America is beyond words. Only true signs and wonders will reach them now. Many preachers cry out to God for great signs and wonders in their church services. What is the secret? We can all learn a vital lesson from Mark 6, a lesson that dramatically changed our meetings.
It was almost by accident that I discovered the single truth that would revolutionize our outreaches. Most who have followed our ministry can tell you that there is a clear before and after story about MMM.
It happened when I looked at Mark 6. For some reason I looked at the very beginning and the very end of this chapter and made a startling discovery: The beginning of the chapter records the very worst healing service Jesus ever conducted and the last few verses relate His very best healing service. I had to find out what was going on!
Here are the two contrasts:
- Verse 5: “Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.”
- Verse 56: “Wherever He entered, into villages, cities, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged Him that they might just touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched Him were made well.”
Let’s break it down. Why were there so few miracles in his hometown? The stock answer is unbelief. But that does not begin to explain it. Nor does it help us see why there was an opposite extreme at the end of the chapter.
The stock answer is that one group had unbelief and the other had faith. It goes much deeper than that.
What I discovered was that his relatives 3 things wrong did wrong and the people near the end of the chapter did three things right. Here are the verses that show what His relatives did and see if you can guess the problem.
Look at Mark 6:1-6 “Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. 2 And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! 3 Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him. 4 But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.” 5 Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.”
Before we say anything else notice that it does not say Jesus “would not do many miracles.” It says that “He could not do many miracles.” The fact is He wanted to heal but met a resistance that stopped miracles. This is a key to the whole matter.
What I discovered was that his relatives did 2 things wrong did wrong and the people near the end of the chapter did 2 things right. Here is what His relatives did wrong
- They knew Him so well that they did not know Him at all. They did not think that it was special that Jesus was among them because they did not think He was anything special. They made no special arrangements. There was no sense of anticipation that anything wonderful had come to their town.
Note: This was in fact the only place where Jesus ever went that they did not have the sick laid in the marketplace in anticipation of His coming.
- They saw no connection between Jesus and the desperate needs of their village. They sat down and took in the sermon as total spectators staring at an oddity. They did not care about anyone but themselves and could not imagine bringing someone else to Christ. They were his relatives.
Over on the other side of the lake at the end of this chapter the reaction is completely the opposite.
“53 When they had crossed over, they came to the land of Gennesaret and anchored there. 54 And when they came out of the boat, immediately the people recognized Him, 55 ran through that whole surrounding region, and began to carry about on beds those who were sick to wherever they heard He was. 56 Wherever He entered, into villages, cities, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged Him that they might just touch the hem of His garment. And as any as touched Him were made well.”
- They recognized Jesus. The explosive difference is that they recognized Jesus; they didn’t merely “know” Him. The revelation of Jesus, and the implication of what it meant that He was among them, ignited a frenzy of excitement and action. They saw Him as the healer, deliverer and life giver.
- They ran and began to carry others to wherever they heard He was. Because they recognized Him they made an instant connection between to the sickness and despair of those they knew and loved. They raced to get the needy to Christ.
Jesus has two kinds of people that relate to Him: Relatives and Worshippers. You are either a Relative or a Worshipper. Entire congregations are either one or the other and the kind of meetings they have extend from their identity.
We began to enforce the fact that Jesus will be present in all of our gatherings and that this meant there was no regular meeting. We instilled the revelation of what it meant to have Him present. We provoked the excitement and expectation to the degree that the people run and get those who need miracles into our meetings. Jesus meets them there everytime!