Summary: Discover the counter-cultural ethic that Jesus utilized as he ministered and saved the human race.
Familiarity Breeds Contempt
Mark 5:17; 6:1-6
From the Sermon Series: “Ten Cultural Myths that Drive America”
Sermon point: From a human perspective the adage “Familiarity breeds contempt” has some truth to it. However, from a divine perspective, God is fully familiar with us and loves us with an everlasting love. And the more fully we know God the more fully we can love Him too.
We are in the final stages of our sermon series, “Ten Cultural Myths that Drive America.” It is taken from the first six chapters of Mark. We discovered that Jesus’ worldview goes against the grain of much in mainstream America. We are highlighting different slogans or aphorisms that are imbedded into the American psyche. They reinforce our cultural philosophies. Specifically we have looked at:
• Might Makes Right (Mark 1:1-12) –we saw Christ’s counter-cultural ethic of serving humanity rather than working from a position coercion and manipulation.
• Image is Everything (Mark 1:32-39) – Jesus rejects this Western value. Jesus had the crowds eating out of his has but walked away from the populace specifically because their ambitions did not coincide with those of the Heavenly Father’s.
• Shop ‘till You Drop (Mark 2:13-17) - Jesus reminds us that there are better ways to find meaning in life than materialism.
• Rules are Made to be Broken (Mark 2:18 – 3:6 -) Jesus rebukes and challenges the worldview which says the ends justify means. Jesus says there is no place to bend or violate God’s eternal law. Period.
• Live and Let Live (Mark 3:1-6) Jesus challenges the individualism that dictates so much of the American lifestyle choices and offers us an alternative; community.
• Good Things Come to Those Who … Wait (Mark 4:1-20) Jesus calls us to task and challenges us not to delay when it comes to the maintenance of the soul.
• If It Feels Good, Do It (Mark 5:1-20) Jesus offers a solution to the “feel good” philosophy and quest for sensual gratification that drives our culture.
• God helps Those Who Help Themselves (Mark 5:24-34) Man says pull yourself up by your bootstraps but God does in not impressed with our works … God helps the helpless.
Today we will look at Mark 6:1-6
1Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. 2When 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! 3Isn’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.
4Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor." 5He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6And he was amazed at their lack of faith. Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village.
Our sermon title today was supposed to be “Stand Up For Your Rights.” But the more I prepared the more I felt inclined to discuss another common western proverb.
The earliest recorded use of the proverb is from Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales in 1386.
It caught on and has been used ever since. It was illustrated by William Godwin in his book, The Enquirer, in 1797. He said, “Excessive familiarity is the bane of social happiness” (page 86). He was making the argument that there is a tendency, when individuals live together, to fail to treat each other with respect and kindness.
John Wesley, a contemporary of Godwin would agree. He began a practice which Wesleyan denominations have to this day maintained (consciously or unconsciously). He relocated ministers from assignment to assignment every three years in order to keep them from developing relationships that would hinder their effectiveness. At least part of Wesley’s philosophy was that familiarity breeds contempt.
Others have given the proverb their spin and application.
• All objects lose by too familiar a view. (John Dryden)
• Nothing is wonderful when you get used to it. (Edgar Watson Howe)
• Familiarity breeds contempt; and children. (Mark Twain)
• When a man becomes familiar with his goddess, she quickly sinks into a woman. (Joseph Addison)
• Familiarity is the root of the closest friendships, as well as the intensest (sic) hatreds. (Antoine Rivarol)
I must say, as I evaluate the axiom familiarity breeds contempt, I am inclined to believe it is all-too-often true.
You see it at every turn.
• Read our local newspapers
• Watch husbands and wives (or parents and children) interact
• Observe interpersonal relationships where you work