Faith of Jesus Daily Devotional - Day 58
Matthew:13:53-58 A Prophet Without Honor
Previous Context: devotion:Matthew:13:47-52 The Parable of the Net
What is God doing?
"When he was come into his own country"
Nazareth is Jesus' own country. He is known as "the Nazarene"; a fulfillment of prophecy. kjv@Mark:6:1-2 and kjv@Luke:4:16-30 place this event as earlier on in the ministry it seems, which is not a contradiction if we are to look at the arrangement of these testimonies as thematic more than chronological. Jesus was also likely there in the town multiple times, but these three descriptions appear too similar to separate. It is a very interesting study to place these various details side by side.
"He taught them in their synagogue"
You can imagine the bustle, this is the center of of Jewish community life and this is a man that since the last time they saw Him has drawn quite a bit of attention. It is in obedience to the Father that He does so. Luke records this as the time that Jesus opened up the scroll to kjv@Isaiah:61:1-3 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me", finished half the reading then closed the scroll saying "this day scripture is fulfilled in your ears". HE also recounted the prophets that were sent elsewhere but not to there homeland. He was also whisked by the people to the brow of their hill where He would have been cast down headlong had not the Father/Spirit (else perhaps angels) stepped in.
"He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief"
We have to be careful with this phrase else one might think that the interchange between the Fathers' attestation and Jesus' obedience is failing. To put it another way, one might think that unbelief can block/stop something miraculous from happening. The best explanation however is that the Father is not telling Jesus to do anything but to teach, that this is to draw attention to the sentiment of the local folk where Jesus grew up.
What is man doing?
"They were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works"?
There can be no denying the uncommon wisdom and never before seen unexplainable works of Jesus by anyone. Luke put it also as "gracious" words. One does not however have to deny these things in order to deny that Jesus is the anointed Christ; there seems to be no legitimate barrier to doing that. One simply has to tie the person down to something more common and familiar such as the carpenter's son or Mary or His well known half siblings. It in no way attempts to explain the mighty things being done, but throws a blanket of suspicion over them. "Whence then hath this man all these things"?
"They were offended in him"
Instead of having to explain these things it is easier just to be offended by them. Seems like forever they have been waiting for these very things to come; for so long they and the generations before have prayed to God that this day would come. But now that this day and these things are come they suddenly are so wanting of them to remain. Many a Jew is still looking for these things and this person centuries latter, even though the time tables have long passed and nothing other miraculous or prophetic has come to pass. The offense taken of Jesus is nothing more than the inability to explain these things fully any other way, it is the response of a feral cat boxed into a corner. The offense is having been proven that they really didn't know God the Father as they think that they do. It is a hard pill for anyone to swallow.
What does this passage tell us about the about the commands and faith of Jesus that saints are to keep/guard?
"A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house"
The church/synagogue/temple is God's own house and yet it is there that the housekeepers are most offended. The nation of Israel, the lands of Canaan near the mount of Zion are His own country yet He is not allowed to step there for fear of what His presence might stir. There are many elsewhere that look on and while they may not fully understand it they look upon it at least with as sense of wonder and due honor.
Offense is natural. On kjv@John:16 Jesus famously warns his disciples of the frequent abuse that they will suffer typically at the hands of those that believe that what they are inflicting best serves God's purposes. His words proved prophetical for those saints and others, many were severed from their synagogues and livelihoods, some even martyred.
There is a nominal form of Christianity in the majority today that has become this instigator of trouble to us. In their effort to homogenize the gospel message down to something less offensive to people of other persuasions, they make us scape goats for all that they feel is wrong with religion. We are the object to which they are offended. We are the object which they are rushing off to the edge of town to rid themselves of such offense.
For the man that has crucified himself at the cross and picked up a new life of regeneration in the light of Christ none of this should come as any surprise and it really should not matter. So we have been warned and so we should not stumble. The Spirit has now come to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment; this is how they are bound to react. So too has it been sent to guide us into all truth, to glorify Jesus and take what is Jesus' and declare it unto us. Just as it was then so is it now and so it will happen; regardless of their disbelief.
Next: devotion:Matthew:14:1-12 John the Baptist Beheaded