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OVERCOMING REJECTION -

Matthew 13:54-58

SESSION OVERVIEW:
Jesus’ early ministry was in Galilee . His “home” was Nazareth of Galilee. So long as He was in Galilee, but not in Nazareth , He was generally well-received. Hi first miracle was at Cana of Galilee, and the work was readily accepted (John 2:1-11). From that point forward Jesus drew crowds – both for His miracles and for His teaching. Capernaum became his “headquarters”, and the people followed him throughout the region. He was famous...

But these people probably knew Jesus as someone who “appeared out of nowhere” with a new, forceful Gospel. The word about Jesus spread rapidly abroad, as His list of miracles grew daily. One would think that Jesus’ hometown people would welcome Him with open arms, but that was not to be...

INTRODUCTION:
Jesus was known as the son of a carpenter. It is probable that by the time of the verses before us, his earthly father, Joseph, was dead. But just what kind of carpenter Joseph was is not clear. Some have surmised that he made yokes and ploughs, and that Jesus followed in the occupation. That could be one explanation for Jesus’ constant use of farming in His parables. Of course, such an occupation would have probably caused both men to spend a good deal of time away from “home”, causing many locals to forget who they were. This may be the reason for some of the questions in the verses before us...

Ultimately, Jesus was rejected. But why? The Apostle John, in his book, made the singular observation that “…he came to his own home, and is own people received him not” (John 1:11). And just what did that fact have to do with Jesus’ ability to perform miracles? Was Jesus’ power limited?

A QUESTION OF CREDENTIALS (Matthew 13:54):
A synagogue was largely a New Testament term – the word appearing only once in the Old Testament (Psalms 74:8). It is possible that these structures (their insides looked somewhat similar to today’s “basic” church sanctuary) had their beginnings during the Babylonian captivity. The people were unable to worship at the Temple in Jerusalem , so they constructed a center for gathering and Bible study...

The “Order of Service” for the sanctuary included two Scripture readings: one from the Books of law an one from the Prophets. The minister reading the Scripture would (if qualified) sit and expound on the verses he had read. This Jesus id, and Matthew tells us the people were “astonished”. Jesus was not one to quote Rabbis, as other ministers were prone to do; He just spoke as one being His own authority. Additionally, Jesus’ teaching was extremely impressive. But no one knew of Jesus ever going to one of the Rabbinical schools of that day. Where did He get His wisdom?

We have no evidence that at that point Jesus performed any miracles, but it is apparent that the listeners were aware of at least some of His “works”, and wondered just where He gained the abilities being exhibited...

A QUESTION OF ORIGIN (Matthew 13:55, 56):
There was the question of Jesus’ humble beginnings. Wasn’t this the Son of that couple that couldn’t afford a lamb for the mother’s purification and therefore offered the “poor” offering of two turtledoves> (Luke 2:22-24; cf. Leviticus 12). Isn’t this the same carpenter’s son whose brothers and sisters we all know? Of course, we have no evidence that Jesus had younger brothers, or that He had sisters at all; however scholars have advanced the theory that Joseph had children through an earlier marriage. Another possibility is that in that land, cousins were sometimes referred to as brothers and sisters...

Somehow, the people of Nazareth had problems understanding just how someone they knew, and someone with whose family they were familiar, could do and say the t things they were witnessing of Jesus. They were, in short, more concerned with who was doing these “things” than with the fact that the occurrences were taking place...

THE RESULT (Matthew 13:57, 58):
It appears the people of Nazareth were not impressed; rather, they were offended. They didn’t worship; they came much closer to scorn. The result was that Jesus “did not many mighty works there…”. Why was this so? More often than not, Jesus would require some act or expression of faith before He performed a miracle. He would often comment afterward, “…your faith has made you whole…”. There is an interesting observation from The interpreter’s Bible on this topic: “There was no lack of power in Jesus and no lack of love’s desire, but there was no faith or longing in such people. His power was short-circuited by their woodenness.”

Put another way, Jesus refused to force His way into the people’s hearts; after all, Jesus wasn’t interested purely in the healing act: He was interested in saving souls. Especially for the saving of souls, one had to be willing...

APPLICATION OF SCRIPTURE:
Many religious leaders today garner huge followings mainly because of outward appearance. They are impressive in their presentations, and people flock to them. Likewise, people sometimes respond even today to faith healers. These men and women may or may not be sent from God, but any doctor will tll you that if a patient believes strongly enough, that patient may actually feel some relief from the ailment without any outside help...

There is another consideration; God can send anyone to help His people – and that includes people that we have known all our lives. Put simply, Christians should know that it is not the person, but God’s Divine Hand that will make the difference if we are in need of a miracle. Yes, God still does miracles today, but we should take a lesson from the wedding at Cana of Galilee. Jesus told the men to fill the pots with water. They filled the pots “to the brim”. When it was over, they had pots filled “to the brim” with wine. Who could argue that had they filled the pots half full of water due to lack of faith, that they would have received only half-pots of wine?....

A
 
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