Summary: One of the central themes in this section of Mark's Gospel is the unbelief of people who came into contact with Jesus. God takes unbelief very seriously, and so should we.
The Gospel of Mark #15 – “Unbelief”
1. Can anyone guess what my favorite animal is? The Platypus!
2. ILL – Josh McDowell writes, “People refuse to believe that which they don't want to believe, in spite of evidence. When explorers first went to Australia they found a mammal which laid eggs; spent some time in water, some on land; had a broad, flat tail, webbed feet, and a bill similar to a duck. Upon their return to England, they told the populace of this, and all felt it was a hoax. They returned to Australia and found a pelt from this animal and took it back to England, but the people still felt it was a hoax. In spite of the evidence, they disbelieved because they didn't want to believe.”
3. Someone wrote, “The Platypus, God’s ultimate practical joke!”
4. However, what we are going to talk about this week is no joke at all! It is the sad & tragic sin of unbelief.
5. Charles Darwin, “belief is the most complete of all distinctions between man & the lower animals.”
6. Mark 6:1-13 (read) **We will talk about vs. 14-29 also.
7. One of the central themes in this section of Mark's Gospel is the unbelief of people who came into contact with Jesus. All of these people had every reason to trust Him, yet they failed to do so.
8. As we study this chapter, let’s keep in mind the fact that God takes unbelief very seriously, and so should we.
9. Heb. 3:12 “See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.”
10. When we allow the sin of unbelief into our hearts, it catapults us into a vicious cycle that is incredibly hard to get out of.
11. ILL – The nation of Israel… Psalm 78:22, 32 “they did not believe”
12. Alexander MacLaren, “Disobedience is the root of unbelief. Unbelief is the mother of further disobedience.”
I. The Unbelief of Jesus’ Acquaintances – Vs. 1-6
For the last time recorded in the Scriptures, Christ returns home to teach & heal (the 1st time was Luke 4:16-30). Although they were “amazed” by His powerful teaching, they once again refused to believe in Him. Why?
A. There was an issue of familiarity – vs. 1 “his hometown”
1. We all know the old saying, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” While this is certainly not always true (Ex – a married couple or a deep friendship), it is often very much true.
2. Mark Twain had some additional insight on this, he said, “Familiarity breeds contempt; & children.”
3. These people thought they knew the “real Jesus.” They had seen Him play in the streets of Nazareth as a child & grow into adulthood. Perhaps they had taken their furniture to him when it needed to be repaired.
4. The truth is that they did not know the “real Jesus!” They refused to believe in Him as their Messiah & certainly not as the Son of God.
5. There is a danger in becoming so familiar with “church stuff” that we miss out on the intimacy of a personal relationship with the living Christ!
6. The result was Vs. 6 “He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.”
B. There was an issue of authority – vs. 2-6
1. Jesus’ return to Nazareth was not a family visit. He was here with His disciples. He left as a resident but returned as a Rabbi. This is why he was given “the pulpit” on the Sabbath. They were shocked & angered by his message!
2. Basically, the townspeople thought, “Who does He think He is?”
3. They even began to insult Jesus – vs. 3 **2 insults
a. “Isn’t this the carpenter?” This was a derogatory statement, it meant – Is Jesus not a common laborer? Is he not an uneducated low level worker – where in the world does he get the gall, to pretend to teach us the meaning of the Scriptures?
b. “Isn’t this Mary’s son?” In the Hebrew culture it was insulting to describe a man as the son of his father. This was only said when one was insinuating the illegitimacy of a person’s birth.
4. Ultimately, even though they saw head of His mighty word & witnessed His wonderful wisdom, these people refused to submit to the authority of Jesus!
5. ILL – For centuries people believed that Aristotle was right when he said that the heavier an object, the faster it would fall to earth. Aristotle was regarded as the greatest thinker of all time, and surely he would not be wrong. Anyone, of course, could have taken two objects, one heavy and one light, and dropped them from a great height to see whether or not the heavier object landed first. But no one did until nearly 2,000 years after Aristotle's death. In 1589 Galileo summoned learned professors to the base of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Then he went to the top and pushed off a ten- pound and a one-pound weight. Both landed at the same instant. The power of belief was so strong, however, that the professors denied their eyesight. They continued to say Aristotle was right.