2 Samuel 24:2, 9-17
"What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!
Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon?
And are not his sisters here with us?"
And they took offense at him."
"Local boy does good" is writers’ shorthand for a story about a locally-known, but previously insignificant, fellow making it big. This is just the sort of news that was being spread about Jesus in his hometown. "What mighty deeds are done by his hands!" But then the mood of the crowd turns. Why is this?
As a teacher, I am often asked to share my insights on a child’s behavior with his or her parents. It is usually the case that when I tell a mother or father how their child has been behaving, they look incredulous and exclaim "Why doesn’t he act like that at home?" They often express surprise at how well mannered and helpful their child has been to others.
This sometimes happens between spouses as well. One is told how lucky they are to have such a nice person as their spouse, while thinking, "yes, but you should see the mess they leave in the bathroom." It is almost human nature for us to hold those closest to us to a higher standard of behavior then people that we don’t know as well.
Jesus’ friends and family recognize the reports of His great and mighty deeds. But they just can’t accept the fact that this fellow that they know and grew up with, has accomplished all of this. And this doubt hinders his ability to work mighty deeds. It seems we do the same when we hold those around us (especially those we love) in low esteem. We hinder them. We keep them from being all who they can be. It can be a challenge to see someone we know so well with fresh eyes. To look at them the way a stranger does. Or even better yet, to see them as God does.
Today I pray that I see those in my "native place" as they truly are. A beloved child of God, capable of mighty deeds.
Talib Huff is a volunteer and presenter at Christ the King Retreat Center in Citrus Heights, California.