Lessons in Faith and Humility

Mark 6:1-6
Heb 12:4-7,11-15 / Psa 103

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.
(Mark 6:6)

Like Jesus we are not always free
From the prejudice of our own kin;
Contempt comes from familiarity,
Humility keeps us from this sin.

Leaving that place, Jesus went back to His hometown with His disciples. When the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard Him were amazed. “Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What is 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. (Mark 6:1-6)


There are only two instances in the Gospel of Mark when he said our Lord Jesus was amazed: in this passage, He was “amazed at their lack of faith”; and at the faith of the centurion, when He said to those who followed Him, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such great faith!” (Mt.8:10) Apparently, there are two kinds of amazements here: the first is negative and the second is of a positive kind.

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 Him. Was it crab mentality typical of a small town’s attitude towards a local who had made good? Or perhaps it was a case of “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 town folks’ skepticism and prejudice, Mark said Jesus could not work much miracles there. It was as if His hands were bound by their unbelief.

Today’s Gospel of Mark brings to mind a certain adage that says, “Miracles do not evoke faith as much as faith evokes miracles.” The cold reception that our Lord received in His own hometown of Nazareth did not evoke wondrous miracles as much as in the place 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, all because of their faith. Cynics who prefer not to believe would do well to heed the warning of St. Jude, the brother of St. James, who wrote: “Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe.” (Jude vs.5)

One lesson that Jesus teaches here in the face of unwarranted criticism or prejudice is humility. 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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