DATE WRITTEN: Wednesday, 2021-02-17
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL
BIBLE REFERENCE: Matthew 13:54-57
TRANSLATION: Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
BIBLE TEXT: 54 He went to the town where he grew up. He taught the people in the synagogue, and they were amazed. They said, “Where did this man get such wisdom and this power to do miracles? 55 Isn’t he just the son of the carpenter we know? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? 56 And don’t all his sisters still live here in town? How is he able to do these things?” 57 So they had a problem accepting him.
But Jesus said to them, “People everywhere give honor to a prophet, but in his own town or in his own home a prophet does not get any honor.”
OBSERVATION: Have you ever gone to a concert, to a church, or to watch a movie, and was shocked by what the star, or church leader looked like? He just was not what you had pictured in your mind. In fact, there was such a difference that you found it difficult accepting what he had to say, or sing. As we meditate on the Scripture today, we will see an example of where something very similar happened to Jesus in His hometown. The people had to choose whether they would accept His ministry, or not, for He was just a boy from their little town. Nobody really special.
APPLICATION: I believe that in our day, many churches thrive when the preacher is charismatic, the praise and worship team reminds attendees of a rock band, and the congregation could attend the services without ever being pestered about working hours and hours in helping the work of the ministry move forward. Unfortunately, many of these attendees may have been ‘burnt’ in some previous church/ministry, and they are looking for a place to worship without ever placing themselves at risk to be hurt again. But our Scripture today highlights the importance of setting aside any preconceived ideas about an individual, and accepting God’s messenger who brings God’s message to change the minds of sinners about the kingdom of God. I have served on many committees tasked with the job of finding a new pastor for a church. It is amazing what input we received from our respective congregations about what they wanted to see in a new pastor. Occasionally there was a congregant who may have desired the new prospect to be an excellent teacher of the Word of God, but way too often they wanted the needs of their own families met by someone who cared. Friends, I believe that when God sends a church leader or teacher to our church, He may deliberately send us someone who may not fit the mold we have in mind, because He wants our undivided attention. There was a pastor that I served under, who had a note on the pulpit to remind him every time he stood there, and the note read ‘Oh that they may see Jesus’. What a testimony of an honest man who wanted to be used by the Master in His ministry to the local church. I believe that in today’s Scripture we are challenged to walk into our places of worship with the intent to worship the great God of this universe and to hear how the proclamation of the Word may challenge our wicked hearts, so that we may be shaped into better soldiers of the cross that would enable others to see the image and works of the Holy Spirit – even in and through our lives as we go about our average day at work, in social clubs, in our families and especially when among unsaved friends. I believe that when we beg God to help us enjoy this type of relationship with Him, we would not be tempted to tear down our pastors or church leaders, who are still a work in process, by God. For we will quickly be reminded of that old spiritual ‘It’s me, it’s me oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer’, not just that old, dull preacher. In conclusion, please allow me to remind you that verse 58 reads: Jesus did not do many miracles there, because the people did not believe in him. Please don’t be guilty of shooing away the work of the Master in your life, in the life of your church, or in any other area of life in which you are involved. Look and listen to the work of God through His messengers, whoever they may be. To reject them, is like rejecting God who sent them.
PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, it’s sad to see that Your own townspeople rejected You in Your ministry among them. Too often we are saddened by the way our local pastors are treated, for we acknowledge that they are still human and will make mistakes as long as they are here on earth. Sadly, we are also reminded that You didn’t stick around to help your town’s people, since they showed no interest in listening to Your teaching nor in the miracles that You wrought in their midst. Unfortunately, I don’t believe that our people have learnt a lot from Your reaction to rejection, so I beg of You today Lord to touch our hardened, prideful, condemning hearts and cause us to reflect on the gift of personal sacrifice You offered for us, while we were yet filthy, dirty, sinners. Please help us to accept You and Your precious love for us, even when it makes no sense to us, or even if it is not packaged the way we may expect. Thank You again for making our way clear for a personal relationship with the Master of this universe, and entry into Your heaven. AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog at https://NuggetsFromGodsWord.org that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading or listening to this devotional, please go to the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and see all of my posts, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!