Mark 6:5 states, “Now He could no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them” (NKJV). I have a one word answer to your question: UNBELIEF! We see this in the very next verse (6): “And He marveled because of their UNBELIEF.” Let me say emphatically that there was no “lack of power” on the part of the Lord Jesus (for like Himself His power was infinite); it was a “lack of faith” on the part of the people that prevented Him from displaying His marvelous power. Jesus was willing and ready to perform mighty works, but He only did so in response to faith. Yet the residents of Nazareth, as a whole, refused to believe that He was sent from God to be their Messiah.

Their unbelief caused Jesus to MARVEL (to be ASTONISHED). Why was He astonished? Because He had grown up in Nazareth where He had lived a holy life before their very eyes and had often taught them in their synagogue, and thus they should have believed Him when He began to proclaim Himself as their Messiah. We read in verse 2, “And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue.” In Luke 4:16 we learn that this was “His custom,” so the people were used to hearing Him read the scriptures to them. I’m quite sure they respected Him and were encouraged by His zeal to open the sacred Word of God each Sabbath Day. But this Sabbath Day was different, for as we read on it says, “And many hearing Him were ASTONISHED, saying, ‘Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?’ And they were OFFENDED at Him.” Why were they ASTONISHED and then OFFENDED? Why had respect and admiration for His wisdom in teaching turned to doubt and being offended? Why did they refuse to believe that His wisdom and ability to perform miracles was from God?

The answer to these questions is tragic indeed! Their hearts were filled with UNBELIEF because their hearts were filled with PRIDE. Nazareth was a town filled with DESPISED people, as we learn in John 1:46, “And Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’’ Yet with pride in their hearts they LOOKED DOWN ON JESUS. This is demonstrated by their words, “Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary.” In their eyes He was just a humble carpenter, the son of humble parents. They lacked the faith to see beyond his human flesh, for faith would have enabled them to say, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and WE BEHELD HIS GLORY, the glory as of THE ONLY BEGOTTEN OF THE FATHER, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). So, in the pride of their hearts they DESPISED the Lord Jesus and were “offended at Him” as soon as He proclaimed Himself as the Messiah (see Luke 4:16-21). Jesus responded to their unbelief and rejection with these words in verse 4, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.” There is a saying today, “Familiarity breeds contempt” and this is similar to what Jesus was saying. It is hard to be accepted as a prophet by those who know you best, for they are so “used to you” that you appear to be just like them; a common and ordinary person who couldn’t be one sent from God. Thus their hearts were offended by His claims and filled with unbelief. I would encourage you to read the full account of this story in Luke 4:14-29 and you will see that their unbelief not only prevented Jesus from doing miracles, but it led them to try to kill the Lord Jesus. (276.1) (DO)