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Sermon Summary | "A Gracious Warning"

This Sunday, C.J. preached from Mark 6:1-6. Below is an outline and summary of his sermon entitled, A Gracious Warning, which can also be listened to here.

Outline:

1. The Hometown Response (vv1-3)
2. Jesus’ Interpretation (vv4-6)
3. Closing Conversations

Summary:

The Hometown Response (6:1-3)
This chapter opens with Jesus’ return to his hometown of Nazareth, a small settlement consisting of only around 500 hundred people. As he taught in the synagogue on the Sabbath, the response of the attendees moves in a negative regression from astonishment, to suspicion, and finally to their rejection of him. Initially, the people are astonished and amazed by Jesus’ wise words and mighty works. Mark explicitly states, “many who heard him were astonished” (6:2; italics added). However, their amazement is quickly clouded by a suspicion of Jesus’ identity. In verse 3 the people question, saying, “Is this not the carpenter, the son of Mary?” The initial astonishment has reverted into doubt. Their conclusion is that there is nothing special about Jesus. He is just the ordinary-kid from Nazareth, who had a shady birth, a mere carpenter by trade, and one who certainly has had no professional rabbinic training. Indeed, can anything good from Nazareth? Their suspicion, however, moves further toward rising opposition and rejection. The words and works of Jesus cause them to take “offense at him” (6:3); they are scandalized by him and ultimately reject him.

Jesus’ Interpretation (6:4-6)
In verses 4-6, Jesus provides an interpretation of their response. He begins by providing the proverb: “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown, and among his relatives, and in his own household” (cf. Lk. 4:24; Jn. 4:44). Those closest in kin to Jesus fail to recognize his true identity as the Son of God. Thus, Mark states, “he could do no mighty work there” (6:5). Jesus did not “exercise his power in the present situation due to the unbelief of the townspeople” (cf. Stein, Mark, 284). His mighty work and miracles were no theatrical acts, but a demonstration of the power of God’s coming Kingdom at work in his ministry. The lack of miracles in Nazareth (though there were some; see 6:5b) shows that the general disposition of the people was unbelief. The inbreaking rule of God through the gospel was not met with receptivity, but with rejection. Therefore, “this story informs us that the gospel must be received with humble faith in order for one to experience its transforming power.” Our attention is drawn to the importance of faith.

Closing Conversations

1. Conversation with Non-Christian Friends
Are you moving toward a position of faith in the crucified King? Where are you at in relation to Jesus of Nazareth? These words by Jesus in this passage are a gracious warning. He will marvel at you for your unbelief. His marveling should be sobering.

2. Conversation with Christian Friends
Mark is reminding us of an impending death, foreshadowing the rejection of the religious leaders and the suffering of the Son of God. Let us then, marvel at Jesus, who was rejected, crucified, and raised on our behalf.

[by Andrew Preston]