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Faithlife

Mark 6, 1-13

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SERMON:    

What do you see when you see Jesus?  In the Gospel of Mark, the first
thing that happens during Jesus' ministry is that he calls fishermen --
two pairs of brothers -- Simon and Andrew -- James and John -- and these
four "left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and
followed him" (Mark 1:20).  One suspects that they looked at Jesus and saw
the Lord.

What do you see when you see Jesus?  Then Jesus encountered a man with an
unclean spirit, and drove the spirit away.  The people said, "What is
this?  A new teaching -- with authority!  He commands even the unclean
spirits, and they obey him" (Mark 1:27).  One suspects that they looked at
Jesus and saw the Lord.

And then Jesus healed a leper.  People heard about it and came to him from
everywhere -- so much so that Jesus could no longer travel freely because
of the crush of people.  One suspects that they looked at Jesus and saw
the Lord.

And then he healed a paralytic, and people "were all amazed and glorified
God, saying 'We have never seen anything like this!' " (Mark 2:12).  One
suspects that they looked at Jesus and saw the Lord.

And so it went -- until Jesus came to his hometown.  He had been raised in
Nazareth -- a small town -- perhaps five hundred people -- maybe a
thousand -- in any event, a pretty small town -- the kind of place where
everyone knows everyone else -- and everyone else's business -- the kind
of place where there is only one butcher and one baker and one candlestick
maker.

When Jesus came to his hometown, you would think that they would welcome
him with open arms.  He had been doing marvelous things, and you would
think that the word would have reached them -- everyone else seemed to
know.  Maybe they would have a little parade for him -- or ask him to do
some tricks for them.  But when Jesus came with his disciples in tow, the
people didn't welcome him like that.  They did invite him to teach in the
synagogue -- an honor to be sure, but not a great honor -- someone in that
little town taught in the synagogue every week, and they passed the chore
around.  Anyone with something to say could be pretty sure of an
opportunity to say it.

But when Jesus began to teach in the synagogue, he surprised them.  Nobody
took a nap that day!  Jesus started strong and got stronger.  Pretty soon,
the people were hanging onto the edge of their seats, unsure just where
Jesus was going next, but certain that it would be an exciting ride.
"Wow!" they said, "Where did this man get all this?  What is this wisdom
that has been given to him?  What deeds of power are being done by his
hands!"  It sounds as if they looked at Jesus and saw the Lord.

But then they said, "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and
brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters
here with us?"  And they took offense at him.

Took offense!  Where other people looked at Jesus and saw the Lord, these
people looked at Jesus and saw only the kid who grew up down the block --
Mary's son.  They knew his father and his mother -- his brothers and his
sisters -- a pretty ordinary family.  So who did he think he was, anyway
-- sitting in the teacher's seat as if he owned it -- his voice sounding
like the voice of God?  Jesus had been gone from Nazareth for a while, and
now he had come back full of himself -- putting on airs.

They might have been interested in his opinion about building a house --
or shaping an ox yoke.  They knew that Joseph had taught him some
carpentry skills.  But now Jesus -- this young man -- sounded as if he
possessed the wisdom of the ages -- and they didn't like that.  Who did he
think he was, anyway! They looked at Jesus, and they didn't see the Lord.
They saw only a young man grown too big for his britches.

What do you see when you look at Jesus?  The easy answers are Lord --
Messiah -- Son of God -- Savior.  Those are the kinds of words that we
have used to describe Jesus for two thousand years, so they come readily
to mind.

But I sometimes wonder if we really believe those things about Jesus--
Lord -- Messiah -- Son of God -- Savior.  We live in a culture that is no
respecter of persons -- perhaps it would be better to say that we live in
a culture that respects no one.  We say, "He puts his pants on one leg at
a time, doesn't he!" -- which is just another way of saying that he is no
better than we are.

We are apt to give Jesus credit for being wiser than most -- perhaps wiser
than any -- but Lord -- Messiah -- Son of God -- Savior?  The titles roll
easily off our lips, but do we really believe them?  Do we really believe
that Jesus was one of a kind -- God come into our midst -- the one who
makes it possible for us to have life eternal?  Do we really believe that
he not only opens heaven to us but also gives us wisdom for our day-by-day
lives right here on earth?  Do we really believe, for instance, when Jesus
tells us to love our enemies, that he has the faintest clue?  Surely that
must just be a bit of exaggeration -- overstatement for effect!  Surely Jesus
doesn't really expect us to love our enemies!  Perhaps Jesus was a bit
overstated -- exaggerated -- too big for his britches!

What we see depends on what we choose to see.  When the people of Nazareth
looked at Jesus, they chose not to see very much.  What do we choose to
see?

In our busy lives, we are inclined to give Jesus so
little time and attention.  We glance through the window at him, and then
turn back to our everyday routine -- and then wonder why Jesus doesn't
make more of a difference in our lives -- why he isn't more help.  We
wonder why the routine of our lives is so routine.

A few decades ago, people took time to sit down with Jesus -- to give him
their full attention -- to really see him.  Sunday was a holy day, devoted
to God and family.  Families sat down together for dinner and began with
prayer.  Parents taught their children prayers at bedtime.  They took time
to see the Lord.

Things have changed so much.  We are distracted by pagers -- and cell
phones -- and television -- and Nintendo -- and computers -- and a
thousand other things.  Our lives are more exciting, but I wonder if they
are better.  I suspect not.

We say that we can't turn back the clock, and that is true.  But we can
make choices about how we live our lives -- even today.  We can choose to
sit on the patio with Jesus -- to give him our undivided attention -- to
tell him our concerns -- to seek his advice and counsel -- to ask his
blessing -- and to give him our lives.  We can spend a little time each
day in prayer!  A little time reading the scriptures! A little time
serving the needy in Jesus' name!  Even with our busy lives, we can choose
to take a little time to look at Jesus -- and to recognize him as Lord.

Try it!  Try it for a week!  Try it for a month!  Try sitting on the patio
with Jesus!  See if it doesn't change your life!

 
Here I Am, Lord (CH #452; GC #686; JS #528; PH #525; UMH #593; VU #509;
WOV #752)


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