“and they took offense at him.” v. 3
It’s hard to imagine the Son of God being amazed at anything. But here we see one thing that made him stop and just shake his head in wonder. It’s one thing when people don’t believe. That’s bad enough. But what really got Jesus here was the unbelief of those who seemingly knew him best. Jesus had come to his hometown with his disciples. Apparently his fame had arrived before him. They said, “Where did this man get these things?…How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses….?” And they were offended by him. Here’s the amazing thing to me. They didn’t deny his mighty works or his wisdom. But their familiarity with him caused them to be offended. One would think, they would be proud of this small town boy becoming so great and wise. But instead, they were offended…at what? His fame? His power? The very thing that had masses streaming to his doorstep in other places, caused his hometown to reject him. They say familiarity breeds contempt, perhaps it also creates blindness. Perhaps they were offended that this small town boy from Nazareth didn’t stay small. Sometimes that happens. I love small towns. I’ve lived in them all my life. But sometimes small town living creates small thinking. Everything is small and safe. Everybody is in their place. Life is predictable. Jesus would have been fine if he had just stayed home and run the family business. But his calling led him beyond the boundaries of Nazareth. He broke out of the constraints of normalcy and became bigger than life. He busted the curve, shattered the status quo. Suddenly this good ole boy from Nazareth was challenging everyone’s limited expectations and forcing them to look beyond the borders of their comfortable lives. They were offended, not at his power and teachings, but at what he had become. In response, Jesus summed up the matter pretty well. “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” It’s sad when we become so familiar with Jesus today that we no longer believe. We’re often like the people of Nazareth. We’ve read the stories of Jesus, spent our lives in church forming our doctrinal expectations of him and telling ourselves what he will and will not do. By the time we reach adulthood, many believers no longer believe their beliefs. We have become so familiar with Jesus that, like the people of Nazareth, we no longer know him. We get used to our small town Jesus who goes with us to Sunday school. But when he starts calling us beyond ourselves we become offended. “Isn’t this the Jesus who sat with me in Sunday school? What is all this talk of self-sacrifice and walking in the Spirit? Isn’t he that guy the preacher talks about, who loves us like we are and wants us happy? who is this guy claiming to be our king?” and we are offended at him. While the masses are seeking him in hospital rooms and hotel rooms, his church going family is refusing to believe. We want a nice safe, small town Jesus, who keeps his place while we live however we want. As in Nazareth, he can do no mighty work there, and he marvels at our unbelief. Have you and I become too familiar with the Nazarene? Have our religious expectations caused us to be offended by him? Or will we seek to rediscover this Jesus and embrace him for the savior and king he really is?