Ezekiel 2:1-5 

Psalm 143:1-2; 5-8 

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 

Mark 6:1-6 

“Tough Crowd”” 

Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen. 

Many of you will understand this perception I am about to  impart, first hand or at least second hand. It is the perception that  one feels with regards to watching the young grow up, particularly  a younger sibling. I am the oldest of four kids. I have one brother  close to me in age followed by one sister and then finally a wee  little brother. There is a nine year gap between me and the  youngest of my siblings, and growing up I have always viewed  him as the baby of the family. Before I went to college, Jacob, my  youngest brother had yet to go through a growth spurt, so the  image of Jacob cemented in my mind is still the little snot nose  brat who whined about everything in order to manipulate our  parents into doing things for him. He was a great actor, even went  into paid acting at an early age, and as the youngest child he got  away with a lot. Now it’s not that he wasn’t a child who  misbehaves, for he has always been polite, a joy to be around,  and has a good sense of right and wrong. It just that he was also  the crybaby of the family and a great manipulator. He was a kid. 

Now this was the perception I had of him as I left home and  went to college. Once a month during college I would come back  home to say high and during most of the summers I would be  home. After I left college, Jacob was in middle, so by the time I 

started officially living on my own year round was the time that  Jacob started to truly grow up into the adult he is now. The only  problem is that my observation of him during then all the way to  now has been severely lacking, and behold, in a matter of weeks,  he is about to be married. 

My wee little brother, this snot-nosed brat is about to  become a husband, I can almost not believe it. Time flew by  quickly and I missed quite a bit. Who is this man who stands in  front of me? I almost cannot recognize him, for the Jacob I knew  was a short child. Now I see a tall skinny dude with a beard  adorning his face. Is this my brother? Again I marvel at my  unbelief, caught up in years past, back in the days when I lived in  Dayton, for that is the Jacob I remember, and not this man who is  about to give his wedding vows and in the presence of God and  his family join as one with his soon to be wife. 

So many of you may understand this sentiment, where you  observe a person growing up and then you marvel at your own  disbelief as you see the adult in front of you but can’t help but  think of them as the child they once were. Jacob will always be  the baby of the family to me; always my wee little brother. But he  is not a baby no longer, for he is just that in my mind. 

It is a variation of this sentiment that Jesus faces in His  home town. Jesus, a well renowned rabbi, a prophet, from the  perspective of many who listen and follow him, has come back  home to preach the good news and to teach the Scriptures, just  like he had in other regions. He has been away for a while, and  now He comes back a rabbi with a following. Sure He was a kid 

who was wise beyond His years, but He was the son of a  carpenter of all people! What is he doing acting like a prophet?  When Jesus came back home His own people were conflicted for  they were astonished by the power and wisdom that came out of  Jesus’ mouth, but then they remembered who He was and were  He came from. 

They began with astonishment, “Where did this man get  these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such  mighty works done by his hands?” Jesus was preaching in the  synagogues and like everywhere else was performing miracles,  healing many who came to Him. Thus the amazement the crowds  had was genuine, but that amazement quickly faded, “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?” The  crowd quickly took offense at him. They became blinded by their  own perception of Jesus before He left them to fulfill His purpose  on earth. Why is this snot-nose brat, this carpenter of all people,  acting like some noble priest, teaching to us such lofty things?  Why does he not instead just grab a nail like usual and help fix  own of our leaky roofs? Why does he not instead get a knife and  craft a sturdy chair? Why does he not use those good calloused  hands of his to move wood and help raise new buildings? 

Though they at first saw a preacher and was amazed by His  words, they quickly saw a child and was offended that such a  person had the audacity to tell them Scripture. This was the  trouble Jesus faced in His own home town and amongst His own  family, thus leading to Him say, “A prophet is not without honor,  except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own 

household.” After which, because no one had faith in Him and  turned their backs from Him he had little chance to speak words  of wisdom and do mighty works such as healing the sick. He  marveled at their unbelief, turned around, and sought a new place  to preach. 

At least Jerusalem, the place that murdered Him, received  Him. At least Jerusalem had many who listened to Him and  reached out to him for help. Yes, His hometown did not seek to  kill Jesus; he was one of their own, and only wicked people will  seek to harm a brother. But they did not receive Him, but rather  gave Him, as a community, the cold shoulder. This is why Jesus  was unable to do mighty works. 

Jesus came to the world to save us from our own sins, but  he does not force his salvation on others. Jesus wants to save us  and through His death He has saved all who believe in him, but  that is the key, faith in him. For it is through faith alone that you  are saved, and not through any amount of merit nor reason.  Because Jesus is not like some evil totalitarian tyrant who forces  his dictates on others, we have the ability to turn away from his.  And it is this that His own people whom he grew up did. They  turned away from Him, which completely baffled Him, and I would  wager greatly saddened Him. 

He came with great wisdom, and because the crowds were  amazed by Jesus’ wisdom it must go to show that Jesus was  saying things that they never thought about. Jesus was opening  their hearts and minds to the truth. But the mere fact that Jesus  was doing this disturbed them, for that would mean this child 

whom they raised was claiming to be better than them, so out of  their own misguided pride they became offended because they  could not see the prophet their own brother Jesus had become. 

A brief example of this, and I’m sure most pastors has faced  a similar situation. After I was trained in seminary and still to this  day I will get in a tussle with my mother, of whom I am very close  to and who is the daughter of a Lutheran Pastor, but she is not a  pastor, nor was she ever trained to be a pastor. But I am her child, and out of genuine motherhood she tells me things, strongly  instructing me on certain things, that I disagree with and will show  her through Scripture why she is false. Such is the relationship  between parent and their pastoral child. For whereas I respect  her, I cannot allow her to dictate to me things that I cannot agree  with on the basis of conscience guided by Scripture. So  respectfully, I show her why I disagree. Some pastor’s may have  it worse of then me in that their family may try to force them away  from Scripture and adopt that which goes against God. This is not  out of hatred or any ill will, but is usually due to the relationship  that was nurtured over the years prior to said person receiving  their pastoral duties. 

So Jesus’ statement also applies to pastors, “A prophet is  not without honor, except in his hometown and among his  relatives and in his own household.” 

Despite all of this, it should always be noted that Jesus  never truly gave up on them, just like how He never gave up on  Israel, a rebellious people. He kept on fighting for them, fighting  against sin in of itself. And died not only for those who accept 

Him, but for all people. He died for friend and enemy, near and  far, family and outcast, Jew and gentile, for the eternal lives of all  people equally mattered to him, and not just some select few.  Again this does not mean He will force his salvation onto them,  but regardless, He died for them. He died for you and me. And he  even died for the one who hates him, hoping that one day that  person, whomever he may be, turns to accept the gift that Jesus  is so desperately wishing to give. In the end Jesus is not so easily  discouraged by tough crowds, but he will always be at the ready. 

Let us pray, 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, though you marvel at our rebellious  nature and our unwillingness to faithfully follow you, regardless  you continue to look out for us and provide for us just like a parent  who lovingly raises an unruly child. Though we may struggle  against you, your hand of mercy and grace is always readily  open, ever so waiting for us to grasp it. So we ask that as we  struggle against you, that you never turn your face from us and  withhold your hand, but rather help guide our hearts towards you.  We ask this in your most holy name Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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