Sunday, 5 July 2015

All talk, no action

Sunday Gospel - Mark 6:1-6
Jesus went to his home town and his disciples accompanied him. With the coming of the sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue and most of them were astonished when they heard him. They said, ‘Where did the man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been granted him, and these miracles that are worked through him? This is the carpenter, surely, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joset and Jude and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here with us?’ And they would not accept him. And Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is only despised in his own country, among his own relations and in his own house’; and he could work no miracle there, though he cured a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.

In Mark's gospel this is Jesus' first return home. We don't have the first experience of Jesus opening the words of Isiaiah's prophecy and the wondering that followed. Jesus had left Nazareth as a son of a carpenter with a trade to 'trade'. But tales travel by many roads and the news of Jesus' healings, teachings and exorcisms must have created a community filled with anticipation to see their local hero. So then, what was the problem?

Perhaps, there in the synagogue, this time hearing the words of Isaiah brought to life there is a sense of discomfort. The scriptures, repeated over and over, discussed and argued over and over, have rarely, until now, been put into action. The rumours are proved true. The Good News is here. The son of a carpenter has set God's plan in motion. 

And now, discomforted and challenged, what is the community to do? Sell what they own and follow him? Feed the hungry and clothe the naked? Step out of their comfort zone and into the kingdom building that calls for repentance - for a change of heart? And how hard is that going to be?

Easier to play Jesus as a fool and turn their heads.

Their faith fails, not in Jesus, but in themselves.