Series B Pentecost 7
"Without faith..."
July 30, 2000
Mark 6:1-6

Introduction:  As humans we can stymie and frustrate Godís blessings.  It is tragic to love and in the process have love rejected. It is sad and down right frustrating when one wants to do good and offers to help and then, lo, and behold the one who is in need refuses to accept our help. Thatís a double slap in the face.  For it is a rejection of our offer, and itís a rejection of the actual help.  It becomes a triple slap in the face with the rejection becomes personal.  I donít want you, I donít what your help, and I donít accept your offer!  Thatís what happened to Jesus in the city of Nazareth.

Unbelief blocks the channel of grace. Lack of faith breaks the wire of communication between God and humans. Faith does not heal nor bless. Rather faith is the receptive agent that allows Godís blessings to become a reality in our lives.  Without faith you cannotÖ

1.      Accept Jesus as your Savior vv.1-4 Jesus said, "A prophet is without honor even in His own country.Ē  Consider the reaction of those who knew Jesus.  He came to His own and they rejected Him. John tells us ďHe came to His own and His own received Him not!Ē (John 1)  Jesus preached in His own hometown, the place called Nazareth. This week marks the beginning of the formal quest for the presidency of the United States as the Republican convention will be held in Philadelphia this coming week.

Eight years ago as President Clinton was making his quest for the presidency he reminded that he was the ďman from HopeĒ Ė Hope, Arkansas.  Immediately that little obscure town became the national center of attention.  Jesus, who hailed from the town of Nazareth; where He grew up, worked as a carpenter, where His family and relatives still lived gave Him a firm rebuff.

These words speak of tragedy.  Instead of receiving Him as their Savior they rejected Him. His immediate family called Him crazy. His hometown rejected Him and the leaders of His religion pronounced Him ďpossessedĒ of the devil.  His nation would later cry for His blood ďLet His blood be upon us and our children! Crucify Him! Crucify Him!Ē

Now, why this outrage? Our text tells us why. ďFor they took offense at HimĒ (v.3) They could not accept Jesusí teaching, and His healing. They rejected His power and His wisdom.  ďWhere does He get this wisdom?Ē they ask.  ďWho does He think He is?Ē  They just couldnít accept the notion that this Jesus could be the promised Son of God.

TRANSITION: Because of their offense at Jesus they could not believe. As a result Jesusí work was ineffective. There was little that He could do. By the example of the town of Nazareth we can plainly see that:

2.      Without faith you cannot be healed vv.5-6 "And he could do no mightier work save that He laid His hands upon a few sick folk and healed them.  And he marveled because of their unbelief."

Is there a connection between faith and Godís blessings?  Apparently so.  Was Jesus able to work His miracles? Yes, of course He was.

But He did very few in Nazareth. Itís not that Jesus couldnít do any mighty work, for He had the power and the wisdom of God.  Yet, faith is the receptive agent, which accepts the gifts of God.  Faith is that agent which, if you were, permits or enables Godís power to work in the lives of people. Jesus was willing and able to help.

But without the willingness of the people, they werenít going to get much help! Christ can not help if someone is unwilling to receive it.  Christ cannot give us His grace if we are unwilling to receive it.

So it goes for you and for me.  Oh, itís so easy to look down our noses and click our tongue at those poor souls in Nazareth.  But we find ourselves in the same boat if we too, refuse to believe or accept the help that Christ has to offer us.

Notice Jesus reaction to all of this.  He continues on teaching and healing.  He continues His work to other villages, working as hard as ever.

That rejection must have been strong. For there were other towns and cities where Jesus received a less then warm reception but He always returned.  Not so with Nazareth. He left that place and never returned.

Where do we find any gospel here, for on the surface there isnít much to be seen! We find the hope of the Gospel in the fact that Jesus continues to remain patient, even with those who openly oppose Him. He didnít condemn those who in essence rejected Him. Notice Jesusí attitude.  He didnít lash out. He didnít damn them.  He quietly moved on. As in the parable of the prodigal son Jesus is always the waiting Father.  Always calling, always open, always ready to receive us to Himself.

The older brother, who was always with his Father - became angry at his Fatherís generosity.  Do we become angry art the Fatherís generosity? 

No, we do not choose, or accept, or decide to become Christians.  But we do have within ourselves that ability to reject, and to become, well, yes, offended at the grace offered to us in Christ. The tender mercies of Christ are new to us each day. Receive His gifts with joy and thanksgiving. Do not allow the opportunity of Godís grace to pass you by. Receive these gifts joyfully with thanksgiving in your hearts for the amazing grace that Christ has offered to you.

+ Soli Deo Gloria +