he Rejection of Jesus at Nazareth
He left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Then Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.” And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief.
There’s the old saying that someone can miss seeing the forest for the trees. One gets zeroed in on a single detail and misses the bigger picture. We’re all guilty of that at times…the people here in Nazareth seem to get lost in some of that themselves. Jesus returns to his hometown and finds that the adage of “you can’t go home again” is very true. Maybe its that they remember Jesus from when he was a kid (see Rich Mullins’ song “Boy Like Me, Man Like You” or read the book “Lamb” for some reflections upon this) or there’s something with Jesus’ family, but for some reason, they take offense, cannot take him seriously, something like that. And Jesus was rejected by them – they don’t seem to push him out of town like some of the other stories, but Jesus cannot seem to stay there.
This felt a bit like the detail in this picture – there’s one part of the detail that is in perfect focus, but its one tiny detail. What is missed is the larger picture of what is around – that this is the middle of a train track, that there’s beauty all around the area, and so forth. The people here in Nazareth could not see beyond what they already knew about Jesus and his family to see the person that Jesus had become and what he was teaching. How do we become similarly blinded?