Again, in today’s Gospel Jesus is rejected because He doesn’t fit the traditional model of a Rabbi. This would be natural for the Pharisees and the scribes, who would be threatened by Jesus’ authoritative teaching. But this time, it was those attending the synagogue from his native land, who knew him as a carpenter from a poor family of little status.
Mark does not tell us what Jesus said. Rather he focuses on their reaction to it. Angry and shocked by his words the community were completely unwilling to believe that he was credentialed to deliver such teaching. Jesus recognizes their disbelief and refers to the prophet Ezekiel who also struggled against stubborn and hardhearted communities who refused his message. “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house. (Mk 6:4).”
Jesus’ life and ministry was moving away from his ‘family’ and hometown kin to his new family – the community of believers – including the disciples. Jesus’ power through healing, preaching, and teaching, could only be effective when worked in the context of belief. Jesus was unable to heal many who were afflicted in Nazareth because they failed to believe.
For Mark and his first-century community, the passage reminds them that belief in Jesus and the road to discipleship was not going to be easy. From the beginning it had been hard – even for those who should have known Jesus best. Under Roman rule the Hebrew people faced persecution and death. Discipleship would take persistent faith in the wisdom of God, great courage, and a willingness to respond to the relationship to which Mark invited them.
This passage is also a reminder to us as well. We can be amazed when we hear the powerful stories of miraculous healing, or when we recognize the small miracles that take place in our own life. But it is only by the strength of our faith that we can respond to the personal relationship Jesus desires to have with all of us.
Our suffering can be seen as part of a higher purpose. Our trust in the Lord can remove our anxiety and worry. The joy we seek can be realized by our humble service for others in accord with God’s Will for our life. A great paradox of our faith is that in surrendering our will to God we receive even more than what we desire. Let us always pray for an increase in faith and God’s grace to surrender our lives more fully to Jesus.
Today’s Question for Prayer and Reflection
What area of your life do you need to surrender in faith and place in God’s care today?
Source for today’s reflection: