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Summary: The people of Nazareth attended church that day when Jesus taught. But their focus and heart was not God like.

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Gospel Mark 6:1–13

What do you think a person mean when they say; "attending church is not meaningful to their lives today"? Obliviously there can be more than one meaning. But in today's reading that is one take on what happened.

Mark 6:1 He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. 2 And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? 3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

Jesus returned to his hometown not as a favorite son coming home but as a rabbi. We know that he came as a teacher because he brought hIs disciples with him. The Lord was teaching in his town's synagogue. The local worshippers had heard the reports of the miracles. Works of healing performed with a power that was greater than nature. It was a power the witnesses could not define, describe or understand. And when Jesus taught the word of God they admitted he had been given special wisdom. But where did he, a simple wood craftsman receive it. The word Given, confirms they thought his wisdom came from an external source. We believe in Jesus as son of man and Jesus son of God.

Too many times in our world, people say church lacks meaning. What they mean is because they are not personally moved by a religious experience. The Jews in the synagogue when Jesus spoke were also not moved in a positive way. Actually scripture tells us they were offended by his presence. Some call it being hard hearted some call it disbelief; the point remains it was by their own personal free will choice that they separated theirselves from the awesome presence of God's word.

Maybe if they could have captured a heart like David when news of the death of King Saul and Jonathan reached him he was grieved. Despite the fact that King Saul wanted David killed. David's heart reflected the kind of heart God has for his children.

There are social reasons that could have lead those hearing Jesus teach in Nazareth into their blindness. First the training Jesus received in his youth was to prepare him to be a craftsman and not a rabbi. They were not accustomed to seeing someone being bi-vocational. Second the family of Jesus had not been among the elite, prosperous and respected in the community. How could someone trained to be a woodworker from a everyday normal and family teach us about God?

To allow them some human slack; there had been false prophets to rise up and incite the Jews against the Roman occupying army. There was a price for these riots. The price the Roman army put on the Jews because of riots was designed to make the Jews think twice before they joined another riot.

No matter about their reasons these hometown Jews were in the awesome presence of the one who defined a religious experience. His name is Yeshua ha-Mashiah, meaning Jesus the Anointed. With there hearts not being God like; their thorn in the flesh blinded from knowing a religious experience. The presence of God was right in front of them, but they could not hear or see.


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