Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.
It is true that a prophet is not accepted in his own hometown. Jesus was a good example of that. Like Jesus, some messengers of God are not accepted by their own families today. Those messengers can deal with the rejection much better when they know the reasons.
Prophets are messengers called by God. Many times those messengers are not accepted in the community they grew up in because people knew them before God called them to be messengers. Even though the messenger has changed his lifestyle, people still remember him when he was a sinner like they still are.
Jesus was a prophet, but he was rejected by His own people. In order for Him to start His ministry, He had to move from Nazareth and preach to the people in Capernaum.
Throughout the gospels that record the life and ministry of Jesus, we see that Jesus traveled from place to place teaching, preaching, healing and performing miracles. According to Matthew 4:13, Jesus left Nazareth where He was rejected and dwelt in Capernaum where He was accepted.
Because Jesus was rejected by His own family and neighbors, He said in Matthew 13.57, "A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and in his own house." The Good News Bible makes it clear by recording, "A prophet is respected everywhere except in his hometown and by his own family."
The people missed out by rejecting Jesus because He did not perform many miracles in Nazareth. Whenever He went to His own hometown, He taught in the synagogue. People were astonished at His wisdom and mighty works, but they still rejected Him.
There are several reasons messengers of God are not honored in their own hometown and family. They include the following:
- Preconceived Notions
One of the major reasons a prophet is not accepted in his own hometown is familiarity. Those who knew Jesus well rejected Him. Those people included His own family. The people in Nazareth could not find any fault in His preaching, but because He had lived among them for 30 years, He was familiar to them. They questioned His background, according to Matthew 13:54-56.
- “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?”
- “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?"
- "Is not his mother called Mary?"
- "Aren't his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?"
- " Aren’t all his sisters with us?"
- "Where then did this man get all these things?”
The Bible says the people in Nazareth were astonished when they heard Jesus speak, and they were also offended by what He said. They saw Jesus heal people, but they couldn’t accept that they knew His mother, brothers, and sisters. Besides, He was only a carpenter to them.
People in Nazareth were reluctant to accept Jesus and His teachings. They just couldn't get past the fact that the man who made tables and chairs could also be the Son of God. Those in Jesus' own hometown had their assumptions about who He was. They couldn't accept that even though Jesus had been a carpenter, He was equipped to teach, preach, heal, and perform miracles because He was the Son of God.
Often people have preconceived notions about others. The preconceived notions lead to doubt. Like Jesus, they are rejected. Even though Jesus grew up in Nazareth, his relatives and neighbors didn't know Him at all. They saw Him as the carpenter's son and not much more.
Some messengers of God are treated that way today. They are not accepted and respected in their own hometown.
When Jesus first began His ministry, people said He had gone mad. They accused Him of not knowing what He was doing. That's because they were skeptical.
Jesus talked to them and tried to erase their doubt. He pointed them to scriptures about the prophets and about Him coming as the Messiah. Instead of taking what Jesus said into consideration, they accused Him of being a lunatic and did not know what he was saying.
The townspeople were so angry with Jesus that they tried to kill him by throwing him off a cliff. However, Jesus walked right through the crowd and went on His way (Luke 4:28-30).
Follow Jesus' Example
No matter what Jesus did or said, He was not honored by those in His hometown. (Matthew 13:57; Mark 6:4). Therefore, He limited His activity there because of the people's hostile disposition. There were people in other towns who were willing to listen to Him.
Jesus wanted to perform miracles in Nazareth among the people He grew up with. He did not perform many miracles there because of the people's unbelief and their attitude toward Him (Matthew 13:58). He could do anything, but in His humanity, He chose to limit Himself and refused to force Himself upon those who rejected Him.
Jesus concluded, "Truly I tell you no prophet is accepted in his hometown" (Luke 4:24).