Introduction (v. 1):
Sometimes it is very easy to get caught up in the everyday routines of life, so caught up that we take things for granted. Whether it is having 3 meals a day, a beautiful sunrise, or the love of our family, we all have a tendency take things for granted. Unfortunately the same thing is true when it comes to Jesus. Because we are so familiar with things about Jesus we often take them for granted. In fact, some people are so familiar with what they think Jesus is that they are unwilling to accept who Jesus really is. This is the problem that we are going to see as we look at Mark 6:1-6:
He went away from there and came to c his hometown, and his disciples followed him. 2 And d on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and e many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? 3 f Is not this g the carpenter, the son of Mary and h brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And i they took offense at him. 4 And Jesus said to them, j “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” 5 And k he could do no mighty work there, except that l he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And m he marveled because of their unbelief.
In this passage Mark is not only transitioning into a new account, but He is also transitioning into an entirely new section of his gospel account. Over the last chapter Mark has been highlighting the power of Jesus. Based on these passages it would be easy to forget about the opposition that Jesus was dealing with (cf. 3:6). But that opposition had not gone away. Despite these displays of power there were still many who rejected his authority. In fact, this kind of rejection was probably all too common for Mark’s Roman audience. Thus, Mark recorded this account to help us understand this rejection, and to warn us not to make the same mistake that these people made.
Mark introduces this account by telling us that Jesus, “went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him.” Here we find Jesus leaving the area of Capernaum, where he had been ministering, and returning to his hometown of Nazareth. This was not the first time that Jesus had been to Nazareth. In fact, the last time that Jesus had been back home ministering things did not end well. Luke 4:16-31 tells us that the people became so outraged at Jesus that they tried to kill him. Additionally we know that Jesus own family came from Nazareth to Capernaum because they thought Jesus had lost his mind. To say the least, Jesus was not very welcome in His own home town.
Despite the cold reception Jesus still went back to His hometown. This time, however, things were a bit different. The last time he was in Nazareth he was launching his ministry, and was relatively unknown to those outside of this small town. This time he was returning as a very popular teacher. He even had a group of disciples return with him. My guess is that the people were very interested to see Jesus again, and to see if anything had changed since the last time he was in town. As we go deeper into this passage what we are going to see is that nothing has changed. The people of Nazareth respond to Jesus in unbelief again, and this time Jesus responds to their unbelief.
Some take this passage as a parallel passage to Mark 6:1-6. However, (1) The visit in Luke was at the beginning of the great Galilean ministry. In this account Jesus is well into that phase of his ministry. (2) In Luke’s account Jesus was alone and proclaimed the beginning of his ministry. In Mark Jesus is a well-known teacher with disciples following Him. (3)In Luke the people violently attacked him, trying to kill him. Mark records no such events. (4) Matthew clearly distinguishes to visits – Matthew 4:13 & Matthew 13:54-58