In Mark 6 Jesus returns to his hometown, Nazareth, teaching in the synagogue, but while some people were astonished, others were more reluctant to accept not only Jesus’ teachings but the man himself. They wonder where he got this teaching, since they didn’t see this in Nazareth. They wonder how this Jesus could perform such mighty works and say, “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon?”
They know Jesus, but they know him before he had began his ministry and revealed himself as the Christ. The people of Nazareth know Jesus the carpenter, not the Messiah. And because they think they already know him they’ve made their conclusions. Jesus can’t change their assumptions about who he is.
How often do our preconceived notions or past experiences limit our ability to accept something or someone new? If we knew someone years ago and they were a bit of a terror, when they appear reformed do we believe they have changed? Or can we not get beyond our previous conclusions and think it must be a facade? In a similar way, if we know someone as an upstanding citizen and all around “good person,” do we refuse to believe that they could have made some grave mistake? Does the past again inform us more than the facts, and have us say, “Oh, no… they’d never do that. They’re a good person. I don’t believe it.”
We are quick to come to conclusions, even without all the information. Nazareth thought they knew Jesus, but they didn’t know the whole story. They wouldn’t accept that even though he was a carpenter, even though he was a man, that he was also fully God. We should not be so rash to close off ourselves from the continued working of God in and through people. We should not be so prideful as to think we already know the full picture. Like with Jesus going back to his hometown showing himself to be more than they expected, we should know that God is full of surprises and is quick to go beyond our expectations.