Bible Society of South Africa

Absolutely Alive: Recognise Jesus at work - 10 July 2024

By Louise Gevers

Bible text(s)

4Jesus said to them, “Prophets are respected everywhere except in their own home town and by their relatives and their family.”

Every parent who reads the account of Jesus raising Jairus’ daughter from death (Mark 5:22-42) cannot help but be moved by the poignancy of that situation, and think how, if this were a movie, Jesus would be seen as the true hero, as, without him, it may not have ended this happily in real life. Even when men from Jairus’ house came with the news that his daughter was dead, Jesus ignored them and gave Jairus the best advice anyone could’ve heard: “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” (Mark 5:36, NIV)

Despite the news of their daughter, their hearts must have leapt with hope again, because they’d already seen Jesus’ works – and he didn’t disappoint them. Jesus’ words reassured them, not because he had a sense of his own importance, but because he spoke of his certainty that God’s power was at work within him. He spoke with full authority, and treated the family compassionately as he raised their child from the dead, and hushed the commotion of the wailing mourners.

After this and the other amazing miracles that he’d performed, he may well have happily anticipated returning to his hometown, imagining delight on familiar faces witnessing his Father’s power at work through him amongst them too; but, even for Jesus, it must have been a rude shock, that the people rejected him in their pride and unbelief – after their amazement at his wisdom, and preaching in the synagogue on the Sabbath. They recognised him as, “the carpenter”, “Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon’’ and “they took offence at him.” (Mark 6:3)

In reality, showing the poverty of their faith, they disdained Jesus because of his humble beginnings, growing up in their community, and rejected him even though he now spoke with astonishing wisdom. And because they were offended by God’s messenger they rejected God’s message – the message of life that would lead to salvation.

It’s little wonder that Jesus, “was amazed at their lack of faith” and “could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them”. (Mark 6:5) Their response to Jesus further impoverished their faith as they saw very few wonders that he could perform.

Do we recognise the people who minister to us as God’s messengers, and listen respectfully, excited to hear what God has to say through whoever he puts into the pulpit, and like Jeremiah, experience that God’s, “words become to me a joy and the delight …” (Jeremiah 15:16) Or do we, perhaps, forget that they bear God’s Word and not listen to what Jesus is saying through them?

Remember, God always looks at the heart – theirs and ours – and provides: “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.’” (John 6:35)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, please deepen my faith and help me to recognise that you work in ways and places that I may not expect to find you. “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!”(Psalm 143:10) Amen.

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