Home Field Advantage

Many of us, if not all of us, have heard the expression, “Home Field advantage”. I have been to several Rays and Red Sox games at Tropicana field in the past, and for a while there, there seemed to be just as many Red Sox fans (if not more) than there were Rays fans.  It was more like little Feneway than it was Tropicana field. The Rays home field advantage seemed to be gone. They were at home, but they were not getting a lot of love.

Well, as we look at our Mark 6:1-6 we will see a similar scene. Jesus is at home, but He is not getting a lot of love:

He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” And 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.

Notice in these verses that Jesus is in His hometown and He is teaching in the Synagogue. Up to this point in Mark there has been an emphasis on the teaching and preaching of Jesus. Everywhere Jesus goes He is preaching and teaching. If Jesus thought preaching and teaching was important (which He did), certainly we should think it is important also. It is through the preaching and teaching of God’s Word that we are brought to life spiritually and through the preaching and teaching of God’s Word that we grow spiritually. 

We are told in v. 2 that “many who heard him were astonished, saying, ‘Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him?'” Those in attendance were impressed by Jesus’ mighty works and the miracles He had performed, yet despite His astonishing words and powerful works; despite the testimony of what He had done up to this point, those in attendance were not convinced of anything. In fact, they began to talk among themselves and say, in v. 3:”Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary…?” And the end of v. 3 tells us that “they took offense at him.”

The people were profoundly offended by Jesus. They were essentially saying, “who does this guy think He is? We have seen Him grown up and we know His family and we know what He does for a living. He is no one special. So, who does He think He is that He can come in here with His fancy theology and tell us about God? That’s just Jesus, we’re not listening to this.” Therefore, His teachings were not thought to be credible and no one in his home town took Him seriously; the stuff went in one ear and out the other.

We can see Jesus’ response in v. 6, “he marveled because of their unbelief.” It is as if Jesus were saying, “Wow guys, here I am, God of the Universe, Savior of the world, right in front of you, yet you still do not believe.” The people in this passage were people who grew up with Jesus and were around Him and interacted with Him and yet they did not believe in Him, and in fact, they were offended by Him, and this should come as a warning to all of us. There are two warnings here that I want you to see: 

1. Warning to Submit to Christ and His Word

Sometimes you and I, just like those in this passage, have a tendency to find God offensive, and we choose to ignore Him. Now you might be thinking, “If God were speaking directly to me, I would never ignore Him or take offense.” However, there may be verses in the Bible (God speaking directly to us) that you are ignoring and offended by even now.  

If and when we become offended by God’s Word we may be tempted to ignore what we read and live as if we had never seen those verses. However, rather than finding offense, we should humble and submit ourselves to the truth of Scripture.  I once heard it said, “When Scripture says something that we don’t like, the problem is not with the scripture, the problem is with us.” Pray that you would not take offense to the teaching of Christ, but that you would submit and obey His teaching. 

2. Around Jesus Our Entire Lives Yet Failing to Recognize Him as Lord and Savior

The people in Mark 6 watched Jesus grow up around them.They  heard His teaching and were aware of His miracles and yet they did not believe. We may grow up in Christian homes, go to Christian schools, and go to church our whole lives and yet still not be Christians. Association with Christianity does not make us Christian. Reading our Bible does not make us a Christian. Going to church does not make us a Christian. Having a Christian family does not make us Christian. We are Christians only when we trust in Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of our lives. It is only through faith alone in Christ alone that we are saved. As you are reading this you might ask yourself, “Do I truly trust in Christ as my Savior or have I just associated myself with Christianity, thinking I am Christian?”

It is an important question. There are those who have been around Jesus their whole lives and yet fail to recognize Him as Savior – don’t let that be you. Look to Jesus, and Jesus alone, as your only means of salvation. He alone can remove your sin and give you eternal life. 

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