Advent 15: The familiar

For the past couple weeks, we’ve been talking about the people who expected someone. After all, that’s kind of the theme of advent: people expecting a deliverer, people expecting the return of a deliverer.  But it’s impossible to skip over a group of people who were expecting things the wrong way.

Jesus comes home for a visit. He reads from Isaiah (see the past few days).  A simple phrase is recorded. And everyone is impressed at how well he speaks. And then they say, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”

It is impossible to hear the tone of voice they used. It’s impossible to know exactly what they meant. However, Jesus’ response may show us that their question was loaded. They ask about his dad, and he talks about prophets being rejected at home.

It’s hard to come home. (Everyone goes back to being twelve when they go home.) And it is just as hard for Jesus as anyone one else.

  • Implied in the conversation is a sense that they could believe Jesus was really the miracle guy they had been hearing about.
  • Implied is the sense that he should have been doing something for them for all these years.
  • Implied is that he could have saved the life, the sight, the job of Aunt Helen and Uncle Dave and Cousin Frank.

He could have been a contender right here at home.

And their response to his response is telling. They get angry. They want to kill him.

When people get incredibly angry about an observation, it’s a good sign that they know it’s true and that they don’t like the truth.

These people weren’t happy that Jesus wasn’t the son of the carpenter they thought he was. That Jesus they could handle. This Jesus, rabbi, miracle worker,  grown up, unexpected, uncontrollable, unlimited, this Jesus they couldn’t handle.

And that, of course, is the point of being God.

(From Luke 4:14-30)

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.