Scripture Reference: Matthew 13:53-58
As Jesus moved from town to town, people were amazed at His understanding and His teachings, except when He went to His home town. As He was teaching people in the synagogue, they were initially in awe of His wisdom, but that soon changed. Familiarity can be a dangerous thing.
Even as they expressed their amazement, they started to question His abilities. How could it be that He is anything special? He is just the carpenter’s son. He grew up in front of them. They knew His mother and His siblings. These all appeared normal. How is it that He has wisdom and miraculous powers? What makes Him so special? Who does He think He is? Their amazement turned to offense.
Suddenly, the very things that were given so that they could put their faith in Him became the source of offense and they turned their backs on Immanuel. They brushed Him aside because they looked at what was familiar about Him and rejected the possibility that God could be operating through someone they knew so well.
Jesus took it in His stride. He didn’t seem to be taken by surprise by their sudden change of heart. He knew what lives in the human heart and wasn’t swayed by the approval of men.
Many began to trust in him. But Jesus didn’t trust them, because he knew human nature. No one needed to tell him what mankind is really like. (John 2:23b-25).
Jesus knows how we sometimes allow our emotions to rule us. The day came when these same people who were ooh-ing and aah-ing at His wisdom shouted, “Crucify Him!” He knew how people can become blind followers of the latest religious trends without their hearts being engaged in what they are doing. That’s the danger of being a slave to our fickle emotions.
Furthermore, Jesus used this negative situation to teach His disciples a valuable lesson in preparation of their own ministry. “A prophet is not without honour except in his hometown and in his own home.” He is preparing them to expect that they will be least received among the people who saw them grow up and who lived in the same house as them. Familiarity breeds contempt. When people figure they know you well, they will refuse to believe that God could be doing something new in you.
Familiarity often causes people to stumble and miss God’s action right under their noses. Not only do they lose the opportunity to be a part of what God is doing around them, but they miss the opportunity to be a part of what God can do in them. Look at what happened in Jesus’ home town. Because of their lack of faith, Jesus did not do many miracles there. Many people were robbed of healing and restoration because they looked at what they thought they had all figured out. They dismissed the idea that God could be operating through someone they knew since His childhood. Because of their off-handed dismissal of Jesus they also missed the miraculous.
My prayer is that this will serve as a warning not to look down on those whom we think we ”know well.” May we not fall into the same trap as the people did in Jesus’ home town. Let’s look beyond what we deem familiar and look to an all powerful God who knows best and chooses whom He wants to.
Think of David. His own family never considered him worthy of being anointed King of Israel. They didn’t even invite him to the line-up. They left him in the fields. His own brother called him conceited when he inquired about Goliath and told him to go back to his few sheep. Ironically it is this “conceited” fellow that God called a man after His own heart. May a “know-it-all” attitude not lead us to condemn those whom God has chosen. By opening our hearts to God’s action in people (even the ones we know), we are opening our hearts to the miraculous.
- A Person of Understanding Delights in Wisdom (thoughtsonscripture.com)