January 11, 2021

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 (Matthew 13:54-57).

Jesus returned to His hometown. It was the Sabbath, so He went to church (Mark 6:1-6). It was customary for Him to speak in the synagogues. Any Jewish male had a right to address the people if called on by the leader of the synagogue. Jesus often availed Himself of the right to teach the people the doctrines of the Kingdom (Matthew 4:23).

Upon hearing Jesus, the people of Nazareth were ‘astonished’ (amazed). They were astounded at how the boy whom they knew as the carpenter’s son years earlier had become the man standing before them. They knew His family and were bewildered at how this poor, plain, uneducated boy carpenter could become a man of such powerful and insightful words concerning the Kingdom of God.

The text says the people were ‘offended’ at Him. This word literally means they ‘stumbled’ at Him, they were ‘repelled’ by Him. They could not get their mind around the fact Jesus was not an ‘average Joe’ like they were. All of this indicates they didn’t believe Him to be anything more than they were. They were too proud to be taught by one whom they believed to be their equal or even inferior to them. People always look with envy on their peers who advance academically, socially, professionally, or economically. 

People are ‘offended’ at Jesus today. They either despise and hate Him, or they simply disregard Him as being of little or no consequence. Their offense is seen in their denial of who He is and what He taught.

Jesus said He is the only way to the Father. People say there are many ways to heaven. Jesus claimed to be deity (I AM, Messiah, Son of Man, etc.). People say He was a great teacher, even a prophet or a lunatic, but not God. Jesus said God loves us and sent Him to save us. People say God is vengeful, angry, and judgmental if He exists at all. Jesus said salvation comes to those who believe and trust in Him. People say salvation comes through good works, high morals, religious ceremonies and rituals. Jesus said our sins condemn us to eternal punishment. People say there is no such thing as sin and there is no such place as hell.

I find it offensive that people can speak and pray in the name of Allah, a Higher Being, a Cosmic Force, a Universal Spiritual Principle, but not in the name of Jesus.

“Father forgive us as a people who have turned away from You and Your Son because we will not believe You to be who You said You are. Forgive us of our hardened hearts and our spiritual blindness so that we may see You and believe in You and be saved. I pray in Your name, Amen.”


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