Tyler David speaks on Mark 6:1-6
Series: The Gospel of Mark
The past few weeks we’ve been seeing that Jesus is a man of power. He’s made storms cease, demons bow down, diseases flee and has raised people from the dead. When you see Him using his power to set people free, to heal and restore them, its easy to love him. We should love these aspects of Jesus.
Our passage today shows us a different aspect of Jesus. He is going to come to his hometown with a lot less power and acclaim. It’s going to become very clear to those in his hometown, that He is not the king that they want. Jesus isn’t the Messiah that they wanted. Even though He is the king that they need, He’s not the one that they want.
We can relate. We’ve all had those people in our lives that we’ve desperately needed, but didn’t really want. Those coaches, teachers, leaders, parents. They pushed and challenged you, they wouldn’t let up, they were continually on your case. You look back now and see that you desperately needed them in your life.
They had greater things in mind for you than you had for yourself.
That was my dad for me. My dad was a great dad. He would hold me accountable. He’d discipline me, then tell me how much he loved me and I couldn’t stand it. I thought he was being nick picky or overbearing. As I look back, I see my dad was exactly what I needed. However, in the moment, I did not want him. I wanted any other dad but him. Yet, he was the dad I needed.
That’s who Jesus was to his hometown and who He is to us. He challenges us. He calls us to repentance. He says that the things we think our valuable actually aren’t and its hard to hear. Its difficult to hear when Jesus challenges you. Even more so when everything in you and everyone around you says that He must be wrong. They say He’s holding out on you, He doesn’t want joy for you, He’s overbearing.
What we see today in the text is that when Jesus challenges you, when he offends you, He’s doing it with greater things in mind. Much like the coach, the teacher or the parent. My dad had greater things in mind for me than I did.
Jesus is always the king that we need, but not always the king that we want.
When he challenges you and offends you, he’s doing so with greater things in mind for you.
He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. 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? 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 And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” 5 And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And he marveled because of their unbelief. Mark 6:1-6 (ESV)
Prior to verse one, Jesus raised a little girl from the dead. He’s now coming back to his hometown as a very different man than when he left. When he left, he was just a normal guy from a small town. Now He comes back and has a wisdom and power that they had never seen before. He has twelve guys following him around. He’s a very different man.
In verse two he starts teaching them.
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? Mark 6:2 (ESV)
Jesus stands up in their synagogue and begins to preach to them. It blows them away and they can’t get their minds around who he is. Where did he get such wisdom and power? They have no idea what to do with him.
Their questions quickly reveal their unbelief.
They reveal their lack of faith and they even belittle Jesus. Immediately, they go to his occupation and say he can’t be the Messiah, because he’s a carpenter. They argue that his hands are as rough as theirs from manual labor. They bring up the controversy of his birth.
They call him son of Mary on purpose. In that culture you didn’t call somebody a son of their mother, because it was a patriarchal society. You always referenced the father. So what they’re saying is that they didn’t even know who his dad was. Now they’re suppose to believe that an illegitimate child is the Messiah?
I think all of us can relate. When you go back home, the people you’ve known your whole life tend to treat you the same way they’ve always treated you. This is what Jesus is experiencing. His hometown can’t see him as the Messiah.
But something deeper is also going on.
Notice in the text they don’t question whether he has wisdom or power. They can see the wisdom and power. Its self evident. They’re not questioning those things. What their questioning is his identity.
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. Mark 6:3 (ESV)
They cannot receive him because he’s offensive to them. Not his wisdom or power, but Jesus himself was offensive to them.
He’s offensive because they had a different king in mind. First century Jews wanted the Messiah to come in power, with prestige and destroy the conquering Roman Gentiles and exalt the nation of Israel. That’s the king they want.
But that’s not the king they get. It’s the king they need though. Jesus isn’t regal or royal. Rather, he is holy and humble. He doesn’t destroy the Gentiles, he shows mercy to them. He doesn’t exalt the nation of Israel, but he calls all of them to repentance. He challenged everything they thought they knew about God and life. He tells them they’ve missed it and they’re wrong. He says that he’s the king that they need. This offends them, so they reject him.
The truth about Jesus is He eventually offends all of us. As you read the gospels, even the entire Bible, when God gets around people, eventually they are offended by Him. Its not everything about God. There are things in the scriptures that we love. But there are things that we hate too. We argue that it can’t be true, because we don’t like it.
We’re all going to be offended by Jesus. He’s going to challenge everything that we hold dear.
He goes against what our culture tells us, that we should be true to ourselves. Just be who you are and everyone has to accept you no matter what, even God.
Jesus was saying that’s not true. You can’t know who you are apart from Him.
Our initial reaction is to push back. But by God’s grace, we are able to see receive difficult truths that are necessary for us to hear. As long as we hang around Jesus, He is going to continue to challenge us. He’s going to be a little bit offensive to us.
Some of you will love that Jesus says we should be good stewards, that he says to be wise with what he’s given us, be responsible and use it all resourcefully. But you’re going to have a difficult time and a little bit offended when Jesus says that if you love money more than Him and you’re not generous, then you’re not His and He never knew you.
Some of us will love when Jesus says to love the poor, sacrifice and give to them because God gave to us. But you’re going to be frustrated when you hear Jesus say, but your sexual desires can only be met within marriage between a man and a woman.
Some of us are going to love when Jesus says He has mercy on us. But we’re not going to like it when He says we have to have mercy for those who have wronged us.
If you’re never offended and you’re never challenged by Jesus, you need to ask yourself if its Jesus that you’re following.
If you’re never offended or challenged, then it’s a pretty good chance that you’re not following the Jesus who is in heaven right now, reigning over this place. It’s a pretty good chance you’re following some Jesus that you made up. If you’re not challenged or offended, it’s a pretty good chance that your Jesus looks a lot more like you.
Jesus is offensive and difficult to stomach sometimes, but its because He has greater things in mind for us. Jesus is offensive, because of our sin and our rebellion. When we rebelled against God and said that we don’t want what He wants and that we’re going to go on our own, we were ruined. Even our own desires are deceitful and leads us toward destruction.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it (Jeremiah 17:9)?
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death (Proverbs 16:25).
God tells us that we are so fallen and so ruined by our rebellion that even our own desires deceive us. Our own inclinations deceive us and lead us toward destruction. Its offensive to us when we are sure that we know what’s right and true, but then Jesus says no. Its offensive, because we’re deceived by our own sin. This is why God sent Jesus. We needed a king to lead us out, to take us back to God. We don’t need someone to tell us we’re always right. What happens is that we mistake his leadership as an attack on us. His word challenges us and we think he’s trying to hold us back. We have great plans for joy, then Jesus says no and we respond thinking he’s holding things back from us. Remember the Garden of Eden? Adam and Eve thought that God was holding back on them. Satan tempted them by thinking if they ate the fruit, they would be like God. But they were already like God. He deceived them. They thought they needed their own wisdom. When they got it, they were destroyed. Sin never looks evil at the front end. Its on the back end, when you’re being destroyed by it, that it looks evil. Jesus comes and challenges those things and all we can see it as is Jesus holding back from us, or attacking us, or offending us. When really he’s only doing it because he has greater things in mind for you.
You can see this perfectly in a story in John 6. Jesus is literally teaching thousands of people, first century Jews. He’s teaching them and fed them with bread. They want a new sign from him, a new miraculous work from him. So they ask him for manna from heaven, saying if he does this, then they’ll believe in him. They wanted the manna that God gave their fathers. Jesus says no. I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh” (John 6:48-51). Jesus says that he’s not going to give them what they want, because what they’re desiring is far too little. What they want is not what they need, its not what’s best for them. He had something greater in mind for them. He was the life and what they needed. He tells them that their solution was inadequate. They were made for more. They were made for God, to know Him and abide in Him. But the crowd didn’t accept it. They wouldn’t believe him. They think he must not be the Messiah.
When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it” (John 6:60). They hear what Jesus has to say and their thought was that it was too difficult. He can’t be God. Why would God ever want to deny us what we want? He can’t be the Messiah, he offended what they thought they needed. Later on in the text, thousands of people left Jesus that day. They left him because he was too offensive and challenging to them.
Are you starting to see why he must be offensive? Jesus must be offensive because he’s showing us that all these things we think we need are not where life is. He had greater joy, security and power and love in mind for us than we have for ourselves. We’re offended by Jesus because he calls our little idols what they are; empty lies that can’t produce. He says that our thinking and the way we feel that is against his word is wrong and empty. We’re offended because all the things we value all of a sudden becomes for what they are...not very valuable. God loves me, but only in as much as I submit my personality to his gospel, to his word. When you and I are offended about what’s true with money, power, sex, relationships, etc., you have to know that he’s offending you not to give you less, but to give you more.
In Jesus’ hometown people missed out on the mighty works of God. Because they couldn’t believe him when he spoke hard things, they missed out on greater things. In verses seven through thirteen, the disciples go out on the first missionary journey and Jesus tells them not to take anything extra. A difficult command, but they trust him and they’re used in powerful ways. Jesus challenges has greater things in mind, not lesser things.
C.S. Lewis says:
“Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
As Jesus leads this church, he is going to offend us. He’s going to call us out of our slums that we’re living in. These slums, lifestyles, behaviors, thoughts that we have that have deceived us into thinking they’re palaces. When you get challenged by someone in your missional community with the word of God, or a pastor or leader in this church, its going to feel oppressive at first. You’re going to want to say they’re being judgmental of you. You’re going to wonder why they don’t care about what you want. You have to know that the reason it feels oppressive and offensive is not because you and I are right, but because we cannot imagine what he means about the offer of a holiday at the sea. We can’t imagine what he means by a better life.
Jesus is always the king that we need. He’s rarely the king we want. This is why we have to be a church who consistently comes together and opens the word and says, “Here’s what’s true”. We have to be a church who goes to our neighbor and coworkers, opens up the scriptures and says, “Here is what our king is like. Here’s why he is so good”. We share stories of how we’ve struggled, how we’ve pushed back and thought there was no way he had our good in mind when he challenged us, but over time he’s proven himself faithful and satisfying. We have to tell one another again and again that when he challenges us, he’s doing it to lead us out of darkness and back to him. He came to lead us and it cost him his life. Here’s what the cross proves forever; it proves that even when you and I are not after our own good, Jesus is. He comes after us, he’ll even die for us so that we can see it. If you ever doubt that he could have your good in mind, look at the cross. There it becomes very clear that he is for our good, even when we’re not.
Jesus is the king that we need. God willing, he’ll become more and more the king that we want.