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Devotional: November 30, 2020

He left there and returned to his hometown. His disciples came along. On the Sabbath, he gave a lecture in the meeting place. He made a real hit, impressing everyone. “We had no idea he was this good!” they said. “How did he get so wise all of a sudden, get such ability?”

But in the next breath they were cutting him down: “He’s just a carpenter—Mary’s boy. We’ve known him since he was a kid. We know his brothers, James, Justus, Jude, and Simon, and his sisters. Who does he think he is?” They tripped over what little they knew about him and fell, sprawling. And they never got any further.

Mark 6: 1-3 The Message

Jesus felt a warm welcome in many towns. However, in his hometown, Nazareth, people proved to be quite fickle. On the one hand, they were surprised that someone who had grown up among them could be so wise, with such amazing speaking and teaching abilities. On the other hand, their familiarity with Jesus’ background prevented them from really seeing or hearing what he was saying. It didn’t make sense to them, and they couldn’t get beyond it.

It was almost as if their familiarity blinded them, blocking their openness to learning important and life-changing truths.

It reminds me of a memory one adult shared about their favorite teacher:

“We grew up in a town that was about 2 percent black. It was not uncommon for people living there to not know any black people at all. One day Mr. Robinson told us we were going to be having a very important speaker come talk to us, and that he expected us to treat her with respect and deference. That she was one of the most important people we could be learning from, and we were honored to have her come to us. We all sat up, wondering who this important person could be.”

“And he opened the door and it was one of the ladies in the front office, accepting our tardy slips, and making us wait for the school nurse. A black woman, one of the only black people you’d find in the school.”

“She then sat down and talked to us about the racial history of our town. Explained to us what a Sundown Town was. Explained to us the racism she experienced growing up there.”

“She wasn’t even that old. It struck us all. But you’re not even old. Is this still happening? Why didn’t you leave? Did anyone help you?”

“It was an incredibly powerful day.”

“When I went home to talk to my parents about it, they had no idea about any of it, even though this was the same town they had grown up in.”

One of the most dangerous things we can do is to assume. When we think we already know everything about a subject, we may close ourselves off from learning new things. If we think our sponge is already full, then we deceive ourselves into believing we have no need to absorb anything new. The people of Nazareth knew Jesus and his family. Therefore, they assumed He could teach them nothing new, much less life-changing.

God continually speaks to us and teaches us, through all the scriptures. Let us remember this truth, and that it can happen anytime, and anywhere. May we never assume that we are done learning from our Lord. May God always give us eyes to see, and ears to hear… Amen!

Prayer

Thank you, Lord, for Your patience to teach me, over and over, the things that You deem necessary and important for me to walk faithfully with You. Soften my heart. Open my eyes and my ears, and help my speech to be worthy of your ears.

Faithfully I pray these words in the name of Your son, Jesus Christ. Amen


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