Jesus Rejected at Nazareth
“When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue,and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked.“Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.” And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.” Matthew 13:53-58
At first glance, these verses seem like just another story of Jesus teaching in a synagogue, healing the sick, and amazing those around Him with His wisdom and power. Yet, what amazed the crowds in this story the most about Jesus is just how ordinary he was.
Jesus is teaching in his hometown of Nazareth. Here, the people watched Him grow up; they knew him as a small boy. They knew of his humble carpenter background, that his family was not from riches, and that his brothers and sisters were also just that – ordinary. They couldn’t believe that someone who looked just like them could speak of such wisdom and perform such miracles.
Jesus’ humble arrival on earth, first in a manger then as a carpenter and soon on a donkey, was all intentional. As Paul writes to the church in Corinth:
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.1 Corinthians 1:27-29
God uses people just like you and me – ordinary people – as lights in this darkened world. He used His son as the ultimate example of what is looks like to be an ordinary person (though we know he was far from ordinary), who can also bring great glory to God while being rejected, persecuted, and cast out. People like Paul, Timothy, Titus, John– the list goes on — are all examples of God using the foolish to shame the wise.
“After all, the thing that looks most ordinary might be the thing that leads you to victory.”Matt Haig, The Midnight Library
I often struggle with “imposter syndrome.” I tend to think that I just got lucky with jobs, opportunities and such and find it hard to believe I really deserve the things in my life. I often live in fear of being “found out.” What if I’m not the professional they expected me to be? What if I’m not the Christian they thought I was? While there are many complexities to these thoughts, the biggest aspect is that I struggle to believe that God really trusts me with His Word and the responsibility of sharing it and shepherding others.
The amazing part? We can find freedom from the lies that tell us we aren’t good enough or don’t deserve to be a part God’s chosen people BECAUSE God calls the ordinary. We must always remember this: He qualifies the called, not calls the qualified.
So today, I encourage you to stand amazed by God’s grace towards ordinary people like you and me. Let us be astonished that our God is near to the lowly, sees the weak, and cares for the ordinary.