Lectionary Year B
July 9, 2000
Mark 6:1-10

Hermeneutical Bridge


It would be a mistake to say that miracles depend upon human faith, a la the gospel on television, because God was in the business of miracles before and during the very creation of humans. This passage makes it clear that faith is important to healing and the work of God in God's creatures, but there is ambiguity on this elsewhere in Mark, where faith is not necessarily present. One difference that strikes me here: God's power is ever relevant in the absence of our faith, but the opposite is not true.

A possible analogy might be an elaborate home that is completely wired for electricity and tastefully furnished with the latest in technology, but nothing is plugged in. No, this seems to fail also... Another view: "Does the story provide a clear statement about the necessity of faith as a precondition to Jesus' doing mighty works? That appears to be the point (of 6:5-6), but prominent exceptions [see above and elsewhere in Mark] revent an unambiguous answer to the question, and perhaps suggest that the rejection at Nazareth is not primarily intended to provide a solution to the relation of faith and miracle. It seems more to serve as a dramatic contrast to the stories of other characters in need who simply trust Jesus' power and receive his help." (Charles Cousar, Texts for Preaching, a Lectionary Commentary based on the NRSV Year B)

"Repeatedly in Mark's gospel we find the pattern of rejection followed by demonstration of authority. In general this pattern...comes in anticipation of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ." (MarionSoards)

Interesting that both the townsfolk and Jesus were "dumbfounded by each other" (David Garland).

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