When Jesus finished these parables, he departed. When he came to his hometown, he taught the people in their synagogue. They were surprised and said, “Where did he get this wisdom? Where did he get the power to work miracles? Isn’t he the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother named Mary? Aren’t James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas his brothers? And his sisters, aren’t they here with us? Where did this man get all this?” They were repulsed by him and fell into sin. But Jesus said to them, “Prophets are honored everywhere except in their own hometowns and in their own households.” He was unable to do many miracles there because of their disbelief (Matthew 13:53-58, Common English Bible).
It’s been several years ago but, before he retired my friend, Dr. Royce Measures invited me to preach in the church where I was a member as a high school kid and then again shortly after leaving the Navy. The church was Golden Acres Baptist Church in Pasadena, Texas. Though I am a Methodist now, this church had an impact on my life and has, throughout my adult life and ministry, been a part of me. I am very thankful for the experience and knowledge I gained from being part of that congregation.
Dr. Measures invited me to preach a couple of times at Golden Acres. The first was for a Sunday evening service. I must have done alright because he later invited me again for a Sunday morning service. The opportunities were wonderful because, at the tine my parents were members of that church, as were Cindy’s parents (her mother still is). Both of my grandmothers were still living and lived in Pasadena so they were able to attend as well. For me at least, it was a great experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world.
Still, as great as the experience was, there is no way I would even consider going back and being the pastor of that church. It has nothing to do with them per se. They are great people. First of all, I wouldn’t go back because it is a Baptist church and as I said, these days I am a United Methodist and don’t plan to ever go back.
Second, and even more important, I wouldn’t go back because I know there would be at least a few folks who wouldn’t accept me as their pastor, not because I am a Methodist (that undoubtedly would bother a few), but because they remember me as a teenage kid, “You know, the kid that married the Oquinn girl” Or, “You know, Johnnie and Janice Broyles’ son (that could also translate over to “Mearl and Juan Oquinn’s son-in-law as they were and are longer time fixtures in that congregation). I might even hear, “You know, Brenda Broyles’ brother.” My sister was an active member and really came into her own there while I was away in the Navy.
Though I may be 60 years old on my next birthday, some folks will always see me as a teenager. And, truth to tell, I don’t really want to relive some of those days.
Knowing that reality exists helps me understand a little of what Jesus experienced in Nazareth in our lesson for today. He traveled home and no one could see him for who he was, what he was there to be or even see him as a teacher. He was Mary and Joseph’s son. He was a brother. He was a kid. And, “Where in the world did he come up with this stuff?” I am sure was said by someone in the crowd.
I think it was easier for me to go back to Golden Acres. Being one from their past, it was probably a fun experience for at least some people. My parents certainly got the chance to be proud. But, both visits, I was there for a day and then I was back in my church again. I don’t think things would remain quite the same if I were to go back as a permanent fixture.
Still, me going back is not really important. Though Dr. Measures retired a few years back, Golden Acres has a pastor who is leading them in positive directions.
For Jesus, things really weren’t the same. The lesson reminds us that the people of Nazareth fell into sin because they were repulsed by Jesus. I certainly hope that hasn’t happened at any place where I have preached.
The old saying “You can’t go home again” does contain some truth. I know I can always go to the old home for a visit. But, the place I call home now, is the place God needs me to be.
Where does God need you?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy, Peace and Thanksgiving,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved