Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A Prophet Without Honor

By: Min. Angela Lee Price
 In Mark 6:1-6, there were people who struggled believing in Jesus.   In fact, after all Jesus had done, they refused to believe. 
1: And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him.    2: And when the Sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?    3: Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.    4: But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.    5: And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.    6: And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.  Mark 6:1-6
Here is an incident where the Word of God was preached, the Spirit of God was felt, the power of God was known.  Yet, Jesus was powerless to reach these people.  Why?  Because of their unbelief.  Jesus was puzzled. Verse 6 states, "And he marvelled because of their unbelief." He had poured out His heart to no avail.  This may very well be a picture of any congregation or community today - Seeing but not seeing, hearing but not hearing, experience the presence of God but refusing to believe and respond to the call to follow Him.
Let us note unbelief, the causes of unbelief, and the effects or results of unbelief:

The people were amazed a Jesus' ability to teach, cast out devils, raise the dead, and heal the sick.  They were astonished at His teachings, yet refused to believe ,  "And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands" (v2)? 


You've heard the adage, "Familiarity breeds contempt?"  The hometown folk knew all about Jesus, that he was brilliant, a gifted teacher, and about his family background, yet refused to believe, "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him" (v 3).  It was not because he was an outsider, but because he was one of them that they were offended.  This is the only place in the New Testament where Jesus is referred to by his trade, "the carpenter."  In two other places, including Matthew 13: 55, he is referred to as "the carpenter's son."  Notice, they mentioned his mother, Mary, brothers by name, and sisters, but not his stepfather, Joseph. Some theologians suggest they may have been hinting at his possible illegitimacy.  Who does he think he is?, they said. 

Jesus was raised and reared in Nazareth, a no-nothing town in the hills of Galilee. and here, Jesus said to them in, "A prophet is not without honor, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house" (v. 4).  The NIV says, "Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor."  They were amazed, but Jesus was amazed also for their lack of faith.  
Does your circumstance, your environment mute and negate your gifts and abilities?  No matter your circumstance... whether you were raised in a single-parent household, raised not knowing your biological father; raised with a father in jail, raised in an environment steeped in  unbelief, raised in an uneventful small town far from the big city lights....God is able to keep you from falling!  God is able to give you a royal bloodline through Jesus Christ.  Jesus is able to take you from the gutter-most to the uttermost; from demeaning to a meaning; from disgrace to amazing grace!  He is able to put a godly influences in your life, mentors, and men and women who can provide support and instill godly principles and convictions in you.  Just put your faith in Jesus Christ, the One who saves!

Like Jesus, you may be a prophet without honor in your home community.  Filled with knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, you may be gifted as all get-out.  But, because you are not the right gender; don't have the right degree, don't have the right pedigree, don't have the right skin color, they won't believe, nor will they realize and recognize you as the answer to prayer.  As a result, you won't be able to contribute to your best work, and they won't receive all that God has for them. Verses 5-6 said, "And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.  6: And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching". 
It won't be people you don't know who won't support you, but people you know -- family, friends, co-workers, church members -- people right there in your 'hood, in your "Nazareth" operating by a jaded perspective of familiarity, influence by those around them, the know-it-alls; and by cultural, religious, socio-economic, environmental factors, they won't believe. After all, it was asked, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth" (John 1:46)?

What Jesus was saying is a prophet can go anywhere, except their hometown, and be received and accepted with honor.  Stop listening to the "they-sayers," and naysayers.  Don't let their unbelief negatively impact your relationship with God.  Don't give up on yourself, and don't give up on your community either.  Do what you can. Then, shake the dust off your feet where you are not received, just as Jesus instructed the disciples, and continue to trust in the Lord. The Bible says in Hebrews 11:6,  "He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that seek after Him."

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