Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Just a Few

By the way, this verse I have been talking about for the past couple of days is one of my favorites. The story of the prophet's hometown comes out of Mark 6, where Jesus visits Nazareth in the course of His ministry.

Jesus left that place and went to his hometown. His disciples followed him. When the day of worship came, he began to teach in the synagogue. He amazed many who heard him. They asked, 'Where did this man get these ideas? Who gave him this kind of wisdom and the ability to do such great miracles? Isn't this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon? Aren't his sisters here with us?' So they took offense at him. But Jesus told them, 'The only place a prophet isn't honored is in his hometown, among his relatives, and in his own house.' (v. 1-4)

That is the passage I have been talking about for the past few days, about how holy people in our lives become so close that we fail to see the holy in them. Yesterday, I started to draw that toward Jesus. Today, I'll go even further because my favorite part of this passage is actually verse 5.

He couldn't work any miracles there except to lay his hands on a few sick people and cure them.

This verse is self-contradictory. He couldn't work any miracles...except for the few miracles He worked. Here's what I love about it, though:

It reminds me that we can never limit the power of Jesus; we can only limit His presence.

Read that again - we cannot limit the power of Jesus. We can only limit His presence.

The Prophet wasn't unable to do miracles in His hometown. Verse 5 clearly tells us that He still performed a few. He simply was not welcome to do miracles in His hometown. People were too busy questioning His family, His heritage, His upbringing and the ways that they knew Him to fathom the idea that He might, in fact, be holy. They weren't pushing through the crowds to get to Him like the bleeding woman on the street. They weren't climbing trees like Zacchaeus. They weren't running from one seashore to the other to hear Him speak again when He got off the boat. They weren't like the people who were looking for His holy, so to them, the Prophet simply looked homely.

He looked like the son of a carpenter, like the brother of brothers. Maybe He had Mary's nose or her eyes. Maybe He had His grandfather's chin. He certainly didn't look like a Prophet. He looked like the little boy who grew up down the street, the kid who was always mischievous (c'mon - you know He was), and they maybe sort of wondered what He was up to this time. They were waiting on the gimmick or the punchline. They were waiting on Jesus to show that He was really just Jesus. That's who they were looking for.

Which is perhaps why they never saw the Prophet. Which is perhaps why the Prophet did no miracles there. They weren't looking for a miracle-worker. They didn't think they were looking at one, either.

We have to be mindful of this with our loved ones, as I talked about on Friday. We have to make space in our lives for the holy people around us to be holy. We have to remember who they are, to take notice of their sanctified sides, to let them work miracles. We have to remember the prophets among us, not because we limit their power if we forget but because we limit their presence. When we're looking for the holy, we'll find it all around us.

And we have to be mindful of this with our Lord. We have to remember His holy side, too. As He draws near as a friend and becomes a constant presence in our lives, we have to remember He's more than the Guy who lives here. He's more than the carpenter's son. He's more, even, than our best friend. He's the prophet, and He'll work miracles if we'll let Him. If we don't...He's not any less of a miracle-worker.

Forgetting the holy side of Jesus does not limit His power, it only limits His presence. It doesn't limit what He can do with us; it limits how much He can do with us.

We are the living temple of the holy God. In us, He makes His dwelling. That means we are His hometown. The question is, then, are we busy thinking about the Man we think we know or are we making Him welcome to reveal Himself in a new way to us?

The question is, do we remember the Prophet? Do we honor Him?

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