Ministering in Spite of Rejection

KEY VERSE: “A prophet is not without honor, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.” —Mark 6:4


JESUS DEVOTED THE first nine or ten months of his ministry to actively preaching in the vicinity of Capernaum, followed by a brief tour of Galilee. He then returned, along with his disciples, to Nazareth, where Joseph and Mary lived, and where he had grown up and worked as a carpenter. Jesus was evidently well liked by the townspeople. Since he had been accustomed to going to the synagogue there with his family, when he returned it seemed natural that he be invited to read from the Scriptures and to teach. The people were pleased, but also greatly surprised and impressed at his newly acquired abilities.

Those who remembered Jesus as a youth had a difficult time accepting him as a prophet in their midst. “Is not this the carpenter?” they asked. (Mark 6:3) We read that “they were offended,” or stumbled, over him. Yet they did not criticize Jesus for being a carpenter, one who had worked at an honest manual trade. Sometimes it is simply hard to accept someone we know as being very special. While Jesus made no claim to be a prophet, he pointed out in the words of our key verse, that familiarity often does tend to lessen respect.

Faith was a requisite for any who sought Jesus that they might be healed, and he marveled that he could do no mighty work in Nazareth (vs. 6), except for laying his hands on a few sick people, making them whole. Unbelief on the part of some definitely interfered with Jesus’ ability to heal them. Earlier, (Mark 5:34) Jesus had said to the woman who touched his garment, “Thy faith hath made thee whole.” Jesus cannot give gifts to those who do not expect or desire to receive them. He is ever ready to help us with those things we earnestly ask for, and that are in accordance with his will.

After spending some time in the villages around Nazareth, Jesus made a significant change in his work. He began to send the Twelve on special missions, furnished with power and authority over demons and to heal all manner of diseases. (Luke 9:1-5) They were to proclaim the Gospel of the kingdom, and present evidence using this power. The apostles, by traveling, in pairs, could provide much-needed encouragement for each other. They were instructed to carry no baggage to impede their work because God would provide all things needful for them—even money.

Further, they were counseled to rely upon the hospitality of the hearers to whom they ministered, and to avoid unnecessary changes of lodging. In addition, the disciples were admonished against wasting time in unreceptive situations, but when confronted with such an incident were advised to shake the dust off their feet and move on.

And this is a lesson for us, too. We are not to worry about indifferent response to our efforts when preaching the Gospel of the kingdom. We surely cannot teach others if they are unwilling to learn. Paul said, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.” (I Cor. 3:6) We are to do our very best to present the truth according to our ability, leaving the outcome to God.

When the disciples went out armed with Jesus’ instructions they did very well, preaching repentance for sins, casting out many demons, and anointing with oil many that were sick, and healing them. (Luke 9:1-5; Mark 6:12,13) Telling others the Gospel’s good news can be an exciting experience, and requires no special equipment. And, we are never alone! In brief, the final outcome of our activities is in the hands of God.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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