Monday, February 20th. Mark 6:1-6

He left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. 2 On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! 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?” And they took offense at him. 4 Then Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.” 5 And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. 6 And he was amazed at their unbelief.  Mark 6:1-6


Alan is our organist at Faith.  Yesterday afternoon in the hallway the poor guy asked me – knowing that I played basketball several decades ago – what I thought about the “Lin-sanity” going on with Jeremy Lin coming out of nowhere to newfound stardom with the New York Knicks.  I told him I couldn’t care less.


Alan persisted.  “But don’t you think it’s a great story?”  I stuck to my guns.  “I’m done with NBA basketball.  I have no interest in it.”


But now, here I am, beginning a Monday morning devotion by connecting the lukewarm reception that Jesus got in his hometown synagogue to the Houston Rockets releasing Jeremy Lin so he could go become a star in New York.  Go figure.


Perhaps that is a safe move.  It would be much scarier to remember that no one in my hometown, absolutely no one who knew me as a kid, would in their wildest dreams have thought that Kerry Nelson would grow up to become a Lutheran pastor.  Not to mention what it feels like for others in my family to see me every day and have to connect the dots to what I do for a living.


As a kid, I thought that the only thing worse than being a pastor would be being a pastor’s kid. “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.”  It is no doubt presumptive to see myself reflected in this line…but it does signal the truth behind it.


The reaction that Jesus got in the synagogue that day wasn’t about him.  He was just doing his thing – teaching, healing, being with people.  The reaction was all about the crowds.  It was about people who had gone a long time without “faith” holding much surprise in their lives.  About people who had long forgotten that God really cared about normal people, poor people, village people, sick people.


The god they held in their imagination would be mighty, resplendent, decked out in fine clothes, on a chariot of fire – not the power of love flowing through a guy from the neighborhood.  They couldn’t connect the dots.


It is ironic to hold both ends of this sentence together: And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them.  I’m thinking that curing a few sick people is as miraculous as anything else Jesus did but Mark is arguing that there is a connection between the faith of the people and the ability of Jesus to do with power what Jesus was sent to do.


Jeremy Lin, after all, doesn’t play the game by himself.  Which is why I need to tell Alan the next time that I see him that yes, it is a great story about how one person can rally a team, excite a city, and inspire millions.


All I know for sure is that, long after the media moves on to the next distraction from the realities of life, Jesus will still be working good in the world through the lives of those who trust him.


Let us pray:  Dear Jesus, truth be told, we probably wouldn’t have recognized you for who you are had we been there that day.  Our imaginations are too blunted by disappointment and distractions.  So we pray today for the gift of faith and the ability to recognize you in our midst, that we might respond with praise and lives of loving service.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


3 Responses to “Monday, February 20th. Mark 6:1-6”

  1. Terry Beloncik Says:

    Wonderful selection for this morning. We are doing a Bible Study on James, and this devotional supports the reasons why Jesus’ half-brother did not recognize Who he was. We have enjoyed digging into the personality of James, as well as why he wrote what he wrote. And it is good to remember that Jesus had four brothers and perhaps three sisters (since the reference is to “all” of his sisters, and not “both” of his sisters). They didn’t “see” him, in spite of the miracles He did. The Bible is such a living, breathing, enlightening Word. Thank you for your insights. Even when I don’t have a chance to write everyday, I want you to know you are appreciated.

  2. Bill Schwartz Says:

    Pastor Nelson, this is one of your better devotions. I agree that we wouldn’t know Jesus if he stood among us. But, those who do the work of Jesus sure do get our attention at times of stress.

  3. Bert in Bellingham Says:

    Bullseye once again, Pastor Kerry. I was a bit grumpy this morning but your spiritual guidance gave me some perspective and the day looks brighter even in the dreary northwest weather.

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