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)
It’s really easy to think that we would have loved living at the time and place Jesus lived. To be able to go outside and see Him perform miracles and teach and disciple His friends would have been incredible. It would be so much easier to have faith in Him if we could see His perfection and hear His words, right?
It’s really easy to think that. To think so highly in and of our own faith. But when we read about the masses–even those in Jesus’ hometown–and how they rejected him and defamed His name, I have a hard time believing that I would have been much different.
Jesus was not the cool person to follow.
He was not a fad.
He was not attractive nor were His words soothing to the ear.
When He spoke, He told people they were wrong. And He did so with the authority of God in His voice. It was offensive. It stung.
Even still, we have those same honest and sometimes harsh words written on the thin pages of our Bibles. The red letters are not for the faint of heart. He said that it would be easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven. He said “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” He told the Pharisees that they were full of greed and wickedness.
He interacted with women when the religious culture of the time would have forbidden that.
He touched those who were considered unclean.
He was offensive with the way He loved.
Some of His teachings are hard for me to read. They make me uncomfortable. When someone asks me why Jesus said some of these things, I can feel my neck getting red because I don’t always know what to say.
And I don’t always know what to say because I tend to skip over those parts of my Bible.
I like to focus on the words that are easy-on-the-ears. The ones that make me feel warm and fuzzy. And when I really consider whether or not I would have been a follower of Jesus if I were in the temple the day that His hometown rejected Him, I am convinced that I would have been more likely to take offense at His presence than to follow Him no matter the cost.
Praise Jesus that He sees and called me even when I would have walked away from Him.
I wonder how many of His children He looked at that day and thought, “Just wait. I’m coming for you, my child.”
So this Advent season, let us dig into the hard things that Jesus taught and teaches us today. Let us read His word in its entirety, not neglecting the things that make us uncomfortable. Let us be uncomfortable because that shows that this flesh is not in line with His Spirit. Let us pray that we could chase Him harder when we feel offended because our flesh cannot get what it wants.
He had something better than that which the religious leaders were taunting. He had something better than political freedom for the Jews. He had soul freedom for everyone who calls on His name.
His way, His plan, His word remains better. From now and to eternity.
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Thanks for continuing to journey with us through Mark during this Advent Season! We would love for you to share this post and video on your different platforms. And let us know how God is working in your life in the comments. Praise God for this celebration of His Son. We can’t wait to continue celebrating with you.