More Than a Carpenter (Mark 6:1-6)
As we move through Mark we come to a portion sharply contrasting belief in the previous text. We have just seen two people display complete dependence and confidence in the Person of Christ:
- The unclean woman afflicted for twelve-years.
- Jairus desiring his twelve-year-old to be saved.
These two people heard the words of Jesus Christ, and saw the works that validated His words, and they believed in Him. They exercised saving faith!
We are now faced with people who hear His teaching, observe His works, but refuse to believe.
It is evident the lesson is on the matter of unbelief. I believe there will be two main areas whereby we can examine and apply this text, based on:
- Understanding the consequence of unbelief as it pertains to salvation in Christ.
- Acknowledging the factor unbelief plays in evangelism throughout our weeks.
We have all heard the statement:
“Familiarity breeds contempt.”
Phillip Brooks points out the truth lacking in this well know maxim by adding two extra thoughts:
“Familiarity breeds contempt, only with contemptable things or among contemptible people.”
The Nazarene’s did not reject Jesus simply because they were familiar with Him.They refused to believe Him, because they were contemptable people ruled by unbelief. Their familiarity with Him only served as a crutch whereby they comfortably rested upon in disbelief.
Charles Spurgeon said:
“We often talk of unbelief as if it were an affliction to be pitied instead of a crime to be condemned.”
Henry Drummond’s words reiterate this stating:
“Christ never failed to distinguish between doubt and unbelief. Doubt is can’t believe. Unbelief is won’t believe. Doubt is honesty. Unbelief is obstinacy. Doubt is looking for light. Unbelief is content with darkness.”
This is exactly what we see in this text:
- Jesus returns to His hometown of Nazareth.
- He teaches within the synagogue.
- Many are astonished at His words.
- Many acknowledge the validity of His works.
- They reject Him in unbelief.
- Christ marvels at it.
Let’s read the beginning together:
“1 And He went out from there, and He came into His home town; and His disciples followed Him.2 And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue…”
Now before we go any further it is important for us to note this is not the first time Jesus has ministered in Nazareth. Luke records His first time there, which gives some key insights into their relationship:
“14 And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district. 15And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all.16 And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read.17 And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,18 ‘THESPIRITOFTHELORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED,19 TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.’
20 And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him.21 And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’”
Jesus just declared to be the Messiah!
Now their reaction is going to appear genuine, but Jesus is going to reveal their superficiality and shallow desires to be entertained with only miracles.
He gets right to the heart of the matter by comparing them to unbelieving Israel in the days of Elijah and Elisha:
“22And all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips; and they were saying, ‘Is this not Joseph’s son?’23 And He said to them, ‘No doubt you will quote this proverb to Me, ‘’Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we heard was done at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.’’24 And He said, ‘Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown.25 But I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land;26 and yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.27 And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.’”
In other words, Gentiles actually had faith in the Word of God through the prophets, but Israel rejected and even killed their own.
Look at what they do:
“28 And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things;29 And they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff.”
He, thus, draws out the manifestation of their superficial, shallow and unbelieving hearts.
Fast forward about a year from that point and we find ourselves in this account. Consider the disposition towards Jesus:
- They have already attempted to kill Him.
- His own family has deemed Him insane.
- The influential Pharisees have diagnosed Him as being demon possessed.
Some may ask why they would have Him teach again in the synagogue, to which I do not know. What I do know is that the self-proclaimed Messiah is back and teaching in His hometown.
Let’s deal with this next portion in two parts:
- With their reaction to His words.
- With their questions about His Person.
“2…and the many listeners were astonished, saying, ‘Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands?3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, and Joses, and Judas, and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?”
The word Mark uses for astonished here is far different from the synagogues officials’ family being astounded or the crowds being amazed.
It is the Greek word Ekplesso meaning to strike out, or expel by a blow. In other words, Jesus’ words were received by His hearers as a blow to the face.
The text records their reaction:
“3…and they took offense at Him.”
They metaphorically stumbled over Him.
This is tragic for two reasons.
First, notice the first series of questions do not deny His words or His works validating them:
- Where did this man get these things?
- What is this wisdom given to Him?
- What is this power coming from Him?
When we really consider their questioning it is not a matter of “What and Where”, but “How and Who”.
This is apparent in the next set of questions intended to expose the legitimacy of His words and works based on inapt matters:
1.) He is a carpenter. This was probably intended to expose the fact He did not have a formal education.
2.) He is the son of Mary. This most likely attempted to insult Him by insinuating He was born illegitimately.
3.) He has many siblings. This possibly sought to point out that none of them were like Him, or even believed Him.
One author suggests the Nazarenes response reveals at least two things about the “pernicious nature of unbelief:
- It obscures the obvious.
- Elevates the irrelevant.
Remember, Jesus has already told them the obvious answers to their questions; He is the Messiah with the words and power of Yahweh. They raise extraneous occupational and familial issues, which are irrelevant to their case.
« This is because every Israelite understood the Messiah would be a Man brought up in a Jewish household somewhere within Israel.
Q.) What is the issue?
A.) They are completely calloused in unbelief.
Unlike the skepticism of Nathaniel seen in His question to Phillip, these people are cynical. I want to briefly look at the conversation between Phillip and Nathaniel, because it will segue into the second tragedy we see here:
“45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”46 Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
The second reason this is tragic, is because they are rejecting the promise God made through Moses:
“15 The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him.”
Peter acknowledges this prophet to be Christ:
“19 Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;20 and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you,21 whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.22’Moses said, ‘THE LORD GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN; TO HIM YOU SHALL GIVE HEED to everything He says to you.23 ‘And it will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet (Jesus Christ) shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’”
In Acts 7, Stephen was then killed after debating with the Sanhedrin for proclaiming the truth of the Christ being this very prophet.
Jewish custom was for witnesses of such debates to place their robes at the feet of the one they deemed victorious.
Q.) Whose feet does the Word tell us the robes fell?
A.) At the feet of a young man named, Saul; who was in hearty agreement with putting him to death.
Paul, at first stumbled over the Prophet, the Christ, just as these Nazarenes are doing.
We will come back to this topic of stumbling over Christ in a moment. Let’s look at Jesus’ response:
“4 And Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.’”
Jesus’ statement here is an ancient Semitic adage, which He stated in His first visit. In other words a prophet is always dishonored among his own people. This was par for the course in Israel; God’s prophets were hated by God’s people. Jesus delivered a scathing indictment.
We then see the result of their unbelief:
“5 And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands upon a few sick people and healed them.6 And He wondered at their unbelief…”
He marveled at their unbelief! He wondered at the depth of hardheartedness. It is because of their hearts He did no miracles. The greatest purpose for Christ’s miracles was to be an attestation of His words. This crowd already acknowledges both the words and works of Jesus yet remain in unbelief. Further works will not assist their unbelief.
This was merciful of Jesus, because for Him to continue with divine works among their unbelieving hearts would only increase eternal condemnation. These Nazarene’s are ruined in unbelief, and they have rejected and stumbled over the Prophet.
We must understand that just as it was prophesied this Prophet would come, it was prophesied some of Israel would stumble over Him. When Mark tells us “they took offense” he uses the word Skandalizo meaning to put a stumbling block or impediment in the way. It is important to know a Skandalon was used of a stone deemed flawed and thus rejected by builders.
God spoke about this stone through the Psalmist:
“22 The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone.”
God said through the prophet Isaiah, He would be this very Stone:
“…He (Yahweh) shall become a sanctuary; But to both the houses of Israel, a stone to strike and a rock to stumble over…”
Jesus Christ is this exact stone rejected by men!
Israel stumbled over Him for they sought their own righteousness through the Law, and not God’s righteousness through faith in the Christ. Unbelievers will stumble over Him, but believers will find a secure eternal foundation to rest upon with Christ being the very cornerstone.
Listen to Paul’s words:
“19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household,20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord,22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.”
My question this morning is this:
Q.) What will we do with Christ, The Prophet?
Moses and Peter make it very clear we are to heed the words of Christ, and anyone who refuses to trust in Him will be “utterly destroyed”.
2 Thessalonians 1:8b-9
“8…those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.9 These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.”
Trusting in the good news of Christ is the only way to be saved from this penalty.
We must make evangelism one of our greatest priorities, for we are commissioned to do so. There is, however, something we should understand, and that is people will refuse to believe. Many lost individuals will remain in unbelief even when the gospel is clearly presented.
Realize, God is not frustrated with you if you are faithfully proclaiming His gospel yet no one obeys it. The only way you could frustrate God is if you:
- Clearly taught His gospel.
- Saw no one responded in obedience.
- Seek to manipulate the message, delivery, or environment to fabricate a response.
Our duty as believers is to sow the Living Word of Christ among the hearts of humanity and pray for Him to bring forth life in them!
Worship Jesus by preaching Him among the lost. Teach Christ crucified, buried and risen again for the forgiveness of sins and gift of eternal life.
He is more than a Carpenter:
- He is the Christ!
- He is the Prophet!
- He is our Cornerstone!
 Be Diligent: Serving Others As You Walk With Your Master Servant, Warren W. Wiersbe; Page 74
 1 Kings 17; 2 Kings 5:1-14
 Mark 3:21
 Mark 3:22-30
 Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance; NT Number:1605
 The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, John MacArthur; Page 273
 The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, John MacArthur; Page 276
 Acts 7:37-39,51-53
 Acts 7:58,8:1
 Matthew 11:20-24
 Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance; NT Number:4624
 Mark, R.C. Sproul; Chapter 16
 Isaiah 53:3
 Romans 9:30-33; 1 Peter 2:4-8
 Isaiah 28:16
 Deuteronomy 18:15-18; Acts 3:19-23
 Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:44-49