Chapter 5 begins with Jesus healing the demoniac named Legion. Once healed, this man became an ambassador for Jesus, and the people "marveled" at what Jesus had done. Mark goes on to tell the account of Jesus raising a dead girl back to life. In verse 42 it says, "they were immediately overcome with amazement".
Chapter 6 begins by giving the account of Jesus and His disciples returning to His hometown of Nazareth. Nazareth is not ever mentioned in the Old Testament or in the Mishnah or the Talmud. No church was built in Nazareth until the time of Constantine in 325 AD. It was a small, obscure village of only 500. Chapter 6:2-3 show how the people responded to Jesus' teaching in the synagogue. They asked, "Where did this man get these things?" "Is this not the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon?" "And they took offense at Him."
The Gentile world that would be reading Mark's letter would have definitely picked up on the disrespect and disregard for Jesus. They would have heard "ordinary man", "lack of a father's presence", and "he was a working man, so he can't be what we are looking for". To us today, that is His glory, because it means that God, when He came to earth, claimed no exemptions!
Jesus responds to them by saying, "A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household." Exposure to Jesus and the gospel is no guarantee of faith; indeed, apart from faith, exposure to the gospel inoculates as often as it enlivens.
The people of Nazareth see only a carpenter, only a son of Mary, only another one of the village children who has grown up and returned for a visit. If only God were less ordinary and more unique, then they would believe. The servant image of the Son is too common for them. Too often, humanity wants something other than what God gives.
The greatest obstacle to faith is not the failure of God to act but the unwillingness of the human heart to accept the God who condescends to us in only a carpenter, the son of Mary. As a result, He left Nazareth, and there is no record that He ever returned there.
In verse 6 it says, "And He marveled because of their unbelief. The only other time that Jesus is said to marvel is when the Centurion comes to faith (Luke 7:9).
Mark 6:7-13 says, "And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits." Our faith is a faith of motion. We are a sent people. Faith is a journey that starts when we bend our knee to Jesus, and continues with every step we take when we stand back up.
Discuss as a Family:
- When was the last time you marveled at Jesus?
- Is there a time in your life where Jesus became "too familiar" to you and you took Him for granted? When?
- Where are you being sent today? This week?