Back to Blog
Too Familiar for Faith

Too Familiar for Faith

We can get so familiar with someone that we can’t possibly imagine them being anything more than what we know they are. It’s like there’s a box to this person’s life and in our minds, it’s completely filled in already. Unfortunately, this means we won’t be open if there’s more to this person than we originally thought.

Maybe it’s a co-worker. Or a friend. Or a family member. Or your spouse. You think you know everything about them that there is to know. Who they are. Their strengths and weaknesses. Their gifts and their limitations. 

This is exactly what’s going on in our main text for today, which you can find at the beginning of Mark 6. Before we get there, let me remind us of what’s just happened. Jesus has healed a woman who had an issue with bleeding for 12 years. And Jesus has brought a 12-year old girl back to life. Two incredible miracles – both in response to the faith of those who sought out Jesus. Now he’s going to take his disciples to visit his hometown of Nazareth. Surely they will be thrilled that He’s coming home.

Mark 6:1-6 Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. “Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.

It is human nature to love familiarity. It’s why we travel to familiar destinations. It’s why we frequent the same restaurants and coffee shops. It’s why you sit in the same row at church each Sunday. These are good things. But there’s another side to familiarity.

Familiarity can keep us from entering new territory that would change our lives for the better. 

This is what’s happening here in Nazareth. But we also see it in other places. Think about the hallmark story for the Jews. They are slaves for over 400 years in Egypt. God uses Moses to free them. But somewhere along the way, they ask, “Can we go back to Egypt? Sure, it was terrible…but at least it’s familiar.”

When we encounter something that’s unfamiliar, it’s easy for us to be afraid of it or to just completely dismiss it. I’m calling this message, “Too Familiar for Faith”. 

Jesus has just done these two amazing miracles – both as a response to great faith. On the heels of these incredible moments, Jesus and the disciples head to Nazareth, the hometown of Jesus. The Sabbath day comes and Jesus does what we’ve seen him doing throughout Mark – he starts teaching. And once again, the crowd is amazed by what they are hearing.

“Where did this man get these things?”

“What’s this wisdom that has been given him?”

“What are these remarkable miracles he is performing?”

They are amazed, but not in the positive sense of the word. How is he doing this? He didn’t study under any rabbi. He isn’t educated. He doesn’t have the credentials to do this. It reminds me of what the disciple Nathanael asked when he heard where Jesus was from:

John 1:46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip.

The citizens of Nazareth remember who Jesus actually is. It’s almost like they’re telling themselves, “Don’t get fooled. You know who this is. We already know everything about him. We know that he’s the carpenter. He’s Mary’s son. He’s the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. And we know his sisters too.”

They recognize he’s got wisdom and that he’s doing miracles…but they quickly talk themselves out of the possibility that He’s God.

What have you seen God do in your life that you eventually talked yourself out of believing?

And they took offense at him. We like his family, but they’re just ordinary. There can’t be anything all that special about him. I mean, sure he built us a great dining table, but expect Him to be God? I don’t think so. Don’t miss this:

Jesus was rejected in the synagogue, by his own people.

Jesus says, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” Jesus was too familiar to them. And this familiarity kept them from being able to put their faith in Him. Can you imagine being God in the flesh, yet having your own family reject you?

John 7:5 For even his own brothers did not believe in him.

So many people miss Jesus because they think they already know everything about Him.

“He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.” What do you mean, “He could not”? I thought we’ve been learning that Jesus has all authority. He can do anything He wants to do. What’s going on here? One commentator said it this way:

God and his Son could do anything, but they have chosen to limit themselves in accordance to human response.

This is one of the reasons we’re desperately seeking to create an environment of faith here within Epic Church. We don’t want it to ever be said about our church that “Jesus could not do many miracles there.”

What is Jesus unable to do in your life because you won’t believe Him for it?

“He was amazed at their lack of faith.” thaumazo – astonished. We only see Jesus amazed one other time in all of Scripture. It’s when a centurion comes to Jesus and believes that Jesus can heal his servant.

Luke 7:9 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.”

I love how one commentator put it:

Jesus looked for only one quality in people – faith, the ability to believe God would do what he promised.

We can’t miss this. Jesus is only amazed twice – once at the presence of someone’s faith and once at the absence of faith.

Is Jesus amazed by how present your faith is or by how absent your faith in Him is?

As we kick off 21 days of prayer and fasting as a church today, we want to collectively show Jesus that we believe Him. We believe He’s worth building our entire lives around. We believe that with Him, all things are possible. We believe He can transform our lives. We believe that His light can overcome the darkness in our city. We believe He can provide a long-term property for our church. We believe He can raise up a generation of kids and students who know Him and live out His purposes for their lives. 

What will you believe Jesus can do in your life, your family, your job, this church, and our city?

As far as we know, Jesus never returned to Nazareth. What did they miss because their familiarity wouldn’t make room for faith in Jesus? What will we miss if our familiarity won’t make room for faith in Jesus? Look at the way John summed this up in John 1:11

John 1:11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.

He was too familiar for them to have faith. They rejected him. Have you? Maybe because of what you were told when you were growing up. Maybe because people around you today have convinced you that there’s no way Jesus is the Son of God. Maybe you have become so familiar with religion that you’ve completely missed the reality of Jesus. He came to his own but they did not receive him. 

John 1:12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

For some of you, you became too familiar with who you thought Jesus was that you’ve missed out on knowing Him personally. You can receive Him today and become a child of God.

For others of you, you aren’t familiar enough with Jesus. But today you can receive Him and know Him personally as well.

Jesus, I receive you as you truly are and I put my faith in you. 

Raise your hand if you’re ready to put your faith in Jesus and give Him your life. 

Everyone else: May Jesus be amazed by the presence of our faith in Him. 

Other Content

There’s A Better Way

Learn More

January Epic Families Blog

Learn More

Between Now and Then

Learn More