Mark 6:1-6 |And They Took Offense…

Well this is a strange little passage. We are six chapters in and from the get-go Jesus has been astounding and amazing the masses, gaining steam, and gaining followers. He has just come off of two amazing healings, and it appears the Kingdom is tearing even more widely open than we could have imagined. And now he’s about to delegate that work to the 12, but before he does he goes home. And what does he get? Suspicion. Skepticism. Rejection. Those in his hometown “took offense at him” (v. 3). Why? You would think he would get a hero’s welcome, but what he gets is “is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary?” Essentially what he’s getting is “is not this that snot-nosed little Jesus kid? Born out of wedlock? Couldn’t even make it as a rabbi (as evidenced by working as a carpenter into adulthood)? And now we’re supposed to listen to this?”

This question is what is the “this” that he said? What did he say that aroused such rejection? We don’t know what he said, but what we know of Jesus, especially in Mark, is that his words and teachings are hard. Mark cleverly leaves his teaching out, only telling us, “On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue…” (v. 2). Based on their response I imagine he had some hard words for his fellow Nazarenes. This could be a parallel scene to the one in Luke 4:18-30 where Jesus proclaims that one of Isaiah’s prophecies in fulfilled in his reading of it, and they get so mad at him they try to throw him off a cliff. It’s hard enough to hear a challenging word from a stranger, but when you hear it from your brother, from the neighbor kid who broke your window hitting a baseball into it, from your class rival from high school… that’s hard.

Jesus’ commitment to tearing open the kingdom is relentless. He will call out what needs to be called out, and he will call in what needs to be called, even if it means being rejected at home. Can you feel the tension in Mark building? It’s like a pressure cooker, and it can only take so much more…

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