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Mar 31 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

Day Forty-seven – Matthew 13:53-58

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you

He came to His hometown and began teaching them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary . . . ?”
And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.
Matthew 13:54-55, 57

Jesus Christ knows what it is to be rejected.

He was in the world, and the wold was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. (Jn. 1:10-11)
He was despised and forsaken of men / A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face / He was despised and we did not esteem him
(Is. 53:3) 

A beautiful person in every way, yet rejected. If you, also, experience rejection, do not assume it is because you are worthless. Instead, stand near Jesus and know he will not push you away (Jn. 6:37). In his presence you will learn how to continue on when life is neither smooth nor supportive.

The neighbors in Jesus’ hometown illustrate the potential danger of being too literal. Their knowledge of him was accurate, in so far as public information was concerned–i.e., the carpenter’s and Mary’s son, whose brothers and sisters they knew. But this knowledge was derived from just one source, that which Paul referred to as knowing Jesus “according to the flesh” and “even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer” (2 Cor. 5:16). As it turned out, they only knew certain facts about him but they did not know the truth.

Several times in the parables we saw that the kingdom of heaven is hidden (Mt. 13:33, 44). What people see is bread, not the leaven that makes it rise. They see a field, but not the treasure buried beneath it. And so with Jesus, people in his old neighborhood could only see the man who they remembered as a child. They could not see “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt. 16:16-17).

Unfortunately, they made no attempt to see beyond their literal knowledge of Jesus and, as a result, “He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief” (v. 58). Unbelief keeps the kingdom of heaven hidden from us. Faith opens our eyes to the truth that is in Jesus, and this is the truth that sets us free (Jn. 8:31-32).

Lord God, Maker of heaven and earth, free us from the constricted life of believing only what we can see, clinging to the literal and rational when the words You speak to us are metaphorical and spiritual, resigned to a shriveled and uncreative life. Free us into the infinite horizon of the kingdom of heaven. Through Jesus Christ Your Son, who with the Spirit, lives and reigns with You forever.

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