Scripture: Mark 6:1-13
Jesus returned to his hometown after he started his ministry. He had been healing the sick, casting out demons, preaching repentance, teaching in parables, and proclaiming the kingdom of God was at hand. But when he returned home the people there were offended by him, nevertheless he sent out the twelve disciples to live by faith and to trust God to provide for them even if they were rejected, as he had been, in the towns they came to. By recording these events, Mark, guided by the Holy Spirit, shows his readers that the life of faith requires trust in God to provide all things: what is needed on the road, success, and strength in the face of rejection.
There is a teaching among some Christians that if we have enough faith everything will always go well, we will never lack, struggle, or experience hard times. How does that square with Jesus’ and his Apostles’ experience? This passage teaches us that in this life there will be successes and failures, joys and disappointments. It teaches that some will receive the good news of God’s kingdom as we’ve learned it in Jesus’ death and resurrection, and others will reject it.
How do you handle setbacks? How do you feel when you see people that you care about struggling spiritually or turning away from Jesus’ and his gift of forgiveness? It can be very painful. There may indeed be times that we must live with a separation between us and people we love. Yet we also find that God is faithful and he provides for us on the journey of life. And, much to our joy, we find that there are some that hear of the hope we have in Jesus and believe it. They receive the true miracle; not necessarily healing from sickness, but forgiveness of sins and everlasting life.
This prayer is written with the themes of Instruction and Thanksgiving.
Lord Jesus, we learn in your word that you and your disciples faced the pain and disappointment of rejection in your ministry. Help us to know that this will be part of our life as we follow you, too, but also let us keep firmly in mind that some will hear, believe, and be healed of their sin. Make us ever mindful that you provide all things for our bodies and this life so that we will not be over-burdened by the things of this world and slowed down as we seek to serve you. Help us to learn that it is okay to be rejected for Jesus’ sake. Help us know how and when to faithfully show your love and judgement to those you send us to as your witnesses.
Thank you for all you have given us, most especially the faith to receive your forgiveness and also the call to follow you as your modern day disciples. Thank you that there will be some who accept your word of grace as they hear it from us. But thank you also that we will share in the sorrows that Jesus experienced – even rejection – so that we can be more and more like him. Thank you for letting us lose our honor for Jesus’ sake in this life, but gain your glory in the life to come. We give you thanks and praise for bringing the kingdom of God to us, making us part of it, and allowing us to play a part in extending your kingdom in this world. Amen.