Lots of small towns seem to be afflicted with “Mayberry Syndrome.” One manifestation of this is seen in the signage as one enters a town… ‘Welcome to Webesmall Alabama, Home of Once/Semi-Famous Person.’ Any connection to any person of any apparent import is immediately latched on to and emphasized. The message? “We’re more important than you think we are!”
Mark 6 opens with Jesus returning to his home country to preach the gospel of the kingdom. One would think, given His massive popularity and following elsewhere that Jesus should have been received, pardon the comparison, like a rock star. Certainly, this had all the makings of a “home town boy makes good” story, right?
Nope. No sooner does Jesus enter town and begin teaching than those who “have known Him all His life” begin to question His person. Not his teachings. Not His wisdom. Not His miracles. But the very fact that He possessed such wisdom and power. In other words, “Who does he think he is? We know his family. They aren’t anything special, so how did he get all this?”
Jesus’ response seems typical of His unassuming character. Rather than asserting Himself and shouting the evidence of His divinity, Jesus quietly healed a few sick folk and went on His way as a local circuit preacher.
One more point of note, namely Jesus’ statement that “a prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.”
This was certainly true with Jesus. His own countrymen rejected Him in this case. His own family accused Him of being out of His mind (Mark 3:21). Finally, his own brothers did not believe in him and openly mocked Him (John 7:1-5).
Rare is the man who can labor for the Lord in his hometown. I have had many opportunities to preach in the area in and around my hometown. Before I had those opportunities, I always thought if I had the chance, I might be able to reach some of my former friends and classmates. But the Lord’s proverb continues to hold true. In all the meetings I’ve held, only one of my old friends has ever visited the services where I was preaching, even though many have known I was in town.
You really can’t go home again.