Posted on Jan 30, 2021

31 January 2021

We have this great image of Jesus–

kind and gentle, the good shepherd, always looking out for his people.

or the image of Jesus, a baby, a child, harmless, cute.

Just last weekend, Jesus calls his first disciples–

they are intrigued, attracted and become attached.

But then this weekend. The first crack in the picture.

Jesus meets a complete stranger and for however you want to explain it,

the stranger shrieks at him, is terrified of him, and wants nothing to do with him.

Not everyone who meets Jesus thinks he’s so hot.

The Marcan author is foreshadowing others who will not think he’s so hot.

The Pharisees. Temple Leaders. Certainly crowds of people at some point.

Roman leaders.

There are decidedly two ways of seeing Jesus.

You are either attracted to him, or you hate him.

There may have been an in between group as well, the indifferent.

I suppose we all think, we’d be in the group that would have been attracted to him.

I’m not always sure that’s the case.

I think some times all of us are susceptible

to making Jesus over into an image that is more acceptable to us,

to making Jesus more of the kind of guy we’d like to hang out with.

The mega-churches in this country are clearly an American and current phenomenon.

They claim to be non-denominational and respond to what people are hungering for.

However, one pastor of such a large church in the Twin Cities

began to have qualms about his preaching.

He preached a series of homilies against war,

Emphasizing over and over again the teaching of Jesus

about loving your enemies.

As it turns out, his conservative congregation revolted.

Contributions dropped drastically, and people, hundreds of households,

wandered away, or left angry.

They simply didn’t want to hear that interpretation of Jesus.

I think that could be anyone of us.

I think we tend to cling to the things we think Jesus said that we like, that confirms

our own judgments and lifestyle,

and overlook everything else which might challenge us.

Today is the first sign in Mark’s gospel that Jesus isn’t for everybody.

Is he really for me?