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Who Do You Say I Am?
The Gospel of Mark

Jesus Goes Home

 

In 27 AD Jesus went home to Nazareth to celebrate Mother’s Day.  Well sort of.  There is only one problem with that. It was in 1914 AD that Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother's Day, held on the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honor mothers.  But it so happens, the next story in our study of the Gospel of Mark, we discover that Jesus does go home to see his mother, and today is Mother’s Day.  Coincidence?  I think not. 

Let’s see if these two thoughts… Jesus going home and Mother’s Day, get together to make a point.

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Mark 6:1 Jesus went away from there (Capernaum) and came to his hometown, (Nazareth) and his disciples followed him. 

Jesus traveled the 30 miles from the north of the Sea of Galilee around the lake and then east to Nazareth.  Jesus had been doing ministry for 5 chapters… it seems like at least a year or so.  Jesus decides that the kudzu kingdom needs to go to his hometown of Nazareth… to where he spent 30 years… to his parents… to his siblings… to the old guys in the synagogue… to the kids he grew up with… to his buddies he played basketball with… to his Aunts and Uncles and cousins… Jesus thought that it was important for him to revisit his hometown. 

Perhaps there is a point here.  We are looking for the conjunction of Mother’s Day and Nazareth for a point… Jesus after his fame had spread to the four corners of the kingdom; after he had healed hundreds, after he had cast out thousands of demons, after he had caused so much stir that scribes and Pharisees and Sadducees and officials had denounced him… after crowds followed him everywhere… Jesus goes back home to take his restoration to those he loved… his family.  Jesus goes home to see his mother.  That seems like a point.  While invading the earth, nothing more important, he pauses to go home.  It is important to Jesus for his hometown to get a chance to experience the kingdom! 

Perhaps the point is… You are never to big in britches to go home.  

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Let’s keep digging.  Maybe, there is another point here about Jesus going home for Mother’s Day. 

Mark 6:2 And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, "Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands?  

In the old days, when I was a young preacher, every time I would go to visit either my parents or Tanya’s parents I would get to preach.  Both of our dads were preachers in those days.  So, I would take a sermon a preach for either my dad or my father-in-law.  These were fun experiences.  It was enjoyable to be able for our parents to be proud of us.  Perhaps, Jesus went home so his mom would be proud of him. 

So, Jesus does much the same thing.  He is this famous traveling preacher.  He has an entourage.  I never had an entourage, only a bunch of kids.  But Jesus shows up with his 12 apostles.  That had to be impressive… Jesus and his entourage fill up the crowded synagogue… everyone showed up that Sabbath to hear the hometown boy who has made it big.  Jesus begins to preach the kingdom…

Mark 4:3 "Listen! A sower went out to sow.”

Mark 4:20 “But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold."

Mark 4:24-2 "Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away."

Mark 4:30-32 "With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it?  It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade."

Jesus preached his favorite sermon.  The people were amazed.  “Wow.  He is the best preacher we have ever heard.”  I didn’t get that very often.  But, Jesus did.  They were all astonished at the beauty of every word that fell from Jesus’s lips.  They were amazed. 

But, but, they could not get past who he was… who they remembered him to be.  He was one of them…

Mark 6:3 “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?"

“Wait a second.” they all said. 

--This is the quiet little boy who grew up working with his dad.

--Some of the older ones said, “You know he was born not quite 9 months after they were married. You know he is… illegitimate.  It was quite the scandal 30 years ago.

--His brother are all yahoos.  Running around here causing all kinds of trouble.  There is no way he is something special. 

--Some are saying he is the Messiah.  No way.  He is a carpenter.  He works with cutting stone… No one special ever comes from Nazareth… our town is a joke.

Perhaps, this is another point… a subtle point that sort of relates to Mother’s Day.  It has to do with spreading the Kudzu Kingdom.  The person doing the spreading is not important.  “What?”  They all knew Jesus was from a less than spectacular place.  They knew his background.  He was from Nazareth. They knew Jesus was from ordinary peasant background, we would say humble.  It does not take a pedigree, or any kind of degree to be important in the kingdom.

1 Corinthians 1:26-30 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption.

The power of the kingdom is in sacrifice! 

Think about what it takes to be a good mother.  Are there any qualifications?  Are there any prerequisites?  Does it take a pedigree or an advanced degree?  All that is required to be a great mother is sacrificial love.  Why do we have a Mother’s Day?   Because most of our mothers sacrificed extensively for us.  That is what mothers do.  They give and they give without asking for anything but an occasional call and a thank you card. 

That is what it takes to be in the kingdom a willingness to give; sacrificial love is the power of the kudzu kingdom.  How did the kingdom grow?  It started with one guy giving his life on the cross to defeat evil.  It spread from 12 guys who all but one died a martyr.  It spread through 120 who were filled with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost who gave everything to advance the kingdom.

Here is a great point.  The only qualification to be a part of the kingdom of God, is the same as the qualification to be a good mother… give up everything… the power of sacrificial love!  The power within giving is the power of the kingdom.  That is not a bad point. 

The hometown crowd could not understand where Jesus got his power.  He was a peasant like the rest of them… Jesus had the power of sacrificial love!

 

Another Mother’s Day Point – There is power in sacrificial love. 

Let’s keep looking…. Maybe there is another point from Mother’s Day in Nazareth.

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Mark 6:3-6 And they took offense at him.  And Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household."  And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them.  And he marveled because of their unbelief.

I suspect Jesus came home to be encouraged.  It is good to go home. It can be wonderful to have your parents and your relatives tell you how proud they are of you. It is good to be treated as someone special.  It is good to go home and be embraced by those who love you.  But Jesus didn’t get that.  At least he didn’t get that from those who were at church that day.  It seems he didn’t get it at all… “A prophet is without honor in his hometown and amongst his own household.”  This is sad.  If Jesus went home to rest… to take a vacation, to get away for a few days… and instead gets this cold shoulder… this lack of belief… this unbelief.  That is sad.  Jesus marveled at their unbelief; their lack of support. 

It is also sad because… he didn’t get to advance the kingdom.  He only helped a few sick people.  Everywhere else he went the crowds thronged all over him to for his power.  He was restoring creation in big ways, healings, evil cast out, creation paused, the dead being raised… everywhere else…. except his hometown.  At home, they sneered at Jesus in unbelief. 

So, what is the lesson?  Is there a Mother’s Day point here?  Perhaps it is a negative point.  We must do the opposite of what Nazareth did for their kid.  We must support our kids.  We must be the kind of congregation that embraces our kids in such a way as they want to come home.  They know there is a place, back home, where people love them.  When our kids leave, they know they can come back and be fully embraced!  That is certainly a Mother’s Day lesson.  We, like good mothers, treat our own as special.

Good news!  We do this.  Our philosophy is… Kids own the kingdom.  We learned this years ago when we studied the Gospel of Matthew. 

Matthew 19:13-15 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven." And he laid his hands on them and went away.

That is what we do.  Each of our kids are special.  We understand they own the kingdom.  It is the power of the kingdom to offer our own kids… sacrificial love.  They know we are a place of love!  This is THE lesson we learn from Jesus going home on Mother’s Day.  What they did not give to Jesus, we must give to every one of our kids!  We are the place where we are warm, supportive, encouraging home town congregation.  We did it.  This is an amazing point that we emphasize! 

Speaking of which…Next Sunday night is our Senior Banquet.  Next Sunday night we are going to honor four special young ladies.  Next Sunday night we celebrate, “Princesses Only!”  We have four amazing girls who have already accomplished a lot… who are going off to colleges all over the country in the fall.  East coast to west coast to no coasts in the middle we are extremely proud of our four graduates… Emily Anne, Alison Rae, Faith Yik-Ching, Allison Mae… Stand… honor.

The Senior Banquet is, in my opinion, our best tradition.  We are into our second generation of Senior Banquets.  Some of our kids have kids going to the banquet.  This tradition began before I came in 1987, but the 2nd Senior Banquet I was involved with, included Melissa Farley… Who now has a daughter being celebrated!  How cool is that. 

It is a heritage… It is something we look forward to a whole kid’s life.  All of you who have little kids make sure you bring them, next Sunday, so they can begin to anticipate their own Senior banquets.

The point being… Unlike Nazareth, which had a lousy congregation, we must be the congregation which cherishes our kids!  That seems to be a great lesson for Mother’s Day! 

So, we found three important Mother’s Day/Jesus goes home lessons…

--You are never too big to come home.

--The power to go into the world comes from sacrificial love.

--We must be the congregation that offers sacrificial love to its kids so they do come home! 

Tim Stidham

May 14, 2016

Los Alamos Church of Christ



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