But I grew up with this guy...

Jesus grew up in Nazareth and in the book of Mark chapter six, we find him visiting his hometown. Like any good Jew, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath and he immediately assumed the role of Rabbi and started teaching, even though many in the same room would only have known him as a simple tradesman.

No wonder they asked, ‘Where did this man get these things? What is this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?’ (Mark 6: 2-3)

We are then told these chilling words, ‘and they took offence at him’.

In other words, Jesus is just a guy like us. Who does he think he is?

The town who had helped raise Jesus in the first 30 years of his life failed to recognise who he really was, and his words and actions were an affront to them.

Mark then tells us that Jesus was amazed at their lack of faith (Mark 6: 6). It takes a lot for the Son of God to be amazed at anything. How sad that it was precipitated by unbelief - by those who, perhaps, should have known him.

On another occasion, Jesus was amazed by a person who did express faith - a Roman centurion. The commander of soldiers, whose servant had recently become paralyzed, simply declared to Jesus, ‘all you need do, Jesus, is speak the word and my servant will be healed, just like ordering obedient soldiers into action’ (Matt 8: 8 – 9, my paraphrase).

Obviously, the centurion hadn’t grown up with Jesus! Because if he had, perhaps he might have grown so familiar with him as to become blind to who he was.

The trouble is, when someone has been in our life for a long time, we think we know them. More often than not, we have just become used to them being around. If that can happen with Jesus, how much more might we make inaccurate judgments about others - about that work colleague we have known since the beginning, my brother, my sister, or that person I hung out with at school.

God is in the business of surprises. I believe he loves to show us his creative power and, in particular, He loves to show us what he can do in and through a human being whose heart is after him. Especially those we might have given up on. Even those who may have let us down. Let us not limit God by the poor imagination that comes with familiarity.

You might have known that person for a long time, but God may well have some new and wonderful plans for them. You may think you have an accurate picture of him/her, but only God knows their true potential.

The Best is Yet to Come. God bless – Terry

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