Is he not the carpenter’s son?

Can’t you just imagine their eyes rolling and the incredulous tone in their voice? These Nazarenes had known Jesus and his family—and their familiarity led them to reject him and his teaching. Matthew tells us, “They took offense at him” (Matthew 13:57). It’s an age-old story: familiarity breeds contempt.

But we shouldn’t be so quick to judge Jesus’ townspeople. We all know how easily we can be blinded by our own preconceptions. The people in the synagogue had likely watched Jesus grow up. A carpenter by trade, Jesus probably didn’t get extensive religious training. So naturally, they wondered where all this wisdom was coming from. They couldn’t believe that Jesus was anything more than a carpenter’s son. As a result, Jesus “did not work many mighty deeds there” (Matthew 13:58).

What a missed opportunity! Jesus came home, ready to work miracles and explain the mysteries of God, and his neighbors couldn’t get past their old ideas of who he was.

Every day, Jesus stands ready to teach us, heal us, and fill us with his love. And some days, like the people of Nazareth, we don’t give him a chance. We don’t necessarily reject Jesus outright. Sometimes we’re just too busy. Other times, we can’t accept the way he comes to us, or we feel threatened by what he says. And sadly, we miss the grace that he wants to give us.

You are already trying to listen to Jesus today—that’s why you’re reading this reflection! But on some level, everyone has preconceptions about Jesus that God wants to clear up. Perhaps you think that God failed to answer a prayer in the past, so you doubt that he would act now. Maybe you still see Jesus as somewhat distant or his teaching as not really related to your ordinary life. Ask Jesus to open your eyes a little bit more today. Ask him to help you see that he is so much more loving, so much more powerful, and so much closer to you than you have imagined. Today, don’t let your familiarity blind you to his goodness. Open your heart to him and let him bring you to deeper faith.

“Jesus, I want to know you more. Come, Lord, and increase my faith!”

Leviticus 23:1, 4-11, 15-16, 27, 34-37
Psalm 81:3-6, 10-11
Matthew 13:54-58


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