In Mark chapter 6, Jesus traveled to his hometown of Nazareth. There the people saw him as the person who grew up among them, and they rejected him as the Messiah. Verses 5 and 6 summarize his time there, “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.”

When I read this passage, I feel a deep sense of sadness. Nazareth had among them the Lord of the universe, the Savior of the world, and the Messiah they longed for, but they never even knew it. A little boy grew up in their town, matured into a man, and began to work wonders throughout the nation. Then, when he returned home, they did not believe he was the Christ, the Messiah.

The section closes with Jesus marveling at their unbelief. That is, Jesus saw their clear lack of faith in him and who he was.

We can look down on the people of Nazareth and how they missed it completely, but the reality is we are very much like them. In our everyday living we can demonstrate the same unbelief. When we get a low test grade, we can doubt God’s faithfulness. When we have an extremely busy week ahead of us, we can question God’s ability to help us accomplish all we need to do. When we suffer physical trials, we can complain to God. When all is well and we are prospering, we can think we are successful and forget God controls all.

I suspect God looks down and marvels at our unbelief too.

Are there any areas of your life where you tend to struggle in your faith in God and your confidence in him? Confess this to God, and ask him to strengthen your faith in him. Repent of placing your confidence in yourself, your gifts, and your wisdom and lean on him. Turn from trusting others and begin to trust God as he works through others.

Let’s learn from the mistakes of the people of Nazareth, apply this lesson to our lives today, and believe in Christ for salvation and for strength in our Christian walk.

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