Sunday, July 05, 2009
Everybody loves the kid who makes good: he is the local who goes away and becomes famous. And then there is the “Homecoming”... when the locals welcome their own.
The Bible tells such a story: Mark Chapters 1-5 tells of how Jesus becomes famous:
• Ch 1: Jesus goes to Capernaum where he teaches with authority and heals people. And everyone is amazed.
• Ch 2 & 3: Jesus heals a man who is lying paralyzed on a bed. And he challenges the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law – and 12 men are so impressed that they decide to become his disciples.
• Mk 4: tells of a crowd that is so large that he has to sit in a boat just off shore to teach them
• Mk 5: Jesus heals a mentally sick man, a woman who has been ill for 12 years, and the daughter of Jairus.
Here is the local kid making it big: everyone flocks to Jesus. People want to hear his teachings.
Then comes Mark Ch 6:
This is the Homecoming……
It seems logical that Jesus should want to return to his local synagogue. This the place where it all began. Here is the place where he first learned his faith. He would have looked for those who prepared him for bar mitzvah. He would have looked for his religious mentors. And then he is asked to speak. And I imagine how proud his mother was. And then everything falls apart:
Mar 6:2 On the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue. Many people were there; and when they heard him, they were all amazed. "Where did he get all this?" they asked. "What wisdom is this that has been given him? How does he perform miracles?
Mar 6:3 Isn't he the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon? Aren't his sisters living here?" And so they rejected him.
This is not a happy story!
People say of Jesus: “where does he get this wisdom?”
They were not able to celebrate the evidence of his wisdom. They were jealous of it.
Note who the people are who speak like this.
- They are not the sick little girl who Jesus healed
- They are not the mentally ill man in the graveyard who got his mind back
- They are not the crowds out in the countryside
No: they are the religious people. It is the people of God who reject Jesus.
Allow me to suggest that this is not a story that remained in the pages of the Bible. This still happens today. It is sad to see how cruel church people can be:
I think of a member of the church who volunteered to do something for the Lord. And others got jealous: words were expressed such as “Who does he think he is?”
It became even worse – “I have been here all my life - He is just a newcomer”
I think of someone I knew who responded to a call to be a youth pastor: and when I took it to the leadership someone said:
“I know her family…… she must not think she is something special”
Well …. In the eyes of God everyone is special.
And if God calls someone – let us not try to put them down.
(Why is it that religious people are so cruel?)
And if you are called by God – look to the Lord… do not allow the opinions of people to make you inferior.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”.