Tuesday, June 30th. Mark 6:2-3

On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Mark 6:2-3

They used to call it “acting too big for your britches.” When someone used that line in describing someone else, it was always with a note of sarcasm, a criticism of someone who was puffed up with pride and pretending to be someone or something he wasn’t.

Or maybe those words were just about the jealousy and resentment in the criticizer.

The folks in Jesus’ weren’t prepared to hear what the Jesus who had become a man would see, or what the little boy they once knew could do. Jesus wasn’t the same anymore. There was authority and wonder about him. He had changed.

They had not changed.

They didn’t realized they had not changed until Jesus came into their midst. If the place and the people of Jesus’ hometown were his touchstone, then to the people of that place he had become a lightning rod. A dazzling shock of light, revealing what was true but otherwise unseen, casually ignored.

Mark writes that they took offense at him. Luke, in telling the same story, said that they were ready to take Jesus to the edge of town and throw him to his death off of Blind Man’s Bluff. For them, a hometown boy ought to know his place and his place was not at the front of the synagogue. They rejected the messenger and thereby missed the message.

I wonder how often we do that? I know we do it in the political world. When an elected official of a party other than the one we align with talks, we close our ears, harden our hearts and refuse to hear. We reject the messenger and thereby miss the potential truth, at least specks of truth, in the message.

We do it in our emotional lives. Someone might come to us in a spirit of care and concern, but if we sense the challenge they might be carrying, we reject the messenger and thereby miss the truth of the message.

And, the truth is, we still do the same thing to Jesus. We watch and listen to the stories of his ministry. We like words of comfort and peace but when he challenges our ungodly ways of thinking and acting – which is often mediated to us through the voice of another – we reject that voice, reject the messenger, and thereby miss the message.

But when our hearts and minds are open, when we aren’t thrown off by the challenge, maybe God has a thing or two to teach us along the way.

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, you were rejected in your hometown, rejected by the same people who were there as you grew up. Rejected both because of the person you had become and the words you had to say. We pray that, by the power of the Spirit in our lives, you might keep us open to your words and your ways, that we not be numbered among those who reject you still. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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