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Monday, May 11, 2015

Today’s Reading | Matthew 13:53–58

When Jesus had finished these parables, he left that place.

He came to his hometown and began to teach the people in their synagogue, so that they were astounded and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these deeds of power? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all this?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor except in their own country and in their own house.” And he did not do many deeds of power there, because of their unbelief. (NRSV)

Reflection
It should have been a joyous homecoming. Jesus, the hometown hero of Nazareth, returned after flourishing as a teacher and healer outside of Galilee. The question, Can anything good come out of Nazareth? (John 1:46), had been answered. Surely the people would be thrilled to have their native son return home! However, when they heard him speak, they took offense at him. How are we to understand this reaction? And what can it possibly tell us about our lives?

The Nazarenes appear stuck in time or, perhaps more accurately, stuck with their previous experience with Jesus. The questions they ask firmly root them in the past: Wasn’t this the carpenter’s son, the child of Mary? Don’t we know his brothers and sisters, all of whom aren’t that remarkable? Why is Jesus any different? They responded to the Jesus who was, rather than the Jesus who is.

It is a challenge to all of us, particularly those of us who have grown up in church our whole lives. Are we responding to the Jesus who was rather than the Jesus who is? Do we allow our previous experiences and understandings of Jesus to dictate our beliefs in the present, or are we continually devoted to hearing Jesus anew?

Prayer
Challenge me, God, to not try to capture your Word but to experience the fullness of your living Word. Allow my experiences with the risen Christ to startle me and push me into fresh understandings of your love and grace. Amen.

Written by Matt Helms, Minister for Children and Families

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