Daily Devotional

“A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” Matthew 13:57 (ESV)

When I was about nine years old, a neighborhood friend of mine probably saved my life. It was a beautiful sunny day during summer vacation. Steven and I were sitting on top of a block wall talking when, all of a sudden, I lost my balance and fell over backward like Humpty Dumpty.  But somehow Steven managed to grab my legs and pin me to the wall. I was literally hanging upside down, ready to plummet to the ground, but Steven saved me.

Stories like that make me wonder what it was like for Jesus growing up as a boy in Nazareth. Skinned knees, funny stories, favorite toys, chores, annoying brothers and sisters, taking care of pets. I bet Jesus even had a best friend growing up, just like the rest of us.
But what happened to those friends when He got older and started His public ministry?  In Matthew chapter 13, Jesus gives eight rapid-fire back-to-back parables about the kingdom of heaven, and then suddenly in verse 54, it says He went to His hometown – Nazareth.  I wonder why?

Maybe He was exhausted and needed some rest.  Maybe He missed His mother and yearned for a home-cooked meal.  Maybe He wanted to catch up with His old friends and encourage their souls.  But they were nowhere to be found.

When Jesus entered the synagogue to teach, Matthew says the people of Nazareth were astonished (v. 54) and took offense at Him (v. 57).
They were thinking, “Who does this guy think He is – the Messiah?  He’s no better than us.  We grew up with Him.  Don’t you remember little Jesus? He’s the carpenter’s son!”

There’s an old saying that’s very apropos at this point.  It’s familiarity breeds contempt.  In other words, the closer we are to someone or something, the more likely we are to take them for granted.
Upon closer inspection, this story is not just about the unbelieving people of Nazareth.  It’s about us!  Because the truth is many of us take Jesus for granted every day.  We’ve grown up with Him as it were, and we’ve grown so accustomed to Him that we’ve ceased to stand in awe and wonder of His friendship.  Our prayer lives are anemic.  We struggle to read the Word.  We’d rather watch TV than go to church.  And when Jesus stands up to preach, I wonder if any of us are astonished and take offense at Him?

Don’t let the Nazareth Effect take place in your life.  Don’t take Jesus for granted today.  Don’t overlook Him, underestimate Him, ignore Him, or undervalue Him.  Instead, look upon Him with fresh eyes, fresh wonder, and fresh appreciation.  When He returns home to Nazareth and comes knocking on your door, let Him in and spend time with Him – like a childhood friend that you can’t wait to see.
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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