Sermon for July 15th, 2012
6He left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. 2On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! 3Is 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. 4Then Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.” 5And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. 6And he was amazed at their unbelief.
Then he went about among the villages teaching. 7He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; 9but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. 10He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. 11If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. 13They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
Just so there isn't any confusion here, the "Hometown Prophet" referred to in my sermon title today is Jesus. Some of you may remember that the first sermon I ever preached here at First Presbyterian Church, as a pastoral intern, was from the text Amos 7:14 -- "I am no prophet, nor a prophet's son; but I am a shepherd, and a tender of sycamore trees." I still identify with Amos more than Jesus, but still, there is something to today's passage, and I can identify with Jesus in this respect: After 20 years in the wilderness, last week I finally found my way back to my childhood hometown, and here I begin my ministry, among my own people, my own kin. But it would be nice if the similarity stopped there.