The Day Jesus Was Amazed (Mark 6:1-13) Pentecost 6
Sixth Sunday after Pentecost Trinity Lutheran Church
8 July 2012 Murdock, NE
+ Jesu Juva +
Man! If this isn’t something! We never expected this! Especially in His hometown! You’d think that we would welcome Jesus as a hometown hero! Proud as punch of the Preacher who grew up in Nazareth! Ticker tape parade! A city park and municipal holiday named after Him! Given the key to the city! After all, He heals the sick, casts out demons, raises the dead, and preaches whiz-bang sermons of repentance and the kingdom of God!
Instead, our hometown and family reaction is: “No big deal really! He’s just a carpenter! He works with his hands just like the rest of us! He’s no different than His four brothers and His sisters! Who does He think He is? He acts and talks like He’s way too big for His britches!”
Although His preaching “amazed” us at first, our attitude quickly turns sour! All of a sudden we don’t really care for the Preacher or His message one bit! We take umbrage! We “are offended” by Him! Put off by His Messiah mania. Sickened by His fanatical belief that He is the promised Son of David who reigns as King over Israel and the world forever! Revolted because He acts as if He were the Savior of the world! That takes us out of the salvation driver’s seat and makes us completely dependent on Him! As if He were God!
So, in a very Larry the Cable Guy kind of attitude and voice we declare: “That boy ain’t right! Buy ‘m books and buy ‘m books! What a doofus! What a dolt! What a heretic! A lowly carpenter — the Savior? CAN’T BE! If only Joseph was still around! Too bad he died so young. Otherwise he could take this boy out back to the woodshed and beat some sense into Him!” And so: “[we] and His hometown take offense at him.”
OFFENDED BY JESUS! Unbelief! Unbelief is the refusal to be given to by Jesus! “Thanks BUT NO THANKS!” we say! “Been nice knowing you Jesus! Best be on your way out of town! Know what we mean? We don’t have to spell it out to you, do we? We still have that rubber room and straightjacket reserved for you! Just saying!”
That’s when Jesus unleashes one more sermon. Quite short and to the point: “Only in his hometown among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor. Just saying!”
As a result the “miracles” dry up. The text says: “He could not do any miracles there except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.” Unbelief refuses to be given to! Unbelief stubbornly rejects Jesus and His gifts! He comes with salvation! He comes with all the gifts of heaven! Yet, He is rejected! But He will not force Himself or His gifts on people. If they won’t be given to, then they will get what they want as their punishment!
The unbelief blows Jesus away! It is so thick you can cut it with a knife! It staggers Him! “He was amazed at their lack of faith,” the text says.
Is that how it is here at Trinity? Is that how it is with us? Would Jesus be amazed at our lack of faith in Him? Are we so accustomed to Jesus that our familiarity with Him has grown into apathy or even bred contempt? Would we rather have Preacher Jesus go away and leave us alone? Would we “amaze” Jesus in that way? With our unbelief?
Then comes another shocker! Jesus doesn’t give up! He doesn’t call it quits! He continues His ministry even after such a colossal failure (humanly speaking) in Nazareth!
He goes elsewhere. “Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village.”
And then more of the unexpected! Jesus puts Twelve men to work in order to expand His messianic mission! Really? He just “bombed out” all by Himself in Nazareth and now He employs and authorizes Twelve more in His messianic madness? He wants to expand His kingdom-of-God-on-the-brain mission and reach in the world? Absolutely!
Twelve. Big number in the Bible! In the Old Testament the Lord had His church: the twelve tribes of Israel. So too now in the New Testament. Twelve apostles. The church of the New Testament. Jesus will have for Himself a church! A whole host of sinners that hang around and on to Him! As the Savior!
So Jesus “calls” and “sends” the Twelve out “two by two.” Why? Well in Mark 3:13-19 these Twelve are called “apostles,” literally “sent ones” by the Lord Jesus “to preach and have authority to drive out demons” just like Jesus! The ministry of Jesus Himself will be done and expanded through these Twelve.
The kingdom of God on the earth has come in Jesus. In Jesus God reigns! Satan and his minions must give up their captives! Sinners are to be set free from the prison house of hell through the preaching that Jesus is Lord! That Jesus reigns! And that sinners are called “to repent.”
So the Twelve go out. Like Jesus they are not to think of themselves, their needs or care. “All you need,” Jesus says, “is a staff, sandals, and one coat.” And as it went with Jesus so it will go with them! Some will hear and repent. Others won’t. “Whenever you enter a house,” He declares, “stay there until you leave that town. And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you [like they do with me], then shake the dust off your feet when you leave as a sign that you’re giving them what they want as their punishment – NO MORE WORD OF GOD! NO MORE FORGIVENESS! THAT THEY ARE BOUND IN THE SIN OF UNBELIEF!”
To reject Jesus and to reject His message of repentance, victory over Satan, and the full forgiveness of your sin is quite dangerous. Hellaciously dangerous!
And now one more shocker! A joyous shocker! It is not too late! There is still time for repentance! The Lord Jesus would repent you, Trinity congregation and me! It is time for us to be “offended” not at Jesus but offended at our sin! To die to it! To let Jesus have it all! To rejoice that all our sin is forgiven in His bloody sacrificial death!
That is categorically true! Miracle of miracles: the rejection of Jesus and the diabolical call for Him to be crucified in order to get rid of Him, is actually the most wonderful act of God for you, me, and all sinners! In His death you have life! In His loss you have victory! In His being damned with all your sin you have forgiveness of all sin – salvation!
Proof is your Baptism! Buried with Christ by Baptism into His death! His Good Friday It-Is-Finished death that counts totally for you! That defeated Satan! Crushed his pointy head!
Proof too is His Body and Blood given to you in the bread and wine to eat and drink with your mouths with His very last will and testament promise: “given and shed for you for the forgiveness of your sin.” There Jesus has His twelve! His church! His forgiven sinners – that hang on His every promise!
In the Name of Jesus.