October 10, 2021
Scripture: And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief. Matthew 13:57-58 ESV
Observation: This seemingly disjointed addendum to Matthew’s arrangement of seven parables is a bookend to his note at the end of the previous chapter. Preceding these parables, Matthew tells us that Jesus’ family stood outside the house where he was speaking to a crowd and asked to talk to him. Mark’s Gospel provides more detail: his family was concerned about whether Jesus was in his right mind (3:21). Here, the residents of Jesus hometown (Nazareth) reject Jesus’ teachings even though they had recognized that he possessed wisdom and had performed mighty works (verse 54). Because he had grown up in their midst as the son of a simple carpenter, they could not imagine that he would be Yahweh’s chosen Prophet.
Takeaway: Familiarity breeds contempt. We must be careful not to dismiss or judge others’ kingdom work based on their backstory or resumé. Throughout biblical and church history, God has worked through some of the most unlikely servants to accomplish great things. Gladys Aylward comes to my mind. A housemaid who was slow in learning Mandarin, she was turned away by multiple mission organizations. Undeterred, in 1932, she funded her way to China. Through her humble and winsome personality and tireless efforts to proclaim the Gospel and bring about reform in the name of Christ, she led the way to orphan and prison reform and the elimination of grotesque footbinding of young girls.
Discernment of a calling by other believers has its place, but let’s be careful to look to the heart and not judge by worldly standards.
Prayer: Father God, thank you that you equip the called, that in your economy, the heart triumphs over resumés. Help us not to sell ourselves or others short based on worldly standards. Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling
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