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Matthew 13:53-58: Jesus Goes to His Own Country

Posted by adventbiblestudy on January 27, 2012


Matthew 13:53-58 MKJV And it happened when Jesus finished these parables, He departed from there. (54) And when He had come into His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so much so that they were astonished and said, From where does this man have this wisdom and these mighty works? (55) Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And his brothers, James and Joses and Simon and Judas, (56) and his sisters, are they not all with us? Then from where does this man have all these things? (57) And they were offended in Him. But Jesus said to them, A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country and in his own house. (58) And He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

 

Jesus’ first and foremost mission in life was to save souls by teaching, and turning them to the love of the Father. He lived day to day, minute by minute in constant prayer, and listening to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit, directing Him to souls in need, and providing the words to touch their hearts at that moment.

After Jesus taught His disciples how to understand the mystery of His parables, He journeyed back to Galilee where He grew up. Jesus prayed during the entire journey back to Galilee. He was unusually quite as they walked along the road. His disciples could tell Jesus did not want to be distracted on this trip back home.

It was nice to see the familiar rolling hills, market, homes and places where He spent time as a boy, but most of all, the people, especially His family. Jesus loved His mother, brothers and sisters. Joseph, his father had died years ago. Jesus still remembered the time they had spent together working in his shop. How his father patiently taught Him step by step, everything about carpentry, and allowed Him study time to go over the scriptures.

Jesus spent day after day at the local synagogue reading and comparing scripture. Jered, the priest appreciated Jesus’ enthusiasm and dedication. He often commented on how the world would be a better place if more young people followed Jesus’ example. Jesus arrived like clockwork. Jered often prepared the rolls for the young guest. They often spent many hours discussing a variety of subjects and how they pertain to the scriptures. Jered always looked forward to their study together, and the discussions often extending long into the night.

God had placed a priest with an open mind at the synagogue where Jesus studied. Other priests would have tried to convince Jesus to accept and concentrate on traditions. They would have offered books outside of the Bible to study. Such influences would have stolen precious time. God’s plan of salvation was on a time frame, spoken by the prophets hundreds of year earlier, and must be completed on schedule. Not one detail was over looked.

Jered never questioned why Jesus’ enthusiasm was not shared by His brothers. He believed it was essential to minister to each individuals at their particle level. He knew God worked on hearts on an individual basis, and real conviction and change could only come through a personal relationship with God. Jered remembered the discussions he had with Jesus concerning the mistakes king David made, and how God sent personal messages, and spoke with him in a close and personal manner. Even though David was king of Israel, he was not the only one God spoke to. His was not the only heart God was longing for. And let your heart be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in His statutes, and to keep His commandments, as at this day. (1 Kings 8:61 MKJV)

Jered remembered the discussions he had with Jesus about God’s love. God has always been, and will always be the most faithful provider a man could ever know. The sunshine, warm summer days, a gentle breeze, rain in due season, all of God’s creation was for mans benefit. He gave these gifts to the good and the bad. They talked about the balance God created on the earth. The seasons, untold assortments of fruits, grains, nuts, and vegetables to satisfy physical hunger. Jesus told Jered how God satisfies spiritual hunger. Lessons are as numerous as the assortment of food God provides. God’s wisdom is beyond comprehension. As vast as the horizon, and as deep as the ocean. His wisdom provides solutions for little problems, such as a disagreement between friends, and great problems, such as dealing with the Roman occupation. Sure they can make life difficult by taking away, but God is always able to see His people through every hardship. God always has more to give.

Jered’s favorite subject was God’s forgiveness. He saw it went far beyond the sacrifice of animals. Jesus agreed, the lamb was a symbol of God’s love and care for His people. When he discussed these things with Jesus, he could feel God’s grace upon his heart. He knew he was forgiven whenever he faithfully confessed his sins to God. The sacrifice served as a transfer of sin, forgiveness comes with true repentance. He realized this when Jesus explained the death of David’s first son from Bathsheba. How David felt the weight of his sin lifted from his shoulders once he made a complete and personal confession to God.

Jered always marveled at Jesus’ concept of God as a loving Father. It was as if Jesus knew how God provided rest for the weary, strength for the weak, comfort for the forgotten, and hope for all those who trusted in Him. It never ceased to amaze Jered as he witnessed Jesus applying these concepts in His life. He never passed a beggar, merchant, laborer, child, dignitary, or elder in need without offering His services. He even took time to minister to the Roman guards, providing them with water, or what little food He may have had at the time. To some, Jesus supplied an example which changed their lives for the better. With others, His acts of kindness brought the contempt brewing deep within them to the surface.

And now Jesus was coming back home. Jered remembered His first return and the text He read on that Sabbath. “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me; because of this He has anointed Me to proclaim the Gospel to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim deliverance to the captives, and new sight to the blind, to set at liberty those having been crushed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-19 MKJV). He remembered how the other priests reacted. He thought for certain they were going to kill Jesus that day. He felt so embarrassed. He had invited Jesus to speak that day, but never expected such a reaction. Hearing the news of Jesus’ return, he wondered what the reaction would be this time. He began to pray.

Even before Jesus reached Galilee people began to gather. Jesus had been praying throughout the entire journey, but the Spirit had been unexpectedly quiet. This greatly troubled Him. It seemed He always knew what to expect. He always had an excited feeling of meeting people to share the message the Father had given Him.This trip to Galilee seemed different. Returning home, Jesus felt like He was entering into an unknown world. This made Him wonder why so many people were gathering around Him. Were they there out of mere curiosity, or were they seeking the truth?

It seemed strange to Jesus to communicate with people He had known all His life with little more than idle chit chat. How have you been? The weather has been nice. You have grown since I last saw you. How is the family? Jesus was used to the Spirit guiding Him to souls with a yearning need to seek a closer relationship with the Father, but today, none of the responses, or comments seemed to dwell upon a spiritual level.

His disciples gazed in wonder for a while. Only a few days ago Jesus had revealed so much to them, and others, on such a high spiritual level through simple parables. Today their Teacher seemed to be at a loss for words. They finally convinced themselves it had something to do with the fact these people had known Jesus all their lives. Maybe they had already heard His stories and parables. Maybe being home brought a level of comfort to Jesus they had not seen before.

Jesus’ arrival brought back memories. Beggars still gathered at the edge of town. Not even the arrival of Jesus could convince them to give up their choice locations on the side of the road leading into Galilee. Jesus glanced over at them, recognizing many. Over the years Jesus had shared His food with many of them. As they ate, Jesus taught. He wondered if His words had any effect on them. If the seeds He had planted had found fertile ground. Had the world hardened their hearts to a point, the Son of God could not reach them?

Passing through the market, Jesus noticed a number of pieces He had built for some of the local vendors. A table here and there, a fence He had helped His father install, a raised porch a wealthy vender had erected, so he could stand above the crowds to have a better look at potential customers. So many pieces brought back memories of the time He had spent working with His father, everything He had learned from him, and all the talks they had. Each piece brought back another memory.

Jesus looked at the faces of the vendors. He remembered the lessons and hope He had shared with each of them. They paid him little attention as they shouted out their repetitious sales pitches. A few of them called out, “how are you doing Jesus, bring your friends here to see if there is anything I can help them with.” To Jesus it seemed His homecoming had turned into a money making opportunity for many of the local vendors.

As Jesus neared the center of town, His silent prayers increased. His disciples instinctively stayed close to Him. They sensed He was troubled, but felt helpless to do so much as provide a word of comfort. Jesus’ silent prayers turned into a low mumble, and shifted to an outward praise to His Father. “Lord God, creator of all Heaven and earth. I know you are seated upon your throne watching me, and all your sheep you have entrusted to my care. Lord I ask you, let them not hear my voice, but yours. Lord give me the words to call your sheep back to the fold.” Jesus continued His prayer as He entered the town square where the priests and elders had gathered. One of them commented, “now He is preaching to sheep.” The rude joke brought forth a number of forced chuckles from a few of the priests and elders seated in their place of authority.

Jesus scanned each of the faces, among them, many familiar, few of them friendly. Jesus reached deep into His soul looking for the words He knew these people needed, but nothing came to mind. At last his eyes rested on His old friend Jered. What a welcome site. His feelings of anxiety quickly fled as a smile came to His face. Nothing could hold back the reunion as they both stepped forward, embracing in a hug. “How have you been young man,” Jered inquired? “I have been fine, going about my Father’s business,” Jesus relied. Jered gave Jesus an unexpectedly strange look as he gazed into Jesus’ eyes to see if His reply was serious. Jered knew Joseph had died years ago. He searched for the proper words to find out if Jesus was referring to who he though He was referring, but the attention was quickly shifted as Jesus commented, “I see you have been expecting me.” Jered answered, “we did hear a day or two ago that you would be headed this way, and yes, I have been looking forward to your visit.” These words brought Jesus a measure of comport He had been looking for. Jered quickly added, “I have heard many storied of your ahh, quest throughout the region. I would love to have you speak this Sabbath, and I will not take no for an answer.” “I will be happy to accept your gracious invitation,” Jesus quickly answered.

Jesus spent the night in prayer, waiting on the words to preach in the morning. The memory of the day it seemed the Holy Spirit did not answer Him was fresh on His mind. His thoughts also wondered to the episode following His last speaking engagement at Galilee. He suddenly remembered how the Sprit had saved His life that day. How He turned and walked through the angry crowd and curious onlookers. His mind once again traced those steps, resting on the mother and two young sons. A smile came to Jesus’ face which strengthened His heart as He concentrated on every detail leading up to the moment He healed the little boy with the crooked foot. He remembered how the little boy worked through his disability, trying to help in any way he could. As His heart soared with thankfulness for the power the Spirit granted Him that day, the words of His sermon began to flow like rivers of living water.

As Jesus took His place to teach in the synagogue, He uncharacteristically paid little attention to those seated before Him. Instead He gave His full attention to the words He was given by the Spirit to share with the people of Galilee. He opened the scroll and read from the Psalms of David, “O God, You have cast us off, You have scattered us, You were angry; take us back. You made the earth tremble; You tore it; heal the breaks of it, for it is shaking. You have shown Your people hard things; You have made us to drink the wine of trembling. You have given a banner to those who fear You, to lift it up because of the truth. Selah.” (Psalms 60:1-4 MKJV).

After reading He looked up to examine the faces, studying each one to test their reaction. This time the synagogue remained silent. Jesus continued, “Praise the Lord; for it is good to sing praises to our God; for praise is delightful and becoming. The Lord builds up Jerusalem; He gathers together the outcasts of Israel. He heals the broken-hearted, and binds up their wounds. He appoints the number of the stars; He calls them all by their names.” (Psalms 147:1-4 MKJV).

To illustrate the point Jesus added accounts of how the Judges delivered Israel in their time of need, the protection God gave Israel during the seventy years of captivity in Babylon, and how the Lord delivered Israel from Egypt. He told each story as if it was an eye witness account, adding in detailed descriptions of both the scenery, and emotions experienced during each event. He added a brief description of the moment Israel received the commandments from God on Mount Horeb, and closed His sermon with the Words of Solomon.

“These six the Lord hates; yea, seven are hateful to his soul: a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that plots wicked plans, feet hurrying to run to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and he who causes fighting among brothers. My son, keep your father’s commandments, and do not forsake the law of your mother; bind them upon your heart forever, tie them around your neck. When you go, it shall lead you; when you sleep, it shall keep you; and when you awake, it shall talk with you. For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.” (Proverbs 6:16-23 MKJV)

When Jesus had finished, He once again looked out over the synagogue. He could tell by the expressions on their faces they were deep in though. Jesus thanked His Father and the Spirit for providing the opportunity to serve. This is what Jesus had been praying about on the road to Galilee.

After the service Jesus walked among those gathered in the court, His ears carefully focusing on the conversations around Him. He could hear that some were astonished and said, “From where does this man have this wisdom and these mighty works?” Others were still skeptical saying, “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And his brothers, James and Joses and Simon and Judas, and his sisters, are they not all with us? Then from where does this man have all these things?And they were offended in Him.

Hearing this, His disciples began to question how these people could judge Jesus on the lives and actions of His brothers and sisters. The disciples who had children knew how each possessed individual characters and traits. Should the world be judged on the actions of Cain, or all of Israel on the lack of faith displayed by their forefathers delivered from Egypt? Have they not heard of the followers gathered to hear Jesus speak, the lessons He taught, those He healed, and raised from the dead? The questions quickly turned to understanding as the disciples began to see the roles these people portrayed in the parables Jesus taught.

The disciples observed Jesus’ reaction to the situation. Jesus simply said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country and in his own house.

The disciples knew what Galilee meant to Jesus, and expected Him to begin performing a number of miracles, and healing everyone in sight to show them who He really was. The city watched Jesus grow as boy into a young man. They knew His character, but chose to compare Him to other members of His family. Instead of accepting the facts before their eyes, they searched for excuses. And He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

 

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