The Past Can Scandalize!
He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief.
And he went about among the villages teaching. Mark 6:1-6
Jesus is in Nazareth, where everybody knows his name; they think of him as a carpenter rather than a teacher. They see him as Mary’s son, or James, Joses, Judas, Simon, or his sisters’ brother, not a miracle worker. Because he is not behaving like he used to, they are “offended.”
Note: The Greek is ἐσκανδαλίζοντο (hescandalizonto). Look closely in the transliteration within the parenthesis and you will see “scandal.” It means that the peoples’ views of Jesus gets in the way (hinders right thought and action) of them receiving the message of Jesus.
Jesus’ retort, “Only in his hometown and with his own family is a prophet without honor.” Their inability to see him for who he is is hurting them. Their lack of faith (and vision) prevents Jesus from being effective with his message of the good news of the Kingdom of God.
This passage always hits home for me. I was 36 years old when I began seminary. I had a twelve-year career, been married ten years, and had two kids. Before all of that, I had “experienced college” for six years (don’t ask), and before that, I was a child coming of age, a brother, and more.
Over the past twenty years, I occasionally have been in contact with someone who knew me way back when. They are sometimes astounded that I am a Christian pastor as their views of me are often trapped in the past, becoming a stumbling block preventing them from seeing what the Lord has made of me and what he is doing in me now.
When you come across people from your past, don’t assume they are who your memories think they are. Be open to what they have become, and maybe you will see “42” at work! Otherwise, you may find yourself…
Thank you for what you have made of me. I have never looked back because all of what I was is still part of me in the here and now.
Please help us not to dwell in the past but live in the present.
I pray in the name of the Answer. Amen!