Tuesday, 6 February 2024 The Rev’d John Durell

Tuesday, 6 February 2024

St.Mark 6: 1 – 12

He left that place and came to his home town, and his disciples followed him. On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, ‘Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands!  Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary  and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?’ And they took offence at him.  Then Jesus said to them, ‘Prophets are not without honour, except in their home town, and among their own kin, and in their own house.’  And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them.  And he was amazed at their unbelief. Then he went about among the villages teaching.  He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits.  He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts;  but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics.  He said to them, ‘Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place.  If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.’  So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent.  They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.


There’s been plenty of news about Jesus since he left town, but no one has set eyes on him. Except of course the anxious members of his family who went down to Capernaum looking for him – and probably they’ve been keeping that awkward interview to themselves. So there is a real air of excitement in synagogue this sabbath morning.

And it’s not just Jesus who grabs everyone’s attention. Mark tells us that his disciples have followed him here: that’s a couple of extra pews full! Even before he starts speaking, people are asking what can have happened to Jesus the carpenter, the lad they’ve known all his life, to turn him into such a compelling figure – a rabbi everyone wants to know and follow.

We of course are in the know. Mark has given us all the details of what happened to Jesus as soon as he left home, starting with his baptism in the Jordan, and the heavenly voice affirming his new life direction. So there’s an easy answer to the question “Where did this man get all this?”, but it’s not one that the people of Nazareth are likely to work out for themselves. Even his own family have been in two minds about him.

The brief mention here of the brothers and sisters is as much as we ever learn about them. We can imagine them sitting together, as extended families sometimes do in our own congregations. Hearing the buzz of conversations around them, they realise that Jesus’s home-coming isn’t going to be the triumphant occasion that they might have been hoping for.

And Mark has to tell us that even Jesus could experience failure. No miracles today in Nazareth! A warning then for us, his followers, to be prepared for disappointments as we too try to share the Good News.


Loving God, give us confidence
to speak for you and about you,
not looking for honour and praise ourselves.

And give us grace to bear disappointment
when our words are not heard or heeded,
putting ourselves and all things into your good hands.



Today’s writer

The Rev’d John Durell, retired minister, member of Waddington Street URC, Durham





New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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