Who do you think you are ? Wednesday, 4th Week in ordinary time – Mark 6:1-6
Jesus has just worked two mighty miracles in Capernaum. He has raised Jairus daughter to life and healed a woman who was haemorrhaging for twelve years. As usual, Jesus strictly ordered the parents of the girl, not to tell anyone about the miracle but that would be most unlikely considering that she was dead when Jesus arrived and now she was sitting down to a meal. Remember, Jesus told the little girl’s parents to “give her something to eat.” (5:43)
While Jesus had made Capernaum his home, he now journeys to Nazareth, his hometown. Scholars tell us that Nazareth was a village of 500 people. It was a town small enough that everyone would know everyone else and everyone else’s business and herein lies the problem; familiarity will breed contempt.
Jesus is accompanied by his disciples. On the sabbath, Jesus “decided” to teach. Obviously, the words and deeds of Jesus have preceded him, this was the home town boy who had made waves in Galilee. The Gospel of Mark tells us that so far he has worked six miracles within a few miles of Nazareth (1:40-45; 2:1-12; 3:1-6; 5:1-20, 21-43). The people of Nazareth must have gone to the synagogue service with a sense of expectation, wondering what they would hear from this young man who had grown up in their midst.
Ironically, while his teachings have been met with amazement elsewhere, here, in his home town they are “astounded” and clearly not in a positive way. The people are astounded both by Jesus’ wisdom and his mighty works. There is a sense of disbelief. What caused this strange reaction we will never really know though we can make some calculated guess from the reaction that Mark records.
Their description of him as “the carpenter,” “the son of Mary,” ignored any mention of a father figure. It is possible that Joseph is dead by this time, although we would expect people to identify Jesus by his father’s name even after the father’s death. In first century culture this could only mean that they were hinting that he was conceived illegitimately This type of history, with a fatherless lineage, would be “scandalous” to them (skandalidzo is translated as “took offense” at 6:3).