Marveling at Unbelief
(Taken from Alexander MacLaren's Exposition of Mark's Gospel)
3Is 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.
4But 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.
5And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.
6And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.
But there is another consideration that I would like to suggest in
reference to this limitation of our Lord's power, by reason of the
prevalence of an atmosphere of unbelief, and that is that it is a
pathetic proof of His manhood's being influenced by all the emotions
and circumstances that influence us. We all know how hearts expand in
the warm atmosphere of affection and sympathy, and shut themselves up
like tender flowerets when the cold east wind blows. And just as a
great orator subtly feels the sympathy of his audience, and is buoyed
up by it to higher flights, while in the presence of cold and
indifferent and critical hearers his tongue stammers, and he falls
beneath himself, so we may reverently say Jesus Christ _could_ not put
forth His mightiest and most abundant miraculous powers when the cold
wind of unbelieving criticism blew in His face.
If that is true, what a glimpse it gives us of the conditions of His
earthly life, and how wonderful it makes that love which, though it
was hampered, was never stifled by the presence of scorn and malice
and of hatred. He is our Brother, bone of our bone and flesh of our
flesh; and even when the divinity within was in possession of the
power of working the miracle, the humanity in which it dwelt felt the
presence of the cold frost and closed its petals. 'He could do no
mighty works,' and it was 'because of their unbelief.'