St. Luke's Church Faribault
- IntroductionHave you ever opened your Bible for your daily readings and been absolutely amazed at what it says? Perhaps thinking to yourself to yourself this cant be? Sometimes God word seems almost unbelievable.If is difficult and challenging to follow . Well today’s readings show us what happens when people do not listen to God’s word-let me explainToday, as I have been for the last several times in service, I will be following the lectionary readings for today. I do not choose these passages. They are assembled in a three year cycle and published in a book. Some churches regularly follow the lectionary.If I am not in a sermon series, I turn to the lectionary. I believe that this takes the preachers voice and the preachers thoughts out of the process.We would expect the lectionary to be about freedom, right? after all it is the 4th of July however, the readings rarely take into account the secular holidays, and instead focus on the major events, and themes the Bible is trying to convey.Several weeks ago we read from the lectionary there was a theme of who Jesus was. Who people thought he was. Perhaps, you remember. His own family thought he was out of his mind.Now, today this idea of a forced decision or reaction to Jesus and the gospel comes to a head. Jesus is well, not welcome were he is. And as Jesus sends the apostles out, he gives them instructions on what to do when they go out and are not welcomed.Now, obviously we are not the disciples in todays’ text. Nor is Jesus himself going around from town to town preaching, and forcing us to make a choice. That is not happening here today.But we do have the word of God. We have God’s word written for us, recorded and assembled in the Bible, and as we open our Bibles daily we have that choice of the gospel.We are given the opportunity to listen to God’s words, and to welcome them into our heart, or we can choose to ignore them.prayer1 Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. 2 When 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? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? 3 Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. 4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” 5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 He was amazed at their lack of faith. Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. 7 Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits. 8 These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. 9 Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. 10 Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. 11 And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” 12 They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.Verse 1 and 21 Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. 2 When 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? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing?Jesus and his disciples were in the region of Galilee on the North SHore of the sea of Galilee, when they decide to return to Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth.Now, this is a big deal. Local boy makes it big, right? He has been doing miracles, lives have been changed, and now they are hearing his remarkable teaching in their very own synagogue, and they are amazed.So Mark makes absolutely sure we as the reader understand this question that is surrounding Jesus and that is to His identity and origin.“Where did this man get these things? What is this wisdom that has been given him, and what are these remarkable miracles?Mark recorded similar question surrounding Jesus before, as I menetioned in the indtrocution. Several weeks ago we read from Mark 3, and His family said-He is out of His mind- The teachers of the law said-It is by Beelezebub the prince of demons he is driving out demons.In Mark 4:41 we read this this.41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”in Mark 5.7, even the demons declared he was from God.7 He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!”Now, again, as I said in the introduction- We do not have Jesus here in Faribault in 2021. Yet we have these events recorded. ANd as we sit here today, we have God’s word.God amazing word. ANd itis alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.(Hebrew 4.12-13)ANd we given the same question as those first century people is this true, where has this book come from? Are these stories and these words true as recorded from beginning to end?Is it God speaking to us, or is it just good teachings? Moral lessons to help us be good Americans in changing times? Is it confusing and almost crazy? Outdated and old-fashioned, or is is God speaking and asking us to amke a choice with our beliefs and Lives?2 When 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? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? 3 Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.There was nothing remarkable in the upbringing of Jesus, they knew him. He grew up alongside of them, They knew his family, and yet here was these remarkable things going on around him.God’s word can do that-we think it is just ordinary, a book like a million others. A book like the Koran, or ancient fables.They took offense at Him. How dare this local kid, who we know tell us how we should be, They know his sisters, this is not something special, in fact it is quite ordinary.Familiarity is not always a good thing. It can cause us to miss the miraculous. The familiarity, causes in our mind, ideas or epectations of what will or should happen.Our brains process the world around us by forming expectations of the familiar, and when things outside of the familiar occur, we find FAMILIAR non-supernatural reason for this.Let me elaborate, in case you are not following me. The people in Nazareth, have spent years forming ideas and opinions of Jesus. He was quote ordinary- by historical accurate fact-He was a carpenter, and until his public ministry aside from the 1 recorded event of his childhood at the temple-he was by all accounts quite mundane.(Infancy Gospel of Thomas) Now, there are some fables, from the apocrypha about Jesus as a boy and they have recently become scenes in movies and books, and they are wonderful stores that people just love, but there is a reason those are not included in scripture. No reasonable scholar of the Bible believes those to be true accounts. Here in Mark 6, we can see that the people from Jesus’s hometown believed him to be quite ordinary.And that the fact of His preaching and miracles are SO out of character with this familiar expectation that they have developed that it clashes with there expectation of God and how he inter with His people.This Jesus is a carpenter, with actual brothers and sisters and they live in that house, on that lake. God is Holy, He is heaven He is mighty powerful, he lifts us kings and throws down countries, He causes earthquakes, and storms.God would not speak from that house on that street. We do the same thing. We form an expectation of God-whatever that is. He is love, for instance. True. God loves us true. Then we have another expectation there is a book, and it is old, and it is big. True also.Then when we read the book or hear people talking about the Book and our sin is confronted, we think God is love, so He cannot possibly mean that we take offense. No, a book is not God speaking to me-I know where this book comes from…4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” 5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.This familiarity cuases a lack of faith and without faith Jesus does very few miracles there.There is this theme that the Boble presents over and over again. Sometimes it is called hard hearted-See, the miraculous interaction of God in your life is like this two way street-your willingness your humility your openess, and hunger for God is one way, and God’s power is the other way.Our pre-concieved ideas about God, and ourselves, which is essentially our pride, closes us off from being hungry and open and wanting and desirting God and the good things. Does that make sense?It was like this in the first reading from Ezekiel. Remeber Ezekiel, right? He was the prophet that was tasked with calling Israel back from thier pride, thier sin and back toward a relationship with God. Like it was meant to be.Ezekiel was the prophet who had a vision of the people being like dry bones. In a vision from God Ezekiel saw a whole valley in the desert filled with dry bones, and Ezejiel spoke the owrd of God to these bones, they began to take on flesh and come to life the word of God provided life.In the beginning of Ezekiels Ministry God says this.3 He said: “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have been in revolt against me to this very day. 4 The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says.’ 5 And whether they listen or fail to listen—for they are a rebellious people—they will know that a prophet has been among them.God says to Ez that you are going to preach to these people and the oucome of the preaching is not up to you, it is on them. Since they wukk know that a prophet has been among them.This is the same thing that is happening in Mark. As Jesus is preaching to the nation of Israel They are obstinate they have this hard heart they are failing to recognize that God is speaking to them.There is a danger in this. The opportunities do not last forvever. Sooner or later the opportunites end.At the extreme end, we pass into eternity before heeding the voice of God that has clearly spoken to us through his word and through the voice of countless preachers across countless Towns and churches and Sundays for two thoudsand years. At the very least the voice of God peaking through his word from the pages if the Bible stops our hearts grow cold and hard like stone,We become like dry bones, baking in the hot sun bitter and angry as we fail to the see lving God acting around us daily.These people, the very friends and relatives of Jesus became hard-hearted and Jesus left.6 He was amazed at their lack of faith. Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. 7 Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits.So Jesus sent out His discipoles Go-go from town to town tell them tell about the living God, tell them the Gospel-He gives them authority over unclean spirits, for the powers of hell will not prevail against the gospel No arrows of Satan truly defeat the word of God, for the shiled of faith will gaurd the disicples .ANd Jesus provides for them8 These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. 9 Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. 10 Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town.As Jesus provides for them, He asks them to be a part of them for as long as they are welcome. Stay in that house.Hpwever wherever the gospel goes, there will opposition, but the disciples are not responsible for wether the hearers believe their job is only to proclaim. Brother sna sisters as you tell others about gosple you cannot make them believe, you cannot convince there hearts to be soft, you cannot make them kike you, if people do not welcome the gospel then.11 And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”Leave and move on. There are still the hungry the fields are sill ready for harvest- move on-Today as the gospel is proclaimed it seems like there is less and less welcoming. More and more it seems as if people do not want to hear the gospel. The solution is NOT to change the message-the solution is to find those who want to hear it.The gospel by its mature will offend people It familiarity will make it unbelieveable, thier pride and thier hard hearted ness will keep them from beliebg but we proclaim it anyway.ANd the Gospel is simply this. We are sinners. Each and everyone us. Even those who have not heard the gospel, and even those that beiliev in a different God, We are all sinners, and as such we are all going to die, not just a physical death but a spiritual death as well. We are sinners and we all are in danger of eternity in hell.This is offensive,But there is a way. God has made a way, The Good and Holy God made a way-He came down. down He became man, and this too is offensi=ve.ANd this Holy God that became man lived a life free from sinand yet we the dead and the dying the dried bines and the hea=ard hearted and the prideful nailed him to offensive cross,We spit on the God and called him ordinary, and ordinary man, an ordianry teacher,ANd dying oon that cross Jesus took our sins upon Himself and suffered the wrath of God the father that was due us and this is offensive too.bUt God the Father seeing that the sacrifice of God the son was plkeasing and acceptable brought this Jesus the carpentar from Nazareth back from the dead. All this was according this offensive word of God Predicted before it happened, recorded as it happened and preserved for us to happen in our lives.So that By faith We may believe and reocive from God a heart of flesh not a heart of stone. A heart reborn of water and the sporit by the the HOLY word of God,SO that the grace could flow into us and keep us and transform us into sons and daughter of the Most High God, set free from and death.And all this by GRACE alone not based on your works lest anyman should be able boast but based on the garce of God alone to the Glory of God the father,DO you find this offensive?Or is the word of God brething life into your weary soul.If you hear the voice of God through His word calling you today-respond, repent and believe.In Jesus Name
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