Rejection is awful no matter how you look at it. The key is not to let it get you down or stop you from continuing your work. In this next chapter of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus faces rejection in His hometown of Nazareth. Later, He sends His disciples out to preach the Good News, but warns them that they’ll probably get rejected. The key is finding the people with the right attitude. Let’s dig in…
Mark 6:1-13 – Jesus Rejected in Nazareth
Jesus left that part of the country and returned with his disciples to Nazareth, his hometown. 2 The next Sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. They asked, “Where did he get all this wisdom and the power to perform such miracles?” 3 Then they scoffed, “He’s just a carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph,[b] Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us.” They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him.
4 Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.” 5 And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 And he was amazed at their unbelief.
Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Disciples
Then Jesus went from village to village, teaching the people. 7 And he called his twelve disciples together and began sending them out two by two, giving them authority to cast out evil spirits. 8 He told them to take nothing for their journey except a walking stick—no food, no traveler’s bag, no money. 9 He allowed them to wear sandals but not to take a change of clothes.
10 “Wherever you go,” he said, “stay in the same house until you leave town. 11 But if any place refuses to welcome you or listen to you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.”
12 So the disciples went out, telling everyone they met to repent of their sins and turn to God. 13 And they cast out many demons and healed many sick people, anointing them with olive oil.Mark 6:1-13 NLT
Rejected in His Hometown
- He went to the synagogue, which is NOT a temple. There was only one temple (Herod’s) at that time and it was in Jerusalem. “Synagogue” means gathering place. This started during the Babylonian exile after Solomon’s Temple was destroyed and the Jews had no where to meet. It started in people’s homes, then buildings were built specifically as meeting halls. They met every Sabbath and on special days. The Sabbath worship consisted of…
- The Synagogue was the appropriate and expected place to hear teachings about spiritual matters.
- The folks in Nazareth, where Jesus grew up, knew Him as a carpenter. The Greek word used here for carpenter is “tekton” — a technical carpenter — a detailed craftsman. Still, the way they said it implied that Jesus was an ordinary man, not a learned rabbi. Yet, He had been preaching and teaching for sometime and had a following.
- He was also called the “Son of Mary”. This was an insult. Pastor Sandy Adams explains…
In ancient Israel men were referred to by the patriarch’s name – even if the father was deceased. By calling Jesus the “the Son of Mary” they were questioning His parentage. Jesus’ hometown crowd remembered the scandal surrounding His birth. Mary had turned up pregnant before her marriage to Joseph, and few people believed her explanation of a miracle. By calling Jesus, “the Son of Mary,” the Nazarenes were saying, “We don’t know who His father was?”Sandy Adams
- They know Jesus’ brothers and sisters. Notice it says “brothers and sisters”, NOT “cousins”. The Roman Catholic Church would have you believe that these were His cousins and that Mary was a virgin forever. That is a lie, a deception. Here is the truth about Mary.
- In John 7, we read that His brothers didn’t believe in Him.
- Luke tells this story with more detail as to what Jesus taught and how the crowd did not receive nor believe His Good News.
I get it. My job and mission is to share the truth whether people like it or not. If a reader or listener doesn’t want to accept it, that’s their problem and I pray that God would soften their hard hearts to understand what the Spirit is trying to tell them. I keep going. If it’s a discussion online, I share the truth and move on. I refuse to argue or debate. Jesus didn’t let rejection stop Him and it won’t stop me.
Even though, because of their unbelief, He couldn’t do miracles, Jesus healed people anyway and went on to preach elsewhere. Yet, He was amazed at their unbelief.
I, too, am amazed when I hear or see the false teachings being spread out there.
Sent Out 2-by-2
Now you know why Jesus picked 12 disciples — an even number. Given that, part of the 12 was Judas, which makes you stop an think — was he always bad? Maybe not. In the Book of Acts, you see that disciples were always going out in pairs…
- Peter and John
- Barnabas and Paul and later…
- Barnabas and Mark
- Paul and Silas
- 2 or more witnesses displayed credibility
- Safety and assistance. This goes all the way back to Solomon’s wisdom in Ecclesiastes and Proverbs…
9 Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. 11 Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? 12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer.Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NLT
As iron sharpens iron,Proverbs 27:17 NLT
so a friend sharpens a friend.
- Remembering and reporting everything that Jesus said.
- Accountability — it all had to be accurate.
Jesus gave them the authority over unclean/evil spirits and demons. He had and still has ultimate authority. Today, we can do anything THROUGH CHRIST who strengthens us. We have the power of the NAME of JESUS. In the Great Commission, Jesus told us…
“I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”Matthew 28:18-20 NLT
Jesus also warned them to keep walking if they were rejected. Like God warned the prophet Ezekiel that He was to preach God’s message to the Jews in Babylonian exile, but they would not listen to him. They had hard hearts of stone.
Paul had an interesting experience in Corinth…
4 Each Sabbath found Paul at the synagogue, trying to convince the Jews and Greeks alike. 5 And after Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul spent all his time preaching the word. He testified to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. 6 But when they opposed and insulted him, Paul shook the dust from his clothes and said, “Your blood is upon your own heads—I am innocent. From now on I will go preach to the Gentiles.”Acts 18:4-6 NLT
Today, people have…
- Hard hearts – they don’t want to hear it. They are like the path where the seed (the Good News) falls and the birds eat it. There’s nowhere in their hearts for the Word of God to take root.
- Scarred hearts – these folks have had a bad experience in a church and think that all churches are the same. That’s unfortunate, because it’s not true. The thing is that salvation is NOT found in a church, but THROUGH JESUS.
- Deceived hearts – sadly, many churches and other religions don’t teach the truth. They brainwash and indoctrinate people with false teachings that only enslave them in a legalistic and works-based religion that only leads to hell.
Nevertheless, just like the sower, we keep sowing the seed of the Good News hoping, with God’s help, that it will find that good soil, take root and grow to be fruitful.
The Right Response is Repent and Turn to God!
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
- Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180 degree turn in your life and surrender your life to Him.
- Be Baptized by water baptism — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
- Receive the Holy Spirit in your heart.
A Message for Believers
Sometimes it’s hard to figure out a way to start a conversation with friends and family members who still are halfway Christians. You know you need to get them to understand the truth, but they are so indoctrinated in their false religion that they respond with animosity and rejection.
That’s why I wrote this ebook, The Catholic Mission Field in Our Backyards, which is available to download for free right here. It leads you to a different approach that gets the other person thinking if they are in the right place or not. As Greg Koukl puts it, “You put a pebble in their shoe.”