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FROM THE PULPIT
Mark 6:5 And he could there do no mighty work. This is a remarkable expression. He could do no mighty work there. The words imply want of power - that in some sense or other he was unable to do it. He did indeed perform some miracles. He laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them; but he wrought none of his greater miracles there. Of course, even these less striking miracles ought to have sufficed.
in a miracle there must be the suspension of some known law of nature; and one clear instance of such suspension ought to be as conclusive as a hundred. Then it must be remembered that it is not God's method in his dealings with his creatures to force conviction upon them when the ordinary means prove insufficient. For men's actions must be free if they are to be made the test of judgment, and they would not be free if God constrained men to obey his will. The men of Nazareth had sufficient evidence had they not chosen to be blinded, and a greater amount of evidence would only have increased their condemnation. So their unbelief thwarted his purposes of mercy, and he went in and out amongst them like one hampered and disabled, marvelling at their unbelief, or rather marveling because of their unbelief. The condition of mind of these Nazarenes was what caused amazement to the Saviour. At length he turned away from Nazareth, never, so far as we know, to visit it again; for this was their second opportunity, and the second occasion which they deliberately rejected him. What, however, they refused he immediately offered to others. He was not discouraged. He went round about the villages teaching.
FROM THE ENTIRE BIBLE
And he could there do no mighty work,.... Or miracle; not that Christ had no power in himself to work miracles, though their unbelief and contempt of him were very great; but it was not fit and proper that he should do any there, since such were their prejudices against him: it is an usual way of speaking with the Hebrews, when either it is not "fit" and proper that a thing should be done, or they "will" not do it, to say it cannot be done; see Genesis 19:22; and even it is said of God himself, "So that the Lord could no longer bear, because of your evil doings", Jeremiah 44:22. Not but that he could if he would, but he would not; nor was it fit and proper that he should; the same is the sense here: besides, in Matthew 13:58 it is said, "he did not many mighty works there"; and so the Arabic version here, "and he did not many mighty works there"; he did not think it proper to do any of any great consequence, nor did he. Wherefore the Jew (u) has no reason to object this to the divinity of Christ, as if there was a want of power in him. Christ is omnipotent, and he has given proof of his almighty power, by the miracles which he has wrought; and though he wrought no mighty work "there", yet he wrought many elsewhere, which sufficiently attest the truth of his proper deity: the emphasis lies upon the word there; though he did not work any considerable miracle in that place, he did in others; which shows, that it was not a defect of power in him, that was the reason of it, but something else; and Matthew gives the reason of it, and says, it was "because of their unbelief": not that their unbelief was an over match for his power; he could have removed that, if he had thought fit, but he did not do it; he, who is the author and finisher of faith, could have took away their unbelief, as the man that brought his dumb child to Christ, concluded he could; and therefore said to him, "Lord, help my unbelief", Mark 9:24. Christ sometimes required of the persons he was about to heal, faith in him, that he could heal them; and so did his apostles,Matthew 9:28. Not that faith contributed any thing to the cure, but it was the way and means in which Christ was pleased to communicate his healing virtue: besides, when persons applied to him for healing, and expressed their faith in him, it gave him an opportunity of working a miracle for that purpose; but now these people did not so much as ask such a favour of him, and so gave him no occasion of doing any mighty work; for which reason it may be said, he could not, no opportunity offering: and moreover, seeing they disbelieved him, and rejected him as the Messiah, they were unworthy of having any wrought among them; and it was but just and right, to do none: nay, it was rather an instance of kindness not to do any among them; since had he, and they had remained impenitent and unbelieving, as he knew they would, these would have been aggravations of their condemnation.
Save that he laid his hands upon a sick folk, and healed them. There were some few sick people that had faith in him, and came to him, beseeching him to heal them; and accordingly he did lay his hands on them, and cured them, which was a way he sometimes used: and these cures he wrought, to show his power, what he could do, and what benefits they might have enjoyed by him, and to leave them inexcusable.