Jesus has returned to His hometown of Nazareth and is teaching in the synagogue on the Sabbath day, expounding on some scripture and also describing some of the miracles that He has performed. The people listening to Jesus this day are people who saw Him grow up. They know His family. Predictably, these people have a hard time believing what they are hearing.
Some of them say, “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon?” (Mark 6:3). How could he have performed all these miracles? Who does he think he is?
Jesus replies to them, “A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house” (Mark 6:4). OK, the double negative makes it a little hard to follow but Jesus is saying that a prophet is recognized everywhere except among his own family and friends. And, as a result of the unbelief of the people who knew Him, Jesus performs very few miracles in His hometown (see Matthew 13:58).
It’s perhaps not difficult to understand why it would have been challenging for these people to accept who Jesus was. After all, Jesus didn’t begin to perform miracles until after He was baptized and began His ministry. People who only knew the pre-ministry version of Jesus might find it difficult to reconcile that young man who they knew with this older version of Jesus who was claiming to be the Son of God.
On the day you repented of your sins and were baptized, your status in life changed too. Before that day, you were living for yourself. Suddenly, you became a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. Unbelievers who were close to you at that time may have had similar thoughts as the people in Nazareth did with Jesus.
- “Oh really, you’ve found Jesus now?”
- “I’ve known you for years — you’re nobody special.”
- “You’ll get tired of this and return to normal eventually.”
People who didn’t know you before may think you were always a godly person. People who you see infrequently (such as fellow church members) mostly see you on your best behavior. But people who see you all the time (or even live with you) have seen you at your worst — it will take some convincing for them to accept that you are now a representative of the Lord.
Some years ago, a young sister was baptized in our branch, but she was hesitant about telling her mother what she had done since her mother was a lifelong member of another faith. After some time passed, she finally told her mother and her mother’s reply was, “Well, I can’t say anything bad about this Church because I can see the change in you.” Praise the Lord!
Of course, it’s the Holy Ghost within us that brings about the change that others can see. It’s what makes us truly a servant of the Lord rather than just somebody who is trying to live a good life.
So, first, let’s make sure to follow the Holy Ghost at all times — not just when we’re with church people but also when we’re with our family and friends and those who know us best. If relaxing means turning into someone who doesn’t resemble a servant of the Lord, then we’re feeding into the belief that going to church is all for show, that it’s just people pretending to be good so they can feel like they’re better than other people.
Second, as we seek opportunities to minister to others (help or serve them), let’s not overlook our family and friends. As part of our total ministry, we may often go out of our way to serve our brothers and sisters or even total strangers in need. We should be willing to serve our family and friends in the same way, showing the love of God to them, over and above the normal love we have for them. This can include offering to pray for them when they have a need.
By doing the above, it’s possible that opportunities may arise to offer the church to those who are closest to us. Or perhaps that door will remain closed as it was for Jesus when He was in Nazareth. Regardless, if we bring honor to the Lord in our own house, He will bless us for our efforts and may well bless those who we care about the most, even if just for our sake.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.