Proper #9…Series B
Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church (July 7th& 8th-2018)
Text: Mark 6: 1-13
Title: No Mighty Works in Nazareth…
Our Gospel reading for this 7thSunday after the great feast of Pentecost reveals something interesting and important (and maybe, for some of us, somewhat disturbing) about Jesus, the Christ…today’s Gospel reveals that there are somethings that even Jesus-the Son of the living God-can not do…
“HE COULD DO NO DEEDS OF POWERin his own hometown of Nazareth”
Oh, Mark tells us that he did lay his hands on a few sick people and healed them…but aside from that…no deeds of power…no mighty works…no miracles (no calming of wind and waves…no raising of the dead…no restoration of sight to the blind…no multiplication of loaves and fish) no mighty works…no miracles in his own hometown of Nazareth. And the question which insists on being asked and answered in light of this surprising revelation is WHY…why this power failure…why this inability to do in Nazareth what he had done in so many other places in Palestine? Well, the evangelist Mark effectively answers this question in verse five of today’s Gospel…Mark tells us that it was because of the breath-taking unbelief of the good people of Nazareth.
Friends, the enormous power of Jesus is restrained…blocked and effectively neutralized by the remarkable unbelief of the community…and that is because the Living Word of God requires a receptive audience…a responsive audience, if it is going to do its holy and life-giving work in any community!
I think the message for us, as a local congregation and for the wider Church this morning is clear and unambiguous. As we learned in last week’s Gospel, it was the simple/uncomplicated/unsophisticated and child-like faith of an unnamed women who had suffered for 12 years and Jairus, whose daughter had died that released the enormous power…the nuclear power of Jesus…but in today’s Gospel we learned that it was the remarkable unbelief of the good citizens of Nazareth that effectively blocked…restrained and neutralized that same power.
One observer of the contemporary church put it this way:
Jesus is ALIVE in churches that believe that Jesus is ALIVE…JESUS IS ALIVE IN CHURCHES AND AMONG PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS ALIVE.
In other words, the Spirit of God and the power of God are alive and at work in communities and among people who believe…not in themselves and in what they can accomplish for God…churches and communities which believe not in their own goodness and righteousness…NO…Jesus is alive and working in communities which believe in Jesus…and what He can accomplish (thru them) for God! And, my friends, the Word of God…whenever or wherever it is spoken (whether it is in Ezekiel’s day or in Jesus’ day or in this present moment) requires a receptive and a responsive audience if it is to do it’s holy and life-giving work…
I want to close by asking a question which I would like for you to think about this morning:
If it were a crime in this country to believe in Jesus of Nazareth, (thank God it isn’t a crime to believe in Jesus…thank God we have the 1stamendment to the constitution which guarantees the blessing of religious freedom…but if it were a crime in the USA to believe in Jesus of Nazareth)would there be enough evidence against you to convict you, beyond a reasonable doubt??
God help us to hear and to receive and not be offended by Jesus of Nazareth…the Living, Word of God!