The Stubbornness of Unbelief

Note from Jesus

Dear Follower,

I challenge you to consider two questions about the verses you find below:

  1. Why do you think that Mark included this story about the unbelief of the folks from My “hometown” and among My “own people” and in My “own household”?
  2. Who are My hometown folks and family today?

If you are My disciple, you are part of My family. Mark included the episode below from My ministry to speak to My family and warn them (and warn you) of a great danger — the “stubbornness of their unbelief.” This warning is about a specific kind of “stubbornness” and “unbelief.”

Over the centuries of church history, My disciples have often thought they knew what they could expect from Me. Many times they ended up under-expecting. They came up with theologies that limited My power and presence. They quit believing that I could or would do great things through them. In the process, they limited what I could do for them, with them, and through them because of the “stubbornness of their unbelief.” Mark included this episode from My life to speak to this kind of loss of expectation, this “stubbornness” of “unbelief” in the people in his day. The gospel of Mark in your Bibles warns you about this same “unbelief.”

In a few days, we will begin an extended look into the book of Acts. Then, we will go through the rest of the New Testament story together. In the book of Acts, you will read about My disciples and what the Holy Spirit did for them, with them, and through them. You may be tempted to believe that the kinds of things you see in the book of Acts could never happen in your time. I want you to be aware that any lack of expectation still limits the power I can release into your life and the lives of those you love just as My relatives lack of expectation did in My hometown.

The power of My gospel to reach lost people in every place in every age is still present through the work of My Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, the “stubbornness” of “unbelief” I confronted in My hometown also happens in your day. This lack of expectation contributes to My repeated frustration with My family — My modern-day “hometown” and My “own people” and “household.” This “stubbornness” of “unbelief” prevents Me from doing any “great works” for them, among them, and through them.

Please believe! Please expect more! Please read your Bibles to see that We — Father, Son, and Spirit — long to do in your day the things We’ve done before. Don’t let it be said in your day that I AM limited “by the stubbornness of their unbelief.”

Verses to Live

In the following verses, Mark reported things that happened in My hometown of Nazareth. Notice that the people there were astonished at My teaching. They also knew about My miraculous powers. However, they couldn’t see past their own familiarity with Me, My family, and what they thought they knew about Me. They refused to accept My teaching and My miracles. Their lack of faith prevented them from experiencing all that I wanted to bring to them and do among them

Don’t let your past experiences place limits on what you think I can do for you, in you, and through you. Remember this about Us — Father, Son, and Spirit: We “can do so many awe-inspiring things, immeasurable things, things greater than [you] ever could ask or imagine through the power at work in” you (Ephesians 3:20).

Jesus went back into His own hometown where He had grown up, and His disciples followed Him there. When the Sabbath came, He went into the synagogue in Nazareth and began to teach as He had done elsewhere, and many of those who heard Him were astonished.

Those in the Synagogue:

Where did He gain this wisdom? And what are all these stories we’ve been hearing about the signs and healings He’s performed? Where did He get that kind of power? Isn’t this Jesus, the little boy we used to see in Joseph’s carpenter shop? Didn’t He grow up to be a carpenter just like His father? Isn’t He the son of Mary over there and the brother of James, Joses, Judas, Simon, and their sisters? Who does He think He is?

And when they had thought about it that way, they became indignant and closed themselves to His message.

Jesus (seeing this):

A prophet can find honor anywhere except in his hometown, among his own people, and in his own household.

He could not do any of His great works among them except with a few of the sick, whom He healed by laying His hands upon them. He was amazed by the stubbornness of their unbelief.

(Mark 6:1-6)

Response in Prayer

Today, O God, I pray as Habakkuk did many years ago:

Lord, I have heard of your fame;

I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord.

Repeat them in our day,

in our time make them known.

In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Prayer from Habakkuk 3:2 NIV.

‘A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware.

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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.