You know what its like, the place you grew up. The people who saw all the mistakes you made, heard the stupid things you said, the bold claims you made…
I did a fair bit of that in my time. I wonder how those people would view me now?
One of the potentially scary things about Facebook and the like, is that people can catch up with you (I suppose you may be reading this having known me as that brash teenager who lived in a world where issues were so easily either black or white… If so, sorry) The internet makes it no longer so easy to leave our past behind, however far we have travelled.
So Jesus has been working in Galilee, doing some good stuff, and everyone is very pleased with him. Then he goes “back home” to Nazareth, and they’re not quite so pleased to see him. As hinted at last week, they very quickly turn against him.
21 Then Jesus said to them, “What you have just heard me read has come true today.”
22 All the people started talking about Jesus and were amazed at the wonderful things he said. They kept on asking, “Isn’t he Joseph’s son?”
23 Jesus answered:
You will certainly want to tell me this saying, “Doctor, first make yourself well.” You will tell me to do the same things here in my own hometown that you heard I did in Capernaum. 24 But you can be sure that no prophets are liked by the people of their own hometown.
25 Once during the time of Elijah there was no rain for three and a half years, and people everywhere were starving. There were many widows in Israel, 26 but Elijah was sent only to a widow in the town of Zarephath near the city of Sidon. 27 During the time of the prophet Elisha, many men in Israel had leprosy. But no one was healed, except Naaman who lived in Syria.
28 When the people in the meeting place heard Jesus say this, they became so angry 29 that they got up and threw him out of town. They dragged him to the edge of the cliff on which the town was built, because they wanted to throw him down from there. 30 But Jesus slipped through the crowd and got away.
Jesus has come to tell them what he’s all about – what God is all about, and all they can think about is who he is. “We know you”, “We remember you growing up round here”, “You’re Joseph’s son”. They couldn’t see his message because they were so tied up with who they thought he was. They got so angry, they threw him out and dragged him away. That is quite a response.
I wonder why they reacted to Jesus that way? Did they think he had ideas above his station? Did they think he was lying? Or mocking them? Could they just not see beyond the person they thought he was and accept he had something to share with them?
How would we react in that situation? How many times do we miss what God is trying to show us because we cannot see past what we think of the person who is telling us – our pre-conceptions, misunderstandings and biases?
Last Sundays Songs of Praise had an interview with a Christian Goth, who has had some interesting responses by people. A Goth and a Christian – “you can’t do that!”
may my ability to hear your word
not be hampered
by my inability to hear who is saying it.
May I lay aside
what I think I know,
and be open to hear your voice
even in places where I don’t expect to,
and from people I don’t expect to.
may I never drive out
those who bring your word