Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith. Mark 6:4-6
Jesus was amazed. I am too. Then again, not really. Prophets were not appreciated by those who knew them best because those who knew them best were most familiar with them. Short of death, familiarity might just be the most vile ‘gift’ we inherit courtesy of the fall. It turns the extraordinary into the ordinary, the rare into the everyday, the special into the common. It causes boredom and discontentment. It is the source of so much contempt. It makes the grass perpetually greener wherever you are NOT. Its source can’t possibly be anything other than Satan himself.
Prophets weren’t born spouting prophecy. They were born and grew up within families, among friends, and surrounded by a community of neighbors. All of them first knew the prophet as an ordinary Jew for a long period of time before God gave the person in question His prophetic call. By then, familiarity had set in within the family and community, and their ability to comprehend their family member / friend / neighbor’s new status was hopelessly compromised.
Jesus was of course more than a prophet. He was the long promised Messiah, and He didn’t mind announcing it in ways unmistakable to Jewish ears. Not only were His siblings and neighbors battling familiarity, they were also battling their misconceptions about the nature of their God. As much as they may have believed that His thoughts were higher than their thoughts and His ways were higher than their ways, they never considered that maybe, just maybe, this One God revealed to them through Moses and the prophets was more complex in His internal nature (i.e. the Trinity) than can be comprehended by fallen human minds. Their assumptions concerning God didn’t include His possible incarnation as a man, a Jewish Rabbi, hailing from a backwater region such as Galilee. If the promised Messiah was really going to be God in human flesh, then it would most certainly be the flesh of a great conquering warrior king in the mold of David.
Familiarity. False, unsupported assumptions about God, His nature, or His plans. Either can play havoc with our ability to perceive truth. Combined, they caused people privileged to spend many years living their lives with God incarnate to be thoroughly blinded to the Light of the World walking among them.
Dear God, please show me all the blessings You’ve given me that I’m blinded to because of the curse of familiarity, and give me the capacity to appreciate them as fully as they deserve. Even more importantly, please destroy every assumption I have of You that does not come from Your own revelation provided in scripture. Please let me always see You for who You truly are. Lord, open my eyes that I may see! Amen.