Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor.” And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith. –Matthew 13:54-58
The people of Nazareth had a difficult time believing that Jesus was really the big shot prophet He claimed to be. It’s interesting to speculate about what the people may have been saying:
“Isn’t that Joe the Carpenter’s kid?”
“Yeah. What’s with the entourage? Who does he think he is?”
“His mom was allegedly a virgin when he was conceived. Lying slut.”
“Well, Joe apparently believes her. Then again, carpenters aren’t necessarily notorious for their enlightened brilliance…”
“I went to school with him. He was always hanging out in the corner talking to himself. Such a friggin’ weirdo!”
All of us have a reputation that precedes us. Sometimes it’s deserved, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes you can put everything you have into changing people’s perception of you, and it seems that no matter what you do, people will always see you however they want to. In my case, I have a history of being perceived as a hyperactive defiant pottymouth drunkass weirdo that could seriously benefit from about a month long soak in the bathtub. And truthfully, I’m undeniably guilty of doing (or not doing) things that validate those beliefs. At the same time, I am making strides to change that image people have of me.
I find myself regularly feeling frustrated that all of my efforts to become a “socially acceptable” person are in vain, especially when it comes to people who have known me awhile. It gets overwhelming at times, coming to the realization that certain people will never see me as anything more than the world-class reject I just described.
It’s interesting how the author chose the words “amazed” and “astonished” to describe the people’s reaction to Jesus’s visit. Scott and I have been intrigued by it lately. While most folks read them as the crowd saying, “Dude, that’s awesome!” we’ve concluded that it’s more likely that it was more of an indignant disgust, particularly in this passage. Kinda like how you talk about the overwhelmed parents whose kids won’t stop running around in the church sanctuary
What’s more incredible to me is Jesus’s response. He realizes that these people’s heads are so far up their asses that He could turn himself into a unicorn and they wouldn’t notice. And He shrugs it off and moves on. He doesn’t go out of His way to try to prove to them how wonderful He is–they’re not gonna care no matter what he does. But it’s okay, because He knows that He’s the Son of God. They can say whatever they want…it doesn’t change a thing.
This passage encourages me to quit focusing my energy on the way I’m perceived and refocus on becoming the great person I know I can be. And if they don’t notice, who the hell cares? I know where their nose has been anyway; we don’t have common interests…