18 – Rejecting the Message
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. And he went about among the villages teaching.
And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts — but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.
- Charged: Give someone a duty, a responsibility
- Testimony: A witness statement
- Anoint: Pour oil on person
Who are the people who know you best?
Have you had the experience of people refusing to believe what you tell them?
After a period of travelling around the country preaching and doing amazing signs, Jesus returns to the area where he was born. You would expect the people here, of all places, to believe his message. These people had spent years in his company, had watched him grow up. They knew him when he was a child – the most wise, obedient, and courteous child ever, who never misbehaved. Then, having grown up, they knew that he was a very special man, the carpenter who never cheated or wronged anyone.
But now that Jesus had begun his public ministry and was teaching with authority, the people who had known him all his life were not able to accept that which he said. Although they recognised that he said and did the most amazing things, they refused to accept his message since they thought he was just an ordinary man. And because they didn’t believe, he was unable to help them.
As Jesus sends out his disciples to share the good news, fully dependent on God, he gives them a warning. In exactly the same way people refused to listen to him, so people will refuse to listen to them. When that happened, they were supposed to leave that place, shaking the dust from off their feet. This was something the Jews would do after being in one of the towns of another nation, as a sign that those people did not belong to God’s people. This is the serious message the disciples were giving – if you do not accept Jesus Christ you are not one of God’s people.
What do we learn from the fact that Jesus was unable to heal these people?
Why do you think that Jesus sent his disciples out without a lot of things like food and money?
for strength to carry on following Jesus even if the whole world turns its back on you.