7/8/2012 Proclaim the Good News


Ordinary Time (Proper 9)
2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10, Psalm 48, 2 Corinthians 12:2-10, Mark 6:1-13

He 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. 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.” And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief. Then he went about among the villages teaching. He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them. –Mark 6:1-13 NRSV

There’s something about this story of Jesus returning to his hometown that reminds me of Rodney Dangerfield: “I tell ya…I get no respect….” You’d expect Nazareth, of all places, to give Jesus a welcoming embrace as he comes home at the beginning of his public ministry. But…no.

Maybe because we’ve had two thousand years of identifying Jesus as a carpenter and the “son of Mary” we might miss the unspoken slam against him. Nowhere do we hear about Joseph, so it’s quite possible everybody in town knew of the apparently scandalous circumstances of his birth. Obviously, to them at least, this hometown boy couldn’t possibly be a prophet, a holy man.

But Mark doesn’t dwell on this rejection as much as other gospel writers. Instead, in true Markan style we get Jesus’ pattern for evangelization. He sends the Twelve out two by two and goes to nearby villages himself to teach and heal. Interestingly, the chief reason why he couldn’t accomplish much of either in Nazareth was because of their lack of faith.

In Nazareth Jesus was looked down on. Marginalized is a word we’d choose today. That should alert us to be mindful of the marginalized people in our own society–perhaps there’s a prophet among them. Or maybe we need to look at the margins first to find the Holy Spirit at work. Their mere presence among us may well be a “word of God” to those of us satisfied and smug, with all of our “stuff” as some kind of protective barrier to keep “the other” out.

What is the good news they are proclaiming and we’re unwilling or unable to hear because of preconceived ideas?

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About Rich Brown

Rich Brown is a writer and editor, husband and father, minister and semi-voracious reader, gardener and novice fly fisherman, American and Canadian citizen, living in the southeastern corner of the Kansas City suburbs.
This entry was posted in evangelism, prophecy, witness and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 7/8/2012 Proclaim the Good News

  1. Dear Rich,
    I really appreciated your reflections. I especially like their brevity — unlike my own which tend to go on and on. Your point about prophets in unlikely places is very well taken — and very much in tune with our liturgical readings in the past few (and upcoming) weeks. I sometimes think of Julian Assange and Bradley Manning in such terms. Keep up the good work. — Mike R-S

  2. Rich Brown says:

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, Mike. I agree with your own liturgical posting this week, as well, that most of the “so-called” Christians (okay, the religious right) in our midst here in North America would have a really tough time accepting Jesus of Nazareth. They much prefer the Jesus of their imagination.

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