We expect a conquering hero to receive a hero’s welcome when he returns to his hometown. So when Jesus “went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples” (Mark 6:1) right after an awesome display of power in raising Jairus’ daughter from the dead (Mark 5:41-42 — listen to Pastor Karen’s June 28 sermon!) a parade of proud Nazarenes was in order. It therefore seems shocking that the people mocked and “took offense at him” (Mark 6:3)! Why? As Jesus himself explained, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town” (6:4). In response to Nazareth’s skepticism and lack of faith, “Jesus went around teaching from village to village. [Then] calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits” (6:6-7). Not only that, but Jesus told his disciples to travel light … to “take nothing for the journey but a staff” (6:8). They succeeded wildly in this endeavor, “drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them” (6:13). And this success came because the disciples took on their journey not full suitcases but the love and power of God. Pastor Karen Witt’s July 5 sermon is a lovely meditation on the freedom of “traveling light” with Jesus. You can hear it at this link.