53 And when Jesus had finished telling these stories, he went away from there,
54 and when he came to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, with the result that they were overwhelmed, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miracles?
55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?
56 And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man learn all these things?”
57 And they stopped believing because of him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet has respect everywhere except in his hometown and in his own family.”
58 And he did not do many miracles there, because of their unbelief. _________________________________________
unbelief at home
The Jewish Galilean mission had been marked by amazing miracles, but in the end, the cities who saw Jesus and his disciples in action had chosen to reject the gospel.
Now, Jesus goes back to his hometown of Nazareth. He teaches and does a few miracles there. One would think that these people would trust and respect him. But, no, they are not buying what he is selling. Even though they are overwhelmed by his teaching, and see the evidence of his power, they refuse to believe. In fact, it is this very familiarity they have with Jesus and his family which proves a stumbling block for them.
It makes sense in a way. The gospel is God’s word, and salvation is his work. The more we try to understand what causes people to believe, the more we are left with the realization that for anyone to come to Christ, there must be a miracle of the Holy Spirit drawing and compelling. You can have a perfect message and be speaking to a crowd who knows you intimately, but without that miracle, there will be unbelief.
The good news in all this is that a missionary can come into a radically different place, and speak a confusing message to a bewildered people, and still see acceptance and fruit. The miracle of the Holy Spirit at work makes the difference. Pentecost and Nazareth are the two polar opposites.
LORD, thank you for the miracle that accompanies our message. Give us boldness to proclaim your gospel in unfamiliar surroundings.