Why so few miracles in Nazareth
Why so few miracles in Nazareth
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Mark 6:1-6:6 (NIV, NIRV, TNIV, KJV)
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Jesus in His Hometown
Jesus had been ministering heavily around the area of the Sea of Galilee and now decides to go back to His home town of Nazareth for a visit. Perhaps He longs for familiar faces and places again after being persued by crowds all the time. Mark tells us about the visit in his gospel.
Mark 6:1 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, that he even does miracles! (3) 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.
Going back to the old home town one first of all hopes that someone there will remember who they are and give some recognition that they indeed belonged there in times past. Let’s see if that is the case with Jesus.
When the Sabbath came He began to teach in the synagogue. Well, there was some recognition there because Jews did not let just anyone teach in their synagogues. Apparently He had met some requirements to be able to teach there though we are not told that specifically.
His teachings amazed them. The Amplified Bible says, “ and many who listened to Him were utterly astonished saying, “Where did this [Man] acquire all this? What is the wisdom—the broad and full intelligence—[which has been] given to Him? What mighty works and exhibitions of power are wrought by His hands!” (Amplified Bible Mark 6:2b)
Those that listened, note that Mark says, “Many who listened” were astonished. Unfortunately many don’t listen and remain blind—but think they know everything. They were taken by surprise by the power and depth of His thinking and the fact that He performed miracles.
So what was their reaction?
(3) "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.
But wait a minute, don’t we know this guy? Isn’t this the carpenter? Now where would that come from? Well, Jesus grew up in Nazareth, living there until He was about 30 years of age until He began His ministry. Matthew 13:55 clearly identifies Joseph’s profession as a carpenter. (55) "Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?" And Jesus like His earthly father also had the same profession. (Imagine things being made out of wood by the hands of the Son of God!) He likely apprenticed under Joseph as was the custom of the time. He would have done His carpentry work in Nazareth and the surrounding areas such as Cana and be known by His trade.
But the crowd wants to be absolutely sure about Him so they ask more questions.
"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)
Clarifying still further they say “isn’t this Mary’s son?” “Doesn’t he have brothers?” Well, actually half brothers born naturally of Mary and Joseph after His birth. Yes I know a major denomination disagrees with that but somehow they must have missed this scripture because it is plain to see.
They named Jesus brothers James, Joseph, Judas (Jude) and Simon and then went on to say He also had sisters right there among them. Jesus was not an only child, at minimum His family consisted of Mary, Joseph, four brothers and at least two sisters. Nine people at least!
The crowd was trying to locate Him in their memory banks—it could not have been difficult since He had only been away for about a year and a half.
Now comes the sad part—the townsfolk had known Him literally all His life, watched Him grow up, perhaps had used His carpentry skills, seen Him daily yet Mark tells us-- And they took offense at him.
Let’s let the Amplified Bible interpret this short phrase so that we might understand it better. “And they took offense at Him and were hurt [that is, they disapproved of Him and it hindered them from acknowledging His authority]; and they were caused to stumble and fall.” (AMP)
They refused to accept the authority that He had and to admit that authority and they were hurt because of their attitude toward Him.
What was His response to their disapproval of Him?
MK 6:4 Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor." (5) He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. (6)And he was amazed at their lack of faith.
The hometown folk and his relatives had seen Him grow from a young boy and they were having great difficulty accepting that He was a prophet let alone the Jewish Messiah. They thought they knew Him well enough to know that he just couldn’t be who He claimed to be. Remember what the Amplified Bible just said their attitude was toward Him? “And they took offense at Him and were hurt [that is, they disapproved of Him and it hindered them from acknowledging His authority]; and they were caused to stumble and fall.” (AMP) They actually took offense at Him, disapproved Him and it hindered them from acknowledging Him. They did not honor Him nor trust in Him. Keep this in mind because it is coming up again soon
(vs.5) He could not do any miracles there, except lay His hands on a few sick people and heal them." I have heard sermons that were preached about this situation, preachers saying that because of their lack of faith in Him Jesus could not do any miracles; that He did not have the power to heal. They preached that because the people could not muster up faith in Him he was powerless. Give me a break, this is Jesus, the Christ, the Anointed One of God their lack of faith had no affect on His ability to produce miracles. This is the One of Whom John said: John 1:3 “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” Does this sound like One who needs the faith of the crowd in order to do miracles? He does not work like a rechargeable battery bank relying on the faith of people to charge Him up to perform miracles! The reason He could not do miracles there was because of the attitude of the people! We just read that they took offense at Him and disapproved of Him and did not believe He had authority to do miracles.
Now think, they didn’t believe Him -- so why would they bring anyone to Him for healing? If you did not believe in someone’s ability to do miracles why would you bring someone to him? You wouldn’t, and neither did they. Having taken offense at Him they did not flock to Him for healing. This point is so simple it is often missed completely. And it is backed up by this statement:
“except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.”
Notice here that He had no difficulty healing the few sick people who did seek Him. It is clear that He did heal those that did come to Him. It is a shame when preachers misinterpret this scripture so badly and preach that their lack of faith in Him weakened His ability to heal when the scripture is very clear that He could heal—they just did not come to Him for healing. The people simply did not believe in and trust in Him and the majority of them simply did not come to Him for lack of belief—or faith.
This is proven again by Jesus reaction to the people, it goes like this:
He was amazed at their lack of faith (unbelief—AMP) and their lack of response to Him.
Unbelief or lack of faith in Him kept people from coming to Him. Notice that these people had known Him almost all His life. Like back then there is great sadness when those who have previously known Jesus earlier in their lives refuse to accept Him now. When they have that attitude it is very much the attitude of the people from Nazareth toward Jesus. Without belief in Him they don’t come to Him in their troubles and as a result they don’t get their needs met.
Believing in Christ is a choice that all people must make. Jesus once answered a question put to Him by a crowd that was following Him. His answer is plain for us all to see. Let’s look at it:
John 6:28 Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?" (29) Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."
When we believe in Him we will have no difficulty coming to Him for His healing and restoration.
As you can see Jesus the Son of God was certainly not powerless to heal in His home town. The problem was the lack of belief in Him and who He was -thus few brought the sick to Him to be healed. It is sad that the church in general has had misleading teaching on this scripture in the past. I hope you will do your best to correct the meaning of these scriptures when you speak on or discuss them.
God bless your efforts.