Story 91: Back to Nazareth

Matthew 13:54-58; Mark 6:1-6a

Icon of Jesus in orthodox church of Annunciation in Nazareth

This picture (or icon) of Jesus is in the orthodox Church of Annunciation in the city of Nazareth in Israel. Jesus wasn’t welcomed as the Messiah in His hometown during His lifetime, but His disciples went out and proclaimed the Good News all over the world. Christians eventually came back to Nazareth and His message was finally embraced.

After healing the blind men and the mute in Capernaum, Jesus made His way back to His hometown of Nazareth. That was a pretty bold thing to do. The last time we read about Christ visiting there, the townspeople tried to throw Him off a cliff! (See Luke 4:16-31a, or Story 34). That story probably happened about a year or a year and a half before this story takes place. It was in the spring, and Jesus had gone on to spend most of the next twelve to eighteen months in Galilee. We aren’t sure of the exact dates, but we can look at all the information we have about His ministry and make a very strong guess.

when Jesus returned to Nazareth His disciples were with Him. He went into the synagogue once again to preach. What a beautiful grace that He would offer Himself to them again after they tried to kill Him! Had the great outpouring of miracles all over Galilee softened their hearts?

As the people listened to Jesus, they showed the hardness of their hearts. They did not repent or bow down in worship.   Even as they made comments on His brilliant teaching and breathtaking miracles, they were full of suspicion and doubt. “‘Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?’” they said. They knew that His words held a brilliance far beyond what any normal villager would be able to speak.

“‘Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t His mother’s name Mary, and aren’t His brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas?’” they asked. “‘Aren’t all of His sisters with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?’” And instead of beholding the wonder of God’s work among them, they took offense against Him. They wanted to cut this pretender down to size.

Jesus simply said to them, “‘A prophet is not without honor except in His own town and in His own home.’” A prophet is not someone who teaches about words and wisdom that have been spoken in the past. A prophet is in direct communication with the Most High God Himself. They speak directly for God. The people of Christ’s village could not bear that One of their own had been given such a mighty role. Jesus was claiming to be a very great man in their midst. Except for John the Baptist, there had been no prophet in Israel for hundreds of years.

Now the greatest prophet of all had come, and the people of Nazareth did not have faith to see. And because they had no faith, the Lord did not do very many miracles there. He laid hands on a few of their sick, and they were healed. Only the broken and needy of Nazareth were blessed enough to see the miracle of who Jesus truly was. And Jesus wondered at the unbelief of the rest of His neighbors.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: