1 Jesus left that part of the country and returned with his disciples to Nazareth, his hometown.2 The next Sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. They asked, "Where did he get all this wisdom and the power to perform such miracles?"3 Then they scoffed, "He's just a carpenter, the son of Marys and the brother of James, Joseph,s Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us." They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him. 4 Then Jesus told them, "A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family."5 And because of their unbelief, he couldn't do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them.6 And he was amazed at their unbelief.
whoa. this was convicting. it seemed like people's familiarity with Jesus made them miss out on the amazing person that was Jesus! because they knew His family, His past, His upbringing, they couldn't respect Him, or they wouldn't. it seemed like i always applied this story to myself. as if i'm the one that's not completely respected at my home church because they've seen me grow up there. they've seen me be a hooligan and stirring up trouble and that kind of speaks louder than the person i am today.
but how have i been judging the people in my life who i've become familiar with? how have i not been respecting and appreciating because i've known them for so long? family? friends? man, this was so convicting. who have i not been letting affect me and seeking God's voice from just because i've grown familiar or "used to" them? who have i not been giving my full attention because of what i know of their past? who in my life do i think hasn't changed? who is it do i think that God isn't really using to speak into my life? how much have i been missing out on because of this? i don't want to be like Jesus' hometown. i don't want to miss out on something amazing because of my pride, jealousy, or simple ignorance.
i want to be able to see people grow, no matter how familiar they are to me. i want to hear God speak from them. i want to see God use them in my life and in other people's lives. i need new eyes.
13 Afterward Jesus went up on a mountain and called out the ones he wanted to go with him. And they came to him.14 Then he appointed twelve of them and called them his apostles.s They were to accompany him, and he would send them out to preach,15 giving them authority to cast out demons.16 These are the twelve he chose:
Simon (whom he named Peter), 17 James and John (the sons of Zebedee, but Jesus nicknamed them "Sons of Thunder"s), 18 Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Thaddaeus, Simon (the zealots), 19 Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him).
the part that has been really hitting my heart lately is, "they were to accompany him, and he would send them out to preach, giving them authority to cast out demons." just this idea of being with Jesus. in private and in public. all of the time. watching everything that He did. seeing miracles unfold. observing how He cared for people. listen to how He talked. witness His love. all so the disciples could then be ready to preach the Gospel, to spread the Good News. only after they had spent a considerable amount of time with Jesus could they truly have the authority to cast out demons. i'm thinking to myself that this may go against some teaching that we hear at church. that no matter where you are with Christ, you can spread the word about Him, you can evangelize and preach the Gospel. i think that's still true because the Holy Spirit is working inside of you, even if you are a new follower. but i think of how much stronger the testimony and witness would be after spending every single day with Jesus. seeing Him move inside you to love other people. seeing Him dissolve the bitterness and discontentment in your heart. seeing Him push you and challenge you to forgive those that hurt you. seeing Him change your heart that you actually start loving the people that hate you. what a powerful testimony that would be!
another thing that God has been putting in my heart is mentorship or discipleship. i see the way Jesus taught His disciples and it doesn't seem impossible today. it's about including someone in your life so they can see the way you love people and so that they can see what a christian looks like outside of a sunday or "holy" days. what does a christian look like on a "regular" day? what does living out love for God entail? that's where discipleship comes in. i've been mentored years now and not known it. i do believe it's played a part in the way i love people. and i want to pass that on. i want all of us to pass that on. to be filled up with the Spirit and go out and change the world is amazing, but it doesn't continue if we don't pass that on to a younger generation! we can't just hoard all of the Spirit for ourselves. i want to show people who are younger than me that Jesus Christ is the most revolutionary man that i've ever met and that a life lived out for Him is completely dangerous and it's a life of adventure and unpredictability!
i want to know Jesus more so i can truly give a powerful testimony to the people around me. so i can give a powerful testimony to my mentoree. i want him or her to witness how much Christ compels me. i want him or her to see how much i love the King and the King loves me.
7 Jesus went out to the lake with his disciples, and a large crowd followed him. They came from all over Galilee, Judea,8 Jerusalem, Idumea, from east of the Jordan River, and even from as far north as Tyre and Sidon. The news about his miracles had spread far and wide, and vast numbers of people came to see him. 9 Jesus instructed his disciples to have a boat ready so the crowd would not crush him.10 He had healed many people that day, so all the sick people eagerly pushed forward to touch him.11 And whenever those possessed by evils spirits caught sight of him, the spirits would throw them to the ground in front of him shrieking, "You are the Son of God!"12 But Jesus sternly commanded the spirits not to reveal who he was.
i think sometimes we read verses like these where it talks about multitudes of people and we kind of overlook it. we hear the story of the feeding of the 5000 and we go, "how nice." i don't think we think about the magnitude of people that Jesus is touching and healing and changing. so when i read that people came from all over galilee, judea, jerusalem, idumea, from east of the jordan river, and even from as far north as tyre and sidon, it didn't strike me that hard until i really thought about it. dang. this is a huge, incredibly big, epic gathering of people. it got so crowded that at a certain point, Jesus had to tell His disciples to grab a boat for Him so that He can teach without being what? crushed!! i just think of rockharbor and how that gathering is a couple thousand people in itself, and that's only people from orange county! imagine finding out a man that heals diseases and casts out demons. wouldn't you travel great distances to see Him and be healed?? i'm thinking widescale, off-the-map, people coming from all over the us to see this man. this is Jesus. He was something to behold. the crazy thing? He didn't back down, He healed all of them. it's beautiful. no matter how many people, He did what He felt like doing, touching them and changing their lives.
here's the part that gets me. "He had healed many that day, so all the sick people eagerly pushed forward to touch Him." they saw what He did, and they reacted. they saw the miracles He was doing. they saw the lives He was changing. and they wanted Him. they wanted to touch Him. they wanted to be near Him. in the esv version, they "pressed" in around Him to touch Him. now i ask myself. if i see all that He's done? i see the lives that He's changed. i see the miraculous stories of His healing. why don't i "press" in? there are people coming from all over the region to see and touch and be near this man. this man who takes the time to heal each and every one of them and why am i not "pressing" in?
i think sometimes we forget how amazing Jesus is. how He attracted thousands of people to Him, and today, millions of people to Him. there's something about Him. it can't be emulated by man. there is something out of this world about Jesus. this guy had so much love and compassion for people. so much so that He rebuked anybody who was a religious leader that forgot about loving people. He had authority. He had power. He was righteous. He was forgiving. He is everything that i want to be like. and He wants to have a relationship with us. isn't that just crazy?? the Savior of the world, the Creator of the universe, the Truth, and the Life, and the Way, wants to have a personal, intimate relationship with me. and i'm brought back to this state of humility. who am i, God, to receive your grace and mercy? thank you for loving me.