WEDNESDAY, November 4

Matthew 13:53-58. Jesus came to his hometown and began to teach the people in their synagogue, so that they were astounded and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these deeds of power?”

Jesus’ homecoming in Nazareth is less than well- received. Look, they say, we know who you are, we know your family. Don’t come here telling us things we don’t want to know. Who are you to teach us?
The Nazarenes have lots of company, even today. Some folks presume their relationship to Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior is so intimate that it excludes just about everyone else. It is enough to give religion a bad name. And, worse, it drives some away from Christ rather than toward him.
Geoffrey Chaucer was probably the first writer to say, in essence, familiarity breeds contempt. We all know that to be true. Yet those who seek to package Jesus into their image of him–instead of the other way around–do great damage to themselves and to others.
Jesus’ teachings are tough. His ethical demands are often difficult, some seemingly impossible. Yet they are our duty, if we truly seek to follow him. To do that requires humility above all, not a familiarity that, we may suppose, makes life easier.

PRAY for the Diocese of Umzimvubu (Southern Africa)

Ps 72 * 119:73-96; Nehemiah 13:4-22; Revelation 12:1-12
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