54 Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed.Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers.” they asked. 55 “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56 Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?”57 And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor.” 58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.
The aforementioned verses are from Matthew of New Testament and the authorship of the book weather it was written by Mathew himself or not is in question itself. Matthew was tax collector in his early life. Harrington(1991, pp.8) mentions though this Gospel is called anonymous but we still can find the evangelist and his community to be from Jewish background.
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In the above given verses, it talks about Jesus being rejected at his home town when he returns from his ministry. If we follow the accounts in synoptic gospels, Jesus rejection has been mentioned in Mark 6:1-6, Matthew 13:54-58 and Luke 4:16-30.France (2007, pp.20) states that it was widely accepted Matthew was first Gospel until middle of nineteenth century and for more than a century it was considered Mark as first and Matthew and Luke drew on Mark, along they had access to some source called as Q.
The incident takes place in Nazareth. The verses includes Jesus and the people of Nazareth as parties of communication. Before rejection story Matthew mentions about Jesus using parable to teach his disciples.
The above passage are full of implications, people were in tolerant of his visit due to his ministry at the place. He is pointed not as a messiah rather as a common labor, they were not ready to accept him anything else than a common carpenter’s son. Mathew 58 sums up he did not performed many mighty works because of their unbelief. Whereas Mark 5 says he could not do many might works but heal some people there. Both agree that Jesus did performed some miracles in his hometown. Mathew put it as Jesus did not performed much miracles because of their unbelief irrespective of what they saw. it is not that he could not rather limited himself because of their unbelief.
In this part we try to scrutinize the rejection from different perspective. This is a unique pericope where Jesus does not stand as a central theme rather other characters are dominant in the story .
View of pericope through Mark :
Mark talks about parables in 4:1-34 and the rejection story in 6:1-6, but the middele of those two incident are filled with Jesus’ miracles ,Jesus calms the storm (Mark 4:35-41), restoring Demon-possessed man (Mark5:1-20) and raising a dead girl and healing a sick woman (Mark 5:21-43).As Rudolf Schnackenberg, “In Mark 6:1-6, Jesus’ rejection in Nazareth is recorded by way of intentional contrast with his cures in Mark 5”. In Mark the rejection story starts after Jesus healed the lady and little child (Mark 5:21-42). So through this verse Mark tells us Jesus can do miracle and had worked. But when he visits Nazareth, the people there cannot accept the wisdom and miracles of Jesus with the ordinary Jesus they knew as. So Mark’s writes about Jesus not being able to do much miracles. Mark here tries to show the emphasis on importance of relationship between faith and miracles
View of pericope through Matthew
.Whereas Matthew talks less about miracles. There are no supporting miracles ahead of these above verses. In Mark, the people ask about numerous question at a time about wisdom, origin and miracles as they cannot relate this with common man. While we go through Matthew we come to the verses appear after parable discourse. Also it focuses on teaching of Jesus rather than miracles. Here Matthew tries to show Jesus himself chooses not to show miracles to people because of their unbelief.
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54: When he visits Nazareth he teaches people in synagogue and gives them messages of God when he delivers it people are taken in surprise but they lacks the faith to believe it was Jesus who did it. Nazarens asks. ” Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous power?” Here we can read people knew what Jesus was saying is wise and he had miraculous power but they can only remember him being carpenter’s son.
55-56: The mention of Jesus family and its members is to disrespect or to show that he was from socially lower origin. And when the verses it to complete Matthew states,” Where then did this person get all this?” (which we cannot read in Mark).
58: Matthew focuses on unbelief of people of Nazarens for less miracles of Jesus whereas Mark only concerns about Jesus lack of miracles.
Unbelief is negative attitude and it is always disheartening. Jesus after his long ministry out of his hometown comes back to home with remembrances of friends and family. But his town mates at Nazareth refuses to acknowledge his wisdom, his teaching and his mission as they identified Jesus with his ordinary childhood. When Jesus limits himself with miracles its not because he could not rather it was his will.
Now we can see the significance of the whole story. It is narrated as a rejection story in midst of miracles and wisdom. But the vitality of the story lies in part of Jesus and his reaction to whole rejection. Matthew convinces us that despite what Jesus has to hear from his hometown folks he stands strong and confronts the rejection. He wins a battle of rejection with a rejection to show many of his mighty deeds. He does so because he Jesus knew its not worth to change unbelief through miracles.
This pericope on the rejection of Jesus at Nazareth is followed by rejection and death of John. Immediately after rejection by his people, Matthew tells us about death of John in Matthew 14:6-10, here we can also see how the teaching of Jesus have been rejected by a ruler of his home town.