Ordinary and Offensive

Mark 6:1-6

by Pastor John

When Jesus returns to his hometown, the initial reaction is astonishment. But that quickly turns to offense. There is now visible hostility to Jesus.

What's even more intriguing is what Mark records as the reason for his offense: Jesus' ordinariness.

The murmur rises that Jesus is ordinary just like the people of Nazareth. He had to work with his hands as a carpenter like everyone else. His brothers and sisters are standing right there. And we know he's Mary's son, but we're not even sure who his father is.

William Lane writes, "In spite of what they heard and saw they failed to penetrate the veil of ordinariness which characterized this one who had grown up in the village."

Jesus is too ordinary to be anything special. And so they took offense at him.

This story gives us a window into future stories of Jesus' rejection culminating in His death on the cross. But it also gives us a view into the human heart.

Tim Keller points out that Jesus' ordinariness subverts the way our hearts want salvation to be. We want to be saved from ordinary humanity.

When we look at billboard advertisements of beautiful men and women, we feel a desire in our hearts to be saved from the "ordinary me". When we experience pain and hardship and oppression, we ache for salvation from the ordinary brokenness of being human. When you’re longing to be great, you’re wanting salvation from the ordinary commonness of being you.

We think salvation is being rescued from the ordinary, and so an ordinary Savior is offensive.

But the Gospel tells us that we are the ones who have offended God, and Jesus ordinariness had a purpose: to restore us to God.

Our rebellion against God brought hostility between us and Him. Yet, Jesus, fully God, became an ordinary human to bring salvation to ordinary people living in an ordinary world. He died as an ordinary criminal on an ordinary cross and was placed in an ordinary tomb.

And that's where the great offense of his ordinariness becomes beautiful. Jesus veiled himself in ordinariness to get to you and restore you to God.