Not So Great Expectations

Jesus left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. [All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.Luke 4:22] 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! 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. Then Jesus said to them, "Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house." (Mark 6:1-4) When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way. (Luke 4: 28-30)

Why did Jesus so often receive such wild, enthusiastic acceptance and then suffer such angry, vehement rejection, frequently from the same people? Why did things become so bad for him in his own hometown that he had to flee Nazareth in order to find the freedom he needed to fulfill his calling? The answer can be found in a single Continue Reading →

Out of His Mind

Then he went home; and the crowd came together again, so that Jesus and his disciples could not even eat. When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.” Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.” And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”  — Mark 3: 19b-21, 31-35

What a tumultuous scene! This Gospel takes us to Capernaum, the town Jesus adopted as his home after he was thrown out of Nazareth, the place where he grew up. Home, however, is anything but sweet or calm for Jesus. He and his newly chosen disciples are so engulfed by a swarming crowd, they couldn’t even eat. Pressing in on Continue Reading →

On Self-deception

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-9

Have you ever met someone who is so right that they’re wrong? Someone whose self-centered happiness depends on their fervently-held delusions? A person who’s downright dangerous because they don’t know what they don’t know and what they think they know leads them to believe they’re superior to everyone else? That’s what the the first century church centered on the Gospel Continue Reading →