Summary: Jesus could do no great work in Nazareth because of the sin of unbelief.
The Sin of Unbelief
(also found in Matthew 13:53-58)
Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.” Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.
Introduction - Mural artist J. H. Zorthian
A mural artist named J.H. Zorthian read about a tiny boy who had been killed in traffic. His stomach churned as he thought of that ever happening to one of his three children. His worry became an inescapable anxiety. The more he imagined such a tragedy, the more fearful he became. His effectiveness as an artist was put on hold once he started running scared. At last he surrendered to his obsession. Canceling his negotiations to purchase a large house in busy Pasadena, California, he began to seek a place where his children would be safe.
His pursuit became so intense that he set aside all his work while scheming and planning every possible means to protect his children from harm. He tried to imagine the presence of danger in everything. The location of the residence was critical. It must be sizable and remote, so he bought twelve acres, perched on a mountain at the end of a long, winding, narrow road. At each turn along the road he posted signs, "Children at Play." Before starting construction on the house itself, Zorthian personally built and fenced a play yard for his three children. He built it in such a way that it was impossible for a car to get within fifty feet of it. Next...the house.
With meticulous care he blended beauty and safety into the place. He put into it various shades of the designs he had concentrated in the murals he had hanging in forty-two public buildings in eastern cities. Only this time his objective was more than colorful art...most of all, it had to be safe and secure. He made sure of that. Finally, the garage was to be built. Only one automobile ever drove into that garage--Zorthian’s. He stood back and surveyed every possibility of danger to his children. He could think of only one remaining hazard. He had to back out of the garage. He might, in some hurried moment, back over one of the children. He immediately made plans for a protected turnaround. The contractor returned and set the forms for that additional area, but before the cement could be poured, a downpour stopped the project. It was the first rainfall in many weeks of a long West Coast drought. It if had not rained that week, the concrete turn-around would have been completed and been in use by Sunday. That was February 9, 1947... the day his eighteen-month old son, Tiran, squirmed away from his sister’s grasp and ran behind the car as Zorthian drove it from the garage. The child was killed instantly. Swindoll, The Quest For Character, Multnomah, p. 81-2.
We, like Zorthian, can project a fearful and fatalistic element in our lives. It is the act of unbelief. God is in control of all things and wants us to enjoy a full relationship with Him. We must learn to trust Him in every aspect of our lives.
In verses 1-2, we see…
An Art of PESSIMISM
We see the love and Affection of Jesus displayed. Rejected once before by His family and community, Jesus returned to His hometown of Nazareth. He loved the folks in His community. He wanted them to experience the love and forgiveness God was offering. So, attending the synagogue on the Sabbath, He taught the Word and demonstrated His power in their presence.
But, notice the community’s Perception of Jesus. Yes, they may have considered Him a Rabbi or teacher, but He couldn’t be anything more than that! They considered His education and upbringing. Why, He grew up among them and their children. He was one of them. He certainly couldn’t be the Messiah.
Then detect the obvious Rejection of Jesus. He came unto His own and was rejected by them. They simply would not trust Him for who he said he was.