Summary: Frequently we settle for less, missing out on God's best. Nazareth could have had Jesus, but they rejected Him and missed the healing and deliverance they could have had.
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.