PROPHET WITHOUT HONOUR
The Gospel of Mark is filled with action. From the beginning, Jesus is teaching, healing, and casting out demons. By the time we get to chapter 6, we have witnessed many miracles which Jesus has done. Then he comes home to Nazareth. Nazareth that little backwater town that is despised and looked down on by the rest of Israel. Here is their big chance to show that something good can come out of Nazareth. We would expect that the Nazareth Newspaper would run the headline, “Local Boy Makes Good” or that there would be a parade with Jesus as the grand marshal or even name a street after him.
Yet, we soon discover that this is not the case. Jesus comes into town and goes to the synagogue on the sabbath. He takes his place as an adult male and teaches that day. He is not like the Jesus they watched grow up. He has grown and changed. He is no longer the obedient child learning to handle a carpenter’s plane. He stands tall and speaks with authority. He has words and ideas that are far beyond what he could have learned in Nazareth. The stories of the mighty deeds he has done are talked about in hushed tones as his one-time neighbours listen to him teach. And they are offended! “He is not like one of us.” He has changed.” “Who does he think he is, anyway?” Few listen to his words and he can do very little good among them. Jesus comes to recognize that a prophet can be recognized anywhere but at home.
The disciples who followed Jesus to Nazareth didn’t abandon him when the town rejected his message. They were watching closely to see what he would do. As Jesus kept on with his ministry of preaching good news and healing the sick, casting out unclean spirits and giving hope to the poor, the disciples were learning what it means to be a true follower of Christ.
Sometimes rejection is the springboard for ministry. Sometimes we fear rejection so much that it prevents us from experiencing God’s power at work in our lives. When we shrink back from stepping out on faith, we shortchange ourselves, and Christ can do no deed of power in us. We become what John Wesley would call an “almost Christian,” living out the form of a godly life without experiencing its power.
Following Jesus means putting it all on the line. We may find that some don’t want to hear our message of hope. That doesn’t mean we should stop sharing it. Some may ridicule us or walk away. There are others who will respond to the good news that God loves them. When we put our full faith in Christ, living into the assurance that he will act, he can change our brokenness into fruitfulness.