Mark 6:4-6 (NASB) Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.” And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He wondered at their unbelief.
Many Bible scholars don’t catch the reason Jesus couldn’t do anything but a few “minor” miracles in Nazareth, His hometown. I’ve read commentaries that say it was unbelief that prevented the Son of God from working in His hometown. I don’t think that’s quite true, though unbelief was acted out in a way that made it impossible for Him to work in the lives of those who were filled with unbelief. I’ll get to that in a minute.
I’ve read some who say God positively cannot work in an atmosphere of unbelief. But I remember Jesus saying, “With God, all things are possible.” Was Jesus lying? God is not a man, that He should lie (Numbers 23:19). And if we can prevent God from doing miracles in a place, how do we explain the miracles done when the Jews came out of Egypt? They certainly doubted God many times and thought they were going to die, but He delivered them again and again, despite their unbelief. God does not change. Unbelief doesn’t stop Him.
So what happened in Nazareth? If you notice in Mark’s gospel, everywhere Jesus went there were crowds, even multitudes. The Holy Spirit inspired Mark to mention great crowds over and over again — except in Nazareth, Jesus’ hometown. In the place where everyone thought of him as just the son of Joseph the carpenter, there were no crowds around Him. They simply questioned where He “got these things,” that is, His wisdom and ability to do miracles. They didn’t fall at His feet and worship Him. They didn’t reach out to try to touch the hem of His garment.
I tell you that the reason Jesus could do no miracles in Nazareth is because the citizens of that town never came to Him, except for a few sick people. Those few who came, He healed. There were no crowds around Him in Nazareth. They didn’t come, because they did not believe. So the reason He could not do much was that hardly anyone came to Him. Indeed, He wondered at their unbelief! They never came to Him, thus their unbelief was acted out in a way that made it impossible for Him to work in their lives.
I tell you that Jesus wonders at the unbelief in His church today. He asked in Luke 18:8, “When the Son of Man returns, will He find faith on the earth?”
I believe that much of the church is just like Jesus’ hometown. We have a concept of Jesus and we’re stickin’ to it. He’s our Savior. We’re familiar with that part of Him, just like Nazareth was familiar with Jesus the carpenter. But don’t start believing in the dunamis (miracle-working power) of God! Savior is good. Miracle-working is too “far out” for us. Let’s keep things real quiet and orderly. Please — don’t bring in big crowds pressing in to touch the hem of His garment. We’d rather have a form of godliness while denying (720 arneomai, disowning, disavowing and rejecting) its power (1411 dunamis, miracle-working power, might and strength).
Just like in Nazareth, we do not see many true miracles in the church because the church rejects the miracle-working aspect of our Lord and Savior. They do not come to Him, because they are filled with unbelief. Therefore, He does not heal them in all the wonderful ways that Jesus heals.
There are a few in the church today who come to Him for healing anyway, just as a few came to Him an Nazareth. I’m one of them, even though in the beginning, I didn’t believe Jesus heals today. He took me on a journey that erased all my preconceived notions of Him. Then He completely healed me of MS, nine years ago next month. My church family, who loved me so much as an MS victim, was appalled. They did not rejoice when I announced one Sunday morning that Jesus had healed me. This was not the Jesus they were familiar with. They were very, very uncomfortable.
Did I forgive them for not sharing my joy? Oh, yes. They knew not what they were doing, just as I had no idea I had the hammer in my hand when Jesus was nailed to the cross.
Did I love them? After I was healed, I sought to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and the Father poured out His love in my heart, even to the point of overflowing! It was not pleasant to walk with them during that time, but I love them still today and will always love them. I love the whole church — the ones who claim the Word of God isn’t really His Word (there was a time when I didn’t), the ones who think Jesus doesn’t do miracles any more (there was a time when I didn’t), and even the ones who cannot see Jesus beyond His role as Savior (there was a time when I didn’t).
I forgive them, I love them, and I intercede for them. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit and I don’t want His church to be like His hometown. I’m praying for the church to honor Jesus, to embrace all of Him, to crowd around Him seeking His touch, to fall at His feet and worship Him and to come to love Him with His own love, so they may become very, very much like Him and thus glorify Him!