Jump Start # 2468
Mark 6:1 “And He went out for there; and He came into His home town; and His disciples followed Him.”
Home, sweet home. There is no place like it. Coffee always seems to be the best from your own cup in your own home. Nothing beats sleeping in your own bed. Even when on vacation, we long to be home. As we head into the holidays, many will be traveling home. “Home for the holidays,” is a wonderful feeling. Jesus came home. Our verse takes place in Nazareth, where Jesus grew up. He knew the streets. He knew the buildings. He knew the people. You’d think it ought to have been a wonderful experience for Jesus. The local boy is finally home. He was known. He was a hero. He has cured people. He has cast out demons. He has challenged the hardcore traditions of the established hierarchy. Now, He was home. A parade? A key to the city? A banquet? None of those things.
What he received was scorn, questions, and ridicule. Rather than embracing Jesus and all that He was doing, the unbelief of His own home town turned against Him. The text later tells us that Jesus could only do a few miracles there. The people that saw Him grow up, refused to believe that He was the Messiah. There was no honor for Jesus among His own people.
There are reasons for this.
- Jesus was from the wrong place. Nathanael said, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?”
- Jesus was from the wrong family. Joseph and Mary were just common people. How could the Messiah come from them?
- Jesus was from the wrong economic level. Within our context in Mark, the locals say, “Is not this the carpenter?” Many had likely purchased items that Jesus had made. He was blue collar. He was one of them. He certainly didn’t seem to have the credentials to be the Messiah.
- Jesus’ message was wrong. In the sermon on the mount, Jesus said, “I say unto you” 13 times. He forgave sins. He made Samaritans the heroes of His stories. He touched lepers. His concept of the kingdom seemed all wrong. Everything about His message was wrong.
The truth be, Jesus was from the right place. He was from the right family. He was from the right economic level. And, His message was right. He was right, but it was not what the people wanted. They wanted a Messiah that would not change them, but change the political map of the world. They wanted a warrior not a savior. They wanted someone to defeat their enemies, and they never realized that the greatest enemy was within them, it was sin and self.
Jesus came home and it wasn’t the response that it should have been. Jesus was home, yet the people wouldn’t accept Him for who He truly was. Jesus was home, but it didn’t go well.
From this we ought to see a couple of lessons:
First, people can have in their minds the way they believe things ought to be. That image may not be correct, but it’s how they see it. And, when something doesn’t match up to that image, they immediately begin to pick it apart and criticize it. We call that expectations. We can have the wrong expectations about the Lord, about the church, and about His people.
For instance, people have in their minds that churches exist to help people pay their bills. So, a guy out there lives any way he wants, not being a part of any church, does whatever he feels like and when the bills stack up, he picks up the phone and calls church after church until he can find someone to pay his bills. He has no intention of becoming a member, learning about the Bible way, or even talking with anyone. He simply wants someone else to pay for his bills. And, when a church says “No,” he gets angry, belligerent, offensive, rude and trash talks that church. His expectations didn’t line up with what the church would do.
It also happens in prayers. Grandma is very ill. The family gathers. Prayers are offered. Grandma doesn’t make it. Those that prayed get angry. They say ugly things about God. They assumed God would jump in and do whatever they needed. They asked, why didn’t He deliver? Their expectations weren’t met.
It also happens when people are around us. They know we worship weekly. They know we claim to be Christians. They watch and they watch. And, when we make a mistake, say the wrong word, have a sour attitude, immediately, like sharks, they are ready to jump in and declare, “You are a hypocrite. You’re not perfect.” We know and we’d be the first to admit that we are not perfect. However, in the minds of others, they expect nothing less. Never stressed. Never bothered. Never worried. Never out of control. Always kind. Always generous. Always thoughtful. And, the moment we are not, they are ready to use that against us. Expectations.
Jesus didn’t match the expectations that His home town had in their minds. Because of that, they could not accept that He was the Lord. Their unbelief closed their eyes to the truth and the evidence before them.
Second, Jesus didn’t change to please His home town. He didn’t become what they wanted. He didn’t work on pleasing them and meeting their expectations. That is a lesson for us today. A lesson for us and a lesson for the church. The world has a skewed concept of what Christianity is and what Christians and the church ought to be doing. Pressure can be strong. But, like the Lord, we must be what the Bible says we should be. We must be faithful to God and His word. The world may not agree. The world may fuss. The world may say that we are wrong.
It is always amazing to me to see someone in the world who quotes a passage, such as Matthew 7, and declares that Christians are not to judge. The guy who quotes the passage likely doesn’t know who even spoke those words or why. He hasn’t read any more in that chapter to see that Christians ARE supposed to judge. He champions himself as a Biblical expert because he can misuse this one verse. His mind is set like concrete. There is no changing him. Like the citizens of Nazareth, his mind is made up and there is no undoing of that.
Sometimes the harshest things said are by our own families. Around the dinner table at the holidays, someone brings something up, just to push buttons. It can get ugly. It can ruin the dinner. Sometimes those that have known us all of our lives refuse to allow us to change. We are not that snotty kid who they remember decades ago. We’ve changed. We walk with the Lord. God’s word fills our hearts and today we are disciples of Jesus. Our outlook, attitude and hearts are so much better. But, still, some in the family just can’t see that.
It’s often hard going home. It was for Jesus and sometimes it is for us. Don’t change just to please people who do not believe. Keep doing what you know is right. The Lord understands.