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In Mark 6, Jesus visits his hometown. He goes to the synagogue and teaches, and everyone is flabbergasted. They can’t believe that he has all this wisdom, and they’ve heard that he even heals. Who does he think he is? He’s just supposed to be one of them!
I can just hear them saying, “Elitist freak! Why doesn’t he get a real job, like his brothers?”
Sigh. Sometimes, we just can’t stand anyone being a little smarter, or a little richer, or maybe just a little different. I’m guilty, too. I do tend to resent people with more money. Why should they have more? And why do they spend it the way they do?
Jesus tried to heal people in his hometown, but he wasn’t able to help many, because of their attitudes. Likewise, if I have a resentful attitude toward some people, I can’t be healed. I can’t be made whole and healthy, because I’m holding on to that resentment. I can’t have whole and healthy relationships with those people, either.
But if I’m willing to listen, both to Jesus and to those whom I might resent, maybe there’s a chance for me.
“Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” (Mark 5:19b, NIV)
Jesus has just finished a healing. He’s driven an unclean spirit from a man, and into a lake with herd of swine. Everyone has begged Jesus to leave the neighborhood, as his powers are too frightening (and perhaps a bit disruptive to the economy). The man who was healed, however, wants to go with Jesus.
Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do? Leave everything and follow Jesus? But in this case, Jesus says no. He has a different task in mind. He sends the man home, with orders to tell about what happened.
I want to know more about Jesus, too. Often, I’d be happy to spend my time reading and studying and getting to know Him, instead of being out in the world. I’d like to just stick close to Him.
He’s got other work for me, though. He’s got children for me to teach — mine and others. He’s got people to be fed. He’s got people out there who need a connection, a relationship with another person. And through all of those things, I can tell people about Jesus, about what He has done for me, and what He can do for the world.