Hands up …. did your older brothers and sisters try to teach you things as a child only to be met with protests, scoffs and yawns? It was only when your parents stepped in and paid up front for an expensive tutor that you would finally sit up and pay attention. It seems that we disregard as unimportant what is right under our noses. The next-door neighbour might speak words of great wisdom to us over the garden fence, but unless the same words were boomed at us from a cloud or a mountaintop we would barely heed them. The old adage that ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ is certainly a true one.
When Jesus returned to his hometown to preach, he was treated with similar disregard. When the Nazarenes heard him speaking they could not take him seriously because they could remember all too well his humble origins. Wasn’t he just a carpenter … Mary’s son? They closed their minds against Jesus, and because their minds were closed, Jesus could not work any great deed that day.
Of course, there is more to this story than Jesus being rejected in his hometown. This is a story about how we too can ignore or reject God. This is a story about the stumbling blocks we encounter in our faith. Perhaps our pet stumbling block might be our unwillingness to listen to others in the belief that we know best. Our stumbling block might be a reluctance to ask for help, fearing that this might be a sign of weakness. Our stumbling block might be the inability to recognise the voice of God in our day-to-day surroundings. Could God be talking to us through a partner, through our children, parents or friends? Where will the next prophet come from, the other side of the globe or the other side of the street? The trick is, not to rule anything out. God is less likely to work wonders in a closed mind.