Archive for June 17th, 2017

Mark 6

Mark 6 has Jesus back in His hometown teaching and healing a few people.  But those who knew Him were unwilling to accept Him.  “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon”?  They just couldn’t wrap their head around the idea that this young man they had watched grow up right before their eyes was not a great teacher and capable to doing miracles.  It just didn’t compute for them and “they took offense at him”.  It wasn’t merely amazement.  They were unwilling to accept Him and what He did.

Jesus points out a truth that remains in many cases even today.  “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household”.  Change is hard for everyone.  And changing how we see others based on our history with them and understanding of who they are makes it difficult for most to accept a significant change in people.  It is still very true today.  But it seemed to catch Jesus a bit off guard as “He marveled because of their unbelief”.  Then He teaches a very important lesson.  “If any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them”.

That is one of the hardest lessons about life and ministry that I’ve had to learn.  We tend to think we can change everyone we set out to help improve their life.  But we can’t save people that don’t want to be helped – we can’t save people from themselves.  For years I spent countless hours trying to ‘force’ change in the lives of others.  It was clear as could be what needed to happen – destructive behaviors that needed to be changed – bad relationships that needed to be left or turned around.  Yet those involved were sometimes unwilling, even when it was clear, to do what had to be done to change.  And no amount of effort or prayer moved that needle.  Then God made it clear to me that we have to invest our time, energy and treasure in places where we can make an impact and move things forward.  We can’t just continually beat our head against the wall hoping it will be different.

Mark tells the story of how the crowd of 5000 were listening to Jesus teach and it was growing late in the day.  They came to the Master asking Him to send them away to get something to fill their stomach. I love His response to the ‘problem’ they brought Him.  “You give them something to eat”.  That was not the outcome they expected.  They immediately panic and question that decision.  So they challenge His request.  Jesus focuses them on what was available to work with – “How many loaves do you have? Go and see” – which was five loaves and two fish.  Then He shows them how to address the problem.  On the surface it looked hopeless based on their own ability to take five loaves and two fish to feed 5000 men and their families.

But that was the point of this teaching experience for His disciples.  It was not about them and their ability.  It was about God and His ability.  As humans we tend to create a very narrow view of how to approach overwhelming situations and often forget that God is able.  “He commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass….by hundreds and by fifties”.  Jesus organized the crowd and then let God deal with the problem.  “And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people”. No big production, just God.  The outcome was as only God could deliver: “they all ate and were satisfied….they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish”.  More than enough, with plenty to spare.  God is able in every situation to meet the need!

%d bloggers like this: