Saturday 15 October 2016

Bible Book:

“He came to his home town and began to teach the people in their synagogue.” (v. 54)

Matthew 13:54-58 Saturday 15 October 2016

Psalm: Psalm 32


The disciples' assertion that they had understood the import ofJesus' parables is contrasted by Matthew's Gospel with anotheraudience for his teaching. This is the only occasion that Matthewrecords Jesus visiting his home town of Nazareth, which he doesn'tname here. It appears that Jesus' usual base was Capernaum and thathe came to the place where he had lived as a child as part of hispreaching mission around the towns and villages of Galilee. Wemight also imagine that this was a slightly awkward returnfollowing the incident in Matthew 12:46-50 where Jesus had responded to avisit from his mother and brothers by saying that his true familywas made up of disciples.

Mentions of Jesus' siblings have caused a considerable amount ofdiscussion over the centuries. Eager to maintain that Mary was'ever virgin', some ancient and mediaeval writers speculated thatthese were step-children of Mary from a previous marriage ofJoseph; others argued that they were cousins. Neither reading issupported by evidence elsewhere in the texts, so there is no reasonto think that these are not younger brothers and sisters of Jesus.Given Matthew's account (Matthew 2:22-23) of the family only settling inNazareth after the return from Egypt, it is not surprising thatJesus was clearly understood to be the son of Joseph, thecarpenter.

Initially the teaching in Nazareth was well received but theattitude of the congregation moves from admiration, through aquestioning of how Jesus came to acquire such wisdom, to rejectionbecause they cannot accept his authority. Jesus' response is torecognise that those who speak God's word often find it hardest tobe heard when they are with those who know them well. But thishardness limits the work of the gospel in that place.

To Ponder

  • Methodism's tradition of local preachers challenges some peopleto be prophets in their own country and own house. How difficult isit to speak of the things of God with the people with whom youlive? Or to hear the things of God from someone you have watchedgrow up?
  • Receiving or rejecting the good news has been a repeated themethis week. Identify someone who is not a Christian but who you wishhad the gift of faith. Pray for them. 
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