Summary: Sermon for Proper 9, Year B
Mark 6: 1 – 13 / Amazed At Unbelief
Intro: When I was first ordained, I lived in Indiana. Each time I returned to Fayette City, I was asked to play the organ and preach. It was interesting to me that more comments were made about my musical ability than my preaching. Several years later, the church was without a pastor. A member of the church called to ask me if I would consider coming to be their pastor. I thought and prayed about it a long time. Finally, I realized I knew too much to be their pastor and they knew too much to be my parishioners. We knew each other too well. We would make assumptions of each other that were not based in reality.
I. I think this is the issue Jesus faced when he returned to Nazareth. People just couldn’t deal with the Jesus they had seen grow up in their town.
A. VSS 2 & 3 “Where did this man get these things? … What’s this wisdom that has been given to 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?”
B. They did not question the words, or the wisdom, or the mighty works, they questioned the source of them. In essence, they did not trust Jesus.
C. And they took offense AT HIM. “Familiarity breeds contempt.” – a saying that goes back as far as Pulius the Syrian in 2 B.C.
II. VSS. 5 & 6 – Those in the synagogue that morning were amazed. The question I have is this: “Were they amazed at what Jesus taught or that it was Jesus who was doing the teaching?”
A. The expectations of those gathered were not met. They were exceeded to the point of disbelief!
B. In 1977 the movie, “Oh God” featured John Denver and
George Burns. Denver gets a letter telling him he has been called to meet with God. Denver thinks it is a joke; but, he goes to the designated meeting place and there is just an empty room and the voice of God. Denver wants God to show himself and reluctantly “God appears. God stands there as an old man with thick glasses, dressed in baggy pants, tennis shoes, a windbreaker, and a golf hat! Denver is aghast in disbelief. To which God answers, “What did you expect?”
C. This is what happened here in Mark. Jesus stands before the people of Nazareth, the town where he grew up, in the church where he was taught. VS. 4 “Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.”
III. The result of the disbelief of the people of Nazareth is recorded in VSS. 5 & 6. “He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith.”
A. That had to hurt! Jesus had stepped outside of the role his hometown people had assigned to him. Instead, they took offense at him. They could not get past the image they had of Jesus.
B. Imagine! God in the flesh, standing right there in front of them and they rejected him.
C. Isn’t it that way today? There are some who would say that Jesus and his ideas are outdated. Jesus might be amazed at our lack of faith as a church, a community or a nation. At times we may join the crowd and do not speak up in defense of the Gospel or God’s law which condemns sin. We accept by ignoring.
Conclu: The result of the lack of faith of the people of Nazareth is found in the remaining verses of today’s text, VSS. 8 – 13. Jesus sends the disciples to people who will listen, people who will speak and do. If we refuse to accept God’s teaching, God will use someone else who will discern God’s will and do it. --- The Lord, our God is speaking to us. Will we choose to follow or make excuses because things are not as we expect them to be?
When I was a student pastor at South Fork Presbyterian Church outside of Lebanon, KY, I always knew when Friday night Bible study was over. Maxine Yowell would always sum up the lesson by saying, “Pastor, it’s like I always say, ‘you either do; or you don’t!’”