Saturday, July 7, 2012

Pentecost 6 - Proper 9

Proper 9
8 July 2012
Mark 6:1-6
Is Jesus a failure?

INTRODUCTION: Did Jesus fail? From our text one might assume so – there is a reason why – the people refused to believe in Him. “A prophet is not without honor even from his own country.” Mark 6:4
In Jesus’ hometown in Nazareth the people take offense at Jesus and His work. How so?

1.         Jesus failed to gain the people’s understand Vv. 2-3 - “When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. “Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him that he even does miracles! Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.”  Mark 6:2 -3

The people, we are told took offense at Jesus. Literally, Jesus’ presence created a scandal.  His own people were not proud of His teaching and healing. For the, Jesus was not a local body who made good. They were jealous of His power, wisdom, and success. After all, He was only a carpenter – where did He get this supposed wisdom? His mother, brothers, and sisters all lived there. “Who does He think He is?” they thought. There were so offended that they could not believe He was a prophet sent from God.

Transition: Jesus failed to gain the people’s understanding. He failed to win the people’s faith.  

2.         Failed to win the people’s faith in Him V.6 - “And he was amazed at their lack of faith.” Mark 6:6

It was not that Jesus could not do any mighty work.  To the contrary He had the blessing of His Father. Faith is the receptive agent, which accepts God’s gifts and enables God’s power to work in the people with faith. Without our willingness to be helped, Christ cannot help us. Without faith God’s grace would do us no good. Thus the hymn writer would remind us;

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked come to Thee for dress;
Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly,
Wash me, Savior, or I die!

Nazareth was a defeat for Jesus. There was no other place where Jesus was rejected. Of all places Jesus could have expected acceptance was among His closest friends and family. It may have discouraged Jesus to giving up His teaching and preaching. How does He take this failure? “He went…teaching.” He went on with His work to other places; working as hard as ever.”

Transition:   Jesus failed to gain the people’s understanding. He failed to win the people’s faith. He failed to do them good.   

3.         Failed to do them good – V.5 - “He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.” Mark 6:5

Do you notice the cold irony and tragedy in the worlds of our text? He was rejected by “His own country.” His very own country – Nazareth – rejected Him. Nazareth where He had grown up. Nazareth where He worked as a carpenter. Nazareth where His relatives and family lived. The tragedy is that His home folks rejected Him so much that He could not any miracles there, except to lay His hands on a few sick people to heal them.

He came to His own, and His own received Him not!”  His immediate family called Him crazy. His hometown rejected Him. Leaders if His religion pronounced Him “possessed” of the devil. His nation cried out, “Crucify Him!”

Yet in this rejection of the Son of God – He offers you the great exchange – your sins for His righteousness. Because a people rejected Him the Father offered His grace to any who would receive Him by faith. That’s why we call it a gift. God’s mercy, His underserved kindness, His compassion and grace.

CONCLUSION: How shall we react to Jesus who comes to us this day? Does He receive the same cold shoulder? What is your reaction to this Jesus? Spurn Him not – rather trust in Him with all your heart.

Artwork © Ed Riojas, Higher Things

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