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, that he even does miracles! 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, “Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith. – Mark 6:1-6
I asked myself this question as I was fishing and reeling in the big one. Suddenly, another much larger fish started to attack the fish I was catching! After a 2 or 3 second ferocious struggle the bigger fish gave up… the first fish then spit out the lure… and I reeled in a bunch of weeds. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was unbelievable, and yet true.
For Jesus and the folks of his home town, I’m sure this question was tossed around quite a bit. “Hey, look who’s the guest preacher this Sabbath! I can’t believe it; it’s the carpenter’s son. Just a few years ago he was helping his dad in the shed and now he’s up there.”
While there was an initial excitement and many were amazed, their warm welcome quickly turned cold. The people couldn’t get past the past. Their ears heard what Jesus said, but their eyes couldn’t get past the memories of that local boy who was now claiming to be the Promised Messiah. In essence, they did believe their eyes and not their ears, and so they refused to believe him.
This phrase could fit with Jesus, too. Perhaps he couldn’t believe what his eyes were seeing. Here are the people with whom he grew up and worked. Now, as he comes to bring them the best news ever, for the most part, they reject him. Unbelievable – but sadly, true.
Friends, this is one of the many pictures and illustrations of unbelief: spiritual blindness. Though the Word of God was presented and shared in all its glory, there are times when people just simply refuse to believe the truth. The devil blinds people’s hearts. The world clouds their minds with all kinds of false notions. Their own selfish pride forbids them to admit that they are wrong and God is right.
Spiritual blindness has a cure. It’s the Holy Spirit who works through the preaching and teaching of the Word and through the Sacrament of Holy Baptism. Through these means of grace, God removes unbelief and opens eyes to see and believe the wonderful truth that Jesus of Nazareth is the Savior of the world, your Savior and mine!
Every time God opens eyes and hearts to the truth, it’s a miracle. Furthermore, it is evidence that God is a patient, gracious and merciful God. Every day is a gift of his grace wherein we can open our Bibles anew and read about his incredible love for us. Each day we can share his Word with people who don’t know of God’s love. This is how the Holy Spirit continues to open eyes to see and believe Jesus.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for opening my eyes to know the truth. You are my Lord, my Savior and my God. Keep me from not believing your Word. Help me to share your Word. Send your Holy Spirit to more and more people to open their eyes so that they may see and believe in you! Amen.