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February 27: Hometown, Travel, and Overreaction

Today we read another devotional from Taryn Flake. Since I am in the habit of sharing photos from my Holy Land trip here is a picture from atop the cliff in Nazareth.





Scripture: Mark 6:1-29


Hometown, Travel, and Overreaction

            I know Pastor Curtis has mentioned this in Bible study and his sermons, but wow, Mark moves fast! Within this passage, we cover Jesus not being able to preach in his hometown, sending out the twelve disciples, and John the Baptist being beheaded, all within the span of 29 verses. I’m going to attempt to talk briefly about each one.

            Did you know that in the United Methodist Church, you aren’t generally appointed back to the church where you received your calling? This is based on the Biblical example that Jesus couldn’t do miracles or preach in his hometown. So don’t feel bad if people from your hometown don’t think much of you — Jesus wasn’t even accepted in His own hometown. My study Bible says, “For the people of Nazareth, Jesus is just too familiar to take seriously.” I don’t know if you have trouble with this in your own family or hometown, but if it can happen to Jesus, it can happen to you. This is a difficult transition to make, but try not to hold people’s past against them.

            In the second story, I am always amazed at Jesus’ instructions to the disciples to “Take nothing for the journey except a staff — no bread, no bag, no money in your belt. Wear sandals but not an extra shirt.” (Mark 6:9-10) Curtis and I had the privilege of going to Liberia on a mission trip together once, and I returned twice after that. At the time, we were able to include 50 pounds of weight in each of two suitcases, plus a carry on. Those suitcases were stuffed full of clothing and supplies we would need to hand out while over there. Even as an aspiring minimalist, I certainly cannot imagine packing absolutely nothing. However, the point of this passage may give literal packing instructions, but only in order to emphasize the immediate need to spread the Gospel to others.

            In the final story, Mark flashes back to the moment when John the Baptist is beheaded. Mark recalls the events that transpired when Herod ordered John to be beheaded and Herod wonders if he has been reincarnated as Jesus. My Bible points out that Herod is shown as a weak leader who is easily persuaded by his wife on how to act, to the point of using a beheadment as entertainment at a party. Herod was fearful that if Jesus was John’s ghost, He might be out to get Herod, as beheaded ghosts were perceived as the most powerful and angry in that culture. Herod’s reaction to John is similar to the other Herod’s reaction to the Messiah’s birth in Matthew 2. It is an overreaction due to the grudge Herod held against John, openly proclaiming Herod’s sin of marrying his brother’s wife. It created irrational actions.

            So to summarize, try to give people a fair chance even if you know their past, have urgency when sharing the Gospel with others, and keep yourself from overreacting to people who make you angry.

 

Questions:

  1. How do people judge you from your hometown? How do you judge others from your hometown?

  2. How much do you bring along on trips? Do you put as much planning and preparation into packing as you do for sharing what Jesus has done in your life?

  3. In what areas of your life do you tend to overreact? Do these manifest in irrational thoughts, actions, or both?

 

Prayer:

Dear God, Please help me to be mindful of how I judge others, especially those from my hometown. Help me to put as much urgency and planning into my sharing of the Gospel as I do in my planning and preparation of other parts of my life. Finally, please make me aware if I am thinking or acting irrationally and show me the path to go instead. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

 

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