SERMON OF THE WEEK
September 9, 2012
Next Sunday, September 9,�is the 4th Sunday after Assumption. Gospel reading is from St. Mark 6:1-6.
Key Passage: Where did this man get these things?” they asked. What's this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn't this the carpenter from Nazareth? Isn't this Mary's son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren't his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him." (St. Mark 6:1-6)
Message: In Mark 6:1-6, we read Jesus returned to Nazareth, his hometown where he had been brought up. There he began to teach in the synagogue. Many of them heard him were astonished. Some who heard him started�to make�strong�comments. In the process of criticizing him, they did actually dishonor him. They asked:"Where�did this man get these things? What's the wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn't this the carpenter from Nazareth? Isn't this Mary's son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon?"
They dishonored Jesus by failing to accept his divinity. They knew�him as a neighbor. They knew his family very well. Although Jesus was a brilliant teacher, and an important religious figure, yet, they denied his stature and wisdom.
Jesus, on the other hand,has been�trying to help people to get in touch with their spiritual nature. But the people failed to accept his Lordship because of the familiarity they had with him.�There was a paradox falling in place of Jesus' life. The paradox was when Jesus was weak in the eyes of his own people, he was strong in�the eyes of God.
We see a similar parallel in the life of prophet Ezekiel. Ezekiel was called by God to become a prophet. But the people had rebelled against him and wouldn't listen to him.�But when God� called Ezekiel, he was to stand up on his feet before God and the spirit of God entered in him to�make him stand firm on his feet. Ezekiel in his human weakness was given power by God to be a prophet to�a rebellious people. Ezekiel was given power in his human weakness to speak the word of God to a stubborn�and sinning people, who had turned away from God.
Ezekiel wrote: "For my power is made perfect in weakens by my God. He gave me strength to speak to a nation about the love of God."
God was with him in his weakness to bring the word of God even though the people did not want to listen to him. Ezekiel lived in paradox. He was weak but God made him strong.�
Jesus was a paradox to the people in his times. His humble birth in�a stable, his life style, his association with sinners, and death by crucifixion was a paradox as to how God's power manifested in him.
The Gospel tells that the power of God came to him and expressed in any human weakness in him.
Jesus didn't meet the image people had about the 'Messiah.' They expected a mighty king like David who would lead a mighty army and make Israel strong and powerful that could defeat the Romans.�
Instead, they got a baby born in A stable, a carpenter's son who lived with outcasts, frequently ate with sinners, and made enemies of the priests and rulers. He was accompanied by twelve uneducated�fishermen and said he was�the Son of God. Jesus did not fit the expectations of the people. He�didn't share their values. He became a servant to men. Jesus lived the ultimate paradox.
We all live in similar paradox. God's grace will help us in our life of paradox. We have sinned and we grieve. We face difficulties�in life, but God's grace will be sufficient to turn our life around. When we do something good in life, sometimes�that turns into a disaster. Our marriage may get into trouble,�or we may�insult a friend, or we can't stand our job, or our health may go sour, but God could�pick us up and lift us , love us and offer comfort and even some of our mess may get all over him. We will realize then that God's grace shines upon us and God's power helps us to override our weakness.
Prepared by Rev. Dr. V Kurian Thomas, Valiyaparambil