From: Su Min
let us begin today with a CALL TO WORSHIP
I will exalt You, my God the king
I will praise Your name for ever and ever
Every day I will praise You and extol Your name for ever and ever
My mouth will speak praise of the Lord
Let every creature praise His holy name for ever and ever
(Psalms_145:1,21_:_Do read the whole psalm)
TEXT for today: Matthew_13:53-58
When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. (53)
Coming to his home town,
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.(54)
"Isn't this the carpenter's son?"
"Isn't his mother's name Mary,”
"and aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?" (55).
"Aren't all his sisters with us?"
"Where then did this man get all these things? (56).
And they took offence at him.
But Jesus said to them, "Only in his home town and in his own house is a prophet without honour" (57)
And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith. (58)
PARALLEL PASSAGESWe are given a similar account in Mark_6:1-6: (this being distinct from a previous visit to Nazareth as detailed in Luke_4:16-30_which occurred prior to Matthew_4:13)
THE LOCATIONJesus was teaching in the region of Capernaum by the sea of Galilee (Matthew_11:1,_11:23,_13:1)
A single day's teaching with seven parables is encapsulated for us in Matthew Chapter 13: Sower (3-9), Weeds (24-29), Mustard seed (31), Yeast (33), Treasure (44), Pearl (45) & Net (47). Doubtless these parables were used over and over again. Doubtless there were many many other parables and teaching taught but not recorded. And healings. For more than a thousand days, Jesus wandered about and taught and healed and preached and ministered.
And in today's text, he returns to his hometown. Although Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth, Jesus was born in Bethlehem because of the census, Jesus was brought up in Nazareth. This is why sometimes He is called Jesus The Nazarene. His father Joseph was a carpenter. (Joseph knew himself that he was not the biological father of Jesus). Jesus was known as the carpenter's son (Matthew_13:55): Like father, like son: Jesus must have helped in the family trade and picked up wood-working skills. He himself is called a carpenter in his own right (Mark_6:3)
THE INITIAL RESPONSEComing to his home town, he began teaching the people in their synagogue and they were amazed.
Confronted by this young dynamic man who knew the scriptures well and expounded and exposited with a skill and wisdom they had not witnessed before, they were amazed at the width and depth of his teaching. They were also witness to the miracles and healing he had performed. Demon possessed were freed and made whole. Lame could walk. Blind could see. Deaf could hear. Mute could talk. They were amazed.
And you, beloved: what is your response when you encounter Jesus? Are you not amazed? Is there doubt in your heart? Or do acknowledge the Son of God, echoing Thomas in saying,
My Lord and my God"?
THE SCEPTICISM"Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?" they asked. They saw the wisdom and power in Jesus, but they could not accept it.
They knew his family background.
"Isn't this the carpenter's son?" "Isn't his mother's name Mary,
They had seen him grow up in their midst. He must have been an ordinary quiet person, just doing his family thing.
"and aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?"
They knew his brothers: they all must have grown up and left Nazareth None of them had appeared to have any of this miraculous wisdom and power.
"Aren't all his sisters with us?" His sisters must have remained in Nazareth, probably married to local Nazarene men. They were known to the community. None of them had appeared to have any of this miraculous wisdom and power.
"Where then did this man get all these things? How come if he has such an ordinary dismal background, how can he be so good? And they took offence at him.
They were annoyed. They were upset. They were jealous. They were angry.
OUR LORD'S RESPONSEBut Jesus said to them, "Only in his home town and in his own house is a prophet without honour" (57)
Jesus knew rejection, and accepted it. He was rejected by his home town. He was rejected by his own people. He was rejected by his own nation. He was rejected by the scholars and the scribes. They rejected Him and nailed Him to the tree.
He was not just a prophet:
He was The Prophet.
He should have been RECEIVED
He should have been HONOURED
He should have been EXALTED
He should have been BLESSED
BUT instead, Jesus was REJECTED.
And because Jesus has walked that road of rejection, so much more is He able to comfort you, when you feel rejected.
If you feel let down, unappreciated, dishonoured, rejected, come to Jesus.
He knows the feeling. He will meet you at your very point of need.
He has gone through the same dark valley.
He will comfort you. He will see you through.
He does not promise you that you will not experience painful times.
But He does promise you that He will be with you every step of the way.
What a mighty God we serve.
THE RESULTAnd he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith. (58) Through the length and breadth of Israel Jesus travelled, ministering to the people. Crowds of people followed him, flocked to him, listening to him. He saw the people, wandering and lost, like sheep without a shepherd. And he had compassion on them. But there were those who had eyes but would not see. They had ears but would not see. For these, the understanding of the teachings were hid from their eyes. For these the cynical, the experience of miracles was hid from their hearts.
Why was the prophet not received in his hometown?
It seems to me that the central sin was pride.
A self centred pride that says
"What does he have that I do not have?"
"How can he be better than me?"
"He comes from a small backward family, with no formal education"
It is the same self-centred pride with which the Pharisee says "God I thank you that I am not like all other men, robbers evil doors, adulterers or even like this tax collector" (Luke_18:11)
It is the same self-centred pride which makes us determine to get to heaven all by our own selves.
It is the same self-centred pride which makes us build a tower to heaven with bricks made by our own hands (Genesis_11:4)
Its Babel, all over again.
It is the same self-centred pride that caused Lucifer to desire to usurp God's place in heaven (Isaiah_14:11-14)
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world (1_John_2:16).
WHO IS JESUS?
Jesus says "I am.." The Messiah (John_4:26)
The Bread of Life (John_6:35)
From Above (John_8:23)
The Eternal One (John_8:58)
The Light of the World (John_9:5)
The Door (John_10:7)
The Son of God (John_10:36)
The Resurrection and The Life (John 11;25)
The Lord and Master (John_13:13)
The Way, The Truth, The Life (John_14:6)
The True Vine (John_15:1)
Alpha and Omega (Revelation_1:8)
The First and The Last (Revelation_1:17)
We have met Jesus. We recognise who He is.
WHERE DO WE STAND?We have seen his miracles. We have heard his teaching. His message of repentance. His message of reconciliation.
Will we respond in harshness?
Will we respond with rejection?
Or will we accept His offer of forgiveness?
THE INVITATIONCome to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew_11:28)
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will go in and eat with him, and he with me. Revelation_3:20
Come. Whoever is thirsty let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life (Revelation_22:17)
We praise you because you are worthy to be praised.
We thank you for the lesson today.
We confess the number of times we have rejected you, Mighty God.
We humbly confess the times when we have been so filled with selfish pride, Father.
We confess that our selfish pride caused us to hurt others that loved us: our parents, our spouse, our
children, our friends, and even You, Great God.
Thank you for forgiving us, even as we begin to ask for forgiveness.
Help us to begin afresh, with a contrite heart.
Teach us to love as you love.
In the name of Jesus
For any comments or enquiries please write to Dr. Lim Su Min
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