"Meanderings in Mark"
Series on Mark, Lesson 21

The Danger of Familiarity

Read: Mark 6:1-6

Text: (Mark 6:3 KJV) Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.

Theme: Familiarity breeds contempt.


Introduction:

The following are warmup questions to be asked prior to getting into the lesson:

QUESTION - It was Publius Syrus, in 42 B.C., who first said, "Familiarity breeds contempt." What did old Publius mean by that?

QUESTION - Let's think of some areas of life where this thought rings true. Can you tell me an example of how familiarity breeds contempt in the area of relationships with other people?

QUESTION - Can you tell me an example of how familiarity breeds contempt in the area of food?

QUESTION - Can you tell me an example of how familiarity breeds contempt in our relationship to the Word of God?

QUESTION - Can you tell me an example of how familiarity breeds contempt in the area of entertainment?

QUESTION - Can you think of other examples where familiarity breeds contempt?

(Eph 2:8 KJV) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

(Heb 11:6 KJV) But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

(1 John 5:4 KJV) For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

(Mark 6:5 KJV) And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.

"Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus,
Greater than all my sin;
How shall my tongue describe it,
Where shall its praise begin?
Taking away my burden,
Setting my spirit free,
For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me."

(Mark 6:3 KJV) Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.


I. His hometown had every reason to believe Him.

QUESTION - What town is referred to in vs. 1 as "his own country?"

ANSWER - Nazareth. Cf. Mark 1:9, 24

QUESTION - What do we know about Nazareth? (cf. Matthew 2:23; 21:11; John 1:45-46)

A. They knew of His miracles in other places.

Cf. Mark 6:2, 5

B. They had experienced His teaching before.

Cf. Luke 4:16-30

C. They had the same evidence as everyone else.

QUESTION - Mark conveys three different responses to Jesus in verses 2-3, 6. What three responses do you see in these verses? Why did they respond in these ways? Why were their responses different from others?

ANSWER - The three responses I'm looking for are:

      1. They were astonished
      2. They were offended
      3. They were unbelievers - this is the crux of the matter, which we will explore next.

II. His hometown did not believe Him.

QUESTION - This was the second recorded time that Jesus came to Nazareth. How did his hometown respond to Him the first time He preached to them?

A. They tried to kill Him the first time.

Cf. Luke 4:16-30

ILLUS. Felix

(Acts 24:25 KJV) And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.

QUESTION - How would you sum up their response to Him on this second occasion?

B. They didn't take Him seriously the second time.

ILLUS. Festus

(Acts 26:24 KJV) And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.

C. NOTE - This is a dangerous attitude to take. There is no record that He ever came back a third time.

(Prov 29:1 KJV) He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.

Sadly, God sometimes accepts our answer of "no."

III. His hometown's problem was that they thought they knew Him.

QUESTION - A key verse in this passage is verse 5, where we read that He "could there do no mighty work." What does this mean? Why couldn't Jesus perform many miracles in Nazareth?

A. They saw Him as just a carpenter.

QUOTE - "Isn't this the carpenter? (6:3) In Israel carpentry was an insignificant occupation. While working in metals was considered an art, carpentry was a part-time trade. The carpenter used a few crude tools, fixed broken doors or plows, made wooden spoons and wooden door keys, and shaped rude tables and chairs. In the East houses were constructed of stone or mud bricks, and most household dishes were of pottery. There was little need for the skilled work done by modern carpenters. Thus, to call Jesus carpenter was to dismiss Him as one who followed an insignificant trade, as today one might say, he is just a day laborer."

QUESTION - How does knowing that Jesus plied such a humble trade make you feel?

1. Jesus was a common man.

2. To believers, this is His glory.

(Heb 4:15 KJV) For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

QUESTION - Why did knowing that Jesus plied such a humble trade present a problem for the Nazarenes?

3. To them, it was a stumbling block.

GREEK - 4624. skandalizo, skan-dal-id'-zo ("scandalize"); from G4625; to entrap, i.e. trip up (fig. stumble [trans.] or entice to sin, apostasy or displeasure):--(make to) offend.

QUOTE - (Following from the College Press NIV Commentary:) "When Jesus taught in the synagogue at Capernaum the audience was amazed at his teaching and his ability to heal (1:21-28). In 6:2 Mark uses the same word as in 1:22 to describe the amazement in the synagogue at Nazareth. However, the amazement at Capernaum had positive connotations and resulted in Jesus performing many miracles there (1:32-34). The Nazareth crowd was offended. In Capernaum they spoke about his teaching; in Nazareth they spoke about his wisdom. In both places they spoke about his miraculous powers. But in Nazareth they remembered him as the carpenter (, ) 6-1 whose mother, brothers, and sisters they knew. 6-2 They were offended at the hometown boy who seemed to them to be claiming too much for himself."

QUESTION - What did they mean when they referred to Jesus as "son of Mary?" Wouldn't it have been more correct and normal in that society to refer to Him by His father's name?

B. They saw Him as the illegitimate son of Mary.

1. "Son of Mary" could have meant Joseph was dead.

2. "Son of Mary" was more likely an insult, saying He was illegitimate.

IV. Familiarity is a problem today.

QUESTION - Is familiarity with Jesus Christ a problem in America today? (When I speak of America, I'm speaking of the lost in America. We'll look at the saved in a minute.) Why?

QUESTION - If you were a lost person in America today, what would you know about Jesus Christ, and how would you know it?

A. A problem in America.

1. Christian TV and radio.

2. Churches everywhere

3. Bumper stickers, billboards, crosses along highways

4. Door to door saturation.

QUESTION - Is familiarity with Jesus Christ a problem in local churches today? Why?

B. A problem in local churches.

1. Some won't be saved because of "familiarity" with Christ.

QUOTE - "No doubt, the problem is with you!"

(John 6:40 KJV) And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

(Mat 7:21-23 KJV) Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

QUESTION - What can soul winners do to break through the "over-familiarity" that people in America have for the things of Christ, so that they will hear and respond to the gospel?

2. Some allow "familiarity" with Christ to lessen their relationship to Him.

ILLUS. - We often see a parallel in marriage, where two people become so accustomed to each other that they begin to take one another for granted. There comes a time when they sit back and examine their relationship, and realize that it has grown stale and old, because they took it for granted.

QUESTION - What can we do to keep from becoming callused by over-familiarity with Christ and Christianity? Think of these areas, and let's come up with some activities that will protect us from over-familiarity in each area: The word of God, our prayer lives, soul winning, church attendance, separation from the world.


Conclusion:

(Mark 6:3 KJV) Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.


Please direct questions, comments, and submissions to William E. Johnson
Copyright © 1997 William E. Johnson.