Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.Mark 6:1-6
“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.
A prophet is not without honor except in his own town. We tend not to appreciate things and people with whom we have become familiar. Jesus saw tremendous faith in all kinds of people as He traveled from town to town. Yet, when He got to His own hometown, people there could only see Him as the carpenter, Mary’s son. They couldn’t get past what they were familiar with. They weren’t able to honor who He really was. Jesus was amazed at their lack of faith.
This is a good warning for us, that we can get too familiar–too comfortable–with our friends and loved ones that we know the best. We can start to think we already know what they are about, and we can dismiss them because of it. Rather than continuing to learn from them and continuing to be curious, we can allow our familiarity to breed contempt.
This can happen with good friends, parents, siblings, spouses, and neighbors. I’ve seen it happen a lot in ministry. I’ve seen pastors forget to honor and appreciate their congregation because they were too familiar with them. I’ve seen congregations forget to honor and appreciate their pastor because they grew too comfortable and complacent.
The most troubling thing about Mark 6 is the warning that this is possible to do with God Himself. We can become so familiar with God that we think we already know. We’ve read the Bible. We’ve attended church for years. We’ve heard it all…or so we think. We can become so familiar with God that we stop pursuing Him. We stop learning new things about Him. We stop journeying deeper into our intimacy with Jesus. We stop believing there is more of God to experience than what we are experiencing right now. When this happens, our faith begins to dwindle.
Bobby Connor, a prophetic minister, said it best, “We are too familiar with the God we hardly know.” Let that sink in. God is unfathomable and incomprehensible in His vastness. What we do know about Him we only know because He decided to reveal it to us through scripture, through Jesus, and through the Holy Spirit. We hardly know this God we have become so familiar with. There is SO. MUCH. MORE!
The apostle Paul tried to articulate this truth when he wrote this to the church in Rome:
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!Romans 11:33-36
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
“Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?” [Isaiah 40:13]
“Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay them?” [Job 41:11]
For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.