Prophet Without Honor
Text: Matthew 13:53-58
Ever since God made Israel a nation and birthed them as a son out of Egypt, the LORD contended to be accepted in the nation. There was incessant rejection of the LORD and His ways. Many times the LORD would use believing Gentiles outside of Israel to provoke Israel. Jonah and Nineveh was a great example. Jonah is sent to Gentiles who repent and believe and the result is God deferred His judgment. In Elijah’s day the Lord fed Elijah with unclean ravens and a Gentile widow according to the Lord in Luke 4:25-26. That’s the first time you meet Elijah in 1 Kings 17. Then the Lord heals Naaman, a Gentile, not an Israelite, who was a leper who believed.
Three words describe those familiar with a prophet, particularly Jesus Christ here. Those words are astonished, offended, and unbelief. The cross reference in Mark 6:1-6 emphasizes this by using the exact same words to describe those close to the Lord from his youth up: astonished, offended, and unbelief.
They were astonished
- They were astonished but they were not impressed. In fact, they were perturbed and annoyed that someone they knew as a boy was doing and saying the things Jesus Christ was saying.
- They resented his authority.
- They resented his standards.
- They resented his works.
- They resented his claims.
- And though they are the same thing, it is one thing to believe the deity of Christ, but I think it’s much harder to wrap your mind around the humanity of God Almighty. “Vail of his ordinariness” as someone called it.
- His own kin didn’t think you could achieve that level of intelligence without the right schooling which Jesus didn’t have according to them.
- John 7:1-5. Clearly no understanding of what God was doing in their midst.
- Familiarity breeds contempt. Second generation and third generation people who grow up in faithful Christian homes usually didn’t fight the same battles the first generation did. Consequently, they don’t appreciate it. What became sacred to the first generation after they lived sinful lives before acknowledging the truth became ordinary to the second generation because that was all they knew.
They were offended
- I drive to church and see signs with politician names on them in yards, on street corners. I see businesses advertising their businesses with signs. I see people with their favorite political candidate’s bumper sticker on their car who wouldn’t dare put a scriptural bumper sticker on their car. You know why? Jesus Christ is an offense in a way that a politician isn’t. You get a Christian to hold a sign for Jesus Christ with scripture and for some reason that is weird. How hypocritical it is. But it reveals the offensiveness of Jesus Christ unfortunately. It’s not the signs that’s the problem, it’s the content on the sign that the world and religious people have a problem with. And the world and religious people will never accept public displays of Jesus Christ, but they’ll never have a problem with public displays of their businesses or their politicians.
- Matthew 13:18-21 Offended in Christ is proof you’ve deceived yourself about your faith. What you thought was “faith” is now disqualified. It’s proven to be rootless and the seed will not bear fruit.
- Solution to being offended is loving the word of God. Psalm 119:165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.
They were unbelieving
- Unbelief means the Lord will not work. As has been the theme throughout the Bible and particularly reinforced in Matthew, Christ’s kingdom and power is only accessed by faith.
- Romans 9:30-33, then Romans 10 & 11
- That’s about the summary of many places where the Bible is preached and taught and lived. The desire to help people is there for the servant of God, but no one will show up, therefore only a few ever get help.
- Galatians 3:26