Monday, April 10, 2017

Morning Moments with God: Day 61

                                   Image result for Book of Matthew

Day 61: Jesus faces Rejection

Please read the Bible verse for today:
Matthew 13: 53-57

A Prophet Without Honor

53 When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there.54 Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. (Matthew 13:53-54)
The first thought I have is, in Matthew 12:46-49 we read that Mary, Jesus' mother, and brothers had traveled thirty or so miles to see Jesus and bring Him home, but how Jesus did not go with them. Jesus said, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers? Pointing to his disciples, he said, "here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother." (Matthew 12:48-49) In Morning Moments with God: Day 55, we talked about how Jesus' family wanted to take Him back home because they thought Jesus was out of His mind and how Jesus did not go with them, but it is interesting that as soon as Jesus was done preaching, however many hours or days later, "...he moved on from there" (Matthew 13:53a) and went to His hometown. Jesus knew the heart and motive of His own family and that of His hometown, but He went to them anyway and preached. For me, I find that I run from confrontation or any situation where I think I will be rejected. Personally, as Ellen, I would not have visited my hometown. I know it would be too hard to be rejected, and misunderstood and I would have avoided it completely. But not Jesus. Jesus willingly went home. Jesus knew the rejection and ridicule He would receive, even from His own family, and He went. That's Jesus. He loves the people more than His own self. He went to preach in their synagogues. He went to give them a chance.

The second thought I had in reading Matthew 13:53-54 is that, it says, "...he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. (Matthew 13:54) THEY WERE AMAZED. I'm not sure who wouldn't be amazed at Jesus' preaching, but it clearly tells us that the people in Jesus' hometown were amazed. That's a great thing- it's not that they disagreed, or hated His message. They were amazed. I take that as, "Wow! Here is the Jesus we know- the son of Mary who grew up down the block from us, the kid who is the carpenter's son- wow! Boy! does He know the Scriptures or what?! This guy is amazing!" I would think that if you heard someone preaching the Word of God and you thought He was amazing you would be proud of Him, accept Him, but we find in the next few verses something completely opposite happens.

 “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. 55 “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56 Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57 And they took offense at him. (Matthew 13:55-57) The shocker. The kicker is verse 57, "And they took offense at him." WHAT???!!! They were offended. Offended that He preached the Word of God and was amazing. Ridiculous. Sad. Horrible, but all true. They were possibly jealous, and envious, that He knew the Word of God better than they did. They thought nothing of Him when He was young and wanted to keep that opinion of Him. But it's curious to me that Jesus coming back to His hometown and preaching an amazing sermon wasn't more of a confirmation than confusion to them. They watched Him grow up- SINLESS. They watched Him in His kindness, gentleness, and a loving manner to all and they didn't see how this perfect little boy grew up to be an amazing preacher? It's amazing how we reject the obvious in our own lives.
But Jesus said to them, A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.”
58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

The saddest part of all is that because they didn't believe, they didn't receive the miracles that God had for them. I have to think about my own life. The times I haven't believed and how my lack of faith is related to waiting for the healing or the miracle. Faith and miracles are connected, BUT I will say that there have been plenty of times where I haven't had faith and God chose to bless me anyway. So, how am I different than the people in Jesus' hometown? I believe Jesus is the Son of God- they didn't. I believe Jesus can perform any miracle because He is the God of the universe. So, how do I lack faith? I struggle with believing I am worthy of His touch and Jesus being Jesus- Amazing- will touch my life and show me His love anyhow. That allows me to grow in my faith and trust Him more. Jesus is gentle-only believe.

Pray with me:
Jesus, it is so hard to see you rejected. Thank you for showing us that it is okay to be rejected by our family, neighbors and friends for your name sake. As God the Father was with you, you will be with us. Help me, Jesus, to face the trials of rejection and not run from them. Help me know that I am accepted by you even if everyone I know should reject me. Heal my heart from the years of rejection and abandonment. I love you, Jesus and want to be strong in heart. In Jesus' Name, Amen. 

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