Then Jesus said, "You will undoubtedly quote me this proverb: 'Physician, heal yourself,' meaning, 'Do miracles here in your hometown like those you did in Capernaum.' But I tell you the truth, no prophet is accepted in his own hometown." - Luke 4:23-24
"You give me attention
You're someone who understands my needs
Someone who is sensitive
Everything I miss at home."
The lyrics to Cherrelle's 1988 hit song are disturbing, yet they express a reality that few of us can deny. Familiarity does breed a certain contempt. Extensive knowledge or close association with someone or something often leads to a loss of respect for them or it. The people we are closest to are often the people that we take for granted.
The consequences of being disrespected and disregarded at home are tragic. Some people only offer their best talents and gifts to those outside of their own communities. Some seek the acceptance and affirmation denied to them by their own family members. Still others have to leave their own house in order to find a home.
Jesus came to his own, and his own received him not.
Consequently, the people of Nazareth, who thought they knew him best, missed out on seeing the prophesy concerning the Messiah unfold in their very midst. The marvelous miracles that highlighted his identity and mission were performed by Jesus elsewhere.
Fleeing the rise of Nazism in Europe and Switzerland, Albert Einstein brought his brilliance and humanitarianism to Princeton, eventually becoming a U.S. citizen. Rejecting the indignities of racism in America, Josephine Baker took her Beyoncé star power to Paris, France at age 19, where she became America's most famous expatriate. And Martin Luther King, Jr. never led a Civil Rights March in his own hometown of Atlanta.
Lord, help us to recognize the price we pay for ignoring your Presence in the people around us. Open our eyes. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.