Jumping back into our Gospel of Mark series with Part 6, Pastors Lauren and Chris lead us through discussion questions after watching the Francis Chan teaching video. This section of Mark is an understating one. Jesus travels back to His hometown of Nazareth. However, after teaching in the local synagogue, the people begin to recognize Him. But not in a good, “welcome home” kind of way. More like, “This guy? Oh that is just Joseph and Mary’s boy. The carpenter. He cannot be anything more than just that.”
Have you ever gone back to your hometown maybe after moving away for college or after getting married and relocating for a job? You hear all of the stories from old neighbors, people in the church, past teachers, friends, family. “Look it’s little _________. I remember when you were this tall.” Or it goes, “I remember when you were born.” Jesus must have been so discouraged. The scripture says, “He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.” (Mark 6:5-6)
Then Jesus sends out the 12 disciples on a test run for evangelism and healing. They go out and teach, heal, cast our impure spirits and people respond in powerful ways. What a difference from Jesus who was not even welcomed home in his childhood neighborhood. That was probably such a proud papa moment for Jesus. To see these guys who He has been pouring time, energy, teaching and patience with finally get it. How incredible!
But then word of John the Baptist’s death circulates. John has been imprisoned for teaching about Jesus and Herod had him locked up. This witness for Christ ultimately became the reason for his death. That must have been such a hard time for Jesus. His cousin who has less than 2 years earlier baptized Him in the Jordan river beginning Christ’s earthy ministry period.
Sometimes we can read through the scriptures and think that the only bad day that Jesus had was when He was on the cross. But I don’t think that is entirely true. Jesus had bad days just like us. We can see that right here in Mark 6:1-29. A bit of an emotional rollercoaster going back home and not being welcomed, to His disciples finally getting it and witnessing to others and then the news of your family being killed for their faith in you.
But Jesus kept going. There were days that Jesus hurt, that Jesus was sad, that Jesus lost family and friends. But this was the reason that Jesus came. To heal, to restore, to bring about salvation and Jesus knew the greater mission that God had sent him on. Was it going to be easy? Far from it. But was it going to be worth it? Absolutely!
- Think about your own spiritual journey and possible objections you had (or maybe still do have) to Jesus.
- What response to Jesus would you expect someone to have today?
- What role does repentance play in your life today?
- In what ways do you continue to repent in order to remain close to your Savior?
- What does Mark 6:7–13 say to modern disciples?
- How can you practically live like the disciples did here by engaging in conversation with others?
- Have you sacrificed something to follow Jesus?
- What does the cost of being Jesus’ disciple look like for you? Why is it worth the effort?
- How have you seen your faith grow in the past year? If not, why?