Year B Trinity 3/Proper 9 : 6 p.m. Mark 6:1-13
There are four sermons on this page.
What do you know about Jesus, quiz.
What was Jesus favourite food? ( We don't know, not pork sausages! )
How tall was Jesus?
What colour was his hair? ( We don't know but it probably wasn't long. 1 Corinthians 11:14 "Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him,"
When was his birthday? ( almost certainly not 25th December !)
What colour eyes did he have ( probably not blue like Robert Powell ! )
Did Jesus have a beard? ( We don't know for certain. It isn't in the Bible though the OT law, Leviticus 19.27 says “‘Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard. )

How do you deal with apparently conflicting evidence? Do you go back to dearly and long held prejudices, or are you open to the truth?
This was what the residents of Nazareth were faced with as Jesus returned to his home town for the second time since he began his public ministry. There were members of his own family, neighbours, and friends.

Luke 4.16-30 records the first time Jesus returned to Nazareth. He went to the synagogue, read from Isaiah 61 and told them this prophecy pointed to himself. He was chased out of the town and people wanted to murder him.

For Jesus to return was, then, both an act of grace and bravery. He wanted people to hear his words, believe and be put right with God. This time, however, they were indifferent and mistrustful. Mistrust is not to have confidence in someone. Most of the inhabitants of Nazareth didn't trust Jesus.
Why? Because they thought they knew him.

They were amazed at his teaching. The Greek word translated "amazed" refers to being hit from one's place. So the best translation could be that they were gobsmacked! They were gobsmacked by his teaching and they had also heard about his miracles. Yet, they thought they knew Jesus. They knew his mother, and his half-brothers and sisters.

They knew of his trade, which he had probably continued after Joseph's death. Jesus had probably made yokes for their cattle, made chairs and tables for them. Perhaps he done some other building related work like an extension, because the word for carpenter doesn't just mean someone who only works with wood.

They might have thought, "He did a fabulous job of making a yoke for my cattle and his teaching is just as impressive, but I can't bring myself to trust in his teaching. I trust in that yoke every time I take my oxen out but not his words."

They couldn't believe that God was at work in Jesus. They wouldn't trust in what he was saying. Their failure to trust in Jesus meant that they couldn't enjoy the blessings God had for them through Jesus. "5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 And he was amazed at their lack of faith."

I think the reason that he could not do miracles there is that just a few people trusted Jesus enough to come forward. Maybe some who were sick and infirm were discouraged from seeking Jesus' healing power because of the mistrustful attitude of those around them.

We saw last week how Jesus tested and developed the trust of Jairus and the woman who had been bleeding. There was already some belief there, Jesus increased that by talking to these two people, and Jesus healed the woman and raised Jairus' daughter from death to life.
Without this environment of trust in Nazareth it was not right to perform any miracles, other than to heal the few sick people who had the courage and the commitment to come to Jesus.

It says that those from Nazareth were offended by Jesus, the Greek word is skandalizo, from which we get the word scandal. It was immaterial that they knew Jesus in a superficial way. Like many people they thought they knew this person and they made value judgements upon him, condemning him as irrelevant, not worthy of trust. We see still this going on today on an almost daily basis, for example in the media and in Parliament.
Phillips Brooks said: “Familiarity breeds contempt, only with contemptible things or among contemptible people.” The contempt shown by the Nazarenes said nothing about Jesus Christ, but it said a great deal about them!

At the Bishop of St Alban's Clergy Conference recently, one of the main speakers was Alister McGrath. He is a Christian author, scientist and theologian. One of his recent books is called the "The Dawkins Delusion". He said that everyone has a faith, they believe or trust in something or someone. He argues that Dawkins is as dogmatic in his beliefs as any fundamentalist. He made the point that science is the wrong way try to prove or disprove God and that science itself is not beyond questioning. For example, you cannot use science to prove or disprove love, but does this mean that it does not exist ?

He argues that science and trust in God are not opposed to one another but are explanations for two partially overlapping spheres of existence, the physical and spiritual. He also points to many leading scientists who are also Christians.

Jesus was amazed at their lack of faith in Him. The word translated amazed often means to admire or marvel. So there may be an element of Jesus almost admiring their obstinacy. They were not only Jews, God's people, with the books of the Law and the Prophets that pointed to Jesus, but they were also from his home town, some were even related to him. So, Jesus marvelled that they couldn't bring themselves to trust in Him, despite the evidence!

These people from Nazareth would not know the blessings that could have been poured upon them had they not been blind to what God was doing through Jesus. They let their presuppositions, their prejudices, their faith, if you like, stop them from receiving God's blessings.
n contrast the disciples went out having been given the authority of Jesus, they trusted him, obeyed his instructions, preached, defeated evil forces and healed the sick.

What presuppositions, faith position do you hold?
Everyone trusts in something or someone. This may include money, possessions, power, family, relationships, ourselves, our thoughts, our feelings, our desires.

Does this feature Jesus? If so, which one?

Are you willing to let your position, whatever it may be, to be changed by meeting the true Jesus? Not what you think he is and is like. Not by what you have been told, seen on television or in film. But by reading the Bible, asking God's Spirit to guide you into the truth. Then you can know the blessings that God has for you. Knowing Jesus as your friend and helper. Having his love, joy and peace in your life. Being able to talk with God in prayer. Looking forward to an eternity in paradise with God and all the other believers from history, as we discovered 2 weeks ago.

If you want to find out more about Jesus please speak to me as you leave this service and I will help you to be amazed at Jesus life and teaching for your life.
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