When I was an educator in the public school system there was an assumption that an educational expert was anyone who lived at least 50 miles away.
This meant that on most professional development days, an expert from out of town was hired to present to the educators.
This was in spite of the fact there was many notable experts within our school district, and sometimes even within our very own school.
So why is it that we look outside of our communities to find proficiency, and can end up missing the expert, and even the divine, which can be found right within our midst?
Even when it is the Messiah who is standing right in front of us?
Luke writes that when Jesus shared his anointing as the Messiah, in the temple in his hometown of Nazareth, they were unable to recognize his authority, and they “rose up drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so they could throw him down the cliff. But passing through their midst, he went away.” (Luke 4:29-30)
And yet, when he moved onto Capernaum, a city just 40 miles away, they were astonished and amazed by his authority and power and instruction. (Luke 4:36) They were able to recognize that his “teachings had inherent authority, the authority of God himself.” (ESV Study Bible, page 1958)
So why is it that one community was able to recognize Jesus’ divine authority and capability, while another community failed to recognize him, offended by what they perceived as his audacity?
Commentaries suggest it was largely because his hometown was so familiar with Jesus that they took exception to one of their own claiming to be God’s anointed. (ESV Study Bible and the New Bible Commentary, page 988).
That because Jesus had grown up in Nazareth the community, through their lens of familiarity, struggled to view him as being anything more than Joseph and Mary’s son, a carpenter, a mere man. Perceptions that ended up restricting their comprehension. Reducing him to a mere human status.
If we are not careful, this type of familiarity can still cloud our vision.
Causing us to grow indifferent towards Jesus’ immense power, holiness, infiniteness, majesty, goodness, and beauty. And in our familiarity and comfort, we also can become complacent. And end up missing him.
Being just like those in his hometown of Nazareth who had become so familiar with him, that we fail to recognize the Divine, even when it confronts us in places like God’s Word, in others, nature, and providential experiences. Missing these incredibly rich opportunities to acquire new insights, deepen our relationship with Jesus, and grow in our faith.
We are called to ignite our hearts and passion. To reawaken and discover our reverence, attentiveness, awe, curiosity, and wonder of everything relating to the Divine.
So that we will be able to consistently recognize him, and his divine authority, as he continues to stand in our very midst.
@fiveminutesfriday weekly prompt: FAMILIAR
Photo Credits: Robert Magnussan and Hanny Naibaho, from Unsplash