“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.”
– Mark 6:1-6 (ESV)
The sermon review started out well enough…On the Sabbath, Jesus “began to teach in the synagogue and many who heard Him were amazed. The people even said, ‘Where did this man get these things? What’s this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles!”
But then the review turned into a critique…“Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. When Jesus first arrived back home and started to preach, he was the hometown hero…they were amazed at His teaching! How is it that one paragraph later, they suddenly turned on him and went from being amazed to outright offended?
Mark goes on to record, “He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith.” The crowd was first amazed at Jesus’ teaching, and then Jesus was the one who was amazed at the crowd’s lack of faith. In other towns, Jesus had been able to drive out evil spirits, heal deformities and leprosy, even raise the dead; but in his hometown, where I would have thought that he would have been able to make the greatest influence, he actually had very limited impact on their lives. Why? Jesus summed up His hometown experience in Mark 6:4 when He said, “Only in his home town, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.”
What made it so that even though Jesus had the power to do great and awesome feats was He unable? His home town had previously known Jesus as the carpenter, and they were able on that day to accept Jesus as an amazing teacher, but that was where it stopped. Jesus had the potential to do amazing things far beyond preaching to them for an hour. He could do miracles everywhere else but in His hometown. They simply did not have faith in Him. It was this lack of faith in Jesus’ ability to do miracles that made it so that he was unable to do anything but heal a few sick people. Jesus had the power, but they were the ones that limited Jesus’ power to work in their lives.
They were blind to His abilities to be a miracle worker, because they could only see Him as the wood worker.
If it was that Jesus’ hometown crowd was so familiar with him that He could not do any miracles among them, where is my familiarity with Jesus limiting His power to work in my life? How often do I limit Jesus? How often do I dial back Jesus in my life?
What would Jesus be able to do in my circumstances if I had more faith? Do I think of Jesus as someone I can learn from, but not someone to do amazing things in the lives of the people around me?
Am I the one amazed at Jesus, or is He the one amazed at my lack of faith? Am I willing to accept Jesus as a preacher in church, but not comfortable with the idea of him entering my personal brokenness?
The truth is Jesus is amazing! If I am not amazed at what He is doing in my life, it may be because I am limiting what I allow Him to do. What Jesus is capable of doing is far greater than I can imagine. Maybe I need to listen to Osho, who said, “Be realistic: plan for a miracle.” Today I will believe that Jesus can do more.