Jesus Is Rejected in Nazareth
Jesus was rejected in his own hometown.
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 offense at him. Mark 6:3 (NIV)
Do you feel welcome when you come to church? I hope so! After all, most of the children here are your friends that you see at school each day. Some of them live in your neighborhood. You probably play together and have much in common with them. Even the adults here today know who you are and they probably know your parents too. Why wouldn't you feel welcome here?
Now, let me ask you another question. If Jesus were to walk in today, do you think he would feel welcome? You would probably answer, "Yes," to that question. After all, we all know who Jesus is and all of the wonderful things he has done, but would you be surprised to know that Jesus was not welcome in the Synagogue in his hometown of Nazareth? That is what today's Bible lesson tells us.
Jesus had just healed many people and even raised a young girl from the dead as we learned in last week's lesson. He left there and returned to his hometown. As he always did, Jesus went to the synagogue on the Sabbath. He began teaching, and many who were there were amazed at what they heard. They did not know that Jesus had so much wisdom and power.
Some of the people in the synagogue began to make fun of Jesus. "Who does he think he is? And where does he get this wisdom and the power to do miracles? Isn't this the carpenter? Isn't he the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Don't his sisters live right here in the same town with us?" They were offended by the teachings of Jesus and refused to believe in him.
Jesus responded to those who rejected him by saying, "A prophet is not accepted in his own hometown, among his relatives, on the streets he played in as a child." Not only that, but because of their unbelief, Jesus was unable to do any miracles among them except to place his hands upon a few people and heal them. Jesus was amazed at their unbelief.
Jesus told his disciples to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8). But just as many in Nazareth rejected Jesus, they would also reject his disciples as well. If you and I tell others about Jesus, they might reject us too. They might say, "Who do they think they are? They are just a bunch of kids." Jesus told us to be his witnesses. He never promised that it would be easy.
Father, just as Jesus was rejected in his own hometown, we may also be rejected when we tell others about Jesus. Help us to remain his faithful witnesses, even when it isn't easy. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.