September 17, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. 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? 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. Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.’ He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith. Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village.”—Mark 6:1–6 (NIV)
Sometimes, it’s hard to be taken seriously within your own family. Think about it: Some have seen you in diapers, some have fed and changed you, some have had to reprimand you, and some have been there as you walked through struggles and rebellious phases. They’re often your biggest support system, but they can also be your harshest critics.
In today’s passage, we see something similar happen to Jesus. When we arrive at Mark 6, He and His disciples are in Nazareth. On the Sabbath, Jesus did things that left those who heard him completely amazed. But as is often the case with close relatives or acquaintances, they simply couldn’t take Him seriously and were unwilling to receive wisdom and truth from someone they saw growing up. Even after hearing His life-changing words and seeing miracles, they said, “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?” They literally were offended by Him!
Here’s the crazy thing: Unlike you or me, who people have certainly seen at our worst, most awkward, most rebellious, and dumbest, Jesus never sinned, never made mistakes, never had a worst. No one ever saw Him at His dumbest or most rebellious because He was perfect and sinless, wise and good ALWAYS. He was fully man and fully God! And yet, He still wasn’t taken seriously by the community He grew up in. Sadly, even Jesus “was amazed at their lack of faith.”
So, here’s what I want you to take away from today. It’s likely you’ll experience something similar to this at some point in your Christian walk. You may not be taken seriously by family, friends, or coworkers as you try to proclaim the truth. You may feel more apprehensive and fearful about preaching the gospel and evangelizing to family members or close friends because you don’t want it to be awkward or uncomfortable with them afterward.
The truth is it may be awkward and weird, and you may not be taken seriously. You may be a prophet without honor in the community you grew up in, and that’s okay. But that should never deter you from trying. Why? Because the message you have to share is the most important message they’ll ever hear. Remember what Romans 10:14 (NIV, emphasis added) says: “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?”
Endure the awkwardness or discomfort, friends. God is going to use those seeds you plant to work out His good purposes. One way or another, the Word “will not return to me empty” (Isaiah 55:11 NIV).
Pause: Why is a prophet often without honor in his hometown? Why is it hard to be taken seriously by those who know you best?
Practice: Ask a close friend or relative how they see you and what your testimony is to them.
Pray: Father, I pray that You would use me, even in spite of whatever discomfort or awkwardness I feel, to share the truth of the gospel with those who need to hear, including family members, close friends, coworkers, and neighbors. Strengthen me with Your power, give me the boldness to preach, and the wisdom to handle these interactions in a way that draws people to You and not away from You. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.