Leaving that place, Jesus returned to his own country, and his disciples followed him. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and most of those who heard him were astonished. But they said,
How did this come to him? What kind of wisdom has been given to him, that he also performs such miracles? Who is he but the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here among us?
So they took offense at him.
And Jesus said to them,
Prophets are despised only in their own country, among their relatives, and in their own family.
And he could work no miracles there, but only healed a few sick people, by laying his hands on them. Jesus himself was astounded at their unbelief. Jesus then went around the villages, teaching.
When people are successful in their chosen endeavor and become known for their expertise, it is quite normal that the first ones they would like to benefit from their expertise would be their own family, relatives, and townspeople. Jesus perhaps had this in mind when he returned to his hometown and began teaching in the synagogue. Yet, what is confounding is the reaction of people who heard and witnessed his wisdom and power. They saw, yet they did not believe. They could not believe his transformation from an ordinary boy who grew up before their eyes to someone exuding with wisdom and power. They did not doubt his power, but they rejected it anyway. It is very easy to reject God’s work because it does not come according to our expectations, and because our vision can be clouded by prejudice and preconceptions. Rejection can be communicated in many ways: by ignoring the person, by doubting the person’s capacities, by giving negative and unhelpful criticisms, or by simply being distrustful of the person. God is inviting us to approach every person and every experience with a discerning attitude, looking beyond the surface and to the heart of what God is doing.
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