When Jesus revealed His divinity to the Jews residing in Nazareth, they questioned His authority (Matt. 13:53-58). This was not unexpected, considering they only knew Him as “the carpenter’s son” (Matt. 13:55; Mark 6:3). After all, Jesus’ teaching was quite different from that of the Jewish religious teachers of the day (Matt. 7:28-29; John 7:46). By and large, the Galileans could not believe that “the carpenter’s son” was the Son of God. Because they had known him from boyhood, they became “offended” – literally a “stumbling-block” (cf. Rom. 9:33; 1 Cor. 1:23) when He claimed to be the Messiah (John 1:43-51). They could not accept Jesus as their king, even though He was their social equal. They had a false perception of Jesus despite the prophecy of Jesus’ lowly nature (Isa. 53:1-3).
From the time of Samuel, the Jews had desired a king to rise up and make them a mighty nation (cf. 1 Sam. 8:1-22). Even the Lord’s apostles did not fully understand the nature of His kingdom (Acts 1:6). They only knew Jesus as a local boy from the insignificant town of Nazareth, not able to perceive Him as having any kingly credentials. Thus, their prejudice hindered any proper evaluation of the Man. Prejudice is a terrible malady, blinding us, and making us insensible to even the most obvious of truths. Unfortunately, few of us are entirely free from its negative influence, but we need to always be aware of its dangers, calculating its influence before drawing hasty conclusions.
Jesus recognized their bigotry with this proverbial statement, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house” (Matt. 13:57). Because they were unable to see Jesus as more than a common man, Matthew records, “Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief” (Matt. 13:58). However, their prejudice could not restrict Jesus’ powers — He simply knew their hearts, knowing they would not receive him regardless of what they saw (Matt. 9:4; 13:58; Mark 6:5-6; cf. Luke 16:27-31).
In today’s “religious” world, we often see man’s ideologies taking precedence over God’s truth (2 Tim. 4:3-4; 2 Pet. 2:1-2). Removing human bias will always be a never-ending struggle, but mankind must see Jesus as more than “the carpenter’s son” in order to be saved (John 8:24; John 12:48). Brethren, what are we doing to teach this truth to mankind? (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16).