Bible Reading: Mark 6:1-32
Have you ever spoken with someone over the phone and then later, when you finally met them, they didn’t look anything like what you thought they would? That’s kind of what happened to Jesus. For centuries the Jews had been reading the prophecies in the Old Testament concerning the coming Messiah. Unfortunately, they allowed their cultural and social experiences, and even personal expectations, to add some colors and variations to the picture that they developed about Him. Then, because of these incorrect preconceptions that they had arrived at, they were unwilling to accept Jesus for Who He was, when He arrived.
Jesus grew up in Nazareth, just like many other boys. The people who lived in that small village thought that they knew everything about Him…but they didn’t. So it is with people, today. They have developed an image in their mind about God…Who He is, what He looks like, how He operates, what He says we can and cannot do. Then, if He doesn’t fit their picture when He shows up…they refuse to believe in Him. In a very real sense…they have created God in their own image. The people who lived in Nazareth refused to recognize Jesus as the Messiah. In their minds, He was just…well, He was another one of the local kids who had grown up, there. And when He started teaching with such incredible perception and depth…and when He began to perform miracles…they were offended. I wonder why. Were they offended by the truth that they heard? I don’t think so. Were they offended because of the good things He was doing? No. Or, could it be that they were offended because they recognized that His teaching came with authority…and they simply were not willing to submit to His authority…not to Jesus…a carpenter, Mary’s son, and the brother of her children. They let their feelings, their emotions…their pride…keep them from seeing Jesus for Who He was. And as a result, they missed out on many of the blessings that God had in store for them.
We’ve got to be careful that we don’t try to place any preconceptions, any expectations, any limitations…on God. He is Who He is…and we must accept Him as such.
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
I heard that a couple of years ago (2016), you guys (our daughter’s family) went to the annual FanFest for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football team at Raymond James Stadium. You had the opportunity to meet several of the players and get their autographs. Then each of you bought a jersey with the number of one of the players on it. How cool is that!
Your Mom told me that several weeks later, you went to church and that after the worship service, as you were walking through the parking lot, you passed a man leaning against a car. As you walked by he looked at Bradyn and said, “Nice jersey, kid.” Bradyn just nodded his head, smiled at him, and kept on walking. You got about 30-feet past the guy when your Mom stopped, slowly turned her head, and looked more closely at the man. He was getting into his car. She looked at Bradyn’s jersey. She looked at the man. She looked at Bradyn’s jersey. She looked at the man. And then she said, “That’s him! That’s his number. He plays for the Bucs!” The guy leaning against the car played for the Bucs and the jersey that Bradyn was wearing had his number on it. No wonder the guy made a comment about Bradyn’s jersey. You guys had walked right past one of the players for the Tampa Bay Bucs and didn’t even recognize him. Somehow, without his uniform on, he just didn’t look like what you expected him to look like…and you had walked right past him. How un-cool is that!
When Jesus began His public ministry He was about 30-years-old. Even though He was doing exactly what the Bible said the Messiah would do…many people did not believe that He was the Messiah. Some of them were from His own hometown, Nazareth. Why didn’t they believe He was the Messiah? Because they had their own ideas about what the Messiah would do…and those ideas were not necessarily what the Bible said. Jesus must be wrong. At least, that is what they thought. Surely they couldn’t be wrong.
The same thing still happens, today. It isn’t uncommon for someone to talk with me about an issue they are struggling with. I ask them if they are a Christian and they say, “Oh, yes.” However, when I begin to show them what the Bible says about the issue they are struggling with they say, “Well, I know that’s what the Bible says, but I’m not so sure that I agree with it.” Really? They believe in Jesus…and the only way that they know about Him is from the Bible. But, when it comes to the issue they are dealing with…they disagree with the Bible…because it disagrees with them. You can’t have it both ways. Either you agree with the Bible…or, you don’t. You can’t pick and choose what parts to believe in. Why? Because it’s not your Bible…it’s God’s. He wrote it…not you. He inspired men to write exactly what it says and it says exactly what He meant. If you choose to not believe the Bible…then you are choosing to not believe God.
When the people from Nazareth chose to not believe the Bible…to not believe in Jesus…they missed the blessings of God. Because they didn’t have faith in what the Bible said…Jesus was not able to do many miracles, there. How sad. Jesus, the Messiah, was right there in their midst. And yet, because they refused to believe in what the Bible said…they missed out on the greatest moment that their life would ever offer.
Don’t decide for God what He must be like. Read your Bible and you will find everything you will ever need to know about Him…and more. Then, when you are facing struggles…you will know exactly where to turn…the Bible. And there, God will speak to your heart and give you all the answers that you need.
Love you more than bunches and bunches,