Summary: Opposition to the Good News of Jesus Christ is nothing new. The first 12 pastors were instructed how to deal with it. Think long and hard how you respond to the message of the Good News as there are consequences depending on your reaction.
Not What We Expected
Jesus said that; ““A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.”
“He was amazed at their lack of faith.” Mark 6:4
Sometimes people think they know you. They think they know your family and your family tree.
Living in a small town everyone seems to know everyone else’s business. Often nearly everyone is related to one another by marriage.
Nazareth was that kind of town.
Folks there saw Jesus grow up working with his Dad – Joseph learning to be a carpenter.
But on a Sabbath day Jesus showed up. A crowd of followers were saying all kinds of fantastic things about what they had seen Jesus do in nearby towns. People were amazed at what they heard.
As was His custom Jesus went to the Synagogue and preached from God’s Word.
The people were amazed at Jesus teaching and wisdom so much so that they were offended by it. It seemed that Jesus was a contradiction.
For pastors trying to start out in their own home town this is often the same reception that they get.
Folks believe they know you better than you know yourself. So when a man is changed by the Spirit of God and called by God to preach and teach it can throw folks for a loop.
I’m sure that was the case when I got the call to preach here at New St. Andrew’s. I know I was surprised maybe more surprised than anyone even in my own family.
A mysterious thing happens to a person when the call of God takes hold of them. The Holy Spirit becomes the divine teacher in a person’s life.
The Word of God comes alive and leaps off the pages of the Bible. Your heart is open to the truth of God and starts to overflow like a river overflowing its banks.
You can’t keep it in, you can’t keep it to yourself you have to speak about it.
This is what throws people off especially the ones that think they know you.
After Jesus has spent time in His home town it was time to send out His Disciples two by two.
That made six groups of two going out into all the villages and towns all around Nazareth.
Jesus gave them very specific instructions; Mark 6:8-13
8 “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts.
9 Wear sandals but not an extra shirt.
10 Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town.
11 And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”
12 They went out and preached that people should repent.
13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them."
These first 12 pastors had to rely on the hospitality and good will of the people they went to preach to. They were only allowed to take the shirt on their backs. No food, no money just the Good News.
Mark tells us that people responded to their message and many repented and came to faith in Jesus. They also drove out demons and healed people anointing them with oil.
When I first began to pastor I didn’t know much so I just went by the book - the Bible.
I did not know what the Presbyterian tradition taught about anointing people or praying for people so I just went by the book. I figured if someone disagreed they could look it up for themselves.
I still do it this way today when I visit someone who is sick I will pray the “Prayer of Faith” in James 5:13-16
Our Elders can also do the very same thing. You don’t have to be a pastor to apply the word of God in a situation where Jesus gives us instructions.
You can do it at home for your loved ones, for your children and grandchildren.
13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.
14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.
15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.
16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
Jesus also instructed that if they were not welcome in a place that they should shake the dust off that place off their shoes. That sounds like a strange thing to do?