For many of us, home comes in various shades and lights. Home may be a simple farm in an open field, or an urban city block where kids play handball. Whether or not your home was in the field or the city, home should be a place of joy and rest. Sadly however, this is not the case for everyone. Home can sometimes be one of the most frightening places to be and this is certainly due to sin. Sin in its various shades and forms turns the right place into the worst.
When Jesus came to His hometown of Nazareth, there should have been a celebration. Nazareth’s own native son had become the second prophet in over 400 years. Their homegrown Beloved is speaking in a way no one ever has, doing things that have only ever been seen in the pages of Scripture. What should have happened is that Christ’s message should have been so well received by those who claimed to know Him best. And yet, in a stroke of tragic irony, sin turned the right place into the worst place. The very town in which Jesus was raised, the very synagogue in which He had been instructed, rejected Him. In these villagers, we find astonishment, but it is void of adoration (Matthew 13:57).
The villagers said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works?” (Matt. 13:54 ESV) This first question of theirs betrays that their heart was not in the right place. They knew that Jesus had received no formal rabbinic training. In their minds, He was just a blue-collar worker. In addition, they knew His family. Which is why they said, “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And are not His brother James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?” (Matthew 13:55 ESV) What was the real issue? Why were they so suspect of the words of the Lord Jesus?
Jesus did not fit their framework. Jesus did not look like a prophet to them. They saw nothing special about Him (cf. Isaiah 53:2). Perhaps they thought that He should have simply kept His head down, His mouth shut, and used His hands to take care of His family. The real problem however was that they did not know Jesus. They may have known many stories about Him, but not known Him themselves. In the end, what we find is such a knowledge is useless. Christ must not simply remain one savior amongst many or one God amongst many. May it never be!
Christ must become our savior and our God. Christ did not have to change Himself and His teaching to suit their understanding, their understanding had to change in light of Jesus Christ. Sadly, these people continued in their sin and rather than look to Jesus they found excuses and hid behind them, looking everywhere but to the face of Christ.
Can you imagine both the pain and frustration Jesus must have gone through? They very place that He had called home for most of His life was treating Him worse than many of the other “godless” villages He had been to. At home, where He should have been most welcome and celebrated, He was most rejected. Matthew has included this passage for at least two reasons: 1) For those who are faithful to the gospel, to know that rejection may come from the most unlikely of places (including home), 2) Even Nazareth was not safe from the justice of God.
Touching on that last point, this passage teaches us that no one and no place is above the Law of God and His requirements. It doesn’t matter if your grandmother baby-sat Jesus, unless you yourself come to Christ and repent an believe in Him your fate will be no different. Nazareth had poured upon herself the wrath of God in her denial of Jesus and His Gospel. Jesus is not like other individuals. He is “the image of the invisible God…in Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” (Col. 1:15; 2:9 ESV) Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, the second person of the Trinity. His words have a unique authority over all men. Nazareth failed to grasp the reality of His identity and so linked arms with both Sodom and Gomorrah in becoming the recipients of God’s inevitable justice. Let us learn from their foolishness and heed the words of God the Father Himself unto us from Matt. 17:5, “‘This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him.” (ESV)
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