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The Ultimate Gift

... and on the Sabbath He began to teach in the Synagogue; and many who heard Him were astonished
Ezekiel 2:2-5; Psalm 123:1-4; II Corinthians 12:7-10; Mark 6:1-6

Sermon Week Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle B

Scripture Summary Mark 6:2

In today's Gospel Lesson, Jesus returns to Nazareth, His childhood home, for the first time since His public ministry began. His reputation has preceded Him. His fellow villagers have heard accounts of His revolutionary teachings and His astonishing miracles. Now, here He is, in the flesh, back home again, teaching in the local Synagogue. And the villagers "were astonished" when they hear Him. "Where did this man get all this?" they ask. "What are these miracles that are being worked through Him? What is this wisdom that has been granted Him?"

One of the astonishing things about God is the way He continues to reveal Himself to us. The God who is the Source of our life and the only Source of our wholeness of life does not hold Himself aloof. In astonishing ways, He comes to us, again and again, to ignite our souls with the power of His infinite love as we strive in the Apostle Paul's words, "to walk in newness of life ... as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God" (Rom. 6:4, 1 Cor. 4:1).

During the pandemic, a spiritually troubled man turned to his pastor for counsel and advice. After listening to the man at great length, the pastor asked him to describe what he felt was the most profound need in his life. The man replied,

During the past few weeks, we've been talking about what to do with the struggles in my life. You've tried to tell me that God loves me and has the power to help me in my struggles. That's been difficult to hear because of what I've known about God from my friends, family, and culture. Then it hit me the other day. It struck me that my struggles are that I have had a wrong idea about God. I've thought of Him as a judge or a heavenly policeman. He has been "up there" or "out there" somewhere. I couldn't believe that He either knew about or cared about me and my problems. Most people believe in God, but He's like an [...]

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