Summary: As Jesus returned to His hometown of Nazareth for the second time, His reception was any better than the first visit. He was not welcomed among His own people. This passage begs the question - is Jesus really wanted and welcome in the average church?
Is Jesus Welcome among Us?
Mark 6: 1-6
I trust we have met tonight to worship the Lord. He is our Savior, the Master of our lives, and the Rock upon which the church is built. Ours isn’t a civic organization conducting community business, but a living organism concerned with heavenly business.
We spend a lot of time at church, but is Jesus the focus of our gatherings? Are we determined to worship or have we come simply because we feel it is expected and we are obligated to attend?
It is very likely that many will meet tonight, in the name of Jesus, but He will be pushed aside for man’s agenda. In our text, Jesus came unto His own and His own received Him not. I would like to examine the details within the text as we consider the question: Is Jesus welcome among Us? You might consider that an odd question, but really it isn’t.
I. The Place of Nazareth (1) – And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him. In order to fully appreciate the text, we need to take a moment to consider the previous chapter. Jesus had healed the demonic of the Gadarenes. He had healed the woman with the issue of blood; and He had raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead. These were miraculous works, and now Jesus has come into His own country, the city of Nazareth. We find:
A. It was Familiar – This was the city where Jesus grew up. He had lived and worked among the people who lived there. They knew who Jesus was; His family lived there as well. Nazareth must have been dear to Jesus; this was His hometown.
Jesus knows all about us, even the secrets of our hearts, but are we familiar with Jesus? Do we enjoy a close relationship with Him? The presence of the Lord ought to be very familiar with those who belong to the Lord in salvation. Is Jesus wanted and welcome in our lives as He ought to be? Certainly we need to be familiar with Jesus.
However, as we will discover, it is possible to become too familiar with Jesus. Many have grown so accustomed to attending services and living a Christian life that they have lost their awe and wonder of the Lord.
B. It was Favored – This wasn’t the first time Jesus had returned to Nazareth since beginning His public ministry. He had been there very early in His ministry. Luke 4:16 – And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. During His first visit, the people wanted to throw Him down a hill and kill Him. He wasn’t received then, and yet Jesus has returned in the third year of His ministry. Although He had been rejected, He loved them and wanted to minister to them.
Aren’t you glad that His love and care for us doesn’t depend upon our attitudes, actions, or affections? There have been many times when I have failed to welcome or recognize Jesus, and yet He continues to care for me! His gracious love exceeds our failures. Luke 13:34 – O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!
II. The People of Nazareth (2-4) – It is important to remember, these people knew Jesus. Some were family members, and many were likely friends of His. You would think Jesus would have enjoyed a fruitful ministry in Nazareth. Consider:
A. Their Opportunity (2a) – And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: Jesus was always about His Father’s business. Many times He is found in the synagogues teaching the Word to those who will hear. They enjoyed a great privilege, having the opportunity to sit at the feet of Jesus and learn of Him as He expounded the Word.
We have never had the opportunity to sit at His feet in person, but we do have the opportunity to learn of Jesus every time we come to church, or open the Bible for that matter. We have the written Word that reveals the Living Word through the direction of the Holy Spirit. The people didn’t realize the magnitude of their opportunity. We are guilty of the same. Often we come with a half-hearted attitude, our mind on everything but the Lord, and leave wondering why we didn’t receive anything at church. Many give the Lord no thought prior to arriving for service.