Christ Lutheran Church
July 4, 2021
by: Rev. Dean Kavouras
[Jesus] left from there and went to his home town, and his disciples followed him. And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and the crowds that heard him were astonished and kept asking, "Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given him? And, how are such mighty works done by his hands?" Is this not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judah and Simon? And his sisters, are they not here with us? And they were scandalized by him. And Jesus scolded them saying, "A prophet is never dishonored, except in his hometown, and among his relatives and by his own household." And so he could do no mighty works there, except to lay his hands on a few sick people, and he restored them to health. And he marveled because of their utter lack of faith, so he went among the villages teaching.
[Jesus] then summoned the twelve and began to send them two by two, and commissioned them with authority over unclean spirits. He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff - neither bread, nor bag, nor money in their belts. They were to wear sandals but, he added, “do not take a spare tunic.” He further said to them, "Whatever house you should enter remain there until you depart the area. And if any place does not receive you, nor will hear you, as you leave that place shake the dust from beneath your feet as a witness against them. So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. And they expelled many demons and anointed many sick people with oil, and they were made well. (Mark 6:1-13)
The church is Jesus’ hometown; his household, family and disciples. And so let us not be scandalized by him like the unbelieving world is. Let him never be so ordinary among us that we forget our love for him, and his redeeming love for us.
They say: you never miss anything till it’s gone and so we should be all the more devoted to our faith, because the gospel is rapidly leaving these once blessed shores – so that finding the true faith gets harder and harder. And so let us not fail to appreciate him. To love him with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength; and as his disciples, to love our neighbor as dearly as we love ourselves.
May we never ask: who is this, and where does he get such wisdom and power. He gets is from his Heavenly Father, with whom he is one. (Jn 10:30)
And let us never wonder about all that Jesus IS and DOES for us – the Carpenter nailed to the Wood who washes away our sins by his blood; who intoxicates our souls with his Cup; who authorizes us, frail children of dust that we are, to be his church by the very things we are doing here and now. And who was tried for our sins and found guilty – and so is able to uphold us in every trial with his all-sufficient grace.
Yes, come what may let us never be in ignorance or in doubt about our Beautiful Savior who is Son of God and Son of Man! Jesus our crucified and risen Lord who intervenes into the affairs of men, bodily, here in his hometown every Sunday.
“Is this not the Carpenter,” they asked?
Oh, and what a Carpenter he is!
The Biblical word for carpenter is “technos” from which we get our word “technology”. Yes, Jesus is that and more as we learn from St. John in the opening words of his Liturgy,
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:1-3)
He is the Architect and Engineer who made all things “visible and invisible” by his love, power and design; and who, moreover, sustains all things with his tender mercy.
You may have heard the theory somewhere along the line that: in the beginning God made the world, wound it up like a clock, then went off to other things and lets it run its course. But that is not the case.
God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are intimately involved in what we mistakenly call “nature” and according to the Lord’s own teaching: not a sparrow falls to the ground that your Heavenly Father does not know about; and all the hairs of all the heads are numbered by him, water does not flow, nor fire warm without his care for “In him we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28)
Our Lord is not only the Carpenter who fashioned all things but upon man’s terrible Fall – from which we cannot raise ourselves up – he became the New Creation for us; as St. Mark has demonstrated in his gospel for many weeks now.
Consider! All we have heard so far in St. Mark gospel has been a pageant of blessed works which made everyone marvel. But why were they so astonished? Because while man is limited to the “laws of nature” and plagued with weakness; the Lord’s works are all “super-natural” – which means that they are “above and beyond” the normal state of things as we know them in this world.
Consider the countless people he restored to pristine health with a touch, the storms he calmed, the ignorance he dispelled, the dead he resurrected, the demons cast out.”
Those are but small samples of the New creation where there will be: no more tears, death, mourning, crying or pain. No more poverty, or darkness, hopelessness or despair because he who is the Alpha is also the Omega. He who is the First is also the Last. He who is the beginning is also the Ending who makes “all things new.”
Consider how in today’s gospel the Lord does not abandon his hometown even if the majority of its people had no faith, but rather he seeks out the few who do and restores them to immaculate health with the touch of his Carpenter hands.
Consider, too, that he does not stay in his hometown – for that would be to deny his Amazing Grace to others – but that he went all about until soon there was no subject of conversation anywhere in the land, even in the palace of detached King Herod, other than Jesus: his Works and his Words.
But the Lord’s mercy was not limited only to the places he went, again we find in today’s gospel that he sends out the Twelve and authorizes them to preach the message of repentance to all men. To crush demons underfoot, and to anoint the sick with holy chrism, which made them whole again.
Later, Judas was replaced by Matthias, and then St. Paul was added to the number. They continued to do all that Jesus did, and when their service was over they passed the Gospel on to other faithful disciples; and they to others; until salvation has reached our day, and our city and will continue until the Son of Man returns.
But will he find faith on the earth when he does?
Left to our own devices, no! But by the power of the Holy Spirit, whose season, Pentecost, the church celebrates for six months, he will find faith. He will then gather his church from the four winds, opens all graves, and lead us in the “everlasting habitations” of God’s Holy House.
There we will, “serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness; even as he is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity.”
All glory to the Carpenter; son of Mary, and Son of God, whose family we are. Amen.