Friday, April 29, 2011

A Prophet in His Hometown

Matthew 13:51-58 (ESV)
"Have you understood all these things?" They said to him, "Yes." [52] And he said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old."
[53] And when Jesus had finished these parables, he went away from there, [54] 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? [55] 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? [56] And are not 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 hometown and in his own household." [58] And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.
Where then did this man get all these things? It is funny, the people don’t seem to debate that Jesus had wisdom, and was able to do mighty works. But they are incensed that it is one of theirs who grew up with them, who tied his shoes like any other man. They knew his brothers and sisters, his father and mother. And they would not be taught by one so familiar to them. Probably it was insult to injury that it should be one from a family with low standing in the community. Repleat with rumors concerning his mother who had to be shuttled away for safety to her aunt’s house, only to come back with a child a few years later. A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.
Jesus includes his own household as among those who defamed him in town. He was rejected not only by his peers, but by his own family. It is strange, I stumble at texts like this. How could Mary lose faith? But she did. Somewhere along the way, she came to her senses. But even Mary, even Joseph who sacrificed so much to raise Jesus, succumbed to fear of the community to turn their back on Jesus, to doubt his ministry.
And do we have stronger faith? But yet Jesus is faithful to forgive. He is patient to wait. His mightiest work is to bring us to faith.

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