“’Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?’ And they took offense at him.” — Mark 6:3
THINK ABOUT IT
Read the context of this verse in Mark 6:1-6.
Where is Jesus at this moment?
What is he doing?
What is the response?
What is the problem?
What is the result?
Most of us would have no difficulty in understanding why the people who know us the best, would chose to reject what we believe. After all, we should be the first to admit that in spite of our best efforts, (or lack of them) we are not always very good witnesses to the changes that Christ can make in the lives of those who name Him as Saviour and Lord. Most of the time we can fool those who don’t know us well, but it is difficult to fool those who do.
We are told in Luke 2:40, 52 that Jesus “grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him” and [he] “grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men”. Because He was the perfect Son of God, Jesús didn’t have any “wrinkles”, failings, sins or anything else that anyone could accuse Him of, or reject Him for. In fact the “neighbours” mentioned in Mark 6 were impressed by His wisdom and His ability to do miracles.
So why did they reject Him?
They rejected Him because He was a carpenter. They rejected Him because they knew His family. It isn’t so strange actually. Even today, those who don’t meet our culturally accepted standards, are rejected in spite of what they have to contribute. The “right” education, the “right” position, the “right” amount of power and money, the “right” appearance, the “right” family, the “right” colour, the “right” sex, the “right” connections, the “right” car, the “right” side of town or side of the tracks, and on it goes.
Just think, these people rejected Jesus the Saviour of the world, in spite of His wisdom, His miracles and His character, because He had helped His father in the carpenter’s shop, and because they knew His family’s humble origins (we can’t legitimately assume that His brothers and sisters had done anything to have gained a bad reputation). This was prejudice at its worst.
“They took offense at him”. Not His message, or His wisdom, or His miracles, but they were offended by Him personally. Why? We would need some sanctified imagination to project a reason for this offense. But here’s an idea. How dare Jesus, the carpenter and son of a carpenter, presume to instruct them on how they should live, and what they should do to make peace with God. How dare a ‘nobody’ tell the ‘somebodies’ what to do!
Pride is a terrible thing, which probably is why it is numbered among the seven deadly sins, and why it is so often mentioned as a curse in Scripture. The moment I think I am more than I am, I am in mortal danger of slamming the door in the face of the One who made me, and who works to make me, all that I can be. All that I am and have has its source in Him. No one but a carpenter could make a beautiful piece of furniture out of a lump of rough wood.
Humble men, men ready to acknowledge their need of a Saviour, would be the ones who saw a carpenter, but didn’t care. They would see humble origins, but these would be meaningless. Because they would see more. They would see the man and His message and know that what He offered was exactly what they needed.
In verse 6 in the passage in Mark we are told that Jesus was amazed at their lack of faith. It is much easier to follow the one who does, is, has, and claims all the ‘right’ things. But true faith is believing in the absence of worldly logic and worldly criteria. Faith takes us out of the box.
PRAY ABOUT IT
A humble stable. A carpenter’s shop. A Roman cross. I embrace them Lord bcause they show me the depth of your love for me. You willingly humbled yourself so that I, the most humble of creatures, could be reached and rescued. I praise you and I exalt you, oh God, and lift you up. Forgive me if I have looked for you in the wrong places, or judged by the wrong standards. Help me to look past the outward and appreciate the real value of the inward. Amen.
ACT ON IT
Lots of people are offended at Christ even today. What are some of the reasons that are given for this offense?
___He calls me a sinner
___He doesn’t answer my prayers
___I don’t like His prohibitions on my life
___He should have come as a King, a Judge, a Conqueror to fix all these wrongs
___He is exclusive and not inclusive
___Who would worship a man who died, nailed to a cross?
___The idea of being covered by His blood makes me sick to my stomach
___Those who call themselves ‘christians’ don’t act much like it
Have you ever been offended by Him? Why or why not?
Christ was not what people expected and for that He was rejected. True faith can only be exercised when we put aside our expectations, our criteria, our prejudices and empty ourselves of ourselves so that He can do in us, and through us, what He knows is best.
Give Him those expectations, criteria, prejudices. Empty yourself of everything BUT Him.