Amazed at their Unbelief

Mark 6:1-16

The Gospel text for this Sunday is Mark 6:1-16.   There is a lot going on in these 16 verses, but what keeps catching my eye is the powerful phrase about Jesus, And he was amazed at their unbelief.  These were, after all, the people of his hometown.  This was his city, his people, his moment to shine.  And all the people could do was to try to tear down the one who was rising in their ranks.  Surely they had heard of his method of teaching, of his power to heal, and of his reputation for not putting up with stuffy religious types.  We can read between the Markan lines here that their being “astounded” at him was not as much about the quality or ability of his rhetorical skill, but at the effect of it.  Jesus had obviously gone from preaching to meddling.  As has been said, Jesus came not to comfort the afflicted, but to afflict the comfortable.  You can almost see the look of disdain on faces in the crowd.  You can hear the whispers of the jealous, and then someone in the mix of things speaks forth what others are thinking yet afraid to voice, Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

While there are varying points of view on the words of the text, “And Jesus was amazed at their unbelief,” I can’t help but consider the humanity of Jesus here, how it wore on him to the point where he was unable to fully exhibit his power to heal them.  As he walked out of his hometown that day, he did so with their unrealized opportunities to experience the deeds of God.

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