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The first time I brought my wife home for Christmas to my parent’s house was eye opening for her. Of course she was amused by my childhood home and the innumerable Ranger Rick nature posters on the walls of my bedroom (I was a weird kid). But more so she kept saying this revealing phrase, “Something happens when you go home. You turn 16 again.” She pointed to leaving plates in the dinning room and not helping with dishes, treating my sister like a kid sister, and selfish tantrums as evidence of this return to home = return to immaturity. I reminded her the journey to immaturity wasn’t the long for me.
So I think it is interesting to read in the gospel today about Jesus returning home. Jesus doesn’t pull the regression, but instead it is the town who won’t let Jesus grow up. It is the town, which balks at Jesus growth and new mission. It is Jesus own community that won’t let Jesus, well, be Jesus Christ.
Consequently, Jesus can’t perform great healings and miracles. The faith of the people is the key component to Jesus’ work because God never forces himself on us, but instead relies on our cooperation and surrender.
Sometimes I am like the people of Jesus’ hometown. I am comfortable with Jesus the nice guy or even Jesus the food multiplier, but Jesus the life changer, Jesus the revolutionary, Jesus the God of the universe who invites me to give up my wealth and comfort and power to follow him – that Jesus is harder to listen to.
I say in my heart, “Where does Jesus get this wisdom? Isn’t he just a guy from 2000 years ago? Isn’t his message just to be nice and helpful to others?” When I think like this, I limit how much I am willing to cooperate with Jesus. When I limit Jesus to “the hometown boy,” I surrender less than everything. What happens in Jesus’ hometown when they limit their understanding of Jesus? Scripture says, “So he was not able to perform any mighty deeds there.”
If you want Jesus Christ to perform mighty deeds in your heart, don’t limit Jesus to what you remember from childhood religion class, but let Jesus be the bold, powerful, Savior he came to be.
If we believe Jesus is God, then we want everyone to know his saving power! Say a prayer for a family member or someone from your high school class who struggles with their faith. Here is a suggestion, “Jesus please be with ________ Let them know they are loved by you. Show them your face.”