Jesus went to his home town and his disciples accompanied him. With the coming of the sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue and most of them were astonished when they heard him. They said, ‘Where did the man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been granted him, and these miracles that are worked through him? This is the carpenter, surely, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joset and Jude and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here with us?’ And they would not accept him. And Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is only despised in his own country, among his own relations and in his own house’; and he could work no miracle there, though he cured a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith. Mark 6:1-6
St Luke tells the same story, but tells us in some detail what Jesus spoke of – reading from the prophet Isaiah – ‘The Lord has sent me to bring good news to the poor…’, and then saying that ‘Today this text is fulfilled…’
Mark is rather more reticent. It is as though he wants us to work out for ourselves what it was that Jesus said. In the absence of anything more definite we might imagine that Jesus preached what he first preached immediately following his baptism in the Jordan. ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the gospel.’
What can there be in that to cause such offence as Nazareth took? For what Jesus said was pretty much what all rabbis would teach, not only prophets. Now the difference seems to have been that Jesus spoke it so you knew he meant it, and wanted you to mean it and live it. Jesus preached the Kingdom, not himself, but he preached the Kingdom so that it was personal, real and now. And could not be ignored. It can’t be ignored, but can be rejected – as Nazareth rejects Jesus.
What about you? Where you are?
- What do you accept of Jesus’ message?
- What do you hesitate over? How do you act out the hesitation?.
Photograph of Nazareth – closed for business. (c) 2012, Allen Morris