Unbelief

Mark 6:5
And he could there do
no mighty work,
save that he laid his hands
upon a few sick folk,
and healed ‭them‭.‭

Other translations:

And He was not able to do even one work of power there, except that He laid His hands on a few sickly people [and] cured them. [AMP]

And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. [ESV]

Jesus wasn't able to do much of anything there--he laid hands on a few sick people and healed them, that's all. [MSB]

And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. [KJV]

He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. [NIV]

And because of their unbelief, he couldn't do any mighty miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. [NLT]

Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. [NKJV]

Some further information:

Here we see how the Christ was looked down on, and not believed by his countrymen, because He was one of them, and they knew, or better: thought they knew, his origine (Mark 6:1-6).

He could do there no mighty work.
Matthew states the reason: “Because of their unbelief.”
We need to have faith if we are going to receive the works of God.
It was not from want of power, but of the conditions that He required.
Those in need of help must either have faith enough to seek his help, or their friends must have faith.

In the same way as faith is the condition of the salvation of the soul, so the Christ required it, as a condition of the salvation of the body from disease or death.

Nazareth saw more of Jesus than any other place, but profited less.

Jesus preached in their synagogue, on the sabbath day (Mark 6:2).
It seems, there was not such flocking to him like there was in other places, so that He had no opportunity of preaching, till they came together on the sabbath day; and then he expounded a portion of scripture with great clearness.
In religious assemblies, the word of God is to be preached according to Christ’s example. We give glory to God by receiving instruction from Him.

In fact the people of Nazareth could only speak positive of Him, because they heard Him speak with great wisdom, and they could understand that this wisdom was given to him, for they knew he had no education from any of the rabbis.

They could also only speak positive of Him, because of the mighty works He did, to confirm the doctrine he taught, and they surely would have heard of it.

They acknowledged the two great proofs of the divine origine of his gospel:

  1. the divine wisdom that appeared in it,
  2. and the divine power that was exerted for the ratifying and recommending of it.

And yet, though they could not deny the premises, they would not admit that He was more than just a carpenter.

Instead of accepting His word, they would look for ways to disparage Him, and to raise prejudices against him in the minds of people.

All Jesus’ wisdom, and all His mighty works, were not taken into account
▪︎ because He had a home-education as carpenter,
▪︎ because He had never travelled,
▪︎ because He had not been at any university,
▪︎ and because He had received no training from any of their rabbis (Mark 6:3).

Is not this the Carpenter?
In Matthew, they upbraid him with being the carpenter’s son, his supposed father Joseph being of that trade.
But, it seems that our Lord Jesus, probably employed himself in that job with his father, before he entered upon his public ministry, at least, sometimes

Jesus humbled Himself, and made Himself of no reputation, as one that had taken upon him the form of a servant, and came to minister. This low did our Redeemer stoop, when He came to redeem us out of our low estate.

In this way He would also teach us to abhor idleness, and to find ourselves something to do in this world; and rather to take up with mean and laborious employments, and such as no more is to be got by than a bare livelihood, than indulge ourselves in sloth.
Nothing is more pernicious for young people than to get a habit of sauntering.

The Jews had a good rule for this: Their young men who were designed for scholars, were yet bred up to some trade (like Paul who was a tent-maker), that they might have some business to fill up their time with, and, if necessary, to get their bread with.

By taking a job like this Jesus would also put honor on professions that are despised by some, and encourage those who eat from the labour of their hands, though great men look upon them with contempt.

Another thing they held against Him was “He is the son of Mary; his brethren and sisters are here with us; we know his family and kindred;’’ and therefore, though they were astonished at his doctrine (Mark 6:2),
▪︎ they were offended at his person (Mark 6:3),
▪︎ they were prejudiced against him,
▪︎ and looked upon him with contempt;

And for that reason would not receive his doctrine, though ever so well recommended.

May we think that if they had not known his pedigree, but he had dropped among them from the clouds, without father, without mother, and without descent, they would have entertained him with any more respect?
Truly, no; for in Judea, where this was not known, that was made an objection against him (John 9:29 ); 
As for this fellow, we know not from whence he is. Obstinate unbelief will always find an excuse.

Jesus partly excused it, as a common thing, and what might be expected, though not reasonably or justly (Mark 6:4); A prophet is not despised any where but in his own country.

Some exceptions there may be to this rule; doubtless many have got over this prejudice, but ordinarily it holds good, that ministers are seldom so acceptable and successful in their own country as among strangers; familiarity in the younger years breeds a contempt, the advancement of one that was an inferior begets envy, and men will hardly set those among the guides of their souls whose fathers they were ready to set with the dogs of their flock; in such a case therefore it must not be thought hard, it is common treatment, it was Christ’s, and wisdom is profitable to direct to other soil.

Although they generally rejected Him, He still did some good among them, for He is kind even to the evil and unthankful; He laid his hands upon a few sick folks, and healed them. Note, It is generous, and becoming the followers of Christ, to content themselves with the pleasure and satisfaction of doing good, though they be unjustly denied the praise of it.

Yet he could not do there mighty works, at least not so many, as in other places, because of the unbelief that prevailed among the people, by reason of the prejudices which their leaders instilled into them against Christ (Mark 6:5).

It is a strange expression, as if unbelief tied the hands of omnipotence itself; he would have done as many miracles there as he had done elsewhere, but he could not, because people would not make application to him, nor sue for his favours; he could have given them, but they forfeited the honour of receiving them.

Note: By unbelief and contempt of Christ men stop the current of his favours to them, and put a bar in their own door.

He marvelled because of their unbelief (Mark 6:6). We never find Christ wondering but at the faith of the Gentiles that were strangers, as the centurion (Matthew 8:10), and the woman of Samaria, and at the unbelief of Jews that were his own countrymen.

Note: The unbelief of those that enjoy the means of grace, is a most amazing thing.

He went round about the village, teaching. If we cannot do good where we would, we must do it where we can, and be glad if we may have any opportunity, though but in the villages, of serving Christ and souls.

Sometimes the gospel of Christ finds better entertainment in the country villages, where there is less wealth, and pomp, and mirth, and subtlety, than in the populous cities.

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Mark now tells that the Lord Jesus could not do any power ‘there’, that is, in Nazareth.
The reason for that was not that He was not able to do it then. We can see that from what the evangelist writes in the rest of this verse. It was not an inability of Jesus Himself, but it was because of the attitude of His fellow citizens.

With their unbelief they made it impossible for themselves to receive truly special things from Jesus. Now that they were offended at Him (Mark 6:3), there was no room for the mighty works that He wanted to do there (cf. Mark 8:12).
By bringing this up here, Mark once again points to the close connection that exists between such powers and faith (compare Mark 2:1-13; 5:34; 9:23v .; Matthew 8:10; 9:18.28; Luke 18:42).

Incidentally, the evangelist does not want to make it appear as if Jesus could do nothing at all in Nazareth. Although the people there rejected Him as Messiah, He did heal a few sick by laying hands on them (cf. Mark 5:23). Apparently they had confidence in Him. A little further on, we come across the expression ‘healing the sick’ when it comes to the work of the disciples after they have been sent out by Jesus (see Mark 6:13).

Now let us reflect on this

So it is also possible that the Lord Jesus cannot do mighty works.
We read that very clearly in today’s text.

The inhabitants of Jesus’ hometown are hard and hardened people. They do not even ask about the outward blessings that He disposes of.

People pass Him by. They ignore Him. He is hushed up. All of this is a shameful, bitterly painful treatment for Jesus. And to the inhabitants of Nazareth a terrifying proof of deadness. Everywhere else the sick were brought to the Lord and healing was sought from Him.

Here, in Nazareth, there were only a few who sought Him. With this single exception, He couldn’t do any works.

Let us not think that the power of the Lord Jesus was too little.
No, it is not, but because He does not impose Himself. What a moving history this is.

Remember, they were religious people in Nazareth.
But also religious people can keep their hearts closed to Jesus.

How is this with you?

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