|Jesus in the Nazareth synagogue - Artist unknown|
TO CHEW ON: " ' Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?' So they were offended at Him." Mark 6:3
That old saying, "Familiarity breeds contempt" is enacted here right before our eyes. At the synagogue in His home town the wisdom of Jesus' teaching and the miracles He performed astonished His old neighbors. But because they had seen him grow up, knew Him as an ordinary carpenter, and were acquainted with His family, they were "offended" at Him.
[Offended - scandalizo originally meant to put a literal snare or stumbling block in front of someone. The noun it relates to is a snare or bait stick. According to my Bible's Word Wealth author, "In the NT scandalizo is always used metaphorically of that which hinders right conduct or thought hence, 'to cause to stumble' " - Dick Mills, Word Wealth, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1309.]
Could the same attitude be true of us and our leaders? The pastor is the little kid we knew from our Sunday School class years ago. The evangelist went to school with our younger siblings. We made better marks than the author. How could they be anything special?
But when we think like this, we don't take into account the difference the presence of the Holy Spirit makes in a life. When He lives within, everything changes.
- The Spirit of the Lord in Saul changed him into a new person - 1 Samuel 10:6.
- This renewal comes by waiting on the Lord - Isaiah 40:31.
- The Spirit renews minds enabling people to be in sync with God's will - Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:23, 24.
- This renewal is not dependent on the look or state of the physical body- 2 Corinthians 4:16.
- The individual's choices influence this renewal. Paul tells Christ-followers to "put off" old ways of behaving and to "put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him" - Colossians 3:8-10.
- But this renewal is still essentially the work of the Holy Spirit - Titus 3:5.
As we relate to our leaders and each other, let's not be similarly "offended" by what we know of someone's family tree, childhood, past, or occupation. Rather, let's recognize that the Spirit of God within opens up a whole new realm of wisdom, power, and ministry effectiveness.
PRAYER: Dear God, please open my eyes to see past ordinary exteriors to the Holy Spirit working in and through people, making their lives extraordinary. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.