Jesus heals two blind men and “When they had departed, they spread the news, about Him in all that country.” Then He heals a mute and demon-possessed man. “And the multitudes marveled, saying, ‘It was never seen like this in Israel!’” However, things are quite different when Jesus goes to His home church in Nazareth. We read about Jesus being rejected in his hometown in the Book of Luke (Luke 4:16-30), and here we have Mark’s and Matthew’s accounts of what occurs when Jesus teaches in Nazareth.
Jesus begins teaching in His home synagogue, and the people question Him – “‘Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?’ So they were offended at Him.”
“But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.’ Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.”
Jesus has marveled two times in the story. First, at the faith of the Gentile Roman officer (Matthew 8:5-13) and now here, over the lack of faith of the people in His hometown, which limits the blessings they could receive. This is unfortunate for the people in his hometown, but it’s not going to stop Jesus from pouring blessings on those who will receive Him!
“Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.’”
Jesus sends out His twelve disciples, and “He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.” Jesus sends His disciples first to the lost sheep of Israel, God’s chosen people. He tells them not to go to the Gentiles or enter the city of the Samaritans at this time. Later He will send his disciples to the Gentiles as well as the Jews, but the gospel message is first delivered to the lost of the house of Israel, the Jews, as Paul will later write – “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Romans 1:16).
Jesus instructs His disciples to take nothing with them except His word and His healing powers. He says, “And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!”
Jesus warns His disciples – “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.”
“Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell… Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.”
After seeing the resurrected Christ and receiving the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ disciples will become men who do not fear man. They will confess Jesus as Christ and preach His teachings even under heavy persecution, which will eventually cost them their earthly lives. However, they will receive far more — eternal life with their beloved Lord and Savior along with all those who confess Jesus as Lord — “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
Tomorrow we will see how preaching the truth costs John the Baptist his earthly life. Keep reading. (Matthew 9:27-34, Mark 6:1-6, Matthew 13:53-58, Matthew 9:35-38, Mark 6:7-13, Matthew 10:1-42, Luke 9:1-6)