Mark 6: Rejected at Nazareth

Our gospel reading at Mass today is from the 6th chapter of Mark. “Jesus departed from there and came to his native place accompanied by his disciples.” (Mark 6, 1)

Where was Jesus coming from when he came to Nazareth, his home town? From Capernaum where, in Mark’s gospel, he had just brought back the daughter of Jairus from the dead and healed the woman who touched his garment. (Mark 5, 21-43) That news surely reached Nazareth, but the people there aren’t impressed.

When Jesus goes into their synagogue on the Sabbath, they’re initially impressed by his teaching and by news of “his might deeds” but then they remember he’s “‘the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?’ And they took offense at him.“ Jesus said to them, “‘A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.’ So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith. “ (Mark 6, 1-6)

Over and over, Mark’s gospel says that Jesus was rejected in the places where he went After his baptism in the Jordan, he went to Capernuam where, in one paradigmatic day, he drives out an unclean spirit and cures Peter’s mother-in-law and at the end of the day, the whole town is at his door. {Mark 1, 16-34) The enthusiasm doesn’t last, however. Capernaum and other nearby towns in Galilee receive him first, then reject him. (Matthew 11,23)

Even when Jesus crosses over the Sea of Galilee to pagan territory on the west bank he meets rejection. (Mark 5, 1-20) He casts out the unclean spirit, as he did at Capernaum, but when the pigs stampede down into the sea the townspeople ask him to leave. He’s endangering their economy, it seems.

Jesus doesn’t have continual success in his ministry. He doesn’t have an unbroken parade of achievements, his life is not a road of triumph, Mark insists.

Mark’s gospel is centered on the Passion of Jesus, a lifelong mystery. It’s greatest expression is found on Calvary, but it takes different forms through life, especially forms of rejection and lack of acceptance.

Humanity is fickle and prone to doubt.

Behind Mark’s gospel, we can see the persecution of Christians in Rome by Nero in 63 AD. A church rejected, accused of evil, betrayed even by some of its own members. The persecution made no sense.

Mark writes for them. Jesus goes before you; follow him. Mark writes for us. Jesus goes before you; follow him.

You may be interested in the Neronian persecution. Here’s a video:

2 thoughts on “Mark 6: Rejected at Nazareth

  1. Gloria

    The Expected Messiah

    The people were expecting a valiant warrior,
    someone like Joshua or David,
    who would deliver them from the Romans,
    their hated oppressors.
    They wanted a revolution to overthrow their enemy.

    The upper class who held power over them,
    didn’t see themselves as oppressors of their people.
    They pleaded with God to send them a messiah,
    one with a fiery sword and a huge undefeatable army.

    God answered their prayer,
    but when the deliverer came, except for some,
    they didn’t recognize this ordinary working man,
    son of a carpenter, who followed his father’s craft.

    He didn’t rage and rant about revolt.
    He talked about God’s love for everyone.
    He healed the physically and mentally ill.
    He taught in their synagogues.
    But their attitude was who does he think he is?
    He’s Joseph’s son, a carpenter, like his father.

    And when his time came,
    his own turned their backs on him
    and ran away to safety.
    One betrayed him, one denied him.
    One stood with his mother
    and other women at the foot of his cross.

    True to what he taught,
    he forgave those who took his life.

    Some still look for a Messiah.
    They missed him when came.

    Gloria Ziemienski
    October 7, 2015


  2. jbarrycp

    Jesus did not always have success in his preaching
    ministry , he is rejected at times, so He goes on to
    other villages preaching and healing.
    sometimes our own best efforts for God, can be
    rejected or not paid attention to, what do we do then
    we align ourselves with Jesus and Go on to a new
    place of ministry to others.
    Jesus keep us open to the ups and downs of
    our lives of service to others.


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