Mark 6:1
What is written in this passage is not to be understood as following close upon the speaking of the four parables from the ship, and the three following upon them, and which were spoken in the house. Nevertheless, the Evangelist Matthew furnishes us with the suggestive link, which consists of the fifty-third verse. The parables, with all their Divine fulness of meaning, whether more or less mystic, and whether those to the multitude and disciples, or to the disciples alone, are for the present "finished." But "wisdom and mighty works" are not finished; and he who speaks the wisdom and who does the mighty works journeys untiringly elsewhere, and with his face toward "his own country." Notice -

I. A CERTAIN POSITION OF HUMAN NATURE HERE DESCRIBED - VIZ. CONVICTION ITSELF, CONFRONTED BY A STUMBLING BLOCK. The "wisdom" and the "mighty works" are not denied, are not doubted; are asserted and proclaimed. The material of conviction was all present, and its work asserted itself. The way is surely perfectly plain for the human mind, and what further need be said?

II. A CERTAIN ATTITUDE OF HUMAN NATURE UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES DESCRIBED. It is an uneasy attitude, one of uncertainty, one of casting about, how it is possible to make a difficulty, to get over, and conquer plain duty. It may be readily granted that there did exist a difficulty not inconsiderable for those who are here spoken of; that a difficulty was present in the very existence of so great a cause for wonder; that the difficulty was not lessened by the fact that he who was now the centre of observation and of admiration, and, to say the least of it, of unparalleled surprise, had been one familiarly known, and his family familiarly known, and familiarly known not as among those who were princes of the world in wealth, or in station, or in power and exalted sphere of influence.

III. A CERTAIN UNSATISFACTORY, INCONSEQUENTIAL, AND UTTERLY RECKLESS TREATMENT OF THE DILEMMA BETWEEN THE DIFFICULTY AND THE CONFESSED TO CONVICTION. It is the treatment called defiance. The difficulty is not reasoned out to the end; nor is it treasured in reverent patience to await further light; nor is its comparative, practical, unimportance acknowledged, and permitted to relegate it to its proper subordinate place. But the difficulty is petted and made much of, while conviction is defied, and conscience is dishonoured. These are bowed off the solemn scene; and with them another retreats awhile at least. It is he of whom it is said, "He could do no mighty work there, save that he laid his hands on a few sick folk, and healed them;" and again, "He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief;" and, "He marvelled because of their unbelief." Some day later, when their eyes were perforce opened, and something beside their eyes also, what a marvel, what a reproach, what a remorse, that identical instance and working of "unbelief" must have been to them! - B.







And He went out from thence, and came into His own country.
I. GRACIOUS CONDESCENSION. Jesus, although He had been cruelly treated at Nazareth, once more turns His steps homewards. Jesus practised what He preached (Matthew 18:21, 22). Love of home natural to men. Thoughts suggested by visits home. How shall we be received — welcomed or sighted? Have we so passed our time since we left home, that we may deserve a cordial reception; or may even some poor Nazareth be justifiably ashamed of us?

II. UNWORTHY PREJUDICES. "He came to His own and His own received Him not." Neither did His brethren believe in Him (John 7:5). Why? Because He was known to them; and was poor and of lowly origin. Some look at religion as children at books, more attracted by the binding than the contents.

III. FATAL REJECTION. Nazareth turned its back on Jesus. He left never to return. Learn:

I.To do good to those who despitefully use us and persecute us.

II.To guard against evil and ignorant prejudices.

III.To take heed how we reject Jesus.

IV.To beseech Him to return and save us, if we have thoughtlessly or wilfully slighted Him.

(J. C. Gray.)

Was it not a strange metamorphosis to Him — once a peasant lad; now the Light of the world! And yet here are surroundings unchanged, and natures as narrow and stupid as ever, and He, having moved away from them as the infinite is remote from the finite; He, able to heal the sick and forgive sins by a word, and they helpless and hopeless in both body and soul. As He spoke, authority seemed to voice itself in natural, faultless utterance. He had not gained this gift at the feet of any sage. Public debate could not confer it. The people were astonished. Such wisdom and such deeds are not in the carpenter's line, they said.

I. THE SINNER CANNOT UNDERSTAND NOR ENDURE THE SAINT. Humanity cannot comprehend divinity. Now, no more than then, is there any room for Christ where Satan rules.

II. GOD'S GREATEST BLESSINGS ARE OFTEN PREVENTED BY MAN'S DISTRUST. Unbelief forfeits infinite mercies. So does unauthorized credulity.

(De W. S. Clark.)

Our Lord may have had two reasons for leaving Capernaum and for visiting Nazareth. One, a personal reason — to see His mother and His sisters, who seem to have been married there. The other, a ministerial reason — to escape from the busy throngs who resorted to Him by the lake, and to take a new centre for evangelistic labours on the part of Himself and His disciples.

I. THE UNREASONABLENESS AND INEXCUSABLENESS OF UNBELIEF IN CHRIST.

1. He was well-known to them. They had hitherto always found Him true and upright; therefore they ought to have candidly considered His claims.

2. He brought with Him a great and acknowledged reputation.

3. He came to Nazareth and taught publicly, thus giving His townsmen an opportunity of judging for themselves of His wisdom and moral authority.

II. THE GROUNDS OF UNBELIEF IN CHRIST.

1. Prejudice on account of His origin and circumstances.

2. His educational deficiency. He had not been trained in the rabbinical schools, so they thought nothing of Him.

III. THE REBUKE OF UNBELIEF. "A prophet is not without honour," etc. There was sadness in Christ's language and tone. Yet what a reproach to the unbelieving! They might be offended; there were others who would believe, evince gratitude, and render honour.

IV. THE CONSEQUENCES OF UNBELIEF.

1. Christ "marvelled."

2. The results to the people of the town were lamentable — "He could do no mighty work."

3. Benefit to others — "He went round about the villages, teaching." The indifference or contempt of the unspiritual and self-sufficient may be the occasion of enlightenment and consolation to the lowly, receptive, needy. Application:(a) The coming of Christ to a soul, or community, is a moral probation involving serious responsibility.(b) It is the most fatal guilt and folly, in considering the claims of Christ, to overlook the wisdom and grace of His character and ministry, and to regard circumstances at which the superficial and carnal may take offence.

(J. R. Thomson, M A.)

By going thither —

I. HE GRATIFIED A HUMAN YEARNING.

II. HE ILLUSTRATED AFRESH AN OLD AND FAMILIAR EXPERIENCE.

1. He was one of many, yet by Himself even in this.

2. One of the greatest of griefs to a pious spirit, to be hindered from doing good and conferring benefit.

3. A greater humiliation than His human birth, because a moral one consciously experienced.

III. HE EXHIBITED DIVINE MERCY.

1. Past offences were forgiven.

2. Although conscious of restriction because of their unbelief and indifference, He still persisted in His works of mercy.

(A. F. Muir, M. A.)

I. INDIFFERENCE TO CHRIST SOMETIMES ARISES FROM FAMILIARITY WITH HIS SURROUNDINGS. Beware of that familiarity with sacred things which deadens spiritual sensibility.

II. CONTEMPT FOR CHRIST SOMETIMES SPRINGS FROM ASSOCIATION WITH HIS FRIENDS.

III. THE REJECTION OF CHRIST BRINGS ABOUT A WITHDRAWAL OF HIS INFLUENCE — "He could not," etc. His power was omnipotent, but, it conditioned itself, as infinite power always does in this world; and by this limitation it was not lessened, but was glorified as moral and spiritual power. If faith, the ethical condition, be absent, we bind the Saviour's hands, and He cannot do for us what He would. He does not wish to leave us, but He must; old impressions become feebler, the once sensitive heart waxes dull.

(A. Rowland, LL. B.)

I. THE WONDERS IN EVERYDAY LIFE. Growth of knowledge and experience; change of circumstances, etc.

II. THE JEALOUSY OF HOME-GROWN GREATNESS. Tyranny of custom. Beware of egotism, shutting out from light and beauty, divinity and blessedness.

III. THE MOST INVINCIBLE OBSTACLE IS THE WILL OF MAN. Against stupidity even the gods fight in vain! When the business of the kingdom seems at a standstill, ask whether the cause be not want of wish, will, prayer.

(E. Johnson, M. A.)

I. HOW THIS IS DONE.

1. By attributing Divine effects to secondary causes,

2. Absence of faith and spiritual sympathy.

3. By being offended at the mystery of His humiliation, either in Himself or in His followers.

II. WHAT IT PRODUCES.

1. Unsatisfied indecision.

2. Hardening of heart.

3. The doubter's own loss.

(A. F. Muir, M. A.)

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