February 27, 2018
So Jesus comes home to his home town. Even without the Christmas stories, Mark assumes we know Jesus is a Galilean from Nazareth. Does facticity matter? Does it help to place the Decapolis, ten towns of Roman garrison occupation, around this region?
Jesus is teaching in the synagogue, and people are ‘astounded’. Try different tone of voice as you read what they said: are they surprised and approving, or skeptical and sarcastic, about the gap between his family of origin, and his vocation now?
Take a scrap of scrappy aphorism: A prophet is not without honour, except in their home town. We usually change it to ‘A prophet is without honour in his own town. Revisit the woman with vaginal flow yesterday, in orthodox ‘ex opera operata’ application to sacraments.
Without the crowd credencing him, Jesus power seems lost, except for some stray healing. How does this power of healing and exorcism work, in relation to Jesus’ intention and will, or the receptivity of the diseased, or of the audience? Who fails or is frustrating in Nazareth?
Now the franchise plan kicks in – or the Ponzi or pyramid scheme. Off they go, ‘two by twos’. They have authority over unclean spirits, but not much else: a staff, sandals and one tunic. No bread, no bag, no money – no change of clothes. How’s that model of ministry?
Enter a house, stay till you leave – presume upon their hospitality! And if they refuse you, ‘shake the dust off your feet’. Off go the ‘2X2’s to cast out demons and healed the sick. Has Jesus cloned the rock star thing? How does it compare with Mark’s community? Ours?
He left that place and came to his home town,
and his disciples followed him.
On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue,
and many who heard him were astounded.
‘Where did this man get all this?
What is this wisdom that has been given to him?
What deeds of power are being done by his hands!
Is not this the carpenter,
the son of Mary
and brother of James and Joses
and Judas and Simon,
and are not his sisters here with us?’
And they took offence at him.
Then Jesus said to them,
‘Prophets are not without honour,
except in their home town,
and among their own kin,
and in their own house.’
And he could do no deed of power there,
except that he laid his hands on a few sick people
and cured them.
And he was amazed at their unbelief.
Then he went about among the villages teaching.
He called the twelve
and began to send them out two by two,
and gave them authority over the unclean spirits.
He ordered them to take nothing for their journey
except a staff;
no bread, no bag, no money in their belts;
but to wear sandals
and not to put on two tunics.
He said to them,
‘Wherever you enter a house,
stay there until you leave the place.
If any place will not welcome you
and they refuse to hear you,
as you leave,
shake off the dust that is on your feet
as a testimony against them.’
So they went out
and proclaimed that all should repent.
They cast out many demons,
and anointed with oil many who were sick
and cured them.