It happened that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed from there. Coming into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom, and these mighty works? Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother called Mary, and his brothers, James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? Aren’t all of his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all of these things?” They were offended by him.
But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and in his own house.”
He didn’t do many mighty works there because of their unbelief. Matthew 13:53-58 (WEB)
This passage has interested me ever since I began teaching in the Church. I’m beginning to think that it might even fall in the category of a Christian Principle!
As a parent, I was aware that my children went through various seasons in their lives in which they questioned my intelligence and wisdom. For a very short time as pre-schoolers they thought I knew the answers to all questions and could fix anything. About the time of second grade math and when they became conscious of ‘style’, they found out that Mom really did not know everything! That season pretty much lasted until they left home and went to college. It was at college that they found out that many of things that I had told them as teenagers about the world in general – was actually pretty much true! And I was the one responsible for doing laundry, housecleaning, and cooking miraculously all at one time!
As I began teaching Sunday school classes in my local church, it again became quite apparent that there is sometimes a direct correlation between the participants’ familiarity with me and my level of wisdom! That was confirmed when I went to other churches, other cities, other states, and other countries because the participants of those classes thought that much of what I had to say was pretty wise!
God is the One who is wise. He gives me brothers and sisters who know me, be the ones who will challenge me and hold me accountable to Jesus’ standard. One of the many reasons that even though I might be in ministry – I also need to receive ministry!
Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens his friend’s countenance. Proverbs 27:17 (WEB)
Jesus opens opportunities for me to minister out in the world just as He did for the first disciples. And just as they found God’s faithfulness in going before them and inspiring them with His wisdom and understanding, so God is faithful to do the same for me.
Jesus spoke hard truths that rocked people’s paradigm of who they thought God was and what their relationship with Him should be. He did not just read the Scriptures to people. He brought the Scriptures into a living parable or story that connected with their lives. He did not weigh people down with just “don’t do this” but instead show people what to do. It was always about bringing the Father closer to His children. To come closer, I must let go of what is holding me back so that my hand is open to take the Father’s hand.
I hope we will open ourselves to the different seasons and not get stuck in just teaching a Sunday School class. Look for opportunities to go out and take Jesus’ away from your comfortable home church and into a mission field. Whether it is sharing at another church or bringing encouragement to a nursing home or flying to another country, take some “fresh Bread” to another hungry soul. Step out of your comfort zone with the assurance that Jesus is waiting there for you.