What city was now the Lord's home? In what place had He lived before for many years?
In our lesson today we learn that He left Capernaum and the sea and went back to Nazareth, and His disciples went with Him. There He preached in the synagogue on the Sabbath day. But the people in Nazareth found it hard to believe in Him: they had known Him as a boy and young man; they knew His mother and brothers and sisters who were people like themselves, and it made them angry that He should have all this wisdom and power. So because they did not believe in Him He could do little to help them. "And He went round about the villages teaching." Read verses 1-6.
Do you remember how many disciples the Lord chose to be with Him as His special friends and helpers? These twelve He called together now. They had been with Him hearing His words and seeing all the wonderful works He was doing. Now they were to go out without Him. He sent them forth by two and two and gave them power to cast out devils, and to heal diseases, and to teach to the world what the Lord had taught them. He told them to "take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no script, no bread, no money in their purses; but be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats." They were to go as simply as was possible, trusting His word that they would be cared for. When they came to a town they were not to go visiting about from house to house, but were to choose a suitable place and stay there till their work in that town should be finished. If they should go to a town where the people would not listen to their words, when they left that place they were to shake off the dust of the town from their feet, which would show that nothing of these people's evil ways should cling to the Lord's disciples. "And they went out, and preached that men should repent. And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them."
The Lord went again "into His own country," to Nazareth which had been His home for nearly thirty years. You can find Nazareth on the map, and you remember the little mountain village with its little meadow and the circle of hills all about, shutting it in from the rest of the world. You remember the spring in the upper end of the valley, where the women fill their jars, and the little flat-roofed houses on the hillside; and the narrow streets of shops where carpenters and other mechanics work at their trades with boys to help them; and the synagogue which was there in the old days, where the Jews met on the Sabbath to hear the Scriptures read from the sacred rolls and explained by a teacher; and the hill above the town with some steep cliffs on its sides and the wide view from the top. We think so often of Nazareth while the Lord lived there as a child and while He was known to the neighbors as "the carpenter" and "the carpenter's son," that it is like going again to a place that we know well, when we read that the Lord "came into His own country" with His disciples. It may be the very same visit to Nazareth, that is described in Luke 4:16-30. Read those verses with Mark 6:1-6.
But there were people in other villages who were more willing than the people of Nazareth to listen to the Lord. He went Himself to many of them, and He sent His disciples out into the towns of Galilee to teach others about Him and to heal the sick by His power. They went two and two; no script or bag such as travelers usually carried; no bread, no money. They went to do the Lord's work, trusting in His power. Do you understand what is said of Sodom and Gomorrah? At the end of our lesson we learn how the disciples came back to the Lord, near Capernaum to tell Him what they had done and taught.
1. Where was the Lord born? Where did He live for nearly thirty years? Where was His home after He began to go about to teach and heal?
2. Did He ever go again to Nazareth? How was He received?
3. How many of His followers did the Lord especially choose to be with Him and to help in His work? What were these called? How many of their homes do you remember? What did the Lord send them out to do? Why were they to take so little for the journey?
What was the reason that some people were willing to believe in the Lord and some were not? One cannot be wise in heavenly things, except by repenting of evil with the Lord's help. Otherwise the light of heaven does not shine in the mind. (Psalm 111:10; John 7:17)
Why could the Lord do few mighty works in Nazareth? (Matthew 13:58) But why was not that just the place and time to do miracles and compel them to believe? It would not be useful to compel belief. The miracles were useful in confirming belief with those who were touched by the Lord's truth and goodness. (P. 130-133)
Does the going of the disciples two and two suggest anything about the way in which we should do the Lord's work? With sympathy and companionship, encouraging and helping one another. The two disciples also suggest the two faculties of love and understanding, which should be united in every good work. (A. 4677, 9942)
Going without provision for the way is like being poor in spirit, that is conscious of our need of the Lord's help; but to take everything for the journey would be being rich, that is self-trustful, thinking ourselves very strong and good. Which is the spirit in which the Lord's disciples ought to work. (Matthew 5:3; 6:11; Mark 10:17-27)