Mark 6:1-13

Commentary Excerpt by Tom Boomershine

This story has a distinctive structure in its indications about the tone of the statements in the story. In many stories the tone is indicated before the statement as in, "He was angry and said..." In this case the statements about the tone follow what it is that is being said.In the synagogue story the offense and the tone of offense is only stated after statements by people in the synagogue.

There are in fact two indications about the tone. The first is that the people were astounded. The second is that they took offense. What the story indicates is that astonishment was expressed as offense and in a tone of offense. So when you tell the story it is important to express the words of the people in the synagogue with the tone of offense as well as astonishment. Likewise, Jesus' statement, "a prophet is not without honor" is said with a tone of amazement. That amazement is given as a clue about his feelings at the end of the story: "He was amazed at their unbelief."

This story is a story of prophetic rejection. It is the first story in the Gospel that is located in Jesus' hometown. The expectation is that he will be greeted with great enthusiasm.Their offense is a reversal of expectations. Jesus' response is an explanation of the fate of many prophets. There is no honor for a prophet in his hometown among his own people.One of the notes of humor in this story is that Mark says he could do no deed of power except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. For anyone else this would be seen as significant "deeds of power" but for Jesus it is a relatively insignificant response and effect.

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