Who is this carpenter?

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"Who is this carpenter?"

Mark 6: 1–13, Sermon 5, Question Mark?

 

I speak in the name of the living God – Father – Son and Holy Spirit.

 

I often think that whoever chooses the Bible readings for the day really ought to look at them more carefully because so often - they only tell half the story – and we miss so much of their meaning.

 

This morning’s Gospel challenges each of us with very critical questions – which we need to seriously think about:

Who is Jesus? – who do you believe he is?  The answer to this question leads to another – “what” is it - that you believe about him?    Perhaps another way of putting it more bluntly - would be able to say - why? – why is this belief so important to you and of course to me?  And perhaps - rather more crudely - what’s in it for you and me personally?

 

This morning we heard an extract from Mark’s Gospel – in which we are told - in a bold statement - that Jesus, after his initial ministry - went back home to Nazareth -expecting a warm welcome from his boyhood friends – but he was sadly disappointed.  He was invited to preach in the synagogue and we are told that many villagers were amazed at his teaching – because they saw him simply as a carpenter – they muttered amongst themselves – “where he did get this wisdom – he is just one of us” and furthermore “they took offence at him.”   

 

This is a little strange - for if we go back a couple of chapters - we read that Jesus had been touring the countryside preaching the Good News using parables to illustrate his points – he had calmed a storm – healed sick people – he had driven evil spirits out of the pig herdsmen into a herd of pigs – he had gathered his disciples around him – so what better place to return to his home village to relax amongst people who knew and loved him.    But they resented his authority, his reputation, and his little band of dedicated followers.  

 

They didn’t want to face the challenge and the opportunity he offered them – so they spent all their efforts on looking for reasons not to pay attention to him.  

 

Their question: “Who does he think he is?” freed them from the responsibility of hearing what he was saying.    

 

All this despite the fact that they had plenty of evidence, which should have convinced them who he was – but they just didn’t get.   We don’t have first hand experience of Jesus’ ministry as they did – but no matter - God speaks through the Gospels – whether we listen or not, take notice of him or ignore everything he says – we cannot escape the fact that He has spoken.   We have a choice – listen to God’s word - or to reject it.   There can be no half measures – whichever we choose – God leaves us with the consequences of that decision.  He will not chase after us – he didn’t stand and argue with those who could not accept who he was – his actions spoke for themselves – so he left them amazed at their lack of faith –and he doesn’t argue with us.   He speaks directly to us through the Gospels

 

Let me share with you – what Jesus was offering and is offering to you and to me – here - now -today! 

 

But we have to be certain who Jesus is - before the offer can have any credibility.

 

The Gospels again and again proclaim that Jesus in the Son of God – and as a consequence - our faith or belief is based on God, as personified in Jesus Christ – and the acknowledgement:

 

Of God’s love and acceptance of us – and their opportunity for forgiveness and the chance to live life anew

That God is present in our lives

That God is our comforter

That God provides a sense of hope for the future – and that our lives have a purpose – and that each of us are part of his overarching plan for the world and mankind

 

We need to consider the implications of our belief that Jesus is indeed the personification of God and speaks to us through the Gospels.   He sent his disciples who had glimpsed his glory - out into the world to proclaim the Good News.   He sends us too!

 

We live in a world where words are cheap – advertisers promise us happiness and contentment – if we have this or do that.  In all the humdrum and confusion of the modern world God’s Word and promises remain, pearls of great worth, a treasure to behold, a thing of permanence and stability in a world of shifting sands and fierce currents. 

It is up to us – you and me who believe in Him - to share that Word.   Some will think us mad, others may shun our company – but we must share it.   Jesus set us an example – we are to follow him – he offered the Good News to the people of his home town – but they could not see beyond their prejudice.   “Who is this carpenter” they asked?   Their prejudices prevented them from seeing who He was and the real value of the free gifts - of forgiveness and eternal life - that was being offered.

 

So let us go out into the world and share the Good News of Jesus Christ – the Son of God, with family, with friends – with strangers.  They will make up their own minds – all we are called to do is share what the Good News of who Jesus is - and how our belief in him has changed our lives.

 

 

Peter Hewlett-Smith, Sunday 5th July 2015, Mattingley Church