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.
READ: On the wings of a successful mission to other towns and villages, Jesus returned to His own country to touch base with His roots. Instead of a friendly welcome, His townsfolk took offense and would not believe. This hindered Jesus’ capacity to repeat the wonderful things He did to other places.
REFLECT: Not all is well in the mission of Jesus. He has His own share of setbacks and failures. What is more galling about His failures is that they came from His very own townsfolk, His fellow Israelites, the religious and intellectual classes, and even some of His disciples. They may seem to be failures but they are not from a broader perspective. They showed us that Jesus’ humanity is not an afterthought or a forced addition to His being. He is fully human as well as fully divine, and this wonderful humanity with its limits and frailty shines through in His experiences of failures and defeats. This made His sacrifices on our behalf all the more awesome and wonderful to believe. A God who consented to be limited by a nature is worth believing because He invested so much for what He did.
RESPOND: There are moments when I am asked to invest more than the usual token actions and words of piety for what I believed in. I am called to be inconvenienced by the truth that I profess. So when was the last time I really walked the extra mile for my faith? Perhaps this is a good day to put substance to my belief and do something that is more than the usual for it.
PRAY: Lord, inconvenience me from time to time so that I may remain awake to the truth that my faith is a gift and a task. Amen.
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