Family

It took courage for Jesus to claim to be Messiah.
It took even more courage for Him to make this claim in His hometown synagogue. There was trouble at home. When don’t know when Joseph died but he is no longer mentioned in the narrative. Mary and her other children seemed to be divided in their opinion of Jesus. There is no doubt that Mary believed in Jesus and everything He said and did. After all, she had been visited by angels. She knew that Joseph was not the father of Jesus; He had been a true miracle child. Some claim that Mary and Joseph never consummated their marriage. The evidence in this passage disputes that. Mary and Joseph had four sons and more than one daughter. We are not given the breakdown of who believed in Him and who did not but it seems Mary was in the minority.

Unbelieving Family
It was all very hard to believe. It is likely that the circumstances surrounding Jesus birth before their marriage was like a dark cloud over the family. Small towns have long memories. Mary’s other children had to live with suspicions and snide remarks their whole lives. Perhaps they thought it would be better when Jesus finally left home. It was not to be. He didn’t leave quietly and fade into obscurity in some other town. No, He was preaching heresy and performing magic tricks all the way to Jerusalem and back. Why didn’t He just go away and stay away?

In the synagogue at Nazareth, the leaders gave Jesus one more chance; they invited Him to speak. As He spoke the inherent authority in His voice, manner, and message was undeniable. People quizzed Him about the miracles rumored to accompany Him everywhere. Was it all true? Either Jesus or someone else assured them it was all true. The people were astonished.

“Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works?”

Obviously they were skeptical. They knew this man! He had always been on the strange side. He never disobeyed His parents. He never got in trouble as a child, unless some other boy lied about Him. He was always respectful and His carpentry work was without peer. Many of them had objects in their homes He had made for them. He had only one fault—He didn’t know His place. All of this notoriety was unseemly for a carpenter’s son.

Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary?
And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas?
And His sisters, are they not all with us?
Where then did this Man get all these things?”

This embarrassed Mary and broke Jesus’ heart. Then it got worse. From Luke we learn that at that time, or perhaps at a similar time, the good people of Nazareth rose up and sought to throw Jesus off a nearby hill. Jesus stopped them with a look, exited through the middle of them and no one dared oppose Him. His conclusion?

“A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.”

The Price of Unbelief
The sick people of Nazareth went to bed that night with no divine touch to relieve their pain. The blind people still could not see,  the deaf ones could not hear, nor did those infested with demons find release. Why? Because these people refused to believe. How foolish. How tragic.

Scripture:
Matthew 13:53-58
Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these parables, that He departed from there. When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
Luke 4:28-30
So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I believe. You said the work of God is to believe. I believe all of your story: born of a virgin, a life without sin, an atoning death, a spectacular resurrection, and Your ascension to the Throne of Heaven. I believe it all. As the angel said to Mary, “with God nothing is impossible.” I believe in Your will for my life. I believe You will be with me throughout the day ahead. I believe. I believe. That makes us family! Amen.

Song:
Only Believe
Traditional

Only believe. Only believe.
All things are possible, only believe.
Only believe. Only believe.
All things are possible, only believe.

Lord, I believe. Lord, I believe.
All things are possible, Lord I believe.
Lord, I believe. Lord, I believe.
All things are possible, Lord I believe.

Jesus is here. Jesus is here.
All things are possible, Jesus is here.
Jesus is here. Jesus is here.
All things are possible, Jesus is here.

Only believe. Only believe.
All things are possible, only believe.
Only believe. Only believe.
All things are possible, only believe.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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