“After the two days he departed for Galilee. (For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.) So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast.” (John 4:43-45 (ESV)
For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his hometown. This little verse causes some controversy. Why is Jesus then returning to his hometown? Why would he then be going back to Galilee if he knew he would not be honored there? I mean Nazareth isn’t too far away. Of Course there he isn’t even well received as he is in Galilee. But for all intents an purposes Galilee may as well be home for him. The people will receive him well there, but honor is a different story.
I think it has to be true. I guess I have a few hometowns. I think generally I would be well received in any of them. I have gone home a few times and if word gets out then friends start coming out of the woodworks. Of course, I have been gone so long, and we have all taken different courses in life that the only thing we really have binding us together anymore are stories of old shenanigans. Not exactly what a “prophet” wants to be known for. You have to wonder with Jesus what those shenanigans might have been. I mean just because he had no sin doesn’t mean he didn’t have a sense of humor. He was human after all. But even without that, I think it would be hard for people. A guy you grew up with is a guy you grew up with. I mean I have a hard time listening to class mates from seminary. It’s gotten easier over the years. Some of them actually have something to say these days. But out of the gate? A mentor of mine, Cwirla, tells me you really shouldn’t write anything for ten years after seminary. I never followed that advice much I guess. But it makes sense. I’m baffled at times by guys who just graduated from seminary trying to fix synod’s problems. I don’t think that most of them even have a clue as to what the problems really are. Most of the time, they don’t write anything original anyway. It is just regurgitation of something they heard from some bitter pastor somewhere. Usually then they become bitter too and the problem perpetuates itself. Then their church closes and they find themselves on CRM and wonder why so few people have pity for them. But even the guys that have something to say after ten years, I look at them and I know them in a way their congregation will not. It is easier to be taken as a prophet of God when one doesn’t know your childhood.
We don’t expect that a prophet of God would have to grow in understanding and learn the same as other children, even if he was extremely gifted at that. You can be well received and not given the honor that is due. Sort of like Calvinists praising Luther. They’ll praise him, but they won’t listen to him. It is empty. It is hollow. It is an insult finally. I respect a Calvinist enough to tell him what I really think of Calvin… there is no empty praise. This is what Christ receives in Galilee for most of his ministry. He is well received, becomes famous as a miracle worker, but few if any want to hear a word he has to say about their need for a savior, about their sinful condition, or what will actually happen to the Messiah.
I’m not always sure a whole lot has changed. People still praise Jesus and listen to nary a word he has to say. Contemporary worship songs are awful at this. I’m not just talking though about Liberals here who want to have Jesus as a great teacher. There is a total disregard for God and his word in the American church today. This is nowhere more apparent than when it comes to the sacraments, and the nature of faith, and the sinful condition of man. I’m told infants can’t believe. True enough but Jesus seems to think they have an easier time accepting faith than adults. He says they do believe in him. I’m told that baptism can’t save despite the clear words of Scripture to the contrary. I’m told that Jesus can’t. I’m going to leave that period there and let you ponder what it might be he can’t. Jesus can’t shouldn’t be two words that form together in the thought of one who believes in Jesus. To believe in him is to believe him when he indicates that he is God. You know God, with whom ALL things are possible. But then Calvinists have actually told me that all never means all. I have to wonder what it does mean then. Because if All meant all then it would also be true that God desires all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of truth. And if we honored Jesus we would believe him when he says that and realize that means us, and that means our children, that means our neighbors and our friends. Jesus loves them and wants them to be saved, and so despite the lack of honor given him by the Galileans he still died for them when he died for you. And he rose again that even you and your little children would have eternal life.