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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood


The Nazareth Mentality

Jesus left there and went to his home town, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. “Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles! Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. (Mark 6:1-3, NIV)

Did you ever have a time in grade school when the teacher left the room unsupervised and one of your classmates sneaked to the blackboard, drew a stick-figure person, and wrote the word “Teacher” at the bottom?

We call that stick-figure a caricature. In all likelihood the teacher was an attractive young married woman with a great love and zest for life, but the student saw her as a mean, demanding old grouch. The caricature was a total misrepresentation of who she was.

That’s where a lot of people are in relation to Jesus. Their image of Him may come from negative contacts with the church, those professing to follow Him, or the attitudes of those who do not know Him. So, they have embraced a view of Jesus that is far different from reality.

That’s what happened at Nazareth.

Jesus originally left Nazareth and adopted a new hometown of Capernaum because Nazareth was a small place tucked in the hills, off the beaten path; but Capernaum was a major city located on the northeastern shore of the Lake of Galilee, a city thriving with commerce through which passed a major road.

Jesus takes the long climb from 650 feet below sea level up to the hilltop town of Nazareth, a small town with a precipice overlooking what we now call the valley of Armageddon. With Him are His disciples — quite an entourage for a small village.

The reaction by many in the synagogue is amazement. They had not seen this side of Jesus in the 30 years He lived among them. So they initially want to know two things: the source of His knowledge (“Where did this man get these things?”) and the explanation for His miracles — which, interestingly, they attribute to His wisdom.

But that’s not all that is on their minds. They ask three more questions.

The first question has to do with His vocation — “Isn’t this the carpenter?” The underlying Greek word is teknon and its most frequent use is that related to a stone mason rather than a woodworker. Their question tells us that Jesus did not spend His “hidden” years in isolation as a monk would, nor in the solitude of study as would a theological student. He worked a trade and earned a living. There was nothing in His vocation as a mason or carpenter that intimated He held the potential of teaching and doing miracles.

The second and third questions have to do with His mother (the absence of reference to Joseph probably means that he is deceased), His four brothers and at least two sisters (plural is used for sisters). This lays to rest the idea that Mary was a perpetual virgin. Clearly, she had at least six more children after Jesus.

The citizens of Nazareth took offense at Jesus because they were not willing to admit new evidence. They preferred to stay with their caricature of Jesus rather than opening their hearts and minds to the evidences He presented.

A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, may I never lock You in the box of my small mind or interpret You by the filter of my preconceptions. May my view of You never be small, and may I never take offense at You.

GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

On Your Mark

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2009 On Your Mark

2008 On Your Mark

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