~~i want to be everything you dreamed when you called my name~~

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A Prophet Without Honor (for Nicole)

Text: Mark 6

I'm getting ready to head home for my 10 year high school reunion (yikes, when did THAT happen?!?!)...and was reading in Mark about when Jesus goes to his hometown...some thoughts I thought I'd share...

No matter what we do with our lives after we become adults...how far we travel or how much we learn...returning to our hometown is often an emotional experience. (Kids...you'll understand this in about 10 years) Most people will at one time or another speak nostalgically about their childhood memories, and my psychology background tells me that to some degree, people make sense of their daily experiences through the filter of the patterns and recollections of their youth. So in some way, we are all forever affected by something of what we were as children.

Jesus understood these feelings about childhood experiences. When He returned to Nazereth and taught in the synagogue, the people there were amazed by His wisdom and miracles but found themselves unable to reconcile what they were seeing and hearing with the fact that Jesus was a local carpenter's son (Mark 6:2-3). Within the close-knit circle of small-town life, they had watched Him grow up, and their response to His teaching was skewed by their recollections of what had been in many ways an ordinary childhood. (I love how God makes ordinary - extraordinary!)

The citizens of Nazareth lacked faith. But Jesus refused to simply walk away and give up on them. He did not perform many miracles in Nazareth, but He did perform some (verses 5-6). I think the reaction that stung the most HAD to have been that of His own family. Check out Mark 3:20-21 - His own family questioned His sanity!! (Jesus entered a h ouse, and again a crowd gathered, so that He and His disciples were not even able to eat. WHen His family heard about this, they went to take charge of Him, for they said, "He is out of His mind") In John 7:5, John explains it as, "Even His own brothers did not believe in Him."

Nicole...this is where I find the Holy Spirit bringing you to mind! In our own lives, I think it can sometimes be most difficult to discuss the reality of Jesus' love and salvation with those who know us best. They may listen to what we say and even acknowledge that they can observe a change in our demeanor since we first met the Savior, but they will almost invariably judge us through what they remember of us...the "family" lens. They are probably the most skeptical because they remember too much. Or because they see that there is something different, but they have no idea how to approach it and understand it.

I think the key is - even when our parents, brothers, sisters, or close friends reject our words or are embarassed by our devotion to Jesus, we can not simply resign ourselves to their entrenched attitudes! Eventually, Jesus' own family DID come to the point of belief (see Acts 1:14). What speaks the loudest is not the idea that we are perfect, but the observation that we are consistent. (Oh...how I could write for hours on this one!) The example of a changed life before Jesus, will make a difference over time to those around us who find it hard to understand or believe!

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