Red Letter Year: 1/23

Mark 6:1-13

Jesus left that part of the country and returned with his disciples to Nazareth, his hometown. The next Sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. They asked, “Where did he get all this wisdom and the power to perform such miracles?” Then they scoffed, “He’s just a carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us.” They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him.

Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.” And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their unbelief. Then Jesus went from village to village, teaching the people. And he called his twelve disciples together and began sending them out two by two, giving them authority to cast out evil spirits. He told them to take nothing for their journey except a walking stick—no food, no traveler’s bag, no money. He allowed them to wear sandals but not to take a change of clothes.

10 “Wherever you go,” he said, “stay in the same house until you leave town. 

Jesus teaching in the synagogue and being rejected.

 But if any place refuses to welcome you or listen to you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.”

12 So the disciples went out, telling everyone they met to repent of their sins and turn to God. 13 And they cast out many demons and healed many sick people, anointing them with olive oil.


I want to be careful here because a lot of bad teaching has gone out regarding the relationship between faith and healing. This passage clearly indicates that such a relationship exists, but we have to read it carefully to get the relationship right. Faith is so important for healing that it even limited what Jesus was able to do (yes, I said that exactly how I wanted to there) in this instance. But it was not the faith or lack thereof of the people who were in need, it was the lack of faith of all the people who were saying, no, he’s just a carpenter. (Aside: you’re not alone, you see, when people tell you the same sort of thing, you can’t do what God has gifted you to do because you’re just a _______. Don’t ever, ever listen to that nonsense.) After they leave the he’s-just-a-carpenter crowd, the healings recommence as before and now even the disciples are casting out demons. This leads me to two points:

  1. Don’t ever let someone tell you God won’t/hasn’t/can’t heal you because you don’t believe. Don’t let them tell you that your lack of healing proves your lack of faith. That is not true. Jesus raises people from the dead. Not much faith happening in a dead person, is there?
  2. Don’t expect to see much in the way of healings or deliverance if you are hanging out with people who don’t believe such stuff happens. Faith does matter. Their collective lack of faith does inhibit what God is able to do in the confines of that community (yes, I meant what I said again). I’m not a big fan of church shopping, but I highly recommend you find a community of faith that believes, seeks, and practices letting the power of God flow for healing, for deliverance, for the sort of life change that Jesus has been bringing since way back when. He still heals. Believe it.

New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

God doesn’t forgive you because you repent

“Never be deluded into thinking that if you have contrition, if you are sorry for your sins, God will come and forgive you – that he will be touched by your appeal, change his mind about you and forgive you. Not a bit of it. God never changes his mind about you. He is simply in love with you. What he does again and again is change your mind about him [and I would add, about yourself]. That is why you are sorry. That is what your forgiveness is. You are not forgiven because you confess your sin. You confess your sin, recognize yourself for what you are, because you are forgiven.” – Herbert McCabe Faith Within Reason, p. 158