Jesus is stating that not only will a prophet not find honor in his own country or hometown, but also among his own relatives and even in his home - meaning his place of residence.
“A prophet is only without honor in his own land – and among his own kin and in his own house.” (Mark 6:4)
What is a prophet?
The first question this brings up is what is a prophet according to Jesus' teachings?
The word "prophet" in Jesus' statements are being translated from the Greek word προφήτης (prophētēs), which means, according to the lexicon, "one who, moved by the Spirit of God and hence his organ or spokesman, solemnly declares to men what he has received".
Thus we can understand that a "prophet" is none other than God's representative. He is sent by the Supreme Being.
The fact that Jesus is defining himself such is confirmed elsewhere:
“My teaching is not mine, but comes from He who sent me." (John 7:16)This means that Jesus is stating clearly that he is a prophet - in that he is sent by the Supreme Being as God's messenger.
Jesus also acknowledged others as prophets. Jesus stated this regarding his teacher John the Baptist:
"Who then did you go out to see – a Prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a Prophet." (Matt. 11:9)Jesus also accepted that Jonah was a prophet:
“A wicked and adulterous society seeks a sign: But no sign will be given to it except for the sign of the Prophet Jonah." (Matt. 12:39)And Daniel was a prophet:
“When you thus see the abomination of devastation that was spoken through Daniel the Prophet, remain at the Holy Place – let those who recognize this understand –" (Matt. 24:15)And Elisha was a prophet:
"There were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, but only Naaman the Syrian was cleansed.” (Luke 4:27)The Four Gospels also mention other prophets, including Anna, Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Moses.
Furthermore, from the texts of the Bible, we can see the existence of a lineage of prophets, each of whom became a student of a prophet prior to their becoming teacher. This is illustrated between Melchizedek and Abraham, Abraham and Lot, Moses and Joshua, Eli and Samuel, Samuel and David and many others, including John the Baptist and Jesus.
Does Jesus consider himself a prophet?
The context of this discussion indicates that Jesus is referring to himself as a prophet. Furthermore, Jesus does not speak of himself as the only prophet. Rather, he utilizes the word prophet in the third person, as a role. This would compare to other roles - such as a captain or a teacher or another role or post.
Using the definition of prophet as evidenced above, this means that the Supreme Being does not send only one messenger to the physical world to speak on His behalf. In fact, the evidence points to the reality that the Supreme Being has sent many prophets on His behalf - to teach as needed in communities and societies throughout time.
To say otherwise would be to limit the Supreme Being to being able to send only one representative.
This also goes for the teaching that God could only send one son (actually, a misinterpretation of the Greek word υἱός (huios) - as explained further here - which in context means devoted follower or representative). Assuming the mistranslation to "son," as in "only begotten son" would mean that the Supreme Being can only have one son - while practically every man can have multiple - even tens - of sons.
To state that Jesus or anyone else is the only prophet or son of the Supreme Being is to actually offend the Supreme Being by limiting His superiority: That He is limited or impotent and can only have one son or messenger.
Why does a prophet find no honor among family?
The reason a prophet finds no honor among family relates to the ongoing misidentification of the physical body as the self - the spirit-person within.
Each physical body we see within the physical world is merely a vehicle: It is like a machine being driven by a person. Is the driver the same as the machine? Certainly not. They are distinct. Just as the physical body is different than the personality within.
We can understand this fact simply by observing a physical body undergo death. At the time of death of the body, a once-animated body complete with personality, emotion, goals, and objectives, becomes lifeless.
Even though every cell, every molecule, and atom that was existing within the body before death is still there in the dead body, there is still no life in the body. There is nothing physically missing from the dead body, and yet there is no life. Why?
Because the life-rendering element within the physical body - that was driving its life - has left the physical body at the time of death.
And because there is no physical element missing - we can understand that this live-rendering element is not physical: It is transcendental to the physical plane.
This is why we cannot see the self - also referred to as the soul - with our physical senses. We cannot see the transcendental self because each of us - our real identity - is spiritual in nature.
Since the materialistic person cannot see the person within, the prophet, who is an elevated spiritual person, is not recognized within the material world.
The loving servant and confidant of the Supreme Being is not recognized by those who are not servants of God.
For example, what if a recognized leader of a country decided to ride in the back of a common car with tinted windows. Would other drivers on the road recognize the leader of their country? No, because they could not see inside the car to know it was the country's leader. This is due to the car not indicating who is inside the car.
In the same way, those who might be living close to or among God's prophet - those who have no spiritual vision - will typically see the prophet as one of us: No different than others. This is because they are only seeing with their physical eyes.
And because spiritual vision is produced through the teachings of God's prophet, one would have to hear the teachings of the prophet to recognize them. This means being open to their teachings and recognizing that God may be utilizing this person as a vehicle for teaching.
But weren't those around Jesus - in his family, country, and home - also hearing Jesus' teachings?
Yes, they may have been physically hearing his teachings. They may have been within physical hearing range of Jesus' voice. But they may or may not have been able to spiritually hear Jesus' teachings because their vision was clouded by their perception that Jesus was his physical body, and thus "one of them."
A person who sees the prophet as one of them may hear the teachings of such a prophet likely won't take the teachings seriously. They won't see the power of those teachings: Their ability to save us. This is seen throughout Jesus' mission as many who supposedly heard did not follow. They did not take Jesus' teachings seriously.
Was Jesus his physical body?
Many even today still identify Jesus as his physical body. They've become focused upon his physical body being tortured and so on, and do not see the spirit-person of Jesus.
They do not see the confidential loving relationship that Jesus has with the Supreme Being within the spiritual realm.
This misidentification of Jesus as his physical body has also led to many erroneous conclusions regarding the meaning of the grotesque murder of Jesus' physical body.
This is because their spiritual eyes have not been opened. Their spiritual vision is clouded over. What clouds them over?
The illusions of the physical world - with their foundation of misidentifying the self as the physical body - driven by our self-centered desires to enjoy outside of our relationship with the Supreme Being.
Yes, this is why we are unable to not only see God's representative as he is, but are unable to understand his teachings.
And this is why there are so many speculative misinterpretations of Jesus' teachings. Because they see Jesus as his physical body and thus don't have the spiritual vision to understand his teachings.
What about those who don't want to see?
By God's arrangement, the design of this physical world inhibits the ability to understand His representative's teachings - for those who are more interested in enjoying life without the Supreme Being.
Why? Why would God's design of the physical world prevent some from understanding His representative's true teachings?
Because He is kindly accommodating our choices. It is we who ultimately decide whether we want to return to our relationship with the Supreme Being. It is we who choose whether we want to love Him and serve Him, or simply want to love ourselves and serve ourselves and our self-centered aspirations.
This is because love requires freedom. God gives us the freedom to love Him or not. It is our choice.
This is also why there is so much evil in the world. Some speculators will say that because there is so much suffering and so much evil in the world that there could be no Supreme Being.
What they don't care to see is that it is our choices - as individuals and societies - that have created the evil in the world. This is the result of being given freedom. Some choose to abuse it.
And the basic sufferings of the physical world - pain, disease, old age, and death - are simply consequences of our wanting to enjoy life without the Supreme Being. They are natural consequences of self-centeredness.
Because without self-centeredness - and our rejection of our natural relationship with the Supreme Being - we wouldn't have been sent here to the physical world - a place of rehabilitation - in the first place. We would have stayed with the Supreme Being within our loving service relationship with God in the spiritual realm.
But we made the choice because love requires the freedom to choose, and God wants our love. He doesn't want us to worship Him in order to get some goodies. He doesn't want us to worship Him in order to get our leg fixed, or win our football game, or become wealthy or famous - or even to become saved.
He wants us to come to love Him as our dearmost friend and companion: Someone who will never desert us; never abandon us; never harm us (the spirit-person). Someone we can take shelter in and love and serve, as Jesus and the other prophets such as Moses taught:
“The most important of all the instructions is, ‘Hear O Israel – the LORD our God is our only Lord – and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength’ – this is the most important instruction." (Mark 12:29-30 - Jesus quoting Moses in Deut. 6:5)