Another exciting chapter in Mark, and today I look at some sobering facts about ministry. There is quite a lot to work through, so let’s get started with verse 3. Then they scoffed, “He’s just a carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us.” They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him. OK, who can identify with this? It is not people who have the power to do miracles, it is God who has the power, and He is the one who makes it possible for us to do miracles. He doesn’t have any ‘favourites’. Everyone has a family, everyone was just a baby once, if God is going to have anyone do a miracle, why not you? Why must it be an international preacher? Why not you? There is no reason, it can be you, if you believe. The problem is that when people know you, they often don’t expect anything from you, just like they did with Jesus.
Now you may expect me to go on and tell you not to let this stop you, but the truth is that it does. Look what it did to Jesus. And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. I know all about this. There is nothing more frustrating than being surrounded by people with unbelief, and having your hands tied behind your back. So what do you do? I don’t know the answer to this, but I do ministry elsewhere. I do ministry with people who do believe. If unbelief stopped Jesus from doing miracles, what chance do I have? I will fight the enemy, but I won’t fight people’s free will. I take my advice from verse 11. But if any place refuses to welcome you or listen to you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate. Now I know what you’re thinking, this is about preaching the gospel, not about ministry. I don’t agree. Verse 13 says that they cast out many demons and healed many sick people. This is what I want to do. The ‘mistake’ that I often make, is that I spend so much time trying to convince people to accept healing, because I want to see them transformed. Why do I do that? Maybe I need to move on to those who want to experience a miracle, to those who believe, maybe then I will see more miracles. What do you think about this? It is a fine line, but Jesus wouldn’t have said it if it wasn’t important.
Jump forward to the section about Jesus feeding the 5000. I like this passage, but I really need to take it to heart. We live in a world where we need money, and most of us would say that we could do with a bit more. Now I’m not going to go into the prosperity gospel, but at very least, I do believe that God wants us to be provided for. Now I don’t know about you, but I have my own business, so no set salary. Every month there is a ‘cloud’ hanging over my head, am I going to make the money or not. Also, the question of ‘am I good enough to do this?’ pops into my head. The answer is simple – God promises to provide, and He can take what I bring and make it more than enough. What can I offer God? Not much, but He will take that, and there will be leftovers. Do I believe this? Not enough… yet. If I did, I wouldn’t worry each month. I need to get this so engrained, that there is no doubt. How about you? Do you believe that God will take the little that you bring, and make it into abundance? The other question is, do you even bring what you have to God? That little boy could have eaten the food himself. Sometimes we try to do it on our own, so we don’t even bring it to God. This is another trap that I do not want to fall into. Let’s bring what we have, lay it at God’s feet, and believe for abundance! Easier said than done, but that is my plan.
The last point from this chapter, is verses 50 and 51. They were all terrified when they saw him. But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage! I am here!” Then he climbed into the boat, and the wind stopped. Now I have spoken about this many times, and have even named my blog after it, but here is the point. Jesus told them not to be afraid BEFORE he calmed the storm. This always makes me think. Jesus could have calmed the storm, and then He wouldn’t have needed to tell them to calm down. He didn’t. He told them to calm down first. They needed to trust Him. They needed to believe that Jesus was in control. They needed to have faith. Now could Jesus do the miracle without their faith? I don’t know. If unbelief could stop Jesus, maybe faith enables Him, it is not too far a reach. Either way, Jesus wanted them to believe, before He did anything. Do you believe that Jesus can (and will) do what He says? Do you have faith, or are you preventing miracles with unbelief? You need to make a decision, and choose to believe. Maybe you’re like me, and have faith for some things, but lack it for others? We need to step it up. We need to start to believe for EVERYTHING. Jesus doesn’t do a half job.