Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mark 6:1-6a, The Rejection of Jesus at Nazareth (The Study of Mark)

     1 And he went out from there and goes into his hometown1 , and his disciples follow him. 2 And after the Sabbath came2, he began to teach in the Synagogue3, and many who heard him were astonished saying, “From where does this man get these things, and what wisdom is given to this man that even such miracles4 happen through his hands? 3 Is this not5 the carpenter6, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joses7, Judas8, and Simon?9 And are not10 his sisters here with us?” And they were offended11 by him12 . 4 And Jesus was saying to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown, among his relatives, and among his own household13.” 5 And he was not able to do any miracles there except after laying hands on a few sick people, he healed them. 6a And he was amazed14 because of their unbelief15 . Mark 6:1-6a


The most interesting thing about this passage is that Mark doesn’t bother to name the city of Nazareth. Mark’s more interested in the response of the people of Jesus’ hometown. Mark has already mentioned that Jesus was from Nazareth in 1:9. The readers and the ones being read to are expected to remember that.

1 πατρίδα αὐτοῦ (his hometown)

or “his homeland”. Within the context of the passage, it is obvious that Jesus was back in a town as opposed to a wider range of land (homeland) even though the town Nazareth is not mentioned by Mark. Also, “town” is implied because Jesus goes into the local Synagogue.

2 καὶ γενομένου σαββάτου (and after the Sabbath came) 

Greek: “and the Sabbath became”.

3 Jesus would have had to be invited in order to speak and teach in the Synagogue. This indicates that Jesus was known for his teaching in lake-side city of Capernaum. It may be that the leaders of the Synagogue were curious as to what they had heard about Jesus and wanted to hear his teaching first hand.

4 αἱ δυνάμεις τοιαῦται (such miracles)

or “such powers”. It is interesting that Jesus has not done any miracles yet in the passage. There are two explanations that could be used for this passage: (1) They (the ones who are speaking) are referring to the miracles that they have heard of Jesus doing in Capernaum, (2) They are referring to the few miracles that Mark refers to in verse 5. Since Mark doesn’t mention anything about Jesus doing miracles until verse 5, the former explanation is the most likely.

5 οὐχ οὗτός ἐστιν (Is this not)

In Greek, when οὐ (οὐχ/not) is used with an indicative verb (ἐστιν/is), the use implies a “yes” answer from the ones who are being asked the question. The ones who asked this question knew that the answer would be “yes”.

6 ὁ τέκτων (the carpenter)

In the 1st century in Israel, a carpenter not only worked with wood, but would have been a stone mason as well. Most of the buildings would have been made of stone and wood.

7 Ἰωσῆτος (Joses) 

or possibly “Joseph”.

8 Ἰούδα (Judus) 

or “Judah” or “Jude”.

9 James, Joses, Judas, and Simon 

All of these names, along with the name of Jesus, were very common 
names in 1st century Israel.

10 οὐκ (not) 

See note 5.

11 ἐσκανδαλίζοντο (they were offended)

σκανδαλίζω can also mean “to cause to stumble” or “to cause to sin”. It can also mean “to be angry”. In context of this passage, the people were probably both offended and angry. Interesting enough, this is the verb form of the word σκάνδαλον (scandalon) which is where we get the english word “scandal”. In greek, σκάνδαλον means “a trap” or “a snare”. Today is means an event in which people can be offended about because it is considered morally wrong. I don’t think we can go as far as this in Mark 6:3, but it is obvious that the people of Nazareth didn’t think too highly of Jesus.

12 ἐν αὐτῷ (by him)

or “in him”. They were offended by Jesus’ teachings and what he was able to do.

13 ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ αὐτοῦ (among his own household)

Greek: “among his house”. In 3:21, Jesus’ family went to get him because they thought that Jesus was “out of his mind”. Jesus in indicating here that even his own family doesn’t honor him.

14 ἐθαύμαζεν (he was amazed)

or “he was marveling at”. This verb is in the imperfect which means that Jesus was continually marveling at the people of Nazareth. This shows just how human Jesus was. These people knew that Jesus could perform miracles, but they still didn’t want anything of it. Is there any doubt why Jesus was marveling at them?

15 διὰ τὴν ἀπιστίαν αὐτῶν (because of their unbelief)

or “because of their faithlessness”. Here is the first time we see that Jesus can be limited in what he can do when people have little faith in him. The unbelief of the people was a direct influence on the miracles that Jesus was able to perform. To me, this is proof that miracles are a two-way street.

The Greek

Μάρκον 6·1 Καὶ ἐξῆλθεν ἐκεῖθεν καὶ ἔρχεται εἰς τὴν πατρίδα αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἀκολουθοῦσιν αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ. 2 καὶ γενομένου σαββάτου ἤρξατο διδάσκειν ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ, καὶ πολλοὶ ἀκούοντες ἐξεπλήσσοντο λέγοντες· πόθεν τούτῳ ταῦτα, καὶ τίς ἡ σοφία ἡ δοθεῖσα τούτῳ, καὶ αἱ δυνάμεις τοιαῦται διὰ τῶν χειρῶν αὐτοῦ γινόμεναι; 3 οὐχ οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ τέκτων, ὁ υἱὸς τῆς Μαρίας καὶ ἀδελφὸς Ἰακώβου καὶ Ἰωσῆτος καὶ Ἰούδα καὶ Σίμωνος; καὶ οὐκ εἰσὶν αἱ ἀδελφαὶ αὐτοῦ ὧδε πρὸς ἡμᾶς; καὶ ἐσκανδαλίζοντο ἐν αὐτῷ. 4 καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν προφήτης ἄτιμος εἰ μὴ ἐν τῇ πατρίδι αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐν τοῖς συγγενεῦσιν αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ αὐτοῦ. 5 καὶ οὐκ ἐδύνατο ἐκεῖ ποιῆσαι οὐδεμίαν δύναμιν, εἰ μὴ ὀλίγοις ἀρρώστοις ἐπιθεὶς τὰς χεῖρας ἐθεράπευσεν. 6 καὶ ἐθαύμαζεν διὰ τὴν ἀπιστίαν αὐτῶν.

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