Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these parables, that He departed from there. When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” So they were offended at Him. | Matthew 13:53-57 (NKJV)
Jesus is finally returning to the hometown that had contributed to His childhood upbringing and helped shape Him into the natural man He had become. All this time, He had been pouring into those that weren’t an integral part of his early years…those that have been in desperate need of a Savior, a Helping Hand, and above all a Friend. And now, He is returning home.
And yet Jesus finds Himself met by offense. His countrymen, those He went to school with, those He ran around the playground with, those that babysat Him while Joseph and Mary were out on date night (work with me here), the people He had the most familiarity with…all have turned from family friend to emerging foe.
The most striking angle of the offense is the comparison of Jesus to natural standards. Just like everyone else, wasn’t He just a man, with a mother like you and I, a father like you and I, siblings like you and I? In His countrymen’s mindset, “What makes Jesus so special if He’s just one of us?”
If we were to take a serious look at our lives, specifically the moments where we have taken up offense(s), would our mindset, words and actions line up with those of Jesus’ countrymen? Where an individual that is operating in the gifting that God has birthed into them causes us such animosity and insecurity, which ultimately leads to offense? The circumstances may differ from situation to situation, but the reality remains the same: offense blinds us from opportunity.
This is what I mean by opportunity. Matthew 13:58 states that Jesus didn’t do many mighty works in his hometown. basically, He performed average works, less than the caliber of works He had been performing outside of Nazareth. Can you imagine the magnitude of opportunity the Nazarenes passed up by taken up an offense against Jesus? If He had been casting out unclean spirits, restoring broken bodies, making the mute to speak and the blind to see, and raising people from the dead…imagine how much more He could’ve done for His own people!
Interestingly enough, I believe that we do the same thing when we take up an offense with an individual. If God was to place someone in my path and in my life that is operating fully in their potential, gifting, and supernatural power, then I would venture to say I’m somewhat of a fool to push them away with an offense versus being drawn to the opportunity. By opportunity, perhaps my faith needs to be strengthened by someone who is fully operating in their calling. By opportunity, perhaps my insecurities can be minimized by being mentored by someone that has full confidence in who they are in Christ. By opportunity, perhaps my feelings of “fighting this faith battle alone” are being removed by a fellow warrior in the faith being divinely introduced into my life for the continued work of the kingdom.
Too often, we are blinded and distracted from the opportunities God has for us. In those moments where animosty, insecurity, and worst of all offense, desire to bubble up in our spirit and overtake our emotions, we should instead look to and grab hold of the opportunity God has for us in the situation. If we serve a good God that thinks good thoughts towards us and has good plans for us, then we must understand that there is a good opportunity that God has for us in every situation, through every circumstance, and especially with every individual.
Heavenly Father, I thank you for Your desire to do good, greater, and the greatest works in our lives. I thank you for the impartation of our spiritual gifts, but also for the unseen blessings of those that you divinely place into our lives. Regardless of our feelings and emotions, Your opportunities for our lives are perfect and ready for us. In the name of Jesus, I declare thoughts of animosity, insecurity and soul-binding offenses to be eradicated from our lives! I declare that the dutimous power of Jesus come into our lives and heal all soul wounds in order for us to clearly see, appreciate and take hold of the opportunities You have for us. In Jesus’ mighty name, Amen.