Jesus left that place and came to his home town, and his disciples followed him. On 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! Is 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 offence at him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Prophets are not without honour, except in their home town, and among their own kin, and in their own house.’ And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief. (Mark 6:1-6)
Our English bibles have anglicized the names and so we tend to forget that Jesus was a first century Israeli rabbi and spiritual healer. Even his name is anglicized! Jesus was not called Jesus! His name in Hebrew is Yeshua. The mother of Yeshua is not Mary. Her Hebrew name is Miryam. The brothers of Yeshua aren’t James, Joses, Judas and Simon. Their names are: Yaakov, Yosi, Yehudah and Shimon. The passage quoted above shows that it was the custom of Yeshua to teach in the synagogues.
It must be significant that the Gospel of Mark (a first century biography of Yeshua) acknowledges that Jesus was limited by the level of faith in the crowd. He could do no miracles in his home town because of their unbelief. He was only able by the laying on of hands to heal just a few people. But where there is faith in Yeshua then a connection is made and the power is able to flow from heaven to earth through Yeshua:
He came and stood on a level place with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon. They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them. (Luke 6:17-19).
Rev Dr Peter Pimentel
And he could do no power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief. (The Gospel of Mark 6:5-6, my translation).
Haha. That’s funny. Most churches today would be ecstatic with joy if they witnessed a few healings! Evidently there is a difference between run of the mill healings and power healings (miraculous healings?). The Holy Gospel of Mark is a 1st century biography of Jesus in the Greek language. The Greek word used in Mark translated above as “power” is dunamis from which we get “dynamite”! In the language of Jesus, the Hebrew behind dunamis is ha-gevurah.
It must be significant that Jesus was limited by the level of faith in the crowd. I wonder if Jesus is still limited today by the level of faith in many churches! Conversely, The Holy Gospels also inform us that where there is faith in Jesus amongst the people then a connection is made and the dunamis is able to flow through Jesus from heaven to earth.
Revd Dr Peter Pimentel
Click here to read Luke 6, Mark 14 – The Power (part 2)
The Psalm begins promising happiness to the person devoted to God. The characteristics of such a person are described negatively as the avoidance of bad companions. We see the psalmist outline the progressive levels of collusion with the wicked. The first and least offensive is walking or to follow the advice of the wicked, then standing or taking the path that sinners tread, which means conforming to their example. the most corrosive evil would be to sit in the scoffers assembly and participate in their mockery. The wicked scoff at the trust of the good person, who is constantly, joyfully occupied with the study and observance of God’s word. We are called to delight in the word of God and meditate on it.
An individual is formed by what they love. What delights us invades us, it becomes part of us. The psalmist describes a person who continually (day and night) relishes the word of God, feeds on and is nourished by it.
This person is compared to a tree planted beside running streams. the imagery is of both the inward and outward. The good person is inwardly devoted to the word of God, deeply rooted in the spiritual and ethical soil that is the word of God. Outwardly such a person is fruit-bearing like a tree.
Psalm 1 is not a prayer in a usual sense, the psalmist neither praises nor complains to God nor laments or rejoices in his or her situation, the major theme is the adhesion to God’s Word in a person’s life and its importance for the attainment of happiness. This psalm is about the personal commitment to a course traced by God’s word, to live a life according to God’s will. For a life lived in the fellowship of God and in humble obedience to him is the real way of life.
‘The multitude of your sacrifices what are they to me? Says the Lord. I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats’ (1:11).
This verse immediately jumped out at me, it is talking about the gap between worship and life. For the Israelites this was offering sacrifices without living the life that should go with this, this meant the sacrifices were meaningless to God. We are told in verse 17 what they should be doing:
‘Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.’ (1:17)
The lives of those that follow God must act within God’s world to bring about God’s Kingdom here on earth, without this our worship is meaningless. Isaiah tells that we need to learn to do good. Learn, seek, correct, Isaiah is telling us that action is required for worship to be authentic. This was the role of the prophet, through prophetic words and action, to bring the people back to God to His heart for justice. The closer we are to God’s heart the higher the priority for justice in our lives will be. This passage reminds me of one of my favourite quotes:
‘seven whole days, not one in seven’ (George Herbert).
George Herbert was talking about how as Christians we often are Christians only on a Sunday when we go to worship at church. We must live as Christians seven days a week. That means each of us in our spheres of influence at home, in work, with family, with friends we should be learning to do good, fighting injustice and bringing about His kingdom. Not a Sunday Christian, but a follower of Jesus every day.