Saturday 19 October 2019

Bible Book:

'Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us?' (vs. 55-56)

Matthew 13:54-58 Saturday 19 October 2019

Psalm: Psalm 78:1-7


This passage opens a window into the mysterious relationship between preacher and congregation. It has been said that in any service the congregation preaches half the sermon. A mediocre sermon can be enlivened by the nods and affirmations of a congregation wanting to hear God speak. Conversely, a poor atmosphere can strike down the most able of preachers. Preaching, it would seem, is a living, dynamic relationship between the speaker and congregation who together explores truth and meaning.

On this occasion the congregation of Nazareth brought an atmosphere that even Jesus found hard to penetrate. They acknowledge his wise words and miraculous powers, but something is wrong. It all ends with awkwardness and unfulfilled expectations, "and he did not do many miracles here because of their lack of faith". The reason why they took offence is not made clear. Maybe it was familiarity, jealousy or complacency. It is telling that they identity his as "the carpenter’s son", and relate him to the wider family of his mother and siblings. It was in his "home town and in his own house", that Jesus was without honour.


To Ponder:

  • Are there situations that you find it hard to be taken seriously because others have known you a long time? What about the opposite?
  • How can your local congregation create an atmosphere that helps draws out the best of its preachers?
  • Try tracing the various reactions of Jesus’s family to him throughout the Gospel/Acts narrative. How do they change?
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