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 offence at him. (Mark 6:3 NIV)

Even after I had graduated with the degree from Sydney University (Australia) and returned home to Malaysia as an adult, my parents still said these same things to me as they would say to me before I reached the age of 10. “If you don’t wear a sweater this cold morning, you will catch a cold”. “Please don’t eat too many eggs. They contain a lot of cholesterol”. “Please don’t mix with that crowd, they are bad company”. In the eyes of my parents, I was “frozen” as a 9-year-old boy, still going to primary school. I felt that my parents did not treat me like the adult I had become. In their estimation, I was still that child needing them to tell me what was good for me. 

Therefore, for the people in the synagogue at Nazareth, they could not get beyond the image of the boy, Jesus, who attended “Sabbath School” (Sunday School). They still thought of him as the son of Mary, who travelled so far way to give birth to him in Bethlehem. “We remember his father, who was a carpenter in our little village. Didn’t he take up the trade of his father? This Jesus is not a Rabbi. He might speak with such authority in our synagogue but he is still the boy Jesus we know”.  

Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honour except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.’ (Mark 6:4 NIV). Jesus does not let this skepticism prevent him from helping the people of Nazareth. 

I am sure that Jesus is disheartened at the lack of faith shown to him by both his relatives and the people of Nazareth. However, he does not let this get to him. He lays his hands on a few people who are ill and heals them. He carries on his ministry with the few who express faith in him. It might not be the same type of reception he has been getting in the other towns and villages in Galilee. He keeps his door open for the people of Nazareth. 

It is the same with Jesus and us. We might be unfaithful to him or find it hard to trust him in times of trouble. However, Jesus perseveres with us. He is committed to our well-being in the best of times and the worst of times. Jesus goes on helping those who come to him especially in the other villages despite the criticism from Nazareth. Even though Nazareth gives up on Jesus, Jesus does not give up on Nazareth.

Pastor Pye