In the sixth chapter of Mark, Jesus does an impressive number of miracles. He feeds five thousand people with five bagels and two fish, he walks on water, and he heals a multitude afflicted with diseases — just by having them line the road and touch the edge of his cloak. But, I am more impressed by what Jesus fails to do in this chapter.
1st, he failed to preach the sermon the home-town people wanted to hear. We all find ourselves in situations where nothing we say will make people happy. In those times its best to do what Jesus did and speak about the truth that we know. Let the chips fall where they will.
2nd, he failed to stop John the Baptist from being beheaded. We need to accept that God will not interfere with man’s capacity to do evil. Jesus could have prevented Herod from committing this injustice. Jesus instead gave us the tools to work for a better society. We need to remember that today as we work for political change.
3rd, Jesus failed to go with his disciples on their mission trip (Mark 6:7-13). Like a good parent, Jesus knows when to take the training wheels off of our faith bike.
4th, when the disciples needed a rest — they had wrestled with demons and were tired -- Jesus didn’t snap his fingers and heal them of their stress and exhaustion. Instead he tried, unsuccessfully, to find them a place to rest. God will never give us a red bull energy drink when we need to take a day off for our own sanity. There are no cheap fixes for the over-committed life. Even Jesus had to look for a place to hide his disciples so that they could recover their inner calm. The sooner we realize this, the more healthy we will be.