Title: How Do You See Jesus?
Text: Mark 6.1-6
Introduction: This passage concludes with the 2nd cycle of Jesus’ Galilean ministry. If you’ve been following through Mark geographically, you’ve noticed that Mark stays in the Galilean region. We know he’s been in the area of Jerusalem before. The other gospels give us more on this, but not Mark. For instance, Jesus was baptized in the Jordan, not too far from Jericho, where the Israelites crossed the Jordan as they came up out of Egypt. More than that, we know of his confrontation with the religious leaders. Mark, however, moves us directly to the region of the Sea of Galilee for his ministry setting in the beginning of his Gospel. The first cycle, the ‘early Galilean ministry’ concludes in 3.6 with the conspiracy of the religious leaders plot to destroy Jesus. That desire of theirs hasn’t died. Their unbelief and rejection of Christ sets a tone that is weaved in and out of Mark’s gospel. This 2nd cycle listed as his ‘later Galilean ministry’ is concluded with the rejection and unbelief of his own people – the people of Nazareth.
- The early Galilean ministry (1.16-3.6)
- The 1st Disciples are called
- They appear to be the true followers as the religious leaders and his own family reject him – even believe he is out of his mind.
- Concludes with Christ being rejected by the religious leaders and their plot with the Herodians to destroy Christ.
- The later Galilean ministry (3.7-6.6)
- Then, the apostles are selected and called to follow.
- But something interesting happens as we make our way through chapter six. His disciples find themselves in a state of disbelief and find their hearts hardened toward the work of Christ.
- Concludes with Christ being rejected by his own – the people of Nazareth.
- The Expansion of His Ministry (6.7-8.20)
- Jesus then commissions his apostles and sends them out to fulfill his ministry purpose through them.
- Concludes with his disciples still dull to all that he’s been trying to teach them (v52).
- Marks cyclical pattern is evidence of his hard work in writing this Gospel. For the student, this is truly an amazing and wonderful study. We see other patterns:
- His work among Gentiles, especially women.
- He walks on water more than once
- He feeds the 5,000 in one cycle and feeds 4,000 in another.
- His work with his disciples – teaching them, sending them out, their state of disbelief.
I’m hoping you’ll see this information as fodder for your personal and group study. This is a great question and task for WEBS to dig into. Ask yourselves: Did Mark organize his thoughts or did he simply write out a story?
Today’s focus for us, is to outline chapter six and then, to spend the rest of our time in this final section of the later Galilean ministry – his rejection at Nazareth (6.1-6).
The passage is bookended by the opposing storylines of rejection and reception. Christ is first rejected by his own – the people of Nazareth. At the end of the chapter, He is received by the people of Gennesaret, who run to him and seek even the touching of the fringe of his garment.
The 2nd part, and similar in form, is the sending out of the apostles or the commissioning of the apostles. In verses7-13, Jesus commissions his disciples (Apostles) with the task of preaching his gospel, casting out demons and anointing many with oil that they might be healed. In this experience, they are successful in their quest as they live out their faith and calling. And yet, bookended with this story, on the other end of the chapter, Jesus again sends his disciples. This time he sends them ahead to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. At this point Jesus walks out on the water to them. This section ends as they are utterly astounded at what they’ve witnessed, they don’t understand the loaves (i.e.: the feeding of the five thousand) and their hearts are hardened. They are in danger of becoming just like those who’ve rejected Christ.
The two middle sections of chapter 6 are two long stories about John the Baptist and the feeding of the 5,000.
In the previous chapter, 5, we observed Christ’s authority over everything. Mark presents these miracles where he demonstrates Christ’s authority over the physical, the spiritual and the natural. And with all of this power (speaking to the wind and the waves; casting out legions of demons – and sending them into 2,000 pigs; healing a woman who has suffered for 12 years, spending every penny she’s had on doctors and to no avail; and raising the 12 year old daughter of Jairus from the dead), with all of that power demonstrated, we now find his own people reject him. In their disbelief, He is left amazed and astounded.
Side bar: In our discussions during Bible Study, something we’ve not touched on is what the people were raised and healed to… (most of the time we simply tell the story and are amazed at the miracle)… there is the thread of the relationships – after the resurrections or the healings, you see a table and eating together; you see service in the preparation of a meal. But, you won’t see that here in Nazareth. We watch Christ walk away from those who reject him, actually marveling at their lack of faith.
This cycle ends without the fellowship. There is no table; there is no dinner; there is no fellowship. Only sadness.
I think this comes because of one overarching reason – and it is a lesson for us today: they can’t get passed what they think they know.
Are you familiar with the phrase: familiarity breeds contempt? I googled this phrase looking for a place of origin. Who said if first? On the free dictionary site, it gave an explanation of this phrase: people do not respect someone they know well enough to know their faults. Well, Jesus had no faults, but because they think they know him so well, they’ll find they don’t know him at all.
Transition: With that application in mind, I’d like to simply ask one simple question this morning:
- How do you see Jesus? (1-3) exp.: just consider for the moment, how do you see Jesus? rd v 1; so, he leaves from say, maybe Capernaum and heads some 20 miles or so up the mountain range to his hometown of Nazareth.
- I’m reminded of John 1, where Philip found Nathanael and told him that they had found the Messiah, the one Moses had told them about in the Law – Jesus, of Nazareth. Nathanael is like: Nazareth! Can anything good come out of Nazareth? So, as the disciples head that way, I wonder what contempt they hold for that town. I think disdain for a town that is a rival to you is something you can relate to…
- 2nd, this is no easy walk! Rd v 1ab; Show pic; 1,200 ft above sea level; SOG is 700 ft below sea level; in our passage it’s like: Oh, he just came to his hometown. Yeah, I’m sure with their activity everyday, this was typical; however, it ain’t an easy walk! And, it’s some 20 miles!
Rd 2a; So, Jesus does what just what Jesus does wherever he goes when he gets there. He begins in the Synagogue on a Sabbath and he teaches. And just how do these people respond? Rd 2b;
- These people are amazed! Astonished! We see so much more in Luke; With Luke you get the clear picture that they love him at 1st. They’re proud, because he a hometown boy, grown up and done good. But let me say this English word really lacks the punch the Gk word hits us with. This word is derived from the idea that whatever you’ve experienced, it feels like you’ve been blind-sided. Stricken. You’ve been hit. Punched in the gut. I think of the way we say: knocked for a loop. The idea to strike someone is in this compound word. At first, we don’t know if this is good or if this is bad – if this is positive or negative. But we quickly find out they’re having trouble with what he teaches.
- They ask a series of questions:
- Where did this man get these things? That is a literal translation: I think the idea is more like: how does this man have the ability to do the things he’s doing? And this comes out in their next two questions.
- What is the wisdom given to him? He is so wise – that’s evident. Where did he get this wisdom?
- How are such mighty works done by his hands? What Power! Where does this power come from? The Gospel of Luke and his 2nd book Acts, places great emphasis on the power of God at work through Christ. So, they’re seeing these things – But, they’ve got real problems with it because… look at the next few questions…
- 3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” They know him. They know him as the young man who learned the skill of carpentry from either his father, or from a tradesman (meaning, we don’t know if Joseph was a carpenter and we don’t know when he died.) And, they know his family: his momma, his brothers, his sisters. They know where he was raised. They’re not demeaning him because he works with his hands. The people are not saying, “He’s nothing but a common laborer,” but rather, “He’s no better than anyone of us.” We know him to be just like us. The way he is teaching and the power he demonstrates through healing – amazing as they are – he didn’t get those things there in Nazareth. And they just can’t get past what they think they know…
They observe him and they can’t comprehend that the preaching of Jesus is filled with the Spirit of God. There is authority and power and wisdom displayed in ways they have never seen before. But, it doesn’t match what they think they know about Jesus. So, what is their conclusion? Just how do they see Jesus?
- And here is their ultimate response at the end of v3c: They’re offended! This is the Gk word for which we get our English word Scandalous. We might envision these people listening and becoming more and more offended with each part of the lesson – so much so that they would cry out: Scandalous!
There’s something else. We have so much more in Luke. For context, let me share a little from Luke’s perspective. He tells us of a trip to Nazareth. In his story, we have the text Jesus taught from: Isaiah. With Luke, the story goes from their elation of their Jesus – the awesome preacher-teacher – to their frustration with that Jesus. Mark leaves us with, Oh, well – Jesus wasn’t welcome. Luke says: they wanted to kill him.
app.:. Let’s bring this home: There is a process one works through in his or her own mind as one deals with this question, “How do you see Jesus?” and the conclusion to which that person arrives after hearing His Words. And once one has worked through that process, one can only come to one of two conclusions: Either,
- You hear the teaching of Jesus and your offended. Or…
- You hear the teaching of Jesus and your convicted.
t.s.: So, which one of these answers clearly applies to you: conviction or offense.
exp.: You see, you can experience miracles, and you can feel the power of his healing hand, but it isn’t enough. You can hear the wisdom in his teaching and you can be astonished and amazed, but it isn’t enough. You can hear him speak peace to the wind and the waves. You can see him cast out demons. You can touch the fringe of his garment and even feel the touch of his healing hand. But, unless the power of his Holy Spirit convicts you of your sin, and draws you into a relationship with him, you’re not going to respond the way you should. Instead, you will scream scandalous!
In today’s world, I think people find Jesus attractive in so many ways. He’s smart, he’s kind, he’s caring. Look at what he does for the Gadarene Demoniac; look at his response to the wind and the waves; look at his care for the woman stricken with this blood disease for 12 years. And, look at how he cares tenderly for Jairus’ 12-year-old daughter. That’s the sweet Jesus we want.
We love to hear him say, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” But we won’t tolerate him saying – go and sin no more. We don’t like the sin part! The Wrath of God offends us!
Ill.: The following comes from Timothy George who explains why the Presbyterian Church USA has recently rejected the hymn “In Christ Alone” from its new hymnal:
Recently, the wrath of God became a point of controversy in the decision of the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song to exclude from its new hymnal the much-loved song “In Christ Alone” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. The Committee wanted to include this song because it is being sung in many churches, Presbyterian and otherwise, but they could not abide this line from the third stanza: “Till on that cross as Jesus died/the wrath of God was satisfied.” For this they wanted to substitute: “…as Jesus died/the love of God was magnified.” The authors of the hymn insisted on the original wording, and the Committee voted nine to six that “In Christ Alone” would not be among the eight hundred or so items in their new hymnal.
God is wrathful?!? Scandalous! We adore the Jesus who sits the child upon his lap, but we abhor the Jesus who condemns sinful, harmful behavior. We crave more about God and his love, but we can ‘not abide’ the Wrath of God.
So, how do you see Jesus? What response does he illicit from you? Are you offended or convicted. (Pause)
Conclusion: When I was in Cotulla, I thought it would be good to teach who Jesus was. As an informal survey, I asked the teens questions about Jesus. We went over these questions one by one, out loud. One simple question was about his nationality – his ethnicity. After some quick, wrong guesses, I said Jesus was Jewish. At that statement, a girl, I think she was about a freshman or sophomore in age, responded in disgust: Oh my God, we worship a Jew!
Scandalous, is what she was saying…
- Born of a virgin – Scandalous!
- Crucified on a cross – Scandalous!
- Died for the sins of humanity – Scandalous!
- Buried in a borrowed tomb and raised from the dead three days later – Scandalous!
- A Jewish Carpenter crucified for my sins – Scandalous!
If you’re offended at Jesus and his teaching – well, there are many who’ve felt the same way. Some choose simply to ignore these harder teachings. Look at the people of Nazareth – it was all too much for them to take in. They couldn’t get past what they thought they knew.
But, if you’re convicted of your sin this morning – if the teachings of Jesus cut you down to the core of your soul, let me offer you forgiveness this morning through Christ. There is no reason to wait a second longer – stand right now, right where you are and say, I need that forgiveness. I’ll pair you up with someone who will walk through the Scriptures and explain to you how you can know that you’re forgiven and have the promise of heaven.
Let’s take a quick moment and notice those who missed him:
- Those who knew him best – missed him.
- Those who knew his family – missed him.
- Those who lived close to where he lived – missed him.
- Those who were of the same nationality – missed him.
- Those who were common everyday folk, just like him – missed him.
Rd v 4-5; 4 And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” 5 And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them.
We often times will wonder at how Jesus is viewed by others. But have you ever considered how Jesus might be looking at you? Rd v 6a: 6 And he marveled because of their unbelief. Wow… what more could be done for these people? You know what, I don’t think it even matters – they still won’t believe.
And then, what does 6b say: he went into counseling because the rejection hurt him too much. Is that what it says?
And Jesus quit the ministry because it just hurt too much that people rejected him. … He never told another soul…
And he went about among the villages teaching. I love this little sentence. Rejection doesn’t mean it is all over.
There is still work to do. Yes, Christ was not received by his own. He came to his own, but his own received him not. Invitation: I want to give you a chance to respond to Christ this morning…