The Danger of Familiarity

In Mark 6 we again read about an almost frenetic pace of activity that Jesus and His disciples were involved in. It’s not easy for us to imagine the crush of people who wanted to be near Jesus, to touch Jesus, to hear Jesus. But the people who were closes to Jesus didn’t really want to have much to do with Him. On one side we have the crowds of people who flocked to hear Jesus and to be touched by Him and then in the beginning of chapter 6 we read this: 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. 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.” Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief.

 The people who grew up around Jesus weren’t inclined to believe in Him. That makes some sense…I mean if you have a brother who tells you he is God, I doubt you’re going to believe him…unless he starts raising some dead people! But it is true that there is a danger in being too familiar with the things of God. The danger is not that these things in itself lead to boredom or that we can ever “know” everything we need to know about God. In fact, the more a person knows about God the more a person realizes how little he knows about God. But there can be a familiarity that arises out of ritual, out of the rote exercise of religious duty. If that happens, familiarity becomes dangerous. A bible chapter is skipped because we already know what it says, robbing us of God helping us to see a new insight for our lives today. “I’ve heard a sermon on this topic before” leads to inattention to a possible word from God. Many of us are quite familiar with the stories and events of the Bible, especially around this time of year. But don’t let your familiarity get in the way of God’s activity in your life.

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