Jesus said, "Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house." And he could do no deed of power there. - Mark 6:4-5
I stood with my then thirteen-year-old daughter after worship one day. A guy came up to me, gushing about my sermon. I was all ears. He concluded by saying to my daughter, "Your father is a great man!"
She looked at him as if he had three heads, each with a brain the size of a Skittle.
It doesn't matter if you have moved mountains and saved the world from an invasion of monsters from another dimension. At home, those creds don't add up to much. You're just a dad, a mom, a husband, a sister, a townie, someone who is an occasional pain in the ass.
The more people know about you, the less likely they are to put you on a pedestal, which seemed to be the case for Jesus when he went back home. His neighbors weren't bad folk, but they knew too much about Jesus to embrace him as a legit prophet.
They remembered Jesus as a little tyke with a runny nose, nearly knocking elders over as he dashed about the fellowship hall. How could God do anything special through him?
It wasn't a lack of faith. It was a lack of vision. Their experience of Jesus way-back-when blocked their ability to see him here-and-now.
Jesus could have done something flashy to reverse the opinion of his old neighbors. Instead, he peacefully accepted their rejection, thereby teaching his disciples to do the same. He didn't need affirmation. He needed to be about the Lord's business.
Lord, sometimes I am the one who rejects you. Sometimes I am rejected because of you. Free me from the need for approval. Grant me peace and patience as I go about your business today.
Matt Laney is the Senior Pastor of Virginia Highland Church UCC in Atlanta, GA and the author of Pride Wars, a fantasy series publishe by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for Young Readers. The first book, The Spinner Prince available now.