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They Took Offense at Him
Tony Chute, Interim Pastor
Overview: The return of Jesus to Nazareth is met with skepticism from those who associate Him with their hometown, rather than the heavenly kingdom. Despite His powerful preaching and healing ability, they fail to grasp how a person so familiar to them can be so famous, thus leading them to dismiss Jesus as less than a prophet. Their unbelief prevents them from receiving the benefits of the kingdom but does not hinder the ultimate growth of the kingdom as Jesus delegates His authority to the apostles in order to spread His message far and wide. The impact of their work is so great that King Herod hears of it and mistakenly believes that his past deeds have returned to haunt him. Mark thus leaves us with the simple yet somber reality that the gospel is not good news to those who have a low view of Jesus and high view of themselves.
01. The gospel message is the same for all people everywhere, requiring repentance from sin and faith in Christ in order to be forgiven by God.
02. The gospel messenger is to preach to all people everywhere, regardless of rejection from friends or fear of authority in order to be faithful to God.
03. The gospel has meaning for all people everywhere, relieving us from living without purpose while reorienting our hearts to find fulfillment in God.
Questions for Discussion and Discovery
1.How did Jesus’s family and friends perceive Him when He returned home? What accounts for the fact that they minimized His reputation even though they had heard Him teach? Shouldn’t healing even a few sick people (verse 5) have enabled them to see that His claims were true? What was Jesus’s reaction (verse 6)?
2. Even though Jesus’s brothers and sisters struggled with His messianic identity, we know that James became a significant leader in the early church and that he was martyred for his faith in Christ (Acts 12:17; 15:13; 1 Corinthians 15:7; Galatians 1:19; 2:9, 12). In what ways does James’s life encourage us about our family members who may not yet be believers?
3. Describe the pattern for missionary work according to 6:7-13. Why did Jesus send the disciples out “two by two”? Why were they limited with respect to material possessions? What were their responsibilities with regard to housing accommodations? How might these instructions apply to those who go forth sharing the gospel today? What traps or temptations should Christians be aware of when sharing the gospel with others?
4.What prompted Herod’s fears about Jesus? What does this suggest about Herod’s conscience even after the death of John the Baptist? What opportunities did Herod receive in his life that should have led him to follow Jesus? Do you know people in powerful positions who believe their lives are still empty?
5. Overall, what warning does this section provide to those who preach the gospel? How might they be received by friends and family, or those in powerful positions? What comforts for messengers of the gospel are also evident in this section?
For Further Reading: Robert Coleman, The Master Plan of Evangelism (Revell, 1963; 2nd edition, 2006).