Wednesday, November 2, 2011
And when Jesus had finished these parables, he went away from there, and coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief. Matthew 13:53-58
Living and working in a town I consider home is always a challenge. We are remembered as children, with all of our gifts and silliness, and we are either underestimated or devalued because of familiarity. At the same time, we are formed in the culture and context of the places we call home, and we are understood more fully than in any other place. But people can often misuse familiarity and discount possibility in those they believe they know well.
Jesus finds himself in the midst of the familiar, and they are so used to him in the role of carpenter's son, that they fail to open their eyes to the real man in front of them. They cannot let go of what they have known to re-imagine and welcome the new familiar among them. Change and growth is a threat and Jesus finds himself unable to make much good happen among them. We can find ourselves frustrated in ministry and life by those who consider growth and change as evil and a threat. We can take comfort in the fact that even the living God was finding it difficult to offer himself in the face of rejection.
Today, I ask God for an extra measure of kindness and understanding when encountering refusal, rejection and misunderstanding. May I find comfort and nurture in the one who suffered as we do. May God supply the compassion so that we might all serve the ones who need the love the most, right where we are.