When being like Jesus isn’t fun.

a perfect eveningRight before Jesus started his ministry work, he moved from Nazareth to Capernaum. One is in the hills, the other in on the north shore of the sea of Galilee. One is a quiet town, maybe on a route to somewhere, the other is a center for trade. One is where Jesus was known as a a kid, as part of a family, maybe as the center of some rumors about his birth and refugee status. The other is where Jesus started to teach, to do miracles, to be an adult.

We understand this difference, many of us. When we go home, it’s as if we were twelve again. All the tensions, all the community connections. And for those of us who left home when other family members didn’t, we discover that we are outsiders, excluded from the stories.

So one day, Jesus headed from Capernaum back to Nazareth. At least the Twelve were with him, maybe more. They went to the religious services on Saturday. Jesus started to teach, as was the custom. And as you might expect from the home-town kid who is the center of stories.

But suddenly, “He’s amazing” changes to “what makes him think he’s so special.”

We understand it. Maybe a mom said to her son, “I always knew he’d make something of himself.” With the implication that her son hadn’t. Maybe….maybe it doesn’t matter exactly what happened.

What we read is that they were so trapped by who they thought Jesus had been, by their own experience, that they couldn’t believe in who he really was.

“He couldn’t do anything except heal a few sick people.” Amazing for the sick people. Sad for Jesus.

The people who knew you then, often can’t see who you are now. And neither can you.

The next thing we read, Jesus is sending the twelve to do what he just did: Go from town to town. Look for a place that will welcome you. But know that you will be rejected. Just like me.

It’s right there in the terms of service. Jesus warns his closest friends that following him isn’t going to be easy. You are going be misunderstood. People are going to have a hard time believing that you grew up and made choices to follow Jesus that look deeper, that reflect more time spent with him.

You will say things with a wisdom that confronts what makes sense to others. You will have a compassion for people at the margins like Jesus did.

But in those moments, there is a risk. People might not like you.


Part of a message from July 8, 2018.


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