Mark 6:1–13—Jesus’s hometown welcome   

1 Jesus left that part of the country and returned with his disciples to Nazareth, his hometown. 2 The next Sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. They asked, “Where did he get all his wisdom and the power to perform such miracles? 3 He’s just the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us.” They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him. 4 Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.” 5 And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any mighty miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 And he was amazed at their unbelief. Then Jesus went out from village to village, teaching. 7 And he called his twelve disciples together and sent them out two by two, with authority to cast out evil spirits. 8 He told them to take nothing with them except a walking stick—no food, no traveler’s bag, no money. 9 He told them to wear sandals but not to take even an extra coat. 10 “When you enter each village, be a guest in only one home,” he said. 11 “And if a village won’t welcome you or listen to you, shake off its dust from your feet as you leave. It is a sign that you have abandoned that village to its fate.” 12 So the disciples went out, telling all they met to turn from their sins. 13 And they cast out many demons and healed many sick people, anointing them with olive oil.

Points of Interest:

  • ‘They were greatly offended’—The people in Jesus’ hometown are actually offended by the miracles. It doesn’t say that they don’t believe he can do them; it says that they don’t like the fact that he can do them. Jesus has offended their sensibilities, by not staying in his place. They reject the miracles, because they don’t like the fact that Jesus can do them.
  • ‘sent them out’—Jesus finally sends out the ‘sent ones.’ They go with nothing but their faith in Jesus. They need to trust Jesus for their own provision and for the power to do the ministry he assigns them. And it works! They are able to do exactly what he has done: preach the message, cast out demons, and heal the sick. They become carriers of Jesus’ kingdom.

Taking it Home:

  • For you: Jesus tells the disciples to be a guest in only one home. He wants them to focus on depth rather than breadth. In the long term, the village gets a better hold of the kingdom of God if the disciples spend a lot of time with one family than a little time with every family. Jesus wants them to stay with one family so that that family can really get to know the apostles and the apostles can really get to know them. So that they can see one another at their best and worst, and so that they can have influence on one another. What would it mean for you to focus on ‘only one home,’ one person or small group of people? What is attractive about that? Unattractive?
  • For your 6: Jesus says, ‘If a village won’t welcome you or listen to you, shake off its dust from your feet as you leave.’ In the end, Jesus lets people choose for themselves whether they will listen or not. He tells the disciples that if a town won’t listen to them, they should respect the choice, leave the town to its own decision, and find a more welcome place. To stay in the unwelcoming town would have been frustrating to the town and the disciples; and meanwhile a more responsive town may not have gotten the chance to hear the message. Has one of your 6 told you, in no uncertain terms, that they are not interested? It may be time for a strategic withdrawal. Commit that person to God, but perhaps it is time to focus your energies elsewhere.
  • For our church: Pray that our church would be marked by doing what Jesus does. Pray for more power to our message, more people free from the power of evil spirits, and more physical healing. We don’t want to leave out any part of the message Jesus gave us.