Scripture: Matthew 13:53-58
Key verse: (57) “Prophets are not without honor except in their own country and in their own house.”
Reflection: It’s hard to imagine that Jesus wouldn’t receive a hometown hero’s welcome. Actually, he probably did, because he was offered an invitation to teach at the synagogue. But, when those who knew him best heard him teach they weren’t prepared to receive what he had to say. I suspect they were too busy trying to understand how someone like Jesus – an average man – could know much about anything except the carpentry trade. From their point of view, he was just another kid in Joseph and Mary’s family – not one of the great teachers and prophets of Israel. Because of their unbelief, he was unable to do much in Nazareth.
Sometimes you have to get out of the familiar places – like your hometown – in order for your message to be heard. Our history in a place can get in the way. Here in the Gospel of Matthew, the people reject Jesus because they were unwilling to see what God was doing through him. But, before we are too critical of these people, we might want to examine ourselves. Have there been times when our preconceived notions about a person have prevented us from hearing an important message? What might happen if we stopped long enough to listen to the prophets in our own backyard?
During this pandemic and now the riots happening in our cities, we are hearing a lot of voices. We are also under stress in our everyday lives. What are you listening to and where have you felt challenged? What has made you uncomfortable and how is your faith informing you?
Prayer: Gracious God, forgive our unbelief. There are times when we stop listening because we have already made up our mind about someone. Give us a more open spirit to hear the ways you might be speaking through another – even when it might be a neighbor or relative. Help us to affirm how you take the ordinary and do something extraordinary. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].