Nothing New in Nazareth

“Nothing New in Nazareth”
A reflection on Mark 6:1-6
Wednesday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
©2023 by Gloria M. Chang

Jesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples. When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands! Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joseph 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

Storm Stopping Signs

Map of Galilee,

Back and forth, between the western and eastern shores of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus performed signs and wonders (Mark 4-5). Following his Sermon on the Sea, he soundly slept in the boat till his terrified disciples roused him to calm a thunderstorm. Then, on the Gentile bank in the east, a tempestuous man from the tombs howled in recognition of “Jesus, Son of the Most High God.” With authority, Christ expelled the demonic “Legion” into a herd of swine, which stampeded downhill and drowned in the sea. By the power of the Spirit, inner and outer storms obeyed the Son of Man.

Deliverance From Death

Crossing back over to the other side, Jesus met Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, who begged him to heal his dying daughter. The smell of death from the tombs seemed to hover over the crowd. As they waded through the throng, a hemorrhaging woman—an image of death—touched his robe and ceased bleeding. After twelve years of ritual impurity under the law (Leviticus 15:25-27), Christ cleansed and set her free. Finally arriving at the house of Jairus, Jesus stunned the mourners by raising his twelve-year-old daughter to life.

Nothing New in Nazareth

Leaving Galilee, Mark cuts to Nazareth, Jesus’ hometown, where faith fizzles out. Accompanied by his disciples in rabbinic fashion, Jesus entered the synagogue on the Sabbath to teach. But the incongruity of seeing a carpenter, the “son of Mary,” in a position of authority repulsed his neighbors and kin. How could the Messiah arise from such ordinary soil? Their doubt stifled the work of the Spirit.

The following poem encapsulates the pericopes in Mark 4:35 to 6:6.

Jesus Preaching in the Synagogue

God’s Son with serenity,
Stilled a squally storm at sea.
Tempests in a tomb-like soul,
Jesus tamed to make him whole.
Lifeblood draining from a dame,
Christ restored, removing shame.
A girl laid in doleful death,
The Lord raised, bestowing breath.

Clans surrounding Galilee
Caught many a prodigy.
But in Nazareth? Doubt checked
Miracles of grand effect.
In Christ’s hills, friends and kinfolk
Saw nothing but a poor bloke.
Wonders wrought at home are few. 
Natives expect nothing new.

4 Replies to “Nothing New in Nazareth”

  1. Nothing new in Nazareth?
    Natives blocked his amazing grace.
    They couldn’t see beyond their space.
    He was just the carpenter’s son
    Worked with nails and wood.
    Rejected by his hometown,
    He bore this silent cross.
    Amazed at their unbelief,
    He moved on to fill open hearts.
    He gave the suffering relief,
    No matter what age or malady,
    Here I am, Lord, I believe,
    Let your healing power touch me.

    1. Nailed to wood, the carpenter’s son
      Hewed malice into grace.
      From the tree, Christ prayed for sinners,
      Transforming inner space.

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