“Jesus left [the region of Galilee] 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. “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.”
- Mark 6:1-5 NIV
Jesus could not do miracles in his hometown. Does this surprise you? Perhaps you’ve heard this story, but have you considered how Jesus would have felt as the authority of God’s Kingdom is limited in his own backyard? Jesus’ authority is limited not by lack of power, but by lack of belief. And notice WHO are the ones lacking in belief – Jesus’ closest friends and family.
Throughout Jesus’ ministry, we catch glimpses of his family dynamics. At one point Jesus’ family thinks he’s out of his mind, not taking care of himself, and they go find him in hopes of straightening him out (Mark 3:20-21). Another time we see his mother and brothers unable to get to Jesus because of the crowds. And Jesus flat out says, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put them into practice” – as if to say, “though my mothers and brothers are related to me, they do not necessarily hear God’s words and put them into practice” (Luke 8:19-21). Ouch.
Limiting God’s authority by lack of faith must have been a major disappointment for Jesus and created some tension within his family dynamics. But, imagine how it would feel to be on a journey of discovering your God-given identity and not be fully supported by your mother and brothers. That’s painful.
If you follow Jesus, I’d imagine you can relate. Sometimes the things Jesus calls us to do create tension in relationships, perhaps even rejection. In what ways has your choice to follow Jesus brought about tension in your closest relationships? Tell Jesus about how this makes you feel and let him sit with you in empathy.