Summary: When feeding the 5,000 Jesus proved that he loved ordinary people like you and me.
Ordinary People – Extraordinary Christ
Mark 6:30-34, 53-56
July 23, 2006
The races are on. In just a few short months, we will go to the polls to elect 435 members of Congress and a third of our Senators. From now until November, we will be bombarded by political messages and promises. We’ll be told by each particular candidate that he or she wants to go to Washington D.C. to represent average Americans.
Candidates from both political parties will tell us what average Americans looks like, acts like, and how they spend their money. They will tell us what the average American wants in our government and what issues are important to us. They will go on and tell us why they will represent the average American better than their opponent.
This will all be buttressed by polls designed to reveal what average Americans think on subjects ranging from social issues to economic issues to religious issues. Average Americans will be asked their views on foreign and domestic policy, on their hopes and dreams for their children, and on their opinion of public education. On and on the questions will go, as they attempt to define you and me.
Churches do the same thing. Back in 1993, I remember reading a book titled, “Inside the Mind of Unchurched Harry and Mary” (Lee Strobel. 1993. Zondervan: Grand Rapids). It was written by a fellow named Lee Strobel who was then the Teaching Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois. They were looking for the average person who did not have a church home, in order to determine what would attract them to Willow Creek, or any church for that matter.
Actually, we do know who the average American is. According to Kevin O’Keefe, author of “The Average American: The Extraordinary Search for the Nation’s Most Ordinary Citizen,” the average American is thirty-six years old, has nine friends, drinks the milk in the bottom of the bowl after his cereal is gone, eats twenty-five pounds of candy a year, knows the names of the Three Stooges, attends church at least once a month, and goes to bed before midnight
The average American is Robert Burns. He is a real person. Burns lives on the outskirts of Hartford, Connecticut. He is a maintenance man by occupation, stands five foot, eight inches tall, and weighs 185 pounds. He and his wife have three children. If he were given a choice, he would prefer smooth peanut butter over chunky.
Chapter six of the Gospel of Mark gives a portrait of a very busy Jesus. He begins the chapter in his hometown of Nazareth where he ran into some trouble. The people there had known him since he had been a kid. They knew his family. He was such an ordinary kid from such an ordinary family. They wondered where he got off thinking that he was special. So he wasn’t able to do great works there, although he was able to heal a few people. After that, he left on a preaching and teaching tour around the Galilee.
Next, he sent his disciples out two-by-two. He gave them authority and power to deal with the troubles they would experience.