He departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples. When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands! Is he not
the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.” So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith. ~Mark 6:1-6a (NABRE)
Prior to Jesus arriving in his home town he had been traveling around teaching and performing miracles. Everywhere he went people would crowd around him asking to be healed. They huddled close to hear his teachings. There was the woman with the hemorrhage who had so much faith that she knew if she only touched his clothes that she would be healed. Complete strangers had such faith in him that they sought him out. I do believe that Jesus was more humble than most of us would be in this situation. If it was me, I would be feeling good about all the things I was doing and the number of people showing up to hear what I had to say. He was working toward rock star status. His groupies followed him from town-to-town and there were the crowds crushing around just to be near him.
Then he arrived in his home town. This is the place where he should be an even bigger star, right? They knew him before he went out and became important. They acknowledge that he has done might deeds and that he speaks a lot of wisdom, yet in the end they reject him and have little faith. I can almost hear one of the men in the neighborhood who used to play ball with Jesus when they were younger, “Yeah, I knew Jesus before he became famous. Sure, he can heal the blind, but when we were kids he never wanted to do anything fun. We would play tricks on our other friends, but he was too good to join in on the fun. He’s nothing special. I don’t understand what all the hoopla was about. It’s just Jesus.”
Many people feel like that in their own families. They go out into the world and make a career for themselves or gain notoriety for something they’ve done. Yet, when they go home they don’t carry the same status. They are treated just like they were before they made a name for themselves. Some people might be very happy with this kind of treatment. Others, like Jesus, are disappointed because not only are they being rejected, but the good that they can do is being rejected as well. How many people in Nazareth could have benefitted from not only the healings, but also the knowledge and faith in God that Jesus was teaching?
Jesus tells us that this is going to happen, but you must stick strong to your principles. No matter what people tell you or ridicule you, your belief in Jesus and your love of God must always come first. You can’t give into the feelings of rejection that might happen due to your faith.
“I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”Luke 12:49-53 (NABRE)
This verse from Luke is very personal to me. When I think about rejection in the Bible this verse always comes to mind. I grew up in a household that considered ourselves to be Methodist, yet we really didn’t attend church or talk a whole lot about God. As Protestants we really didn’t care for Catholics and how we thought they were a bunch of hypocrites who would “sin” throughout the week and then be considered clean after going to confession. Then I married my husband and decided that I wanted to become a Catholic. While going through RCIA (Roman Catholic Initiation for Adults) I read the Bible for the first time and talked about how the readings affected me. I never really talked to my parents or sister about becoming Catholic because I didn’t think they would be very happy about it. I didn’t want to see the disappointment in their eyes or know what they were thinking about the Catholic faith. My parents love me very much and are supportive of me, even if we don’t see things from the same point of view. At this time in my life I knew that a relationship with God, and one formed in the Catholic church, was very important to me. When I read this verse from Luke I knew that this could possibly be my reality. I knew that I would choose my faith over my parents’ feelings.
Rejection hurts, no matter who is rejecting you. If you are sticking to your faith and principles then it doesn’t matter who rejects you here on earth because your heavenly Father will welcome you with open arms. Just keep the love of God in your heart and let the holy Spirit move you. You are wonderfully made in God’s own image. You are loved.