Familiarity Breeds Contempt Mark 6:1-6

Text: “But Jesus said unto them, ‘A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.’”

Mark 6:4.

Good morning, dishonoured Christian!  Throughout your own country you feel dishonoured.   Among your own family you feel dishonoured.  You even feel dishonoured within your very own home.  But fret not, faithful friend, in fact, rejoice and be exceedingly glad; for great is your reward in Heaven.  Why?  Because in like manner the prophets of God, and the Lord Jesus Himself, were similarly dishonoured and persecuted before you.  You are in the best company!

“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution.”  (2 Timothy 3:12)

When worldly hearts hear the Gospel message, they do one of two things: they are convicted deeply of their sins, repent of them, receive Christ and are saved; OR they do what the haters of the Gospel message have done since the time it was revealed to mankind - they seek to dishonour the Gospel messenger.  (Revelation 3:21-22)

Thus, the nature of the message reveals the nature of the hearer; and the reception of the message determines the treatment of the messenger.  (Matthew 5:11-12) (Acts 7:51-54)

“Woe unto you, when all men speak well of you for so did their fathers unto the false prophets.”  (Luke 6:26)

Dishonoured in Country:  Loyalty to one’s country, State allegiance; or deep respect for the National monarchy and flag are certainly characteristics of any true citizen of any given country.

However, born again believers in Christ Jesus, by faith, have given their PRIMARY allegiance to Him.  Therefore, we are become pilgrims in this land, seekers of the new Heavenly country prepared for us by God, and our first loyalty is to that Person and to that Heavenly Throne.  (Hebrews 11:14-16)

But, as soon as we declare loyalty to Christ, as our Primary loyalty - over loyalty to our country - fellow citizens of the temporal territory immediately show us dishonour; and persecution soon follows.

“Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.”  (Luke 6:20-26)

Dishonoured Among Kin:  King David knew the heartache of being dishonoured by his own kinsfolk. A reading of Psalm 38: clearly reveals the hurt this caused him.  (Psalm 38:11)

Paul the apostle grieved because his kinsmen rejected Jesus, his Sovereign King of all kings.  (Romans 9:1-5)

Allegiance to King Jesus brings believers dishonour from tribe, tradition and kin.  Natural alliances detest a Supernatural allegiance.  (Philippians 1:29)

Dishonoured At Home:  The Christian’s foes shall be those of his/her own household, as the believer declares Christ as First Love before love of his/her own natural flesh and family.  (Revelation 2:1-5)  A person’s own close family can be the hardest to reach for Christ.  The entrance of Christ into a human heart, in fullness of faith, often precipitates upheaval within the home and bitter variance among the family.  (Matthew 10:34-42)

J.C. Ryle Comments:

“This passage shows us our Lord Jesus Christ in “his own country,” at Nazareth. It is a melancholy illustra­tion of the wickedness of man’s heart, and deserves special attention.  We see, in the first place, how apt men are to undervalue things with which they are familiar. The men of Naza­reth “were offended” at our Lord. They could not think it possible that one who had lived so many years among themselves, and whose brethren and sisters they knew, could deserve to be followed as a public teacher.

“Never had any place on earth such privileges as Nazareth. For thirty years the Son of God resided in this town, and went to and fro in its streets. For thirty years He walked with God before the eyes of its inhabitants, living a blameless, perfect life. But it was all lost upon them. They were not ready to believe the Gospel, when the Lord came among them, and taught in their syna­gogue. They would not believe that one whose face they knew so well, and who had lived so long, eating, and drinking, and dressing like one of themselves, had any right to claim their attention. They were “offended at Him.”

“There is nothing in all this that need surprise us. The same thing is going on around us every day, in our own land. The holy Scriptures, the preaching of the Gospel, the public ordinances of religion, the abundant means of grace that England enjoys, are continually undervalued by English people. They are so accustomed to them, that they do not know their privileges. It is an awful truth, that in religion, more than in anything else, familiarity breeds contempt.” (J.C. Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospels 1816-1900)

Therefore, today’s Bible study proves without a doubt that the reverse of this order is, in many cases, also a true reflection of one’s Christian witness.  Worldly dishonour, slander, and persecution can often be a means of measuring just how effective one’s Christian witness is among one’s closest associates, family, and social group.  So, take heart, Christian dishonoured by the world, the Lord God holds you in high esteem.  Victory is yours and mine, in Christ Jesus!

Thought:  Worldly dishonour can reflect Spiritual honour from God – Stand Fast!

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