Thursday, November 3, 2016

Mark: rejections, familiarity, martyrdom, and mere harassment. Also, Jesus has time for you.

Mark 6:1-34

Jesus goes to his hometown, but the people there saw him grow up in the home of Mary and Joseph with his brothers and sisters.  To them, there is no way that this young guy could be a prophet.  They remember when he first started walking.  And thus familiarity breeds contempt.  If you grew up knowing Jesus in a Christian home in America or even in a private Christian school, do you kind of roll your eyes whenever Jesus's name comes around?  Do you ever wonder why you need him?  Contrast that with someone raised in public school where Jesus had to remain in the background.  Its like, sometimes, the people who believe in Jesus who went to public school take him for granted a little less.  When I first went to Trevecca, it nearly brought tears to my eyes to have professors pray before class.  I went to Salem High School where you couldn't even really sing specifically about Jesus in chorus because you might offend nonbelievers (though you could get away with God, just not specifically Jesus.)  I hold to my Christian faith quite strongly because although my parents raised me in the faith, I did not take my faith for granted because Jesus was not the center of school (although I had many positive faith experiences there) and I came to him on my own.

Next part: Jesus sends out his disciples, not just the 12, but other trainees as well.  Some towns will accept Christ and his salvation, and others will not.  The disciples simply must shake the dust off their feet and treat the latter towns as unclean for the time being, although they should not treat them as unreachable.  The truth is, all people are born rejecting Jesus.  Unless Christ changes your life, unless the Father draws you to him, you will not believe, thus says John 6:44.  All the disciples where specifically called by Jesus.  They did not initiate their rabbinical relationship with him (although, I think all rabbis called their disciples, not just Jesus.)  Still, Jesus initiates all the relationships that believe and obey him.  He also wants those people to bring other people to him.  If those people reject Jesus, he still wants us to continue to try to reach them until we can't anymore.

Next: King Herod rejects Christ, but it is through John the Baptist.  Herod Antipas is in an incestuous relationship with his brother's wife, Herodias, who is also actually his niece.  Her father was Herod the Great's son, a son that Herod had killed for possibly trying to take his throne.  John the Baptist called own Herod for this.  Herodias wanted him dead, but Herod kept him alive and in prison because although he hated his message, he still thought he was interesting and amusing.  Then, Herodias's daughter danced a very sensual dance for Herod.  He eventually had an affair with her, too.  Her promised her up to half the kingdom in front of his guests, and she wished for John's head on a platter, so he granted that wish.  Thus, John was martyred, not really for speaking the truth, but because a girl danced.

How we Christians today are marginalized for speaking out against perversions to sexuality.  God created the wonderful gift of sex to be within a married couple that is man and woman.  Man wants to do what man wants and so people will have sex outside of marriage, live together without being married, and try to have same-gender relationships.  Christians speak out against this.  At least we aren't put in prison yet.  We can lose businesses, lawsuits, and misguided Christians will say we are judgmental.  But we are not yet incarcerated or killed for our love of the truth yet.  And we are still to love sinners enough to tell them that they are wrong and that they will perish in hell unless they give their lives to Jesus.  Oh, how I have failed the Lord in that respect!  I want to be bolder with the truth.

Finally, after Jesus hears that his cousin John has been killed, he seeks a place to be alone, but thousands come to be healed and to hear him speak.  In his weariness, he still finds time to minister to their bodies and souls.  Sinners, our Lord has time for you.  Please, let go of your own way and go to Jesus who is so much better than your desires and dreams.  He will heal you.  He healed me of my sinful desires and self-righteousness.  He can heal anyone.

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