July 11, 2021: 7th Sunday after Pentecost

Let us pray: Dear Savior, it’s hard for us to always convey love,  compassion and empathy for others.  Our selfishness always seems to get in the way.  So instead we sometimes give off negative emotions towards them and pull them down to our level, or at least try to.  Lord, it’s so ingrained in us that we’re not even aware we do it.  Forgive us such sin and give us Your good cheer.  Amen


TEXT:  Mark 6: 1-6

Dearly Beloved By Christ: 

          When something is toxic it means that it is detrimental to our health.  Toxic substances should be avoided because they mean death to the body.  The same is true for the soul.  Can people be toxic?  Yes.  Most don’t mean to be, but we’ve all met such people.  You meet them and immediately you don’t feel right.  They are critical, condescending sometimes, complain about their problems, and generally try to pull you down to their level.  When stressed they give off gamma rays of intense negativity.  You leave feeling depressed.  So it was  for Christ when He went back to His hometown of Nazareth.


          Those closest to us are usually the worst offenders.  Why do they do it?  Probably because they feel they can get away with it. “Jesus left there and went to his home town, accompanied by his disciples.   When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.  ‘Where did this man get these things?’ they asked.  ‘What’s this wisdom that has been given him,  that he even does miracles!  Isn’t this the carpenter (referring to his previous occupation among them)?  Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joses, Judas and Simon?  Aren’t his sisters here with us?’ And they took offense at him.”

          What a sad story.  It should have been a time to great joy for all!  It should have been: local boy makes good.  But instead it was fraught with jealousy on their part.  They rejected His help, his teachings, his ministry.   They even admitted to His amazing insight in God’s truths, wisdom, but couldn’t fathom or accept Who Jesus was: the Son of God.  Basically they transferred their sinful status to Christ in order to pull Him down by trying to raise themselves up.


          Christ got hit by their gamma rays and responds this way: ”Only in his hometown    , among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.’  He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.  And he was amazed at their lack of faith.”

          Any mere human would have just walked away in disgust.  We call it self-preservation.  But Jesus wasn’t only human, He was also the Son of God.  Now He knew even more clearly just what He was up against in redeeming the world.  We’re told “He was amazed” at it all. It reminds me of when He carried the cross to Golgotha and said: “Daughters of Jerusalem, how I longed to gather you, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” 

          But even here, His compassion showed through.  It might have been depleted, but it wasn’t gone.  For Jesus did heal some folks by touching them.  Jesus’ love for hurting sinners can never be destroyed.

          What does this mean to and for us?  When He says: “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you” He’s thinking about you and me.  When we give off gamma rays of selfishness, He will find a way to deflect them.  That way is called the cross and the empty tomb.  His power to do this has been transferred to each of you through the Spirit’s gift of faith. 

          So the next time you’re feeling toxic, even if you’re not aware of it on a conscious level, pray for compassion and empathy for the person you’re interacting with.  Ask Jesus to block your toxicity towards them and let only goodness and mercy flow forth.   For didn’t Christ also say: “Whatever you do to the least of  these my brothers you  also do unto me”?  Amen


Pastor Thomas H. Fox     

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