Jesus’ return to his home town is a failure. Even though he has healed the sick, raised the dead and gathered an enthusiastic band of followers, his own people reject him. The people don’t deny the wisdom or the miracles, but they simply cannot accept that God can be working through someone of such humble origins. Who does he think he is?
There is always a reason to reject the Good News. We can criticise the messenger, or the way that the message is presented, as a way to avoid the challenge of Christ’s teaching. The failure of Jesus’ mission among his own people prefigures his ultimate failure, when he is crucified, with the crowd shouting for his death. But that ‘failure’ is the way to salvation for the human race. As disciples of Christ, God calls us not to be successful, but to be faithful.