Saturday, July 3, 2021

Pentecost 6 - Proper 9


4 July 2021
Mark 6:1-13
Is Jesus a failure?

 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 them, Jesus was not the 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. “Mister big stuff; who do you think you are?” they thought. There were so offended that they could not believe He was the Savior sent from the Father.

 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! [2]

Nazareth was a defeat for Jesus.  A place where Jesus was despised and rejected.

Isaiah predicted this by inspiration. Isaiah 53:3-5

Isaiah prophesied that Jesus; the suffering Servant of the LORD, would be scorned. Not because He came from Galilee an area of Israel often disrespected. (John 7:41, 52)  Not because he was raised in Nazareth a town in which folk would ask, “Can anything good come from there?” (John 1:46) Not because he was a man of meager means. (Luke 2:22-24)  

Stricken, smitten, and afflicted, See Him dying on the tree! He hangs there; for you and for me. And He goes before you to plead your cause before the throne of His Father as your eternal high priest. 

Why would the Father appoint Jesus as the eternal high priest? Jesus did not function as a high priest on earth, but was appointed high priest for the sanctuary in heaven.

Why is there a need of a high priest in heaven? For one thing, the high priest, because of his identification with humanity can understand and sympathize with the people’s plight. As a priest, Christ can understand the needs of people. Moreover, the priest is needed to intercede with the Father for no one comes to the Father except by Jesus. (John16:6) Above all, the high priest makes the one perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world.[3]

We do not have a God who was too proud to know His people. Or, a God content to rule from a great distance. Or, a God whose majesty was too awesome for us to behold. We have just the opposite. Jesus, who experienced the very same humanity, the very same problems, and the very same challenges that you do.

No, you do not walk this road alone. Jesus is the God who came down from heaven. He was that man. “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. –Isaiah 53:3-5

Show your scars to Jesus and He will show you His. He will take your scarred heart in his scarred hands and love you, and love you, and love you still more; until all that matters is not the scar upon your heart, but the scar embedded in His hand. As your eternal high priest Jesus is able to not only sympathize but to offer clemency for your offenses.

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 on…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 these words? 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; his brothers James and Joseph and Judas and Simon and his sisters 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. Your misgivings become his. Your flaws he now owns. Your failures and embarrassments he owns.  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 is given to you as gift.

 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.

Passive Sentences –4%
Readability –80.5%
Reading Level-4.5


[1] Luther’s Seal copyright © Ed Riojas Higher Things
[2] Rock Of Ages, Cleft for Me, stanza 2, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St, Louis
[3] Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B, John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH

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