SEED SCATTERED AT HOME
Loving Lord, may your grace bolden and empower me, deepen and expand me, for all you have for me today.
Read Matthew 13:53–58
A Prophet Without Honor
53 When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. 54 Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. 55 “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56 Aren’t 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 own town and in his own home.”
58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Open the ears of my heart today to hear what the Spirit is saying.
Having illustrated the kingdom of heaven in many ways, Matthew continues by presenting how the truth of the gospel message is received by different groups and individuals. First, we consider Jesus’ hometown. Having been ministering in and around Capernaum, Jesus goes home to Nazareth – thought to be a small town of no more than five hundred people. It’s unsurprising that people know of his heritage and have an opinion to share. William Barclay notes, ‘The hardest place for a preacher to preach is the church where he was a boy.’1 I agree, as I’m sure many of you will too.
The initial wonder at the wisdom and miraculous nature of this rabbi is soon replaced by skepticism, in light of his parentage. Mary is mentioned, whereas Joseph is simply referred to as ‘the carpenter’ (v 55). Those listening seem paralyzed by the knowledge that the speaker among them had not had a rabbi’s upbringing and education. I’m sure that many of you reading can relate with me on how communicating in a familiar context affords challenges that going away from home removes. The soil upon which the seed is scattered seems infertile in Nazareth and we here observe a small sketch of the bigger picture. As John records, ‘He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.’2
Finally, there is comfort to be found here for the prophet – one who speaks the words of God. Offense taken by a message delivered should not naturally draw one to conclude that what was said is off track. Rather, it could well be a firm indication to the contrary. May God grant wisdom to ensure that any offense triggered is through the gospel itself and not something about the messenger.3
‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’4 Lord, grant us raw faith coupled with a craving for more.
Father, inspire me with fresh insight and a new vision of you. I battle a divided loyalty and a waning trust.
1 William Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol 2, second edition, St Andrew Press, 1975, p102 2 John 1:11 3 Tom Wright, 2002, p181 4 Mark 9:24
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