“Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown.” (vs.24)
The people of Nazareth are good God-fearing souls. But they’ve known Jesus since he was born. It’s hard for them to think of him as anybody special. Hometown people are often like that, unable to see the full stature of those they’ve rubbed elbows with over the years.
If we’re honest, we can think of lots of times when we have done the same. Our own children, our friends, especially the ones from long ago, notorious public figures – we think we have them pegged. And the thing is, any new information we receive about them gets filtered through the lens of who we already believe them to be. We interpret their actions and what they say according to how we understand them. They literally cannot surprise us.
The people of Nazareth are amazed at Jesus’ gracious words. He’s Joseph’s son, the carpenter’s boy – nothing special. And so they miss his point. How could this boy, this fellow they watched grow up, be the fulfillment of scripture, the hope of all the people? Wouldn’t they have known it as they watched him mature? Wouldn’t they have seen some indication? He cannot tell them a fresh story. They cannot hear it.
For us Christians, Jesus is the hometown boy. Many of us have heard what is written about him all our lives, and we think we know him. We filter everything in the gospels through the lens of who we already believe him to be. If something doesn’t fit our understanding, we tend to want to throw it out. He cannot tell us a fresh story. He cannot surprise us.
And yet, he is the hope of the people, the Messiah,. He is what God looks like when God walks around on the planet in human form.
God who opens hearts with the wind of revelation, help us to hear the story of Jesus afresh, so that it may change us and make us wholly yours. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
Laurie Gudim is a religious iconographer and liturgical artist, a writer and lay preacher living in Fort Collins, CO. She will soon manage a website for the Diocese of Colorado highlighting congregations’ creative ministries.