Unbelief limits God. It’s the Nazareth Syndrome. Jesus left the Sea of Galilee with His disciples and headed toward Nazareth. On the Sabbath He taught in the synagogue. His audience was both astonished and curious. To them, Jesus was a manual laborer. He’d never been to seminary. What could be the source of His wisdom, teaching and power? He was just a carpenter and the son of Mary.
The Jews didn’t describe a man as his mother’s son, even when she was a widow, unless they were trying to insult him. Rumor was that Jesus was illegitimate. Nothing special about His brothers and sisters either. The people of Nazareth didn’t honor and trust Jesus because they thought they knew Him so well.
They didn’t know Him nearly well enough. Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home" (Mark 6:4, NIV). Their unbelief slowed the river of Jesus’ mighty works to a trickle (Mark 6:5). You limit God by your unbelief.
You limit Him by your unavailability (Mark 6:7-13). God uses imperfect people to bring healing to others. He has no backup plan. He will use you if you’re available.
Jesus sent His disciples two-by-two to spread the message of healing with a clear tone of urgency. They carried only walking sticks besides the clothes they were wearing. Those receptive to their message in every village provided food and shelter. The disciples represented Jesus. They preached repentance, drove out demons, and healed the sick just as their Master had. Their availability multiplied Jesus’ effectiveness six fold.
They couldn’t do everything, but they were willing to do something. Their actions demonstrated the Kingdom of God had arrived. How could your increased availability aid the extension of the Kingdom in your community?
Mark 6:14-29 portrays boxing God out of decision-making. In King Herod we see the struggle between good and evil. His unwise decisions submerged him in guilt. The guilt from murdering John the Baptist colored his view of Jesus. He believed Jesus was John reincarnated.
Herod had imprisoned John because he condemned Herod’s marriage to Herodias, his brother’s wife. Herod had enough respect for him to protect him from the wrath of Herodias (Mark 6:19). He listened when John surely spoke about the need for repentance (Mark 6:20).
Those discussions could have been a turning point in Herod’s life. If he’d turned to God, his life could have been totally transformed. He didn’t. It wasn’t. He didn’t act on what he heard. He thereby forfeited God’s power, direction, and forgiveness. That unwise choice led to the unwise decision to grant Herodias’ daughter the head of John the Baptist.
Daily decisions are the building blocks of a life of faith and obedience. Your decisions either give God greater freedom or restrict His operation in your life. Wise decisions include Him. Unwise decisions limit Him. #freechristiandiscipleshipresources #freeevangelismresources #freechristianleadershipresources
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