Jesus said, “Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.” (Mark 6:4)
Here is but another “wound” our Lord endured during His brief life here on earth. Having been welcomed and honored almost everywhere He went, healing and teaching throughout the towns and villages, when Jesus came to His own hometown, they received Him not. As John wrote, “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him” (John 1:11 ESV). And why did the people who knew Jesus best treat Him so poorly? Because they knew Him best . . . or they thought they did.
“Isn’t this the carpenter?” they asked dismissively. “Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” (Mark 6:3). These hometown people had the same problem that many have today regarding Jesus: they thought they knew Him and were in a position to make judgments about Him. Because they thought they knew Jesus, they considered Him to be no better than they were. As the Lord said through the psalmist Asaph, “You thought I was altogether like you: (Psalm 50:21).
The people of Nazareth were actually offended that many others were following Jesus and hanging on His every word. And notice the outcome of their disbelief: “He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them” (Mark 6:5). In other words, seeing their unbelief, Jesus decided not to cast His “pearls” before pigs. Their preconceived ideas about Jesus closed them off from His blessings, both in word and in deed.
Let me ask you this question: Have you ever felt like you were serving well, but not receiving any honor or recognition for it? Or worse, did you believe that false motives were being imputed to your good works? What I am about to say next is as profound as it is personal: Only One came through this world perfect. And if His perfection did not please everyone, your imperfection (and mine) certainly won’t! There will always be people who believe you are unworthy. There will always be places where you will be unwelcome. You must receive that truth and simply get on with life and the ministry of service to which you have been called.
- God says you are worthy.
- God says you are welcomed.
- God says you are wanted.
- God says He has loved you from all eternity!
With all that God has said about you, who cares what others may say? As Paul asked rhetorically in Romans 8:31, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
In this world, we have been promised trials and tribulations. We have been warned that we will be buffeted by storms and waves of challenge. But we have also been promised the presence of Jesus. Focus on Christ, not on the circumstances you find yourself in. Know that He who began the good work in you has promised to bring it to completion.
Christian, if you are not a “hometown hero” . . . remember that you are in very good company!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!