Summary: A look at what Jesus wants to change within us.
French writer Alexis de Tocqueville, after visiting America in 1831, said, "I sought for the greatness of the United States in her commodious harbors, her ample rivers, her fertile fields, and boundless forests--and it was not there. I sought for it in her rich mines, her vast world commerce, her public school system, and in her institutions of higher learning--and it was not there. I looked for it in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution--and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great!"
Certain outcomes should be expected from certain actions. The Scriptures we will look at today concern the life of Jesus and the change He desires to make within us.
MK 6:1 Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. 2 When 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! 3 Isn’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.
MK 6:4 Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor." 5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 And he was amazed at their lack of faith.
1. We live in a world with an astounding lack of faith
Some years ago, Richard Foster wrote a book in which he described what he thought were the three most likely forces at work in the lives of modern Americans. His list? Money, sex, and power. And, you know, it’s possible. These things may very well be the base metals we use for forging a belief system. And we have a lot of latitude in how we use them. Take money, for example, it can be the most important thing in my life whether or not I have much of it or even want much of it. The same with sex and power. I can err on either side of an obsession; in the name of power, I can seek to control everybody else, or I can see to it that everybody else controls me. And the way I chose to play it exposes my most visceral beliefs about what is true in life. If I insist on being the master, it shows that I believe that is the safe way to navigate through life. If I choose to be the slave, it shows that I believe that is the path to security. Whatever I make into the central value of my life, however I might do it, it becomes the core of my faith. The only trouble is, outside of God my faith is misplaced. And the outcome? It is at best restrictive and worst destructive. Restrictive because it may prevent me from living in the freedom for which I was created and destructive because it places not only my life but also the lives of others at risk.
Reasons for a lack of faith:
• Repeated rejection of God’s grace has brought a hardness of heart
i. Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and he couldn’t believe the miraculous hand of God at work.
• Surface level understanding of the Christian life (faith without disciplined study and living)
i. Jesus told the disciples in Matthew 13 that people can have faith without depth and when that faith is tested and tried, it is too shallow to bear itself out and they fall away.
ii. The people in Jesus hometown were familiar with the Jewish faith to an extent. They were unable to accept something new because they thought they knew it all.
Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. 7 Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits.
MK 6:8 These were his instructions: "Take nothing for the journey except a staff--no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. 9 Wear sandals but not an extra tunic. 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, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them."
MK 6:12 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.