A No Miracle Zone

I know it is a late post. I was without internet access until about 2:00 yesterday afternoon until about 5:30 this evening. Hopefully, I will be back on a regular schedule tomorrow.

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings
Feb 27: Numbers 15-16; Mark 6:1-29

MZTVLogoJesus left that place and came to his hometown. His disciples followed him. On the Sabbath, he began to teach in the synagogue. Many who heard him were surprised. “Where did this man get all this? What’s this wisdom he’s been given? What about the powerful acts accomplished through him? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t he Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” They were repulsed by him and fell into sin.

Jesus said to them, “Prophets are honored everywhere except in their own hometowns, among their relatives, and in their own households.” He was unable to do any miracles there, except that he placed his hands on a few sick people and healed them. He was appalled by their disbelief (Mark 6:1-6, Common English Bible). 

This past Sunday, I preached the parallel to this text, Matthew 13:53-58 (See Why Jesus: Who Is This Man?). After church Sunday, Cindy said, “I was thinking about the Scripture from today. Because the Scripture says Jesus was unable to do any miracles in Nazareth because of their unbelief, does that mean Jesus actually needs something from us?”

It is an interesting question. Today’s lesson actually says he did heal a few sick people. Was Jesus able to heal them despite the unbelief of the people around him? Was he able to heal even those who didn’t believe? Or, could it be that the people who didn’t believe, attributed the miracles to something or someone other than Jesus? These folks might be thinking, “Awe, it’s just a coincidence.”

Well, if I had the answers to these and many other questions of Scripture, I would have a writing contract with some great publisher that would have my retirement set for life. I don’t have a book (not yet anyway) and I don’t have all those answers (nor do I expect to ever be blessed with them this side of eternity).  I can, however, say what I think.

God can do whatever God wants to do. That is what being omnipotent means, and God is omnipotent. God has the power to do anything from healing the sick, to walking on water and having a mere mortal walk on water and/or feeding baseball stadium full of people a dinner of fish and bread that came from one boy’s sack lunch. I could go on, about water into wine and more but I will probably write on those eventually so I will save what I have to say on those for later.

I could be wrong about this, it wouldn’t be the first time and God’s ways are not our ways, but I can’t help but wonder, “Why would Jesus want to do miracles in the presence of those whose lack of faith he found appalling? Would we be willing to do miracles for a bunch of people who didn’t believe we could do them? Or, would we do them for people who didn’t believe in miracles to start with?

Well, I know I wouldn’t and it would be my guess that most of you wouldn’t do them either. But, would Jesus do them? Grace happens. Grace happens even when we don’t deserve it. Grace happens even before we believe grace to be a reality. John Wesley called that prevenient grace, grace that God gives us before we ever know God exists.

It seems to me, today’s lesson could easily be a case of prevenient grace. Jesus only did a few miracles, healing people.-Jesus liked healing people. He loves people, always has. And maybe, just maybe when someone might learn a thing or two about Jesus and grace along the way. After all, he is Jesus (and yes, I meant is), and he is (meant it here too) all about love and grace.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With joy and thankfulness,

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles
All Rights Reserved




Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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