1Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. 2When 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! 3Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph,[a] Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
4Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.” 5He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6And he was amazed at their lack of faith. ~Mark 6:1-6
These days, I have been praying and searching my heart, all these years that I have been Christian, what have I learned and what do I want to pass on to others?
When I approach the Bible for my personal devotion or when I am preparing to teach, my goal is simple. How can I have living faith? We strengthen our faith in God here and then for the rest of the week, we live it out. Otherwise, you are just learning information. We need to live it out in whatever capacity we can.
How do we live out our faith? There is the personal dimension of living faith. This is personal devotion. God works on our character. We pray to him and read the bible. That’s one area where we will try to live out our faith.
I also want to keep in mind living out our faith in community. Where 2 or 3 are gathered, Jesus says he will be with us. That means when we gather in Jesus name, He promises to be here in our midst. So I pray that we will get to know one another and be able to share prayer requests and carry each other’s burdens. I know I have plenty of burdens to go around.
Even if you have personal struggles, I hope this can be a safe place where you will feel comfortable to share so that we can lift each other up in prayer. It doesn’t have to be super spiritual prayer requests. It can be as simple as I didn’t get enough sleep and I am in a bad mood and I snapped at my friend.
The last area that I think our faith needs to be lived out is in our witness to the world. I don’t want anyone here to be ashamed to be a Christian. When people meet us, we should be, man, this is your lucky day. By meeting me and befriending me, you may receive the greatest gift — eternal salvation.
Faith in God, we fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. And living faith, the righteous will live by faith, faith lived out personally, in community, and as a witness to the world.
Read Mark 6:1-6
There are 2 groups of people in this text. Jesus was visiting his hometown so one group is all the townspeople. They grew up with Jesus so Jesus was familiar to them.
The first person in this passage is Jesus.
Jesus could not even do the same miracles and offer the same teachings as he did in other regions because of the negative response of the people in his hometown.
What do we learn from this? Some of the greatest obstacles in your spiritual life will come from those closest to you, maybe even your own family.
It’s challenging when we hear about martyrs giving up their lives in some Muslim country, but what if that was your own son or daughter or relative? It can quickly become — why did he or she have to give their lives, what a waste, why couldn’t they just go to church and do the average Christian thing?
I know for my parents, they just want me to go to church on Sundays, maybe give to charity here and there, but that’s it. Everything in moderation is their motto, even when it comes to God. So for me to be a pastor, that’s just too much. They wanted me to be a doctor and make a lot of money. Obviously, I am on a pretty different path.
That’s why the title of this section in the NIV is “A Prophet Without Honor.” If you want to radically for Jesus, then Jesus is saying it is highly likely that there won’t be much honor for you from those closest to you. Maybe criticism or persecution, but not honor.
The second group is the townspeople.
Their original response to Jesus was very positive.
“2When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.”
They were amazed at his teachings.
Continuing on, they asked, “Where did this man get these things?” “What’s this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles!”
Not only were they amazed at his teachings and his wisdom, but they were amazed at his miraculous powers.
Then, v3 — “Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph,[a] Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
Why the sudden change? It seems odd, but it’s not really that odd because it’s true to life.
They were all amazed, then out of the crowd, someone says, hey isn’t that Jesus? I know him. I changed his diapers. I know his parents. Jesus and my son were on the same JYSO team, the jerusalem soccer league. A positive response that suddenly changes to an offense because Jesus is familiar to them. That’s a complete reversal.
It shouldn’t be so shocking because we do this all the time. Our response when we first heard the words of Jesus was amazement, gratitude, joy, surrender, tears, swells of emotion. But over time, Jesus becomes familiar. I know the stories. I’ve heard it all before. And at times, we get offended by the things Jesus says to us. I am a sinner? Repent? Yeah, yeah I get it. I’ve heard that before, can we move onto something more interesting or encouraging?
When we come to a sermon, I want us to pretend that we have never heard it before. Our prayer should be, Lord, give me fresh ears. Becomes when we think some passage is familiar, we tune out and God may have something to tell us but we don’t hear it.
And I want to challenge all of us, did we even hear it correctly the first time? When Jesus says, leave everything and follow me, did we hear it? When he says seek first my kingdom, did we hear it? When God says, give thanksgiving in all circumstances, do we really hear it?
How do we know if we really heard it? One way is by looking at our lives. What fruit has our life walking with Jesus produced. The Bible says you’ll know the tree by its fruit. Our lives will reveal if we really heard it correctly or not. Our actions, our choices, our affections, these reveal what we REALLY believe in our hearts.
I grew up in the church. My experience in college as a young Christian.
There was a simplicity back then and I am trying to recover in my personal life.
Recently, I half resigned, half got let go from my previous company. And for at least the last 2 years, I felt God prompting me to move on from that job, but I wasn’t sure. This job market is terrible so will I be able to find another job? What about our mortgage and I have 3 young boys who have very large appetites? Don’t I have to provide for them? But I felt God’s constant tugging to be a pastor.
Now with the church changes and my previous job situation, God almost forced me to take a step of faith. So it’s time to see what I truly believe. Do I believe that God will take care of my needs, my family’s needs if I take a step of faith? It’s time to test God. Time to live it out.
And it’s amazing, just when I am getting worried, a check comes in the mail unexpectedly or the director of my kid’s school offers a huge discount to keep our kids at that school and each time I am amazed. This past week, I received a check in the mail and it was completely unexpected and I just broke out in tears and praise and thanksgiving to God. God is good. Living faith, faith that is lived out.
How different would our lives be if we took Jesus at his word and lived it out?