“They knew Jesus when he was a kid. They just said, ‘Hi Jesus,’ but they didn’t know he was God,” says Stacey, 6.
It’s hard to talk with people who have known you for a long time, especially about spiritual matters. They think they know you. In most cases, they’re right, but not with Jesus.
When Jesus taught in his hometown synagogue at Nazareth, those in attendance said, “Where did this Man get these things?” (Mark 6:2). The Bible says they were both astonished and offended. They saw Jesus heal people, but they couldn’t get past the fact that they knew his mother, brothers and sisters. After all, Jesus was only a carpenter. He didn’t have the proper academic or religious credentials.
Be careful about despising the ordinary. Remember how God spoke to Moses for the first time? He used a burning bush. In God’s hands, something ordinary can become extraordinary. In Pharaoh’s court, the common staff Moses carried miraculously became a snake.
When the prophet Samuel traveled to anoint a new king for Israel, he thought Jesse’s oldest son would be God’s choice.
“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart'” (I Samuel 16:7).
The Lord chose a shepherd boy attending his father’s sheep. Furthermore, David was the least likely choice in a society that favored eldest sons. He was the youngest son. God seems to delight in taking the least likely route.
Jesus didn’t come into this world with great fanfare as most would expect of the Messiah. The place where he lived, Nazareth, was small and unimportant. The profession he chose, carpentry, didn’t impress.
“Isaiah 53 shows that Jesus had been expecting this all along,” says Nathaniel, 9: “He is despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from him; he was despised, and we did not esteem him” (Isaiah 53:3).
The Old Testament is full of prophecies about the Messiah. The Hebrew prophets foretold where Jesus would be born (Bethlehem), the lineage of his birth (David’s offspring) and the sufferings he would endure for our sins (Isaiah 53:6). How ironic that the one foretold by the prophets would have no honor among his own people.
“The people kept waiting for a prophet to come, but there he was right in front of them,” says Julia, 7.
At our own peril, we ignore people and things that are right in front of us. Are you someone who thinks that you would have been right there following Jesus if you had seen the miracles he performed and heard the messages he preached?
It’s easy to imagine what you would have done if you had lived in Jesus’ time. Although Jesus isn’t physically present on Earth today, we do have a reliable record of his ministry. We have access to the Bible, Bible commentaries and inspirational books in abundance.
Think about this: Christians can honor Christ today by witnessing to the power of God’s saving grace and teaching others how to allow Christ to live through them.
Memorize this truth: “For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country” (John 4:44).
Ask this question: How can you honor Jesus Christ today?
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Bible quotations are from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.
COPYRIGHT 2013 CAREY KINSOLVING