Saturday, March 22, 2014

Lent 2014: Hometown people of Nazareth

Luke 4:14-30
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While I was in college I took some time off to leave my hometown and spend a year serving another Christian community in faraway Mexico. One of the things I discovered when I arrived was that Nobody there knew me. Nobody had seen me grow up. Nobody knew what I was capable of. Nobody knew what I couldn't do. Not having seen me fail in the past and not having preconceived ideas about my limitations, my mission leaders handed me tasks that everyone back home "knew" that I couldn't do. Since I was handed the task, I did the thing required of me. Sometimes I did it well, sometimes...well... But I did it. I learned a lot during that year about the expectations we have of others and the limitations we put on them when we know them well.
The people of Nazareth thought they knew Jesus well. They knew his history, they knew his family, they knew what kind of child he was growing up. They had never seen him perform a miracle and they didn't truly believe that he was the Messiah. He told them the truth "hidden" in their hearts about their expectations for him, and they were so angry at him for it that they decided to kill him. (!!!) They used the excuse that Jesus claimed to be the Messiah when he was "obviously" not (they knew him too well), but they had never given him the opportunity to prove that he could do much more than they expected him to.
Are you capable of accomplishing much more than you realize? Have you put limitations on the people you know well, whose past failures have taught you what to not expect of them? Are you even limiting God Himself and the work He might want to bring about in your life? Moving beyond our preconceived notions allows us to surprise ourselves, to bless others, and to grow tremendously in our faith. If you think God "can't" bring about miracles in your life, He probably won't. Give Him the opportunity to prove that He can.

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