Who Needs Jesus?

Jesus left that place and went to his hometown. His disciples followed him. When the day of rest—a holy day came, he began to teach in the synagogue. He amazed many who heard him. They asked, “Where did this man get these ideas? Who gave him this kind of wisdom and the ability to do such great miracles? Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” So they took offense at him. – Mark 6:1-3

Looking Back Toward the Sun | Austin, Texas | October 2020

I was invited back home a few years ago. It was a celebration of the anniversary of the Lutheran Chapel of Hope at Southeast Missouri State University. I am happy to say that my return home did not trigger the kind of response Jesus received when he returned home. 

But going back home was quite different for Jesus than it was for me. I can easily be ignored. People don’t have to comment on my lack of credentials. But Jesus is the Son of God. He is not just a carpenter, and the son of Mary, and brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. He’s not just his sisters’ big brother. 

And the harder the people of Jesus’ hometown object, the more it becomes clear that they “doth protest too much.” You don’t need to discredit someone who has no impact. You don’t need to undercut someone that everyone is ignoring. 

Obviously, however, everyone is not ignoring Jesus. He is healing diseases. He is teaching, confronting, forgiving, and proclaiming the presence of the reign and rule of God. He is having an impact. People are noticing him. He is a force to be reckoned with. He is the kind of person – if you don’t agree with him, or doubt his truthfulness – that must be silenced, discredited, or stopped. 

The reputation of the Church, and the witness of Christians’ lifestyle are only part of the reason that people reject Jesus. The real issue is often an unwillingness to acknowledge Jesus as the embodiment of God’s reign and rule. His person and his teaching mean something. If he is the Son of God, he must be honored, acknowledged, and obeyed. If he is God’s Son, he will mess with your life. 

If you are content with your life as it is, Jesus isn’t for you. If you’re your own boss, Jesus isn’t for you. If you don’t need a Savior, Jesus isn’t for you. If you need no prayer power, Jesus isn’t for you. If you have life all figured out, Jesus isn’t for you. 

But if you don’t have all the answers, recognize your need for a Savior, yearn for power to attend your prayers, yearn for a better tomorrow, Jesus has a word for you. And he will disrupt and bless your life. 

But Jesus told them, “The only place a prophet isn’t honored is in his hometown, among his relatives, and in his own house.” He couldn’t work any miracles there except to lay his hands on a few sick people and cure them. Their unbelief amazed him.

Then Jesus went around to the villages and taught.

He called the twelve apostles, sent them out two by two, and gave them authority over evil spirits. He instructed them to take nothing along on the trip except a walking stick. They were not to take any food, a traveling bag, or money in their pockets. They could wear sandals but could not take along a change of clothes.

10 He told them, “Whenever you go into a home, stay there until you’re ready to leave that place. 11 Wherever people don’t welcome you or listen to you, leave and shake the dust from your feet as a warning to them.”

12 So the apostles went and told people that they should turn to God and change the way they think and act. 13 They also forced many demons out of people and poured oil on many who were sick to cure them. – Mark 6:4-13

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