Passage: Mark 6:1-13
He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying,
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. And Jesus said to them,
A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.
And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went about among the villages teaching.
And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff – no bread, no bag, no money in their belts – but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. And he said to them,
Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.
So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.
This passage, as Mark’s version of the Luke 9:1-6 (Day #8). The same sentiment – that when the Gospel is rejected, shake the dust from your feet – is echoed across both gospel narratives. In this passage, the first half gives focus to Jesus and the rejection he faced from his own hometown.
Retelling the story for someone else (you – my audience):
Jesus finally brought His growing group of followers to his hometown of Nazareth. On the Sabbath, he demonstrated for the first time before the locals his ability to teach. The reaction of astonishment by a lot of the locals who previously knew him by his family and trade was noted. Their attitude was quite drastic in that they did not accept his teaching. Jesus’ response was to compare himself to the prophets of old, who were similarly rejected by their own hometowns. In part because of this rejection and unbelief, Jesus’ power to perform miracles was reduced and only a handful of sick people received healing.
Jesus sent his core twelve followers in pairs, authorising them to cast out and expel demons and spirits. They were to travel with the bare minimum so that they could be focused and unencumbered. They would locate a household where they could stay, but if they encountered hostile strangers, they were to move on and not waste their time. In obeying this commandment, the disciples were able to combat the spiritual forces and heal the sick.
What I Discovered
Insights revealed by this passage include:
- Jesus being rejected by his family was recently cited as a reason NOT to believe that He was God. I found this interpretation (by a non-believer) to be interesting, somewhat understandable, but because I’m a believer, ultimately, makes Jesus’ divinity and the eventual belief by his half-brother James to be all the more miraculous.
- The unbelief that limited God’s ability to work is a key understanding as well. It highlights the power and importance of how what we believe carries significance to God. Our heart condition is what God sees, and the presence of much unbelief will block and prevent God from manifesting completely. This concept also reminds me very much of the whole seeds growing among thorns analogy – the thorns will choke out the small good seed.
- The disciples obedience and faith enabled them to demonstrate Jesus’ own power – reproducing it.
I will trust and believe that God is working. I will continue to sow, build up and encourage my life-group to join in this so that we can see God move and work unrestricted, free of doubt.
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