Thursday, February 15, 2024

Dishonoring the Prophet You Know

Suggested Reading: Mark 6:1-6

Not long after Jesus began his ministry, when he he had already been preaching and doing miracles for a while, he visited his hometown and began teaching and ministering there as well. But unlike the other towns where he had ministered, where people had flocked to him and pressed in to be around him, they scoffed, "He's just a carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us." 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 relatives and his own family" (Mark 6:3-4, NLT). The passage goes on to tell us that Jesus didn't perform many miracles there because they refused to believe.

Jesus experienced the truth of that old proverb, "Familiarity breeds contempt." You see, the people in Jesus' hometown had watched Jesus grow up. They had seen him playing with the other boys in the village and gone through the annual religious festivals with him. Many of them had probably been in the group traveling back from Jerusalem when Jesus, as a twelve year old boy, had stayed behind in Jerusalem and frightened his parents to death. They knew Jesus. So well, in fact, that they thought they could dismiss him. They could rationalize away his miracles with thoughts like, Well, he grew up just like I did so there can't be anything that special about him. And because, in their familiarity, they dismissed the messenger, they ended up dismissing the message and missing out on miracles Jesus wanted to do among them.

Unfortunately, we do the same thing far too often with people God sends to us with a word of truth for our lives. God sends a friend to tell us we need to choose a different attitude and, rather than evaluating the truth of the statement, we think of all the times our friend has been less than perfect and dismiss the message. Or, maybe, God sends your spouse, or your pastor is a family member, and you don't like what they have to say so you listen to them like a family member you disagree with rather than hearing the word from God that was spoken through them. Maybe, your parents or your children (never!) share a word with you and you judge the message based on your relationship with them instead of heeding the wisdom of their words. If people could dismiss the Son of God because they were familiar with him, why would we be immune to doing the same thing with some of the imperfect messengers God sends our way?

Is there a message God has been trying to communicate to you through someone you know well, maybe someone who knows you well enough to see details of your life that you sometimes miss? Try evaluating the message instead of dismissing the messenger because you are familiar with them or because you don't always get along with them. After all, is it more likely God would send you a stranger or someone who cares about you and is already in you life?

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