And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his household.”
Jesus notes something here that catches my attention every time I read it. He notes that a prophet; someone bearing a message from God is only without honor in his home town; his own neck of the woods, as it were. For Jesus, this is still incomprehensible. For me, this makes perfect sense.
It is incomprehensible in the case of Christ because it means that these people had to have seen Him grow up. Where the defiance of the toddler years normally would have been, there was obedience. Where the bits of rebellion and discord that we take for granted would have been were submission and peace. Seeing Christ grow to adulthood should have left those who saw it no room for doubt that there was something completely unique about this Boy and, later, this Man. Somehow, they missed it. They overlooked all the glaring divergence from our sinful behaviors and all the humility; glossed over His complete submission to His parents and His astonishing insight into the scriptures. They, I suspect, fell prey to the notion that kids are unformed people and nothing about them should be paid much attention. Such was the mindset of that time in history and that mindset, I think, blinded them to the truth.
It is equally comprehensible that those who “knew me when” would find anything about me suspect. I know the hypocrisy of my youth (and the places where I am still hypocritical, though have no intent to remain thus) and the ways in which I wronged friends and family and people whom I barely knew. I know the foolish things I did and how badly I wounded others. All of this I know. All of this is known about me in my home town. While I have repented, those who saw what was will still justifiably find the things I do and say now suspect. While I have, I hope, grown and left much (if not all) of my hypocrisy behind, it is completely understandable that those who saw my hypocrisy would be doubtful of what I do and say today. It is understandable and I cannot fault them for it, only lament the fact that I was not a more submissive and obedient child; a more responsible and thoughtful youth; a person who made better choices and followed God more fully.
Even then, I am encouraged. Had I been the holiest me I could possibly have been, it is entirely likely that I would still be without honor in my home town. Jesus was. Why should I fare any better than God Himself?
To apply this, I note the following. One, It is understandable that those who knew me in my younger days would doubt who and what I am now. They saw what was. What is may require time for them to be convinced. Two, Jesus was without honor despite being perfect. While it does not excuse my poor choices and bad behaviors of younger days, it does encourage me that nothing is permanent and no one, not even God Himself is accorded any measure of honor by those who see us grow. Third, the mindset of the age may be insidious and pervasive. I need to renew my mind by constant saturation in God’s Word that I might see when the mindset of the age is creeping in and stomp it out.