Mark: According to
1 Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him.”
The disciples of Jesus had gone through a wonderful faith building experience with all the events that were written thus far by Mark. But there was still more lessons these twelve needed to learn.
Jesus’ popularity had continued to grow and for the disciples, they could see no end in sight. Even some of them were beginning to whisper among themselves that perhaps soon Jesus was planning on setting up His kingdom and throw the Romans out of the land that had been promised to Abraham so many centuries before.
It was at this time, that Jesus returned to His home town of Nazareth and while there upon the Sabbath, he began teaching them in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, Where did this man get these things? And what wisdom is this which I given to Him that such mighty works are performed by His hands.
I have a pastor friend that was asked to return to the church he grew up in to become their pastor. Before he had a chance to finish I interrupted him by stating, “That must have been quite an honor. Yet here you are, what happened.”
His response surprised me at the time but a few years later I do understand. He stated, “There are still a few in that congregation that new me as a boy, in my teenage years and before. We moved away when I was 15 or 16 years old, but to put it bluntly, I was not best-behaved kid during my preteen and early teen years. My concern is that these people that had known me would talk among the others, and thus ruin my chance to bring a real influence among the church.”
At the time, I didn’t fully understand, but a few years ago I was asked by my home to church to come back to put on a seminar. The weekend was less about me and the seminar, and more about the memories of my parents, and their accomplishments and my childhood failures. Therefore, I totally understand when my pastor friend declined and why I should never have attempted the seminar before my childhood church.
But ok, I get it, my friend and I, we were certainly not the best-behaved kids, but Jesus, well he was sinless. Wouldn’t he then be accepted by those that knew him?
One would hope so and believe so, but no, just the opposite happened for Jesus spoke from the scriptures as he had in other places with an authority unknown to the people. How is it that Jesus, this uneducated boy from Nazareth could possibly know all this? After all, we knew Joseph and know his mother Mary. Not to mention his brothers and sisters, none of which are well educated. “Is this not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us? So they were offended at Him.
It seems as we witness before others the hardest people to witness to are members of our own family. My own father was the youngest of eight children and upon becoming a Christian suddenly found himself outside the family circle. The closeness between brother and sister, father and son had vanished, all because he had become a Christian.
There can be many reasons for this, some are more complicated than others, but the truth is when one is perceived to be more knowledgeable than those around them that used to be their peers, jealousy and hatred often rear their ugly heads.
But perhaps, just perhaps, Jesus had another reason for this trip home among family and friends. Perhaps, he was showing his disciples, just a small taste of what could be in store for them as they would soon venture out on their own, teaching, preaching and healing the sick and casting out unclean spirits. Not everyone they would encounter would be happy to see them. They would become rejected, perhaps even among those they had known the best.
Because of the attitude of his family and friends, Jesus was not able to perform the miracles and teach has he had in other places.
I would never suggest giving up as in totally quitting the ministry, but there are times in the life of anyone that serves in ministry when it is time to move on.
We saw this in Decapolis when Jesus left the man He cast the legion of demons out of because the people wanted him to leave. But the former mad man converted the whole region for Jesus.
There will always be a few that listen and allow healing to take place, but the numbers are small, and the work better left to another so that a greater harvest can be won.
With all the success that Jesus had perhaps this was also an example to the disciples for them to see what would happen on the mission trip they were about to go out on.
No matter how alone or misunderstood we may feel in ministry, there is One who has experienced the same loneliness and felt the same rejection and been misunderstood just as you and I have but to an even greater degree than we could ever imagine. Therefore, my friend, do not give up, do not give in to the temptation to quit, God has a plan for you and Jesus understands, and sends His Holy Spirit to guide and comfort his faithful ministers here on earth.
Just before his death, Moses was addressing the people of Israel, he called Joshua forward and spoke in a loud and clear voice to Joshua and all the people. “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, he is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
For all involved in ministry or planning on becoming involved in ministry remember these words of Moses. “Be strong and good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”