Summary: We seek God through the ups and downs of life - the trials and struggles. This means that faith requires us to PERSIST.
What Faith Requires: Persist
We are called to have faith in Jesus - to believe in Him, His power, His Strength, and His Presence. The life of Faith is not always easy - in fact, it is often difficult and that’s why we need the strength and presence of Christ. We are making our way through the Gospel of Mark and this month focused on the subject of what Faith Requires. Last week we noted that Faith Requires Belief. When we feel helpless, when others have given up. We put faith in Christ because he is our last hope.
Faith is not a one-time experience - it is a life-long journey.
Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
We seek God through the ups and downs of life - the trials and struggles. This means that faith requires us to PERSIST.
Mark 6 tells us of one of the times in Jesus’ life when he had to persist through some struggles in order to live the life of faith. When we notice the challenges that Jesus faced we hope it will give us strength to face our challenges. Mark 6 is a chapter with some strong challenges to Jesus.
Mark 6:1-6 He left there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. 2 When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. “Where did this man get these things?” they said. “What is this wisdom that has been given to him, and how are these miracles performed by his hands? 3 Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And aren’t his sisters here with us?” So they were offended by him. 4Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown, among his relatives, and in his household.” 5 He was not able to do a miracle there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And he was amazed at their unbelief. He was going around the villages teaching.
1. JESUS HAD TO PERSIST IN FAITH
They are Amazed by What They See & Hear (1-2). The miracles are starting to accumulate! Peter’s mother in law (1:29-31). A leper (1:40-45). A paralyzed man (2:1-12). The stormy sea (4:35-41). The demoniac (5:1-20). The woman who bled for 12 years (5:25-34). Jairus’ daughter who had died (5:35-43).
Their response was amazement as they heard him teach and likely heard stories of these miracles. There is something about Jesus being in his hometown that made them reject what they were seeing and hearing.
They are Affronted by His claims (3). Isn’t this the son of Mary? “If anyone should know who you are, we should! You are nothing special. You are just one of us.” (Akin) Publius the Syrian (c. 2 BC) said, “Familiarity breeds contempt”. Apparently this was the case with Nazareth the Jesus. He was just too ordinary. They are offended - a word that means scandalized . He offends their personal sensitivities. … They will not believe that he is the Christ, the Son of God. (Akin)
They are Absent the miracles he would have done (4-5). Vs 4 - Jesus responds with a saying He made famous.
Mark 5:5 AMP: And He was not able to do even one work of power there, except that He laid His hands on a few sickly people [and] cured them.
Akin: “Jesus could not do miracles because he would not. …Unbelief freezes the exercise of God’s power. … Unbelief robs the Church of its power. We can add new programs until we do not have enough hours in the day to administrate them… but without a believing expectancy in Christ and his power, nothing will come of it.”
Jesus had the kind of persistent faith that would not give up even when he was rejected and insulted. He left his hometown of Nazareth and to our knowledge never returned home. If we follow Jesus, our faith will have to persist through struggles as well.
2. POWER TO PERSIST WHEN FAITH FEELS WEAK
A. Don’t Give Up
Galatians 6:9 Let us not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up.
Philippians 3:14 NLT I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
B. Remember the Outcome
1 Peter 1:8-9 Though you have not seen him, you love him; though not seeing him now, you believe in him, and
you rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of