I think most of us have heard the phrase. “ a prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house.” Jesus said it himself in Matthew’s gospel. (Mt.13:54-58) Why is that ? Is it because familiarity breeds contempt… “hey, I know you, you’re one of us… why should I listen to you”. Hmmmmm.
In the gospel passage above, it says that the people “recognized his great wisdom and mighty deeds”, yet they took offense at him. Because they knew him and grew up with him, and knew his family, they discounted his mighty deeds. Wow, what can we learn from this? Do we discount what we hear from our closer friends, relatives, and associates ? Hey, “what good can come out of Nazareth or Berkeley Heights or St. Louis?”
Back in my day an expert was described as “anybody with a briefcase who is more than 50 miles from home….. later adding that he has no responsibility for implementing the advice he gives, and shows slides”. Well Jesus, wasn’t 50 miles from home, so apparently no one thought he was an expert or a prophet.
Why is this ? Is pride and jealousy coloring these types of situations ? Am I actually jealous or intimidated when someone close to me outshines me…woe, how does that make me look….like a “schlunk or dunce”….. “I used to play ball with ole Chuck in the school yard and now he’s a bigshot and I’m a failure…. but hey he’s not that hot anyway…look at the shoes he’s wearing, and he talks funny…. wow, look at the size of his head…. if I can demean ole Chuck, I might look better, people might think I have some wisdom ….hmmmmm.” (By the way, this is not a recommended approach.)
Regardless of all this, we need to be alert to recognizing God in our midst. Let’s not throw out the message because we don’t like the messenger. I need to be willing to hear and accept the truth of God however it shows up. I may not like a particular pastor’s style, but woe to me if I miss a message from the Lord because I’m discounting his messenger. I need to be able to embrace the truth regardless of how it’s delivered to me. It could be a matter of life an death.