THEY COULD HAVE HAD JESUS
1. I heard about a man who asked his pastor, “My grandmother dips snuff. Can she go to heaven if she dips snuff?”
2. The pastor replied, “Yes, your grandmother can go to heaven if she dips snuff. But, she’ll have to go to hell if she wants to spit.”
3. You just can’t do some things in heaven!
Mark 6:1 Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. 2 When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. “Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? 3 Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. 4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” 5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 He was amazed at their lack of faith.”
1. In the Harmony of the Gospels, which catalogs all the things Jesus did and where He went during His life, Mark 6:1-6 is actually Jesus’ SECOND ministry trip to Nazareth.
2. Luke 4:14-30 records the first visit, some year or two before, where Christ was treated terribly! Here’s a summary:
a. Immediately after Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness, He began His ministry, preaching and healing in Capernaum (Lk. 4:23) and a few other Galilean synagogues/towns.
b. In the Nazareth synagogue, He read Isaiah 61:1-2 and said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” They were amazed, but asked, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”
c. Jesus told them they wanted Him to do there what he’d done at Capernaum, but reminded them, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown.” Then he told how Elijah had only healed at Zarephath and Elisha only healed Naaman the Syrian.
d. THEIR RESPONSE? “All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff.” Lk. 4:28-29. But he just walked away.
3. What a terrible reception of the Son of God! Especially since He should have been a “Hometown Hero!”
4. The title of tonight’s message is, “They Could Have Had Jesus!”
I. NAZARETH EQUALS ‘OPPORTUNITY FROM GOD’
A. A CITY GREATLY FAVORED BY GOD
1. Matthew said that it had long been prophesied that the Messiah would someday live in Nazareth, according to Matt. 2:23.
2. The Angel Gabriel, God’s special messenger, who had appeared to the Prophet Daniel (8:16;9:21), was sent to Nazareth to speak to Mary about being the mother of Christ (Lk. 1:26). The angels knew the significance of this town.
3. Nazareth was blessed to have the Messiah Himself live and work among them for about 26 years.
4. The title of the Messiah became permanently linked to Nazareth. What a great honor for a tiny town! “Jesus of Nazareth” is listed 13 times, even though he wasn’t born there.
5. The demons recognized the town of Nazareth as a place Jesus had lived (Mk. 1:24). Even the darkness knew of it.
6. After He began His ministry, Jesus returned and ministered to the people of Nazareth twice.
7. So Nazareth got a far larger exposure to Jesus Christ than any other city in Palestine! They should have been His greatest supporters, right?
B. THE DANGER OF FAMILIARITY
1. We see what happened to Jesus when he went back to his hometown of Nazareth.
2. "Familiarity breeds contempt" Listen carefully. "Familiarity breeds contempt," but only with contemptible things or among contemptible people. The contempt shown by the Nazarenes said nothing about Jesus Christ, but it said a great deal about them!
3. I’m convinced that most people are not opposed to having people from their home town become successful or even famous. Yet we’re so familiar with those we grew up with that we often fail to see the potential, the greatness in them.
4. How often have we heard someone place a slur toward some successful person that they knew in their youth instead of rejoicing. They seem to be surprised and even suspicious (or jealous?) of their success.
5. If we’re not careful we could miss much of what is important in life by having a limited vision. GOD in someone’s life can have a transformational power that may defy logic or experience.
6. Many people who’ve been thought hopeless have been saved and delivered and became completely different kinds of people than they were before. ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WITH GOD. LET’S NOT LIMIT WHAT GOD CAN DO! THAT’S WHAT NAZARETH DID.
II. OPPORTUNITY MISSED
A. “I COULD HAVE HAD A V-8”
1. You probably remember the vegetable juice commercial where someone would drink a soft drink and then realize that they had missed out on something better. The commercial would end, "Wow, I could have had a V8.
3. That’s a catchy phrase but also has a spiritual application:
You don’t want to miss out on what God has in store for you!
4. When you can have Jesus, why would you settle for less?
a. When you can have God’s peace;
b. When you can have God’s direction;
c. When you can have God’s blessings, WHY WOULD YOU SETTLE FOR LESS?
B. A SECOND CHANCE FOR NAZARETH
1. In Mark 6, Jesus returns to Nazareth where a year before He had been rejected by the people and evicted from the synagogue (Luke 4:16--30). It was certainly an act of grace on His part to give the people another opportunity to hear His word.
2. Another opportunity to believe. Another opportunity to be saved. Yet their hearts remained hardened. They could have had Jesus but they chose unbelief.
3. In the previous chapter Mark records how Jesus had performed great miracles throughout the Region. He had healed the man possessed by a legion of devils (Mark 5:1-20); He’d raised Jairus' (Jair-us) 12 year old daughter from the dead (Mark 5:21-43), the woman with the issue of blood, etc.
4. And now we see Jesus' returning home to Nazareth after 2 successful years ministry, in order to find some rest.
5. Our Lord's reputation had once again preceded Him, so He was permitted to teach in the synagogue. "On the Sabbath he began to teach in the Synagogue and many who heard him were astounded" (Mark 6:2).
6. Mark does not actually tell us what flamed the controversy.
Evidently Jesus teaching must have touched a sensitive spot in their souls.
III. THE RESPONSE OF THE NAZARENES
A. THEIR RESPONSE: OFFENDED
1. For we read how the Nazarenes responded: BIBLE "Where did this man get all this?" "What is this wisdom that has been given him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James, Joses, Judas and Simon and are not his sisters here with us?" And they took offence at him." (Mark 6:3) They were offended by Him.
2. The contrast between a peasant carpenter of Galilee who had earned His daily bread by the sweat of His brow, With the Prophet who delivered those wonderful discourses and performed those miracles, was too much for His townspeople.
3. “Amazed” (6:2). The Greek verb is ekplesso which means "to strike out, to expel by a blow." The verb is imperfect, indicating that this condition of being beside themselves (“stunned”) continued for some time.
4. Their astonishment was so great that their composure was exhausted. They took offence.
B. UNBELIEF LIMITED WHAT JESUS COULD DO THERE
1. And in this state of unbelief they brought no one to Jesus therefore no miracles could occur. They could have had Jesus but they chose unbelief.
2. "He (Jesus) could do no deed of power there (in Nazareth), except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief." (Mark 6:5-6)
3. He could do no deed of power there. The word "no" is fully translated from the Greek word "ou-de-mian" meaning "not even one." So why could Jesus do no deed of power in Nazareth?
4. Many Greek Scholars are convinced that the people of Nazareth were so consistently unbelieving that they wouldn’t even bring their sick to Him to be healed.
5. Even the few sick people that were cured were not sick from diseases. The word translated "sick" used in this text is the Greek word arrostois which is a sickness regarded as constitutional weakness – “feeble, sickly.”
6. Not a sickness from disease! The people of Nazareth accepted what the world had to offer when they could have had Jesus
C. ARE WE LIKE NAZARETH?
1. His Hometown rejected him. So where is the hometown of Jesus today? Where would Jesus go to be with his People?
2. I believe the church is Jesus' hometown today. Jesus said, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” (Mt. 18:20).
3. God's spiritual kingdom is here in this place. Are we responding to Him with faith, expecting the miraculous?
4. Are you believing Jesus is who He says He is? Are you bringing your needs to the Lord? Are you expecting healing? Are you claiming His peace, or are you limiting God?
1. In 2003, a well-known minister and his wife were in New York. They checked out of their hotel and went to the airport to catch a flight to Dallas.
2. Once at the airport, it was shut down due to a power grid failure across the eastern seaboard. The minister finally got another hotel room, but with no power, food, or hot water. Just candles, hot air, and the sweaty bed.
3. He looked out his window and saw a Marriott hotel a block away completely lit up, with music, laughter, food and drink flowing. All the rest of the city was dark.
4. He walked over, watched some satellite TV, and asked the assistant manager, "Why is the rest of the city dark and yet you’re lit up like a Christmas tree? How can this be?"
5. The manager said, "It's very simple. When we built this hotel, we built it with a large gas generator in the basement. WE’VE GOT POWER ON THE INSIDE THAT’S NOT DETERMINED BY CIRCUMSTANCES ON THE OUTSIDE. Even if there's nothing happening out there, there's plenty happening in here."
6. When you accepted Jesus Christ, He came into the inside. So what's happening on the outside shouldn't
determine whether or not you've got a lighthouse on the inside. What's happening outside shouldn't determine your joy.
7. God has given you a power in your soul through your relationship with Jesus Christ. We don't have to live our lives as derived from life's circumstances. [Tony Evans Bk. of Illus., # 113].
B. THE CALL
1. Jesus was in the midst of Nazareth yet they rejected him. Jesus is in our midst tonight: are you reaching out to him?
2. Yield to him. Allow him to be not only your Savior but your Lord. Be a people of expectation. Allow Jesus to touch you and heal you.
3. Paul said, “I can do all things all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phip. 4:13). So can you. Step out of the boat and walk on the water with Jesus!
[This is a rewrite of Jeffrey Smead’s excellent message of the same title.]