Reflections: Seventh Sunday After Pentecost

July 7, 2024 

Today’s Reading: Mark 6:1-13

Daily Lectionary: Judges 2:6-23; Acts 13:13-41

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 offense at him. (Mark 6:3)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Being offended is a common occurrence these days. Talk about your favorite music, politician, sports team, or food; inevitably, someone will get offended. You and I are no better. Everyone finds offenses, yet they cannot see what is in front of them in terms of God’s abundant blessings. This is because we are too focused on ourselves as individuals. We want what we want, and God better act the way we want Him to act; otherwise, the offenses fly. This is not new. It was also the case with Jesus in His hometown of Nazareth. People took offense at His presence and actions, even though He was using the right words to teach God’s love and truth. This led Him to say, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.” (Mark 6:4, NKJV). The offended people prevented Jesus from helping others, except for a few healings. Jesus was amazed at their lack of faith.

Despite the offense, Jesus continued to show compassion, mercy, forgiveness, healing, and even resurrecting people from the dead. These actions were all offensive to many people, to the point where they cost Him His life. On the cross, Jesus became the greatest offender in the history of the world. He took on your sin and offenses against God and paid the price. On the cross, He was so despised and offensive that even His Father turned His back on Him, leaving Him alone and dead. Christ did all of this so that we could be accepted and pleasing in the sight of God. By shedding His blood for us, there is no more offense or condemnation in God’s sight. We are now holy, innocent, and blameless in the sight of God, and all things are in agreement and in perfect order between us and God.

The disciples were sent out with nothing but the Gospel, and Jesus told them there would be times of acceptance and offense. Today, the church is given the Gospel and nothing more. The world is offended by the Gospel. As we are brought into this new reality of life, we are called to practice things that offend many. We are called to love, help, consider others above ourselves, and serve without our own interest. Christ does this in and through you. You will be offensive; you will be offended. Our Lord says it Himself: “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12, NKJV). Confess your sins and pray the Lord would not find offense in you but that He would heal and forgive. Pray that He would strengthen your faith in Him and fervent love towards one another. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

O God, Your almighty power is made known chiefly in showing mercy. Grant us the fullness of Your grace that we may be called to repentance and made partakers of Your heavenly treasures; through Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (Collect of the Day for Pentecost 7)

-Rev. Kent Schaaf is pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, Little Rock, AR.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Jonathan Lackey is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, Vine Grove, Ky.

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