Jesus Surprised

“He was amazed at their lack of faith” (Mark 6:6).

I doubt much surprised Jesus – but it did happen.

He had gone to his hometown and taught in the synagogue. If he taught what he usually did, it was “get ready for the Kingdom of God” – and one got ready by repentance and entrusting one’s life to Jesus.

This Nazareth story comes just after four vignettes about death. First, the disciples thought they were going to die in a storm on the Galilee. Second was the story of a demon possessed gentile who lived among the dead. Third was the woman who has been dying for twelve years with a bleeding problem. Finally, there was the little dead girl Jesus raised.

Sharyn Dowd remarks: “There is a progression through the four stories of the seriousness from which Jesus rescues people. . . Mark makes the point that through Jesus, God’s power overcomes every threat to life and wholeness, even the ultimate threat of death. Moreover, Jesus extends this wholeness to men and women, Jews and gentiles, the pure and the polluted. No place or condition is beyond the reach of God’s saving power.”

Those stories lead to this one. After all Jesus had done, his kinsmen refused to take advantage. Mark gives two reasons: First, they couldn’t imagine one of their own being so successful. Second was Jesus’ teaching: The benefits of the power of God are not up for grabs to any and all. They require submitting to the way of Jesus – a notion the home folks just couldn’t abide.

Given all Jesus had to offer, their rejection was surprising.

When we reject him, I imagine it still is.

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