This is my sermon text for Sunday, January 31. The lesson was Mark 6:1-13,
In today’s lesson, Jesus and his apostles give an example of what it means to be on a mission, to live focused on sharing the Good News and God’s love.
And it doesn’t seem to go that well.
Jesus returns to his hometown, and impresses his former neighbors with his teaching. 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!
But being impressed soon changes.
The people who saw him grow up, who are neighbors to his brothers and sisters took offense at him. I’m sure they thought, who does he think he is? Actually, he is the Son of God, but let’s put that aside for right now.
Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, 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.
I can empathize with this feeling. When I told people who I worked with that I was going into the ministry, some were surprised. When word got out among those whom I went to college with, many were shocked.
While I was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes while in college, I was also a football-playing member of an almost all athlete fraternity. Our house parties drew people from other colleges. We were regularly in trouble with the administration, and that is before the house burned down. As for my behavior, I will just say that I really, REALLY enjoyed my time in college.
The people who knew me back when were surprised to hear I answered God’s call to ministry. I think some of them would have a tough time accepting my preaching, teaching or care because, well, they knew me at a different time. They knew a different version of me. They knew me before I grew up.
Now, I don’t think that Jesus may have had the fun or caused the trouble that I did in my college years, but there was the same disconnect for those of his hometown. And that disconnection between the boy they saw grow up and the prophet-messiah they saw and heard caused them to not believe he could do what they were seeing. So they rejected him.
That doubt and rejection faced the apostles. In the instructions Jesus gave them, he said to pack light, and If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.
He didn’t want them to stay where they were not welcome. If they won’t listen, move on, find someone who will.
But I want to draw your attention to two statements about the time that Jesus was in his hometown.
What deeds of power are being done by his hands!
He could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them.
They recognized there was something special about Jesus, but because they couldn’t believe anyone THAT special could come from there, they didn’t believe, and Jesus could do no deed of power there, except that he healed a few sick people.
What deed of power would make you believe?
The people of Jesus’ hometown weren’t convinced he was special because of his teaching, or his measly healing of a few sick people. What would it take for them to believe that he was the Messiah, or even a prophet? Maybe at a wedding, he could turn water into wine. Maybe he could walk on water. Feed the whole town with some leftovers? Would he have to raise the dead?
Would any of that worked? Or were they so set in their minds that nothing specials could come from here? No one they saw grow up could be that miraculous.
What deed of power would make you believe that something special can come out of here? What sign do you need to accept that God is at work here, and that the Good News is being proclaimed and shared right here?
Maybe to believe it, you have to be a part of it.
The apostles didn’t believe or understand, even when they were a part of the miracles Jesus performed. But once they started to do what Jesus told them, they went out and proclaimed that all should repent, they began to understand what Jesus was doing, and could do some of it as well.
What sign of sharing God’s love, what deed of proclaiming the Good News can you be a part of to understand that being a follower of Christ is an activity. The word follower means that you are in action, moving along with Jesus. What deed of power can we do to make you believe that we are part of God’s plan to bring the kingdom of God near, and that God is waiting on us to do our part?
We are called and claimed by God as His beloved children, called and commissioned to share the love of God.
What deeds of power can we do in the name of Christ? Amen.
Pastor Brian's Page
Pastor Brian Robert Campbell has served at Our Savior's and Emmanuel since August 1, 2011, and began serving Nazareth on December 1, 2015.
Pastor Brian is originally from Saginaw, Michigan. He graduated from Alma College with a B.A. in Business Administration, and worked for the Saginaw Public Schools' Community Education Department for 17 years before answering the call to ministry. He graduated with a M. Div. from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg in 2011. ONE in Christ Lutheran Parish is his first call.
He is the only child of Robert and Charlotte Campbell, both who have entered the Church Eternal.
He is accompanied in ministry by his faithful bulldogge Ananias, who regularly writes for our newsletter. His articles are archived here.
He is a fan of sports teams from his native Michigan, especially the Tigers and the Lions. But we tolerate him despite that.
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