Lesson 4 -- second quarter 2003
March 23, 2003
© Copyright 2003, Christian Light Publications
A national politician who achieves sufficient power, prestige, and prominence is often considered a "favorite son" in his own state. The people of that state (at least those of the same political party) tend to be extra proud of him . . . and proud of themselves for being from the same state as he. Should that politician decide to run for the Presidency, it is naturally assumed that he will easily win in his own state where he has the stature of the favorite son candidate.
Alas, matters didn't work that way for Jesus. He should have been Nazareth's favorite son. His power, authority, and teaching should have persuaded the people of Nazareth to welcome Him home proudly and joyously. Instead He was just a hometown boy with no significant pedigree and of suspect origins. Apparently no one remembered any reason to think highly of Him; it seems His childhood, youth, and early adulthood there were humdrum and ordinary.
This Jesus was too familiar to them. Instead of being impressed and awestruck, they were offended and dismissive. Instead of giving Him recognition and acceptance, they despised and rejected Him. Where faith should have been born, it died. As a result, they received and learned little from Him. And with that they must have been satisfied.
Could it be that we also are too familiar with Jesus?
Take me, for instance. I have heard about Him all my life. I have followed Him a substantial portion of my days. I am well-acquainted with His Word. For years I have experienced His ways and wisdom. Has all that familiarity served to deepen my relationship with Him, or has it merely made me immune to awe and joy in His presence? Is He able to do in my life what I know He has done in the lives of others, or is my familiarity with Him such that I really don't expect that kind of working in my own life? After all, He is the same Jesus I've known all along -- why should I expect anything different from Him at this stage? Has reading His Word become as dry, uninspiring, unmotivating , and predictable as that book I've already read nine times?
Think about it, my friend. Perhaps, just perhaps, we don't have much over the people of Nazareth after all!
How well do you know Jesus?
The people of Nazareth knew Jesus quite well. They knew His mother. They surely knew His father ("supposed father," they might have whispered). They knew His siblings, some of whom lived there yet. The town probably had a few former playmates, teachers, and baby sitters. They likely knew His skill as a worker of wood and may well have owned some useful evidences of that skill. The townsfolk must have known some of His favorite foods and activities. Oh yes, they knew they knew Him well!
As it turned out, what they knew about Him didn't matter in the long run . . . because they didn't know and accept what did matter in the long run. They didn't know the Source of His wisdom, teaching, and might. They didn't know His calling and mission. They didn't know Him as Lord and certainly not as Messiah.
Before we get too far finding fault with them and before we wag our head too much at them, we must consider honestly the depth of our own knowledge. Do we only know about Him instead of knowing Him? (Do you know Him no better than you know me?) If our knowledge of Him doesn't lead us to an expanding relationship with Him, our knowledge has done us little good.
May God move us to desire Jesus as we have never desired Him yet. May the cry of our hearts be, "I want to know You, Lord!"
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