THE GOSPEL OF MARK – FAMILIARITY BREEDS CONTEMPT

CHAPTER 6

FAMILIARITY BREEDS CONTEMPT

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? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? 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.

4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” 5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 He was amazed at their lack of faith. Mark 6:1-6

Where was Jesus’ hometown? I assume it was Nazareth where He was raised from childhood. He was a familiar figure to the people, a young child, a teenager, a young adult. There was nothing unusual about that. However, He was an unusual boy, gentle, loving, well-mannered, a good student, hard-working and responsible. People must have envied Joseph and Mary for the son they had, in so many ways different from the other village children but…they thought no more about it.

At the age of 30 He laid down His tools and left home. He had brothers who could take care of His mother. He had a calling to fulfill. He was an educated man, a rabbi with authority. It was time for Him to become an itinerant teacher, moving around the country to instruct the common people in the Law of God. There was nothing unusual about that. The Beth Talmud was constantly turning out young rabbis, few with authority, but many disciples of those whose authority had been authenticated by at least two witnesses.

He did not often preach and teach in His home town but, on this occasion, He visited the synagogue on the Sabbath and was naturally invited to teach. The people were astonished. He spoke with such wisdom that they were overawed. His reputation for doing miracles together with His inspired teaching took their breath away. Where did He get all this knowledge?

Their familiarity with His growing-up years, His family, His belonging to this community dulled their amazement at His teaching and they took offense at Him. How true that “familiarity breeds contempt”! The entire community shut their hearts to Him and threw away the most amazing opportunity to embrace their Messiah.

Once again, this same capacity of human beings to be so bogged down in the present that they cannot take the long look lost them the chance to be written into God’s big story.

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Luella Campbell


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