He returned to Nazareth, his hometown. When he taught there in the synagogue, everyone was amazed and said, “Where does he get this wisdom and the power to do miracles?” Then they scoffed, “He’s just the carpenter’s son, and we know Mary, his mother, and his brothers—James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. All his sisters live right here among us. Where did he learn all these things?” And they were deeply offended and refused to believe in him.
Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his own family.” And so he did only a few miracles there because of their unbelief.
“Familiarity breeds contempt” is a commonly used expression in the States. It means that when we know someone, we tend to take them for granted and even treat them disrespectfully. This is one reason that it can be challenging to get along with the people that live with us (family, roommates, etc).
As I have mentioned before, most people here have some idea of who Jesus is. They’ve heard stories about Him and have probably even heard messages about His life. I’m thankful, of course, that most Filipinos know of Jesus’ importance. The problem, however, is that religious environments can actually create apathy and misunderstanding.
Let’s consider what happened to Jesus in His own hometown. He preached to those who had seen Him grow up. They thought they knew Jesus, so they did not accept Him as the Christ. He was simply a local carpenter to them—a fixture of everyday life. Unfortunately, this same attitude is prevalent now. For many people, Jesus is just a figurine on a dashboard, a parade decoration, or someone to greet on Sunday. Many are simply not interested in allowing Him to have the role of Lord and Savior in daily life. Is Jesus just a religious “fixture” in the background of your life? Do you know Him or just know about Him?
It seems the people of Nazareth believed that the Messiah should come from a mysterious or wealthy family background. Here’s the problem with their belief: it is not found in Scripture. Once again, I still see the same problem on a daily basis. People believe religious traditions or bizarre theories (such as the Da Vinci Code) instead of reading God’s word. Have you studied the Bible so that you can know the truth about Jesus?
There’s another interesting twist to this story. In verse 55, we see references to Jesus’ mother and brothers. This was a derogatory statement, since Jewish people normally referred to someone by their father’s name (even in the case of a widowed mother). Jesus Himself was amazed at their contempt and unbelief.
The people in Jesus’ hometown should have been the first to believe in Him. Instead, they only experienced a few miracles because of their unbelief. Most importantly, they missed the miracle of truly knowing Him. Let’s not be guilty of the sin of Nazareth. Familiarity may breed contempt, but true intimacy with the Lord Jesus will produce just the opposite. Don’t miss the miracle!
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