Familiarity Breeds Contempt
by Matt Wolf
Knowing what we know about Jesus Christ, it’s hard to imagine his own family would describe him as “out of his mind.” And it’s hard to imagine that Nazareth would reject him. After all, Jesus was a hometown hero, right? Well, not exactly. I heard it said once that “The more you know something or someone, the more you start to find faults and dislike things about it or them.” Remember your new car? Or your brand new television? Or the day you moved into your house? Remember how you felt then? After a while, the shine wears off and it’s simply another “thing.” Or worse, an inconvenience.
In Mark 6:1-6 we see a Savior who is amazed. Why? Due to his own people’s lack of faith. “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home,” Jesus claims (6:4). Keep in mind he had only recently calmed a storm, healed a demon-possessed man, and raised a girl from the dead. Not exactly your everyday accomplishments! No doubt he and his disciples were a bit tired, and perhaps needed to head home for some rest. While in Nazareth, Jesus taught in the synagogue, evidently to a sizable audience.
It’s likely he presented the Gospel. It’s likely he filled the place with authority, wisdom, and love. It’s likely the people were not expecting to hear what they heard. But that’s Jesus, isn’t it? Do we ever really figure him out? Doesn’t he continue to surprise us every time we read the Gospel?
My prayer is that we don’t get too comfortable with the red-letter words in our Bibles. Or too familiar. Let’s allow them to keep molding us as we walk this journey in unity. To his “home-field” audience 2,000 years ago, this remarkable message was not received. And that is a tragedy. The words of Christ were limited by a group of his own people. As we read in Mark 6:5, they chose not to believe, thus hardening their hearts. What was the result of this? Jesus did not perform anything “great” for them. Wow, what a wasted opportunity!
The Son of God should always be with honor in this congregation and all others. That means sometimes we must stay out of his way so he can work through us to do some amazing things. That may not yield immediate joyful results. Your loved ones may reject you. Your friends may distance themselves from you. Your co-workers may call you unpleasant names. But take heart! The message is greater than the messenger. And the Gospel is powerful enough to carry you through.
In Christ Alone,