is that Jesus was hindered by their UNBELIEF and lack of faith.
C) thirdly, Jesus MOVES ON because of Their Unbelief:
What happened as a result of their Unbelief? “Jesus moves on from town to town teaching”… He moved away from His Home Town: Nazareth. He leaves behind his own family, neighbours who’d known him all his life, and goes to other towns in the area, to strangers rather than friends and family. What a dreadful shame.
My friends, there’s a STARK WARNING for us here today.
If we’ve been CONVINCED: that Jesus is who He claims to be “The Divine Son of God”, The King of the Jews, The King of a KINGDOM not of this Earth, The Expected One. If we believe that He could and did perform wonderful miracles. That He had amazing insightful and wise teachings, but refuse to put our FAITH in Him, then we’re just the same as His own family members and townsfolk of Nazareth.
Their UNBELIEF: Was both UNREASONABLE and INEXCUSABLE and thirdly, very COSTLY: If we’ve become convinced of Jesus, then we’re just the same; If we remain in STUBBORN UNBELIEF.
NOTE: 5) What’s A RIGHT RESPONSE TO JESUS?
Faith IS confirmed by our RESPONSE: How are we TRUSTING in Jesus today? (Not what we’ve done in the PAST).
It’s not so much about what we believe about Him. (As Nazareth did). But our HEART response to HIM.
It’s not about being impressed by Him. (As Nazareth was). But receiving HIM by FAITH.
Those people were impressed, but they REFUSED to Honour Him and Accept Him.
Remember what the Apostle John recorded in John Chapter One: ”
John 1:10-18 (NIV)
10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him. (Even the one’s who knew him best, his home town, didn’t not receive him).
11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. (or believe him or trust in him or honour him).
12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—
13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15 John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ “
16 From the fulness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.
17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
18 No-one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.
Jesus was the ONE: The ONLY ONE, to ever make God Knowable: How? Because He was God.
“If you’ve seen me Philip, you’ve seen the Father”… John 14.
Today is the DAY Of SALVATION:
Before Jesus moves on from you, to go to another soul and begin to work on them some miracles, to convince them with His teaching, will you OPEN your heart, mind, soul and life to Jesus today?
Will you RESPOND by Accepting or Rejecting Jesus?
Reason It Out: (It’s NOT a blind-leap-of-faith). Look at Jesus teachings. Look at the Miracles recorded. Listen to the Testimony of Believers today. Examine all the Evidence in History from the time of Jesus. All that EVIDENCE is still with us. Enough to CONVINCE the most sincere or sceptical seeker today.
LOOK AT CREATION: The Bible tells us that in itself us enough EVIDENCE in CREATION for the EXISTENCE of God.
Stubborn Unbelief will BE COSTLY: Not just in this life, but in the life to come after death.
Romans 1:20 (NIV) “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”
CREATION ITSELF IS ENOUGH EVIDENCE.
Because if we CHOOSE NOT TO BELIEVE: On account of all the evidence we have been given. Jesus might just move on from trying by His Spirit to convince us… “He moved on from town to town teaching”
If we reject Him NOW: We will be rejected in ETERNITY.
Respond: Put you faith and trust in Jesus Christ today. Why? Because TODAY is the DAY Of SALVATION.
Don’t be like His own townsfolk and family; trust, believe and receive Jesus NOW.
For those who’ve never done that before or for those who’ve done it in the past but wandered away from Jesus.
I’m going to GIVE The A, B, C of Coming to faith in Jesus.
The Gospel: We want all our fellowship to know and be able to share the Good News.
- A) Accept: That you are a sinner, who needs God’s forgiveness. Without that forgiveness we’ll face God on Judgement day, carrying the weight of our own sins.
- B) Believe: Believe that Jesus Christ died upon the Cross for your sins. That He is the Son of God. That He is who He claimed to be GOD. That He died, but rose again and is alive now. You can know Him.
- C) Receive: ByREPENT & TRUST: We may accept we’re sinners, believe that Jesus died for those sins, but until we receive Him by Faith, we’re still just like those Townsfolk in Nazareth, Impressed, but still without TRUSTING FAITH. Receive Jesus by an act of faith. Repent and Trust in Him alone and God will grant you the gift of Eternal life, forgiveness of sins, cleansing from sin, New Life in Christ and Gifts of the Holy Spirit indwelling and renewal and power to life a good and holy and abundant life, useful and gifted for God’s service for evermore.
Repentance: Is a change of mind (Greek Word: Metanoia) regarding our way of living: There must be an element of sorrow / regret for the way we’ve been living in rebellion towards God. Then when we’re broken and convicted it leads us to the decision / desire to want to live our lives in ways that a pleasing to God. True repentance therefore will lead to a change in the way that we live our lives.
Trust in Jesus: It like putting on a life-jacket when you jump from a sinking ship. or a Parachute from a Plane that falling from the sky. Without the life-saver or parachute, your demise is certain. Put ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST: AND YOU WILL BE SAVED. Without Jesus Christ we’re doomed to face a holy and righteous God, who’s justly angered by our sinful rebellion and will give us His justice on Judgement Day. Those who’ve not trusted in Jesus Christ (Put on the Lord Jesus to be clothed in His righteousness), will be thrown into the lake of fire with the devil and all demons.
BUT: God’s doesn’t want that, that’s why He sent his beloved Son to die upon the Cross, to take our punishment and save us from God’s wrath and judgement to come. That’s why it’s so important to have a right FEAR of God.
Finally: You may have similar responses from those who know you every well, when you give your life to Jesus and are transformed by Him. Your own family, townsfolk and friends might be initially surprised and then be offended by what’s happened to you, but when you begin to share the Good News with them, they may begin to say similar things to what they did about Jesus when He visited His home town.
(who does he / she think they are, they’re no different to me, they are just as sinful as I am, etc)… However, if it happened to Jesus, it can happen to us too. Don’t give up! Don’t stop following Jesus just because family, friends and neighbours don’t like it or won’t respond.
Remember how stubborn you were before you finally came to trust in Jesus Christ. I’ll bet that you didn’t trust in Him the first time you heard the Gospel. He had to draw you to Himself. He had to win your faith and trust in Himself. If it takes time with a stubborn person like yourself, then give those you love time to adjust to the claims of Jesus Christ. Coming to faith is often painful for people, because pride has to die first.
Don’t BE TEMPTED: (as much of our modern church has been) to water-down the hard parts of the Good News. Repentance is critical to true conversion. Without repentance from sin, we cannot be saved. A Satan-Blinded Sinner must see his / her sins for what they are; offensive to God, before they’ll see their need to let go of that way of living. Freely share God’s holy and righteous standards revealed in His Commandments, because you have an ally in the person with whom you are sharing, who’ll keep talking to them long after you’ve gone home to bed: it’s their own CONSCIENCE. Once you share the holy standards of God, the Conscience can be re-awakened and will begin to do it’s work. CONVICTION by God’s Holy Spirit will pull the sinner to his or her knees. It’s NOT all up to you, God wants them saved much more than you do.
Preach to them more than once, because their eternal souls are more valuable that your upset feelings or fear of further rejection. Our LOVE for them should compel us to give them as much GRACE as God has given to us.
So don’t give up, because God didn’t give up on you.
Don’t be put-off by an initial hostile response. Persevere, sometimes people will get angry when you share Jesus. I’ve had that many times, but after responding in gentle ways, their initial anger subsides and they begin to open us to receiving the Good News. Anger is just one of Satan’s ways of trying to scare you into stopping short, giving up and going home.
So don’t give-up on them, don’t give-in to fear, don’t water-down, don’t be afraid of rejection, because Jesus followed His own advice to the man delivered from demons (Mark 5) who went home and told everybody the good news. The Demon Possessed man had a good response when he shared, Jesus had a hostile response (Mark 6), but the PRINCIPLE still stands, GO BACK HOME and share the Good NEWS. Share about all the good things God has done for you and how he has had mercy upon you by forgiving your sins, giving you a new life and the gift of faith and eternal life. Some might reject it, but others may just be ready to respond and put their own faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!
A NOTE TO MYSELF: Remember how important it is to read the chapters before and after the one you are peaching upon, sometimes there are linked themes, i.e. The Going HOME of Mark 5 and Mark 6…
Have and AWESOME and AMAZING week with Jesus,