This study, taught by pastor Barry Forder, was recorded at our Sunday morning family service on 17th June 2018.
As we move into Mark chapter 6 we see Jesus return to his boyhood home – Nazareth.
From what we glean from Psalm 69 Jesus’ childhood was far from easy! The townsfolk of Nazareth had made Jesus the object of their scorn; he had become the ‘song of the drunkards’. Maybe it was because Jesus was different? Maybe because he wouldn’t go along with the typical childhood schemes and plotting that may seem harmless enough to you and I, but would not and could not be found in the Son of God. Maybe it was because of the rumors that no-doubt still abounded about Jesus being born out of wed-lock? Whatever the reasons, Nazareth had been a cruel place to grow up.
But it had not got better as Jesus reached adulthood. Luke records for us that as the start of Jesus’ ministry, as He returned from the temptation in the wilderness, He entered into the synagogue in Nazareth one Sabbath day and stood up to read. In all probability, He would have been passed the scroll with the reading for that Sabbath day; but it ‘just so happened’ that on that particular day the reading was from the scroll of Isaiah, so Jesus read: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears”. Luke 4:18-21.
This was too much for them to take! This boy who had grown up in their town, working in his ‘dad’s’ carpenters shop, was daring to claim that He had been sent by God to deliver and heal – in a word, He was claiming to be their Messiah!
They did not stand for it and Luke records who they took Jesus up to the top of the steep hill overlooking the Jezreel Valley and tried to push Him off! Jesus simply walked through the midst of the crowd, as if untouchable – and headed up to Capernaum.
Well, now He was back, and once again taught in the Synagogue on the Sabbath, and once again the townsfolk of Nazareth were nonplussed! Sadly too many souls throughout the ages have missed their opportunity to embrace Jesus because of their preconceived ideas of how their ‘saviour’ will look or when he will appear. But Jesus comes to us on His terms, we have the choice to accept Him and fall at His feet, or to harden our hearts and what Him go.
“Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts” Heb 4:7
The stir that Jesus caused prompted some to think the prophecy in Malachi about Elijah returning had been fulfilled, others, that Moses had returned. Herod – probably from a deep sense of guilt after putting John the Baptist to death – feared that John had come back to life to haunt him!
As Mark continues to write his gospel, it’s easy to imagine him turning to Peter and saying “What happened then”.
Peter recounts (and Mark records) that Jesus then sent the disciples out with the power to cast out unlcean spirits and heal the sick! The disciples were probably as surprised as those they delivered! But they acted in faith and when they came back they must have seemed like giddy school children relaying to Jesus their experiences! Jesus seemingly showed grace and patience and let each one explain what they had done, much like a patient father listening to his children tell him everything about their day!
Then, an easily overlooked moment: Jesus, recognising that the disciples were by now only functioning on adrenaline, calls them to come away from the crowd and rest.
That is one of the greatest lessons we need to learn here. Jesus had much to do, but the urgent never got in the way of the important in His life. Jesus knew how to prioritise and now teaches the disciples a valuable lesson that today we need to listen to and learn well!
We must learn to ‘come apart for a while’ and rest in Christ, for if we don’t, we will never have the time or resources to accomplish all life throws at us.
In his book, THE TYRANNY OF THE URGENT, Charles E. Hummel states: “Have you ever wished for a thirty hour day? Surely this extra time would relieve the tremendous pressure under which we live. Our lives leave a trail of unfinished tasks. Unanswered letters, unvisited friends, unwritten articles, and unread books haunt quiet moments when we stop to evaluate. We desperately need relief. But would a thirty-hour day really solve the problem? Wouldn’t we soon be just as frustrated as we are now with our twenty-four allotment? A mother’s work is never finished, and neither is that of any student, teacher, minister, or anyone else we know. Nor will the passage of time help us catch up. Children grow in number and age to require more of our time. Greater experience in profession and church brings more exacting assignments. So we find ourselves working more and enjoying it less. When we stop to evaluate, we realize that our dilemma goes deeper than shortage of time; it is basically the problem of priorities. Hard work does not hurt us. We all know what it is to go full speed for long hours, totally involved in an important task. The resulting weariness is matched by a sense of achievement and joy. Not hard work, but doubt and misgiving produce anxiety as we review a month or year and become oppressed by the pile of unfinished tasks. We sense uneasily that we may have failed to do the important. The winds of other people’s demands have driven us onto a reef of frustration. We confess, quite apart from our sins, “We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; and we have done those things which we ought not to have done.” Several years ago an experienced cotton mill manager said to me, “Your greatest danger is letting the urgent things crowd out the important.” He didn’t realize how hard his maxim hit. It often returns to haunt and rebuke me by raising the critical problem of priorities. We live in constant tension between the urgent and the important. The problem is that the important task seldom must be done today or even this week. Extra hours of prayer and Bible study, a visit with that non Christian friend, careful study of an important book: these projects can wait. But the urgent tasks call for instant action endless demands pressure every hour and day. A man’s home is no longer his castle; it is no longer a place away from urgent tasks because the telephone breaches walls with imperious demands. The appeal of these demands seems irresistible and they devour our energy. But in the light of eternity their momentary prominence fades; with a sense of loss we recall the important task pushed aside. We realize we’ve become slaves to the tyranny of the urgent. Is there any escape from this pattern of living? The answer lies in the life of our Lord”.
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May you be blessed and encouraged by this study
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