Read Mark 6:1-6
1 Jesus left that part of the country and returned with his disciples to Nazareth,his hometown. 2 The next Sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue,and many who heard him were amazed. They asked,”Where did he get all this wisdom and the power to perform such miracles?” 3 Then they scoffed,”He’s just a carpenter,the son of Mary and the brother of James,Joseph,Judas,and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us.” They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him.
4 Then Jesus told them,”A prophet is honoured everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.” 5 And because of their unbelief,he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 And he was amazed at their unbelief. (NLT)
One of the more puzzling aspects of the gospels is how people who were expectantly and eagerly waiting for the Messiah failed to recognise him when he stood in their very midst. The Bible scholars were misled by their own dogmatic opinions as to what the Messiah would be like. They had blinkers of academic arrogance and so were unable to see Jesus for who he really was. They expected any Messiah to favour and flatter them,so when Jesus attacked them they dismissed him. He didn’t fit the mould.
It seems from our text that the common people often failed to recognise him. In this case,his own friends and neighbours. Familiarity had bred contempt. No-one figured the Messiah would work for a time as a carpenter,no-one figured the Messiah would be part of the family structures familiar to them.
We may well shake our heads sadly at how mistaken they were. But we too can miss the Messiah. We do believe Jesus was the promised Messiah. We believe what the Bible says about him. Yet in another way we can miss him. We read his teaching selectively. We confine him to words on a printed page and so don’t see him at work in our present lives. We fail to realise this Messiah is also Lord and wants to shape and reshape our lives.
Jesus is not confined to a manger,or even a cross. Through his Spirit he roams freely. May our preconceptions of what he ought to be doing not blind us to what he is in fact already doing.