July 9, 2000

Mark 6:1-13 (CEV)

Jesus left and returned to his hometown with his disciples. The next Sabbath he taught in the Jewish meeting place. Many of the people who heard him were amazed and asked, "How can he do all this? Where did he get such wisdom and the power to work these miracles? Isn't he the carpenter, the son of Mary? Aren't James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon his brothers? Don't his sisters still live here in our town?" The people were very unhappy because of what he was doing.

But Jesus said, "Prophets are honored by everyone, except the people of their hometown and their relatives and their own family." Jesus could not work any miracles there, except to heal a few sick people by placing his hands on them. He was surprised that the people did not have any faith.

Jesus taught in all the neighboring villages. Then he called together his twelve apostles and sent them out two by two with power over evil spirits. He told them, "You may take along a walking stick. But don't carry food or a traveling bag or any money. It's all right to wear sandals, but don't take along a change of clothes. When you are welcomed into a home, stay there until you leave that town. If any place won't welcome you or listen to your message. leave and shake the dust from your feet as a warning to them"

The apostles left and started telling everyone to turn to God. They forced out many demons and healed a lot of sick people by putting olive oil on them.


1. The message of turning to GOD is a crucial one. It is what John the Baptist was saying. It was what Jesus picked up from John and carried on. It is a turning point message. There is no question but that every important moment in life is a moment of either turning toward or away from GOD. We are still involved with that message. The eternal question with this message is how one goes about doing do. Do you have a formula you use on everyone? probably not helpful and not appreciated. Do you listen to the decisions people are making and join with them in clarifying the larger, eternal issues present in their immediate situation? probably helpful but not appreciated?

2. If that short-hand formula is workable, we are probably not going to be appreciated, even if we are in a new-to-us town. So, given the state of not being appreciated, what are the bed-rock realities you use to measure the importance of life? Are you going ahead anyway?

3. I'm not sure why Jesus is surprised that the people did not have any faith. I find I am surprised when I find someone who has faith. If you had to choose to expect faith and be surprised by its lack or to choose to not expect faith and be surprised by its presence, which would you choose and why?

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