Jesus left there and went to his hometown, 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 offense at him.
4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor 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 sick people and heal them. 6 He was amazed at their lack of faith.
Jesus’ Home Town Rejects Him
Jesus’ home at this point is Capernaum, but he goes back to the town of his younger years. The people there know him as a carpenter, more literally a woodworking handyman who would do a bit of masonry or smithying if the job required it. Jesus was no wimp who swooned at the first sign of pain. However, he was no scribe in the traditional sense. He was not cut out to be a rabbi in the way that was expected. Usually a priest or rabbi came from a family where they could dedicate themselves to study. Jesus would have worked a full-time job and studied on the side. The people in this passage know him in te same way as we know the fix-it guy who drives up in his old van to do odd jobs. Suddenly, he takes the role of teacher in his home synagogue and he is stirring up trouble. Many people rejected Jesus, but the people in his home town had a unique reason. They could dismiss him because of their familiarity with him. Rather than let him change his identity in their context, they would define him by the role that he had always had.
I felt this way growing up in my church in England. Some people knew me as a love-sick boy who had a string of girlfriends. Some people knew me as a questioning mind who sat and interrupted teaching at inopportune times. Other people knew me as either cocky or insecure depending on the day. Some of those people let me grow and become someone else by God’s grace. Others thought they had me pegged and so they kept me there in their minds whenever I visited. Actually, when I went to Pakistan and had my eyes opened to poverty and when I came back from my studies, some people were skeptical of the things I would say. Some family members look on their own children as having grown and matured, but they sometimes treat me as the weak minded or emotional runt in the family. However, in admitting my weaknesses and seeking help I may have found an uncommon strength. Jesus is someone who understands this because he endured it on a much larger scale. However, in his case the people rejecting him rejected the message that is the hope of life to all mankind. In my case the relationship was affected and little more.
This passage explains how people reject Jesus for a variety of reasons because they can not accept his message. Today people make up excuses and move on. What is your excuse?
Jesus, I am thankful for this passage because I feel like my family and home town are sometimes incredulous toward my calling as a Bible College professor. Sometimes I fear that their opinion of me has some power. However, you didn’t let much stronger opposition hold you back, so I will not let mild disdain hold me back. I also see the relationship between skepticism and the outpouring of your work in a community. Help me not to limit your work because I anticipate what you are capable of on too small a scale.
- What two locations were Jesus’ home towns?
- How did Jesus behave in the town of his birth?
- How do you think a local handyman was regarded as a teacher of wisdom?
- Do you limit those from whom you might receive advice?
- How does Jesus’ rejection encourage you to persevere with someone who has a preconception of who you are?