October 6, 2014
Dear brothers and sisters,
The good news this Monday morning is from Mark 6:1-6.
He departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples. When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands! Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.” So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.
This question, “Who is this man?” persists. The disciples have asked themselves. His own family believes he is mad. The religious authorities resist the authority by which Jesus teaches and disregards the laws and regulations. Now, even his friends and neighbors in his small hometown of Nazareth reject him, taking offense at what they perceive is his pretentiousness. Nobody knows what to think of him. Is he a prophet? Is he a miracle worker? Is he John the Baptist raised from the dead? Is he the long-awaited messiah?
No one can grasp the idea, let alone the fact, that he may be the son of God. I can’t blame them; I’ve had a hard time over the years grasping it myself. It’s pretty unbelievable. And yet, that is what God asks of me. He asks me to have faith that all He has told me through the gospels is true. Jesus was His son, His word enfleshed. He lived — and still lives — among us to show us how much He loves me and you, how much He understands the suffering and losses we endure through life, and how He forgives us no matter how often we fall short of His desire for us. He gave us His son Jesus to show us how he wants us to think and behave toward ourselves and each other because He wants us to experience His kingdom on earth, right now. He wants us to be joyful and to live life abundantly.
That’s really hard for me to understand and accept. It defies logic; God and His love for me can’t be proven. It can only be experienced and faith is the key, the only way for me to understand and accept. I have everything to gain from believing and nothing to lose — except for the false belief that I have control over my life. God can do anything He wants; He doesn’t depend on me. But He wants to depend on me; He wants to use me; He wants me to dwell in His kingdom today. All He asks of me is faith. When, in spite of all He has to offer and all He has done for me, I question that He sent His son to us, He is amazed at my lack of faith.