Why it’s a Problem when Jesus is from your Hometown

July 29, 2016

Matthew 13:53-58

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.

CONSIDER THIS

What if we are living in an age where we think we understand the Gospel of the Kingdom yet we do not? What if it is our present understanding of Jesus and the Gospel that blocks us from the kind of understanding that precedes the miraculous expansion of the Kingdom of God?

Sometimes—perhaps more times than not—our confidence in our present level of understanding can be the greatest impediment to deeper understanding. There is a kind of self assuring confidence that comes with thinking we get it that keeps us from actually getting it.

We see this at work in Jesus hometown. On the one hand, they were absolutely amazed by Jesus: “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. On the other hand, they could not see beyond their own understanding: “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? 

They were blinded by the dim light they already saw. And when you think you see clearly, why look any further? Here’s why:

 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

You see, I think this problem of a lack of faith is not primarily about a quality of belief as much as it is about an inferior or inadequate understanding about who Jesus really is. They could not see past their own vision of him as “the “carpenter’s son.”

But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.”

I’m beginning to think the church of our time, at least in the United States, has come to think of itself as Jesus’ hometown. We are pretty sure we completely get Jesus. And what we believe about Jesus we believe with great fervor, but what if our faith is inadequate. The problem is not in the wrongness of our understanding about Jesus— it’s in the incompleteness. Faith, as is commonly thought, is not how hard one believes but in who one believes. It’s why a mustard seed is enough to move a mountain. It’s not enough to believe right things about Jesus. This must become about an awakening to an ever increasing understanding of the unfathomable depths of who he most truly is.

One thing I know is sure. We don’t want this line to be the historical epitaph over our age:

And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.
Daily Text MATTHEW 07-29-16

THE QUESTIONS

1. So do you believe there’s more understanding you need into the person and nature and mission of Jesus Christ? How are you seeking this?

2. What do you think of this idea of the church in this country becoming something of a “hometown” for Jesus. What is the danger of this?

3. How does the church in North America compensate or make up for the lack of the kind of demonstrative Kingdom activity we see in the New Testament? Could it be our building projects? Our spectacularly produced worship services?

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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. jd.walt@seedbed.com.

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