Based On: Mark 6:1-6
What is honor? Webster’s dictionary says it is your good name and public esteem. It is your reputation and the recognition you receive from others. Our Savior, more than any other, is worthy of honor. The angels in heaven sing, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” With their words the angels give him honor – they give him recognition and esteem. The Lamb who was slain rescued the whole world from death. The Lamb who was slain is worthy of honor, but when he came to his hometown he was without honor. He came to the world he created and the Lamb, our Savior, was without honor. He was without honor among us and yet, he was without honor for us.
The Gospel writer, Mark, tells us about several miracles Jesus performed before coming to his hometown of Nazareth. He calmed the storm, cast many demons out of a single man, healed a woman, and raised the daughter of Jairus back to life. We heard about some of these in the Gospel lessons over the past few weeks. People praised him and thanked him and some honored him by trusting in him as the promised Messiah. Then he came to the town he grew up in – to Nazareth, and the people there gave him a different response.
They were amazed by what he said and they saw the miracles he performed, but they asked, “Where did this man get these things?” They saw him grow up and they knew his family. To them Jesus was no different than they were and deserved no more respect than any of them. Jesus was without honor in his hometown. In spite of the great miracles he had done previously Jesus could not do many here – not because he didn’t have the ability but because the people in Nazareth did not put their trust in him, “How could this carpenter help them?” and so they didn’t go to him for help.
Jesus didn’t go to Nazareth just to see old friends. Jesus went to tell them about salvation – to tell them about himself. He went into the synagogue – probably the same one he attended as a boy – with relatives and former neighbors and he told them God’s Word. He told them he was their Savior and the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies. They did not consider the words from his mouth as coming from God. Even though they saw the miracles their familiarity with Jesus as a human being blinded them to the fact that He was also God’s Son. They saw him grow up. They knew his family. This person couldn’t possibly be the Messiah! Jesus was without honor.
Have you ever felt like one without honor? Perhaps you have a family member who needs to hear about the Savior but he has little respect for what you say. He remembers what you were like when you were growing up. He saw the not so smart things you did and now he’s not going to listen to you tell him what is wrong with his life. You are without honor. This shouldn’t surprise you. It happened to Jesus.
What happens when you share your faith with those you went to school with? How would you be received if you had to lovingly point out their sin? We are not perfect like Jesus was so there may be plenty of reasons why they might not honor our message to them. Perhaps you were the class bully or the class clown. You may be telling them exactly what God wants them to hear but they can’t get past what they know about you to hear what God is telling them through you.
Now, what if the class bully or class clown or even a long time friend at church comes to us and with love motivated by Christ tells us we are sinning? Do we repent and ask God to forgive? Will we honor Christ by honoring his Word spoken by this person? Or do we say, “Who are you to tell me how to act?” and in so doing Jesus is without honor among us?
We honor Christ when we honor those who bring us God’s Word and we honor Christ when we honor God’s Word that tells us about Christ. When we come to church on Sunday but ignore his Word every other day of the week then Jesus is without honor among us.
Yes, Jesus Christ was without honor in Nazareth and on the cross and also in the world today but also even among us, Jesus Christ is without honor.
But that is why he came. He gave up the glory and honor of heaven. He suffered dishonor from his family, his own countrymen and us. He gave up the honor due him so that we would be forgiven for the times we fail to show him honor. Our Savior was without honor for us.
Our Savior was without honor in his hometown. He was without honor as he hung on the cross. He is without honor in this world that refuses to recognize him as its Savior.
Now we have been given honor. Because of Jesus God calls us His children, not servant or slave or hired hand, but His children. He has given us Baptism as the means by which we are born into his family. What greater honor can we have?
Because Jesus was without honor in his hometown, we will be taken into God’s heavenly home and experience all of his goodness. We will live forever with him. What honor could the world give that would even compare?
Because he was without honor on the cross we have been honored. Christ has given us his own body and blood to assure us of our forgiveness. Certainly, this is a great honor.
For the times we fail to honor our Savior we ask forgiveness and we trust that for Jesus’ sake we have been forgiven. Our simple God given faith in the Lamb that was slain brings him honor.
Now when we are without honor in this world as we speak to others about Christ or lovingly warn others of their sin, we can look to Christ and see that he suffered in the same way.
As for the many times the world does not show us honor because of Christ, what of it? What does it matter? We have a far greater honor.
The recognition, the honors this world gives are trivial and temporary compared to the undeserved honor God places on us. Even though the world does not honor Christ, we share Christ with others and we look forward to the day that our heavenly honor will be revealed to everyone.