painting by Degas of a woman with a hat and a man in conversation

Reflecting on Mark 6 1-6

We are studying Mark 6:1-6 for Sunday, July 19; this is the story of Jesus’s visit to his hometown, as told by Mark. [Here are some notes on the text.] Here are some questions we might want to think about or discuss in class as we think about what the text has to say to us:

What objections to Jesus and his teaching do the people in Jesus’s hometown synagogue raise?

[Here, I think it would be a good idea to go through verses 2 and 3 and make a list of the individual sentences, which each contain an objection, and then identify what each of those objections is – for instance, “What’s the source for this?” “This is new and unheard of;” “What are your credentials?” etc.]

How do those objections compare to the kinds of objections we ourselves raise to people and teachings we find difficult to accept [assuming the people did, indeed, find Jesus’s teachings difficult to accept – which verse 6 seems to support]?

Mark describes the people’s reaction as “astounded,” which could have some connotations of alarm; some of their statements suggest people may have been outraged, or offended.

What kinds of things alarm, outrage, or offend us? Why those?

Can we think of any features of the gospel – that is, things we know Jesus taught, or things taught about Jesus – that alarm, outrage, or offend us? Which ones? Why those?

In verse 4, Jesus says “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house,” which implies that Jesus is a prophet. Do we ourselves think of Jesus as a prophet? Why, or why not? [We might want to review the defining characteristics of a prophet here, and compare them to what we know about Jesus.]

Do we think this phenomenon, of a prophet being without honor in his or her hometown, etc., is unique to Jesus? Why, or why not? Can we think of other prophets who have been dishonored in hometowns or among their own people?

What are the implications of this phenomena for us?

Jesus isn’t able to perform “deeds of power” in his hometown (v5). Do we want to talk about the relationship between this limitation and people’s unbelief? In particular, do we think the same relationship applies today? Why? What are our thoughts and feelings about this?

Degas painting of woman in red hat and man in conversation over papers on a table

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