If I were to tell you that Jesus had been verbally bullied and labelled by people who knew Him, would you believe me? Mark 6:2-3 records for us that Jesus was called names and scoffed at – “He’s just a carpenter, where did He get all this wisdom and power to perform such miracles?”, “Isn’t this Mary’s boy?”, “We knew His brothers and sisters, and saw all of them grow up, how can He suddenly become better than us?”
Jesus was rejected in His hometown, Nazareth, and amongst His own people. Their unbelief in Him was so severe that it was recorded that “He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.” (Mark 6:5) Since that time, we’ve no record of Jesus ever returning to Nazareth again and Capernaum was chosen instead as his ministry base while in the province of Galilee. Here’s the poignant lesson – if you don’t grow your faith in God, He cannot build His base on you. Don’t we all want to be God’s channel of power and blessings?
Having had the privilege of writing the final Pastor’s Blog for 2018, I believe the Lord wants to take you into 2019 with a renewed hope in Him and bring healing to your spirit, soul and body. You’ve a Saviour Who not only understands what you’re going through, He’s also Lord of every situation you’re in. And He blesses the one “who puts his trust in Him, whose hope is the Lord.” (Jer 17:7)
There are two groups of people in the story we read earlier in Mark 6:1-6. The first group is those who are still living in the shadow of their past. They’re still affected by the stigma of their bad experiences and have somewhat lost confidence in themselves along the way. Unkind words have been said to them and it rings in their ears every now and then.
The second group is those who will ‘use your past to define your future’. In their minds, they can only recognise the image and impression of you from years ago. They’ll scoff at you whenever you attempt something different from what you used to be. They can be your spiritual mentors whom you’ve surpassed (Mark 6:3), or your church friends who grew up together with you (Mark 6:3), or your contemporaries or peers in the ministry (Mark 6:2), or even your spouse who’s trying to change for the better. All of them have one thing in common – they were offended (Mark 6:3).
At a wedding recently, I remarked that there was an anointing when one of the brothers prayed for the couple and his friend replied, “Oh, that’s how he has always prayed.” The startling truth is that these people have not moved on with God after all these years.
When Jesus was on Earth, the very people who knew most about Him, grew up with Him or ‘studied’ Him, couldn’t recognise or acknowledge Him as the Messiah, despite all the amazing teachings and supernatural demonstrations of God’s power. Ironically, it was the demons who recognised and acknowledged Him! They rejected His Deity because they only recognised His humanity.
Similarly, there are people who may reject the ‘anointing’ in you because they’re stumbled by or jealous of what God’s doing in your life and they’re not doing anything about theirs. If the Holy Spirit has convicted you about this, please repent and get right with God. You may not have said it out loud, but maybe in times past, you’ve said this in your heart towards someone. The Lord knows your thoughts.
How can a person shrug off his own shadow? It’s not possible! Your shadow is something that’s stuck to you, follows you and clings on to you wherever you go.
When they tried to conform Jesus into who they thought He was or should be (Mark 6:2-3), He could’ve agreed with them and said, “Yes, you’re right! I’m just a carpenter, one of Mary’s sons. Besides, what good can come out of Nazareth?” But He didn’t. And Jesus didn’t wallow in self-pity either. Instead He went out into other different villages and taught the people (Mark 6:6), and continued to stay on course to His heavenly assignment.
It’s time to come out of the ‘shadow’, of how people think or have spoken negatively of you, and walk in the truth of how God thinks of you. One way to get rid of the ‘shadow’ is to surround yourself with His light. Shadows are formed when light is blocked. 1 John 1:5-7 (NKJV) tells us that “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all… if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
Fellowship with God is maintained when we continue to walk in the light He reveals to us. This also involves being honest in acknowledging any darkness the Lord might reveal in us, and the Blood of Jesus will cleanse us by the confession of our sins. When you’re in His light, your identity becomes clear! Jesus knew His calling and was secure in His relationship with the Father.
Don’t let your past define your future. Purpose in your heart to see everyone in God’s light and recognise what God is doing in them and through them. It’s time to leave your shadow behind, for 2019 awaits!