“Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.” Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.”
Mark 6:1-6 NKJV
Who are you?
One thing that has been of great sadness to me is the unwillingness of those closest to the follower of Jesus, having a proximal blindness. These are those who have known the Christian before conversion and knew of the things he or she had done while a sinner just like them.
So many of us are praying with great fervency for family members, who despite the heartfelt effort, will not come to the Lord. We are stymied by false charges of hypocrisy, for those in the flesh have no sense of what God’s forgiveness looks like.
We fail, we are rejected. It is easy to think that there is something wrong with ones witness, or that there is something wrong with the presentation. The reality is, those who know us best tend to revere us the least. Even the Lord Jesus, God in human flesh, experienced the rejection of the folks back home.
Reading Mark chapter six this morning, I felt a bit of sadness, thinking back on all the times I tried to reach my father. I witnessed to him, was circumspect in my walk of faith before him, and even placed his name in the church prayer list for years. I don’t know if any of it got through, and I won’t know until eternity if my dad ever came to the Lord.
We Christians are walking miracles, once condemned sinners, putrefied of soul, who have been raised from the dead spiritually and made new. We bring a living witness of the transforming power of God. For those who knew us before, we are all too much too comprehend, for the earth bound mind cannot fathom what the Holy Spirit can do.
I have have had encounters with people from my past, who, expecting the old Bernie, have been greatly bemused as the realize how much I have changed.
“Who are you?” It is not a question of my identity, but more a question of who am I to be this one standing before them, telling them about Jesus. I have had those awkward moments when the one I am witnessing to, brings up some sin from my past, hoping to shake me away from telling a truth they cannot bear.
Who are you?
“Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”
II Corinthians 5:16-19 NKJV
Brothers and sisters, we are no longer the ones that were previously regarded by the flesh, for the reputation that we had previously is no more. We have been made new, recreated, relabeled. Even Jesus, who we knew only from afar, is now our Savior, our Brother, our Lord.
Regardless of the reception we may receive, we are to walk holy for the Lord has dedicated us to the ministry of reconciliation, bridging the gap between sinful, doomed humanity, and justly vengeful God. We come with the commission given us by Jesus, the only Mediator between God and man. He has given us His Spirit and His word to guide us, to equip us for this undertaking.
Let us go before those who knew us in the flesh, walking in the Spirit, displaying the new us, manifesting the fruit of righteousness that cannot be found in the flesh.
Let us also avoid the appearance of perfection, coming, instead, with a spirit of brokenness, being reminded constantly that we too walked in the way of the flesh, displaying all those things that indicative of the sinners we used to be.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Galatians 5:19-21 NKJV
We have been placed in ministry to show the way to Jesus. I tell you the truth, it can be hard to reach family, but is possible. My mother constantly placed faith before me for twenty seven years, even to the degree that it became annoying, but the Lord used it, and my heart was eventually softened and I too said yes to Jesus.
Let us be like Jesus, who though He was not able to do mighty things in His home town, He still did the work. Let us pray for those back home, those in our families, and those we once knew. Let us also remember that it is the Lord who brings the harvest.
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Thankful it is the Lord who brings the increase. He is so generous.