This is the reflection I shared on this Sunday's gospel in St. Timothy's weekly e-ministry.
Gospel: Mark 6:1-13
Gospel: Mark 6:1-13
1[Jesus] came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him.2On 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! 3Is 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. 4Then Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.” 5And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. 6And he was amazed at their unbelief.
Then he went about among the villages teaching. 7He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; 9but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. 10He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. 11If 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.” 12So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. 13They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
In sundaysandseasons.com, an online resource of the ELCA, these words are used to describe this reading from Mark’s gospel, “At home and abroad, Jesus and his disciples encounter resistance as they seek to proclaim God’s word and relieve affliction.” I wonder why, don’t you?
After all, they were doing good things that benefited people who were sick, dominated by demons and those that had countless other issues. How could anyone possibly resist such gracious gifts? What was it that put people off?
In the first story, the issue was because the people knew Jesus and his family. Do we sometimes underestimate the abilities and talents of those we have known since they were children, especially if they are from a lower class family?
However, this resistance did not deter Jesus from his mission. Jesus sent the twelve out two by two to do the very work he had been doing. And he acknowledged that they too would experience resistance. Jesus told them how they should deal with that. Then, they too, continued in the work of healing.
Do we allow perceived resistance to prevent us from sharing the life saving, life altering good news of the reign of God? Jesus didn’t. The disciples didn’t. The result is that today we are the church. Let’s remember that the work is God’s, but it is accomplished through us. God’s work. Our hands.