I’m not going to bother with an introduction (barring this sentence) today, it’s late and I want to get this down while I can still see straightish.
53 When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there.54 Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. 55 “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56 Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57 And they took offense at him.
But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.”
58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.
( Matthew 13:53-58 NIV)
I find this passage challenging today. It’s the passage from the Biblestudy I was due to do on the tenth, but I don’t know if I would have really gotten it last week.
Previously when reading it I would think about the practical nature of things, it’s hard to accept somebody as different from the person you knew when they were growing up. However, Jesus didn’t leave home as a boy – He left as a man of around 30. This community knew Jesus well, he was a local tradesman in a pretty small town, he couldn’t have gotten by!
This passage has less to do with a radical transformation of Jesus in the time He was away (although He had changed, moving from a time of waiting into his ministry as the Son of God). Rather this passage is much, much simpler to understand than I had made it.
The passage is simple – The people didn’t understand exactly who Jesus was – they had an understanding, he was just another bloke, nothing special, just another guy like you or me – they didn’t realise he was the Messiah, the Chosen One. Just like the fire-truck in transformers, Jesus is more than meets the eye.
Jesus taught and clearly rumours had circulated after he arrived, because the people ask about Jesus’ change. However, when confronted with the fullness of Jesus’ identity, more than a wise man, more than a healer, more than a man they deny it. They explain it away, like a lot of people do today. “He’s just another man!” “His own flesh and blood are here with us, and they’re nothing special!” “Maybe Jesus had something worth listening too, but all this God stuff is a bit much, don’t you think?”
Then there is nothing more to follow. Jesus’ ministry takes a pause, there are no miracles, maybe the people didn’t bring Him any lame folk, maybe the blind didn’t cry out to Jesus. Perhaps they didn’t follow him out into the countryside without a packed lunch. We don’t know for sure, but my guess is that the people didn’t give Jesus any room to manoeuvre.
There is a lot of that in my own life. There’s a lot of that in the churches we are apart of. Some people pray “Lord make a difference here” but refuse to make changes. Some folks sing “Lord have your way with us” literally do what you want with us, and at the end of the service they leave the building and walk by homeless people without a second glance – I know I have, I know I do.
The point is this – If we really want to see miracles, if we really want to see a friend, a family, a city, a nation… the world changed then it has to start with us. It has to start with making sacrifices – taking the hard road when asked. Denying yourself, and taking up a cross and walking.
Maybe that means sitting down (again!) after a long service and chatting to some poor bloke who can’t afford to eat without begging. Maybe it means changing your prayer life. Maybe it means actually doing something when you know should, even though you don’t want to.
I think it means all of those things for me. I know when I cry out to God “Where are you?” or “Where were you?” The answer is always the same.
“Waiting for you to give Me a chance to help you.”