No Honor In His Native Place

Mark 6: 1-6
Heb 12: 4-7, 11-15 / Psa 103: 1-2,13-14,17-18

A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.
(Mark 6:4)

Christ taught us in the life He led
Not to strive for fortune or fame,
But by His Word to work instead
For honor in His Father’s Name.

After healing Jairus’ daughter, Jesus came into His own hometown of Nazareth, with His disciples following Him. On the Sabbath, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, ‘Where did this man get all these? What is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles performed by His hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, and Joses, and Judas, and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?’ And they took offense at Him. And Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his home town and among his own relatives and in his own household.’ And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands upon a few sick people and healed them. And He wondered at their unbelief. (Mark 6:1-6)


Apparently, news about the miracles that Jesus wrought had reached His hometown, but instead of feeling proud about the honor He had brought to Nazareth, His town mates chose not to believe in His messiahship. It was crab mentality typical of a small town’s attitude towards a local who had made good.

A certain author once said, “Miracles do not evoke faith so much as faith evokes miracles.” The cold reception that our Lord received in His own hometown of Nazareth did not evoke wondrous miracles as in the place that He had just left where a hemorrhaging woman was healed of her disorder, and the dead daughter of a synagogue official was brought back to life. It was all a matter of faith.

A common adage says, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” The folks at Nazareth were familiar with Jesus and His family. They were aware that His father, Joseph was just a mere carpenter, and His mother a humble and quiet housewife. “So where does this son of a carpenter get all His knowledge and healing powers?” They all wondered. “No, he’s just one of us. He can’t possibly be a prophet, much less the Messiah!” Because of His townfolks’ skepticism and prejudice, Mark said Jesus could not work much miracles there. It was as if His hands were bound by their unbelief.

Isn’t it such a small-town mentality to disparage the accomplishments or acquired abilities of a native returning to his hometown? Only when one has reached the status of a Manny Pacquiao or Lea Salonga does one enjoy the adulation and praise of childhood friends and relatives. Jesus came home to Nazareth and displayed great power in healing and preaching. But in His mien and outward appearance, He remained the same humble son of the carpenter Joseph. Being the Son of God, He needed no praise or adulation, but He certainly did not deserve His villagers’ depreciating and offensive remarks.

Jesus teaches us to be humble in the face of such criticisms or prejudice. Even when He was rejected by His own hometown, He did not use His powers to “show them” as some of us would have done to prove ourselves. He teaches us not to seek honor for ourselves, because the only honor we should strive for is what we hope to receive from the Father when we have found true humility.

Lord, let me not seek the honor and praise of men; but just grant me the grace to act according to Your Will, and be pleasing to You in everything that I do. Amen.

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