His own received Him not.

(The Gospel History, Section 54)

And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence; and he cometh into his own country, and his disciples follow him. And when the sabbath was come, he began to teach in the synagogue, insomuch that many hearing him were astonished, saying, Whence hath this man these things? and what is the wisdom that is given unto this man, and what mean such mighty works wrought by his hands? Is not this the carpenter? Is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all here with us? And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour save in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.


(The Saviour of the World, Vol III Book II Poem XXVIII)

New lessons duly given, new work done,
The ten great Parables, as planets, shot
From the hand of Him who made, to run their course
Eternal in those heavens where souls of men
Seek light of star to guide; finished, this work—
Perfect and very good—the Lord departs.

Wistful o’er them of Nazareth, pleasant folk,
Around whom cling all memories of youth,
He thither goes with train of loyal men,
Disciples, with their Lord. The Sabbath come,
Again He teaches in their synagogue;
Again, they wonder at the mighty words
Proceeded from His mouth: alack, the day!
What hostile power compels that men repeat
That error has condemned them? Astonished, they,
But not to their salvation: “Pray, who is this
That comes amongst us with such mighty words?
Where hath he learned this wisdom? Bears it seal
We recognise, of doctor of the law?
And by what right performs he mighty works
Unauthorised of our rulers? Year in, year out,
Have we not known him well, a working man,
A carpenter who did small joiner’s tasks?
His mother, too, is she not Mary called,—
James, Joseph, Simon, Judas,—all we know,
His brethren, sisters too, belong not all
To family of decent working folk
Here living in mean street? Pray, who is this
Assumes to teach his betters, would know more
Than scribes and doctors teaching in our midst!”
Just indignation filled them, as when one
Teacheth new doctrine, credentials having none.

Offence they take, and Jesus tells them why:
Ever He placeth finger on the spot
Where lurks disease; a principle reveals
To guide those men and all men in like case:
What His offence? That He belonged to them:—
“No prophet in his country shall find grace;
Strangers shall hear his word, but not his own;
No honour hath he of his kith and kin,
Of them in his own house; not there his work
Of saving grace and service shall he do;
For none can work beyond the measure strait,
His fellows grace him with of generous trust.”
Poor city, Christ went forth and did no works—
Save that He laid His hands on few sick folk—
So hindered Him, these men, by unbelief!
He, who knew man, astonished went away
At the great marvel of their vast unfaith;
How could they see and hear nor know the truth!

Why are those bristles in a man erect
Against that neighbour, better than the rest,
Not yet due stamped with hall-mark of the world?
The world approving, we delight to praise;
His glory makes us great; meantime we wound
With unbelief, contempt, a thousand pricks
That neighbours know to make their neighbour smart.
Is’t envy that consumeth all our power
Of upright judging, knowing what is true?

Neighbour to every man, the Lord remains;
Still are we envious of His place and power,
His right to lead us, utter the last word
In all conflicting cries that vex our days!
A man like us, men say, what doth He know?
What right hath He to order wiser thought
Than any man discerned in those dim days
When Jesus walked the plains of Galilee?
Offended at Him, we, and turn deaf ear!

Still wistful, waiteth He our slow relenting,
And meantime He can do no mighty work,—
Sudden uplifting of all people’s hearts—
Hindered, His grace, by our crass unbelief!
A penny piece shall hide the orb of day,—
Our little faithlessness put out our Sun!

St. Mark vi. 1-6.
St. Matthew xiii. 53-58.