Jesus has just had some of his most amazing miracles - he freed a man from a legion of demons, stopped 12 years of bleeding, and raised a girl from the dead. Chapter five has answered the disciples question, "who is this that even the wind and sea obey him?" People are coming for help and to hear his teaching from all over. Yet when Jesus enters his hometown. The people he grew up with, the people who know his family - they challenge him, confront him. They question him: Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom given to him? What mighty works are wrought by his hands? Isn't this the son of Mary, brother of James? Who does he think he is? They were astounded by his teaching and not satisfied with his answers. Jesus too was disappointed with these people he grew up among for he was only able to heal a few sick folk and so he left to teach in other villages. These hometown folks had hard hearts, they were unable to hear the word and didn't not produce any fruit, so Jesus moved on.
The Call to Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark, Day 28He left that place and came to his home town, and his disciples followed him. On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. 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! 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 offence at him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Prophets are not without honour, except in their home town, and among their own kin, and in their own house.’ And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief. Mark 6:1-6a
What questions of faith do we bring to Jesus today? I think one of the first questions we ask is: Who are you for us today? We don't experience the miracles and the healing and question his presence in our lives. Jesus sows the word that brings people to faith. What if I just can't believe in you? Jesus promises to keep sowing the word. To never give up on us, to keep sowing over and over in the soil of our hearts. Where can I turn for assurance? Read my word. Listen to my word. Call on the Spirit. Can I believe in you and not go to church? Can I be spiritual but not religious? Jesus went to church on the Sabbath (Mk 1:21-28, Mk 3:1-6, Mk 6:1-6). Jesus believes that the church is important, but he also believes in challenging the traditions of the church that hinder compassion and the sowing of the word. He invites us to believe and then question.
What are your questions for Jesus? Where are the places where your heart is hard? Make a list. Ask Jesus to help reveal the answers to your questions over the next few weeks. Ask the Spirit to show those place where your heart is hard and compassion is difficult. Ask the Spirit to soften your heart. Amen.
Laughing With God by Regina Spektor