“Then Jesus said to them, ‘Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.'” – Mark 6:4
It can be dangerous preaching in your home church. When Jesus went to the synagogue in Nazareth it didn’t go well. The worshippers knew him, his mother, and his brothers. “Isn’t this the carpenter?” What could he possibly tell them that would have any value? “They took offense at him,” and “he could do no deed of power there.”
There’s an axiom in business that an expert is someone with a briefcase who lives more than a hundred miles from home. But God’s wisdom often arrives quietly and close to home in the overlooked and underestimated: a shepherd boy, a poor young maiden, and the local carpenter.
Even in the church that bears Christ’s name we often can’t hear what Jesus is saying to us because he is such a familiar figure. We are too comfortable with him.
But as he did in his hometown Jesus can still give offense when he tells hard home truths: “Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the prisoner, forgive your enemies, turn the other cheek, and pray for those who hate you.”
Perhaps we would need fewer experts to tell us how to be the church if we listened more to the voice so close to home.
Jesus, give us ears to hear your voice that we may do many deeds of power in your name.
Richard L. Floyd is Pastor Emeritus of First Church of Christ (UCC) in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and author of A Course In Basic Christianity and When I Survey the Wondrous Cross: Reflections on the Atonement. He blogs at richardlfloyd.com.