In this passage we find Jesus returning to His home town. Some were amazed at His teaching; others took offense. Jesus makes the statement that in his hometown, a prophet is without honour. This lack of honour hinders Jesus’ ministry… He couldn’t do any miracles there. (vs. 5)
How do we receive Jesus? Are we amazed at the things He does… or have we known of Him for so long, that we too think of Him in a dimmer light? Is it possible that Jesus cannot do His miracles because of our lack of faith? (vs. 6)
Jesus begins to send out his disciples, two by two, marking the beginning of their ministry. He challenges them not to take anything, perhaps to fully trust God for their very lodging and care. The disciples preached repentance, drove out demons and healed the sick, expanding the ministry of Jesus.
Herod begins to question who Jesus is, and we get a little flashback to the death of John the Baptist who was beheaded. It’s interesting to me that Herod did not want to disappoint his dinner guests or to refuse his daughter because of the oath he had made. (vs.26) He didn’t have the same loyalty for John, however,who he had previously considered a righteous and holy man. (vs. 20)
Are we sometimes swayed by dinner guests, or family members?
When the disciples come back to report all that they had done and experienced, Jesus wants them to rest, in a quiet place, to pull away. I am touched by His care for His disciples.
However, in the process of pulling away, Jesus saw the crowd, had compassion on them too, and began to teach them. When the disciples plot to send the people away, Jesus challenges them to step up to the plate, and “give them something to eat.” He asks them to bring what they have among them. He takes the offering of two fish and five loaves, gives thanks, and feeds the masses. The disciples distribute the food and collect the excess. Although the task appears impossible, Jesus invites their participation; He involves them in the work, using whatever meager gift they have to bring.
Jesus invites our participation, He involves us in His kingdom work, He takes what we bring, He gives thanks because all that we bring comes from God, and He is careful with the overflow.
Following this, Jesus goes to the mountainside to pray. His disciples are in a boat, and a storm blows up. Read carefully – it seems that He allows His disciples to strain against the wind for quite some time… from evening until the fourth watch of the night. And even then, the text says that He was “about to pass by them”. Did Jesus intend for these men to wrestle, to come to the end of themselves, so that they could see Him more clearly? They were terrified, they didn’t understand, they were amazed.
Do we sometimes need to wrestle, to come to the end of ourselves, to see Jesus more clearly?
We began this chapter with people who didn’t honour Jesus; we conclude with many continuing to come to Jesus, bringing the sick, begging for a chance to simply touch his cloak.
… and all who touched Him were healed.