John Stone


Why were people in Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth ― his family, friends, temple members, neighbors, father’s co-workers and customers ― amazed at what Jesus supposedly said and did?

"And he … came into his own country; and his disciples follow him. … he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?" (Mark 6:1-2 King James Version)

Even the author of Matthew copied Mark’s synagogue teaching story about how those in Jesus’ hometown were so amazed at his wisdom and behavior. Again, why?

"And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?" (Matthew 13:54)

A surprise? Astonishment?

Remember, Jesus’ mother and father [the New Testament also says that Joseph was Jesus’ father, not the holy ghost 1] were visited by angels 2 and knew that God ― as the Holy Ghost ― made Mary pregnant 3 with the “physical” son of the Christian god.  Also, John the Baptists’ mother (Mary’s cousin Elisabeth) also knew this tale.4  Was she or anyone commanded to keep this information to themselves? NO! And their neighbors and cousins knew of John the Baptist’s holy birth, surely this was the case for Mary and Joseph also.5 After all, even the “three wise men” knew. Joseph even took a hiatus to Egypt to get away from Herod who also knew.6 So why the astonishment? Wisdom and miracles were the norm for their physical “son of god.” But Noooo, we are told they were astonished!

Would not Mary and Joseph proudly tell the townspeople that Jesus was to be the “saviour of the world?” After all, Mary revealed that an angel told her:

 “ …from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed." (Luke 1:48)

"Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. (Luke 1:30)  And he [Jesus] shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end."  (Luke 1:33)

Yes, Mary (and Joseph and the rest of the family too) knew it all:

“…Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her…” (Luke 1:38)

But the synagogue astonishment event expressed by the unknown authors of Mark and Matthew was long, long after many super natural events had already happened; such as:

·       Jesus’ virgin birth;

·       The star of Bethlehem (Matthew 2:2,7,9  & 10)

·       The three wise men (Matthew 2:1-2);

·       The parlor trick that all pagan gods performed ― “wine-to-water” (John 2:1-11 and

·       Much, much more.

After all this, these two unknown Christian authors want you to believe Jesus, Joseph and Mary’s fellow townspeople did not know anything that had been going on all around them for years ― decades even!

Think about it ― Jesus plus his family’s many angelic visits et al ― the town’s tongues would have been wagging overtime ― nonstop! What a claim to fame for the hamlet of Nazareth; having as their fellow citizen, the very god-man that would “…save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20-21).

According to the Christian bible stories, people knew Jesus, the man-god, far-and-wide even into the country of the Gadarenes  (Mark 5:1, 6): Let us briefly list just a few other miracles that Mark told about before his reported “astonishment:

·       Casting out unclean spirits (Mark 5:8). [In so doing, Jesus killed someone's innocent herd of swine without compensation, but that is another story]

·       Bringing a dead 12-year old girl back from the dead  [This was the daughter of one the rulers of the synagogue. Remember that Mark claimed later “in the synagogue …many were astonished]

·       Healing a woman with a 12 year malady ― just by touch (Mark 5:38-42); [She had already heard of Jesus’ super-natural abilities] and

·       Much more was attributed to this virgin birthed god-man

Everyone knew about Jesus, but his own townsfolk? Even after all the adventures/tales that Matthew and Mark had revealed, Jesus’ fellow temple members were astonished? NOT! Everyone knew about Jesus, but his own townsfolk? NOT! 

I can imagine what really happened; close your eyes and try to think back to that time 2,000 years ago. Picture Joseph and Mary meeting and talking with friends in an outdoor café, near a bazaar filled with bustling people and aromas of baking bread, spices, dates and olives. Hold that picture and imagine the conversation that would ensue ― some mother might have said to Mary, “my son is a camel driver for a large caravan.”

Joseph and Mary would have responded, “So your son is a camel driver; big deal, my son is a man-god who is the savior of the world. Yeah, and he will save you and your camel-driver son from ’your sins.’ After all, you will need his saving grace, because everyone knows what really happens on those long camel drives/caravans.”

Mark says Jesus was practicing a trade ― a carpenter, like his dad. And since he did not embark on his ministry until he was about 30 years old, he would have been plying his trade in Nazareth for 18 years. Townsfolk would have seen Jesus and his brothers, sisters, mother and father almost daily. For thirty years Mary, being a good Jewish mother would have bragged about her son, the man-god/god incarnate – who was going to go out into the world to save everyone from “sin.”

And now in Mark and Matthew, the so-called “Holy Ghost inspired“ (many claim inerrant) NEW testament expects you to believe that when Jesus went into Nazareth’s synagogue (the one he would have attended as he matured), the people were “astonished?” This does not the least bit of sense. But then again the New Testament does not make sense; because it is a work of fiction!

Never forget one thing your clergy, theologians and missionaries don’t want you to think about. No one knows who wrote the “gospels.” That means that the authors of Mark and Matthew are totally unknown; whether male or female, or when ― no one knows. One thing that is certain, the early church theologians, editors and copyists had free reign to play with the manuscripts as they wished.

Remember the famous words  attributed to  Phineas Taylor Barnum; “There's a sucker born every minute (and two to take him)”

Study hard and independently! Don’t be a sucker, use your head for something besides a ‘hat rack.”!

A Bonus Story !

If there were telephones 2,000 years ago, this may have been one of the conversations.

Jesus calls home and Mary, his mother answers, “Hello, this is Mary, mother of Jesus, son-of-god (or god incarnate.)”

Jesus: Mom …

Mary: What? You couldn’t have called last week or the week before? Your father Joseph, he has been ill, gout or something. It kept him out of the workshop – where you should have been helping him. Work a miracle or something. Can’t you conjure up a few shekels for us to buy groceries? After all, we are not getting younger and work is so hard for your father.

Jesus: Aw Mom, I’ve been really busy with the boys and all. We went over to Gadarenes and while I was trying to get some spirits out of this man, I accidentally killed some poor guy’s whole herd of  swine.

Mary: You what! How’s he gonna make a living now? You get some money and pay that poor guy back. You hear your Mother now, don’t ya Jesus! Hey, listen to me; you are the miracle guy so turn a few barrels of water into wine so he can sell ‘em at the market and get some new piggies.

Jesus: Yes Mom, but I have some good news too.

Mary: Nu, what now is good, after killing a poor family’s livelihood ― a herd of pigs?

Jesus: I healed a woman, just by her touching my clothes. And then I brought a rabbi’s 12-year old daughter back to life.

Mary: I only hope you know what you are doing, messing in other people's lives. Oh, but Mr Healer, you “are” the son-of-god (or god incarnate) so what difference does it make. You kill them (as god) then save then as “the son-of-god.” Hey, wadda I know, you’re de man.

And so it goes, if you accept Christianity and the fiction of the New Testament. Break away from the fiction of religion!


QUESTION: How do you know you're god?

ANSWER: Simple. When I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself. -Peter O'Toole (1932-)




1.      Philip … saith … We have found him, of … Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. (John 1:45);  “… Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? …” (John 6:42)  Is not this the carpenter… the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? … his sisters here…(Mark 6:3)

2.  “… the angel Gabriel was … came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.” (Luke 126, 28)

“... the angel of the LORD appeared unto him … saying, Joseph ... fear not … for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife” (Matthew 1:20, 24)

3.  “…the … said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35) Strangely, Mormons claim that their god physically did the deed with Mary:

"The birth of the Saviour was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood—was begotten of his Father, as we were of our fathers." (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 8, p. 115).

...the Father God was the literal parent of Jesus in the flesh...” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Religious Truths Defined, p. 44)

"Christ was begotten by an Immortal Father in the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers," ( Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 1966, page 547.)

4,  “And [Mary] entered into the house … and saluted Elisabeth. And she [Elisabeth] spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.. (Luke 1:40;42;)

5.   her [Elisabeth] neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her.” (Luke 1:58)

6.  “… when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.” (Matthew 2:13)



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