Bulletin Articles

Bulletin Articles

The Prophet Without Honor

Teachers often find it difficult to go back home and talk with those who have known them. This was no different for Jesus. When He went to his hometown of Nazareth with the disciples, He taught in the synagogue on the Sabbath. Mark tell us, “and 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? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?’ And they took offense at him” (Mark 6:2-3). Though Jesus was home, the people were not ready to listen.

Why would people who knew Jesus take offense at Him for teaching and healing among them? Why would they react so negatively toward Him? They indicated that they knew Jesus from His childhood. They knew the family. He was supposed to be just like them. How could He have such power and authority? For various reasons, people often won’t pay close attention to someone they have known from youth. Jesus states it in these familiar words: “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household” (vs. 4). It is difficult for one coming back home to teach like this. Could they only see Jesus as a younger boy or teen? They might have been happy to have His company, but Jesus’ purpose was not just to have a visit home. He was there to teach and heal, and this took them by surprise because this is someone they knew. Teachers are often without honor in their own home.

Jesus was indeed a prophet without honor among his own people. They would not see Jesus for who He really is. They saw Him as a product of the town. He was the son of a carpenter, a son of Mary, and a brother to other siblings, but to see Him as the Son of God was beyond their grasp. They could not reconcile what they knew about Him in His youth with what they were now seeing and hearing. The miracles and teachings of Jesus were more than they were ready to handle. They were so stubborn that the miracles of Jesus did not convince them, and Jesus “marveled because of their unbelief” (v. 6). Think about it: disbelief in the face of such strong evidence caused the Lord to marvel!

Mark indicated the purpose for his gospel account up front. “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1). He wanted people to see Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God. To see that, we must hear Jesus. We must see His works for what they are. In our distractions, we may focus on things that are irrelevant and carnal. Jesus can appear to get in our way and we might take offense at His teachings and works. Is it possible that we can end up like those in Nazareth?
Jesus was God's true Prophet. Through Moses, God promised that there would arise a prophet like Moses, and “you shall listen to him” (Deut 18:15-22). God wanted the people to listen to all of His prophets, of course, but usually they did not. Prophets were often rejected by the very people who knew they should listen, and they suffered the consequences of refusing to hear.

God expects us to hear Jesus. “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world” (Heb 1:1-2). Because of who Jesus is, we need to pay attention: “See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven” (Heb 12:25).
The prophet was to speak forth God’s message. “He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him” (John 7:18). Yet Jesus was no ordinary prophet. He was the Son of God, who Himself deserved the same honor as the Father (John 5:23).

Do we see Jesus as a prophet with honor or without honor? The proof of how we see Jesus will be found in the way that we live. If we have sanctified Him as Lord in our hearts (1 Pet 3:15), our lives will reflect that commitment. Jesus will be Lord over our lives completely. His authority will permeate everything we do. We won't be distracted by the irrelevant, and “Son of God” will be our constant confession. “Hear Him!”