Summary: Without Faith, it’s impossible to please God... but how did such a religious community as Nazareth misplace its faith?
OPEN: A man named Gregory P. Elder told of growing up on the Atlantic Coast. And what he loved to do as a child was to spend his time down at the beach. For hours each day, he’d sit on the sand and build castles and intricate cities. But one year his joy in these creations was threatened by bullies who decided it would be fun to smash everything he made.
What was he to do? They were bigger than he was. And there were too many of them for him to fight. What was he to do?
Well, he decided to change his approach to how he built things.
He built the same kinds of castles and cities…but now he placed a new foundation underneath them: cinder blocks, rocks and chunks of concrete.
When his tormentors appeared - he disappeared. And eventually, they found their entertainment… elsewhere.
APPLY: It matters how you build things.
It matters what kind of foundation we lay for our buildings, our homes and our works of art
ILLUS: They say that the Tower of Pisa in Italy is one of the most famous buildings in the world
But it has a “little problem”.
It’s foundation was too shallow to hold the building up on the soft soil it was built on. The tower has stood for over 800 years, but it leans 18 feet off center. One day - experts say - it will fall.
All because it wasn’t built on the right foundation
Hebrews 11:6 says that “WITHOUT FAITH it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
The foundation of our relationship with Jesus is faith.
Unless we exercise faith in that relationship with Christ there is a shallowness to our foundation. We can tend to lean off center… and even fall over as Christians.
Now, that brings us to our text for this morning.
Up until the incident we’re reading about here in Matthew 13 Jesus has been fairly busy.
Matthew chapter 8 we’re told that He:
• healed a Leper – Mat 8:1
• healed the servant of a Roman centurion– Mat 8:5
• healed Peter’s mother in law – Mat 8:14
• and at Capernaum, He healed numerous people with evil spirits and various diseases – Mat 8:16
And Matthew chapter 9 tells us that Jesus
• raised a girl from the dead – Mat 9:25
• and He made the blind to see – Mat 9:29
• and He made the mute to speak – Mat 9:32
All of that took place before He got to Nazareth. But something at Nazareth makes it so that He can’t do miracles there like He had elsewhere.
Does anybody know what it was that stopped Jesus from doing miracles? (lack of faith)
Without faith it’s impossible to please God.
Without faith it’s impossible to receive the power and the blessings of Jesus.
Without faith, your Christianity (and mine) lacks a sturdy foundation.
And when that happens, our Christianity has little to build on except lifeless doctrine and empty ritual.
Now a couple of questions:
1. Why didn’t the people in Nazareth believe… what led to their lack of faith?
2. How can I make sure that my faith doesn’t suffer the same fate?
Let’s start with the 1st question:
Why didn’t the people of Nazareth believe in Jesus?
Why didn’t they have the faith necessary for Him to work in their midst?
Well, let’s read their words. Look with me at Matthew 13:54:
“Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. ‘Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?’ they asked.”
Intellectually, they KNEW that He could do mighty works.
Intellectually they REALIZED that His preaching held wisdom and power.
Now… look at the next few verses BUT…then they said
“’Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us?
Where then did this man get all these things?’
And they took offense at him.” (Matthew 13:55-57a)
Now what a bizarre statement.
They start by acknowledging Jesus’ power and wisdom
Then they backtrack to tracing his parentage…
And then they get offended with the whole idea that He could do and say what He did.
Are they daft?
No… they’re just upset with the idea of moving out of their “comfort zone”
They’ve got Jesus pigeon-holed
They knew all they wanted to know about Him
And this idea that He might be more than they expected… it made them uncomfortable
Many times we Christians fall into the same trap.
Jesus can become a theological thing for us
We read our Bible, go to church, pray a few basic prayers… and then we go on with our lives. Jesus is over there - and we’re over here - and that’s just the way some Christians like it. It’s a very comfortable arrangement. (Jesus runs His things/ we run ours)