Connections 07.04.2021: Finding Home

Mark 6:1-13

What are some of your favorite places? Where do you feel comfortable and safe? What makes you feel that way—the people in the place or the place itself?

For many of us, “home” feels like the safest, most comfortable place. It’s our favorite place to be, and that’s mostly because of the people who are there with us. They know us, and we know them. We understand that we can be ourselves around them. We can let down our guard, say what we think, and express ourselves without fear of retribution. Sure, problems happen and disagreements occur, but we are assured of forgiveness and unconditional love—at least in healthy families.

It’s easy to think Jesus would have felt this way about his home. By all accounts, he grew up with caring, loving parents who obeyed the laws of God, protected and guided him, and taught him a trade. It seems that they would have been proud to have their grown son return to his hometown. They might have even wanted to show him off to everybody. “Look at Jesus! He’s become such an honorable and faithful young man.”

We know from our passage that this isn’t what happened when Jesus went back to Nazareth. He went expecting a good reception, perhaps even fertile ground for his teachings, and yet they “took offense at him” (v. 3). The townspeople felt that he was behaving above his station. After all, he was merely “the carpenter, the son of Mary,” and his brothers and sisters were still around, slogging through life in Nazareth like the rest of the citizens. They hadn’t gotten lofty ideas in their heads and left to pursue something ridiculous the way Jesus had.

Jesus was “amazed at their unbelief” (v. 6), which implies that he did expect more of them. Some of you may get this kind of reception when you go back home. Maybe, for you, home isn’t safe or comfortable. It’s not a place of unconditional love and encouragement. If that’s true for you, it may be worth it to try to reach out to your family members, to work on mending what is broken, to ask for or offer forgiveness. If those things don’t help the relationships, then maybe it’s healthier for you to do what Jesus did: move on.

Where else could God use you? What place could be home for you? What people encourage you and support you with unconditional love?

Discussion

• What are some of your favorite places?
• Where do you feel unconditional love and find the support you need to thrive?
• If you feel rejected by your family and/or your hometown, how do you cope with your feelings?
• What steps can you take to reconcile broken relationships with family members?
• If you take these steps but still feel rejection, what is the next right thing for you to do? How can you move on and find a better place where you can flourish?

Kelley Land, a graduate of Mercer University, has been an assistant editor of Smyth & Helwys curriculum and books since 2001. In addition to this work, she is a freelance editor for other publishers and authors. She also regularly volunteers for Jay’s HOPE, a nonprofit serving families of children with cancer. Kelley enjoys spending time with her teenage daughters, Samantha and Natalie, her husband John, and the family’s two dachshund mix pups, Luke and Leia. She likes supporting community theater productions and is often found playing board games with a group of rowdy friends. She loves Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who. And she writes middle grade and young adult fiction for the pure joy of it.

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