Matthew 13:53-58

When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.” And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

Do you remember that kid in school who was likable enough but came from a poor social background, so you stayed away from him because you’d rather hang around with a better class of kids? Every school has a kid like that, so there’s a good chance you know what I am talking about. Imagine that one day this kid goes off to college in Australia or the US. He returns a few years later, sporting designer clothes, a Rolex, and a fancy accent. He’s obviously become wealthy and successful. How would you feel? Be honest.

I imagine that’s pretty much how the people in Jesus’ hometown felt when homeboy returned, speaking with great authority and backing his words with some of the most incredible displays of power they had ever witnessed. They would have first been incredulous (Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?), then resentful (who does he think he is, coming into our synagogues and teaching us stuff?), then murderous (in Luke’s gospel, these good people try to throw Jesus off a cliff! (see Luke 4:29)). That’s what jealousy does.

Jealousy is an ugly emotion. It leads to depression, anxiety, anger, rage, frustration, fear, and even murder. Scripture is replete with examples of what jealousy does to people. Cain killed his brother Abel because he was jealous of him. King Saul tried to kill David because he became jealous of him. Instead of looking after his subjects, Saul spent most of his time after that trying to kill the young man.

It is what we will do too. We may not physically murder somebody, but we will try to ruin them in other ways. Gossip and slander are ideal weapons. It is easy to defame somebody, especially if you are in a position of power or authority. A few words spoken to a few people are all it takes. A lie becomes a truth and, very often, can never be proven otherwise. I see this happening around me all the time.

What’s the cure? One: Don’t look at others. We often miss rejoicing in the blessings we have received when we look at what others have received. At the end of the gospel of John, we see that Jesus has just restored Peter. As they set off, Peter sees John following him. “What about him,” he asks Jesus. And Jesus retorts sharply, “What is that to you?” Two: Don’t give in to the flesh. In his letter to the Romans, Paul tells us not to engage in quarreling and jealousy but to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 13:13-14)

When we put on the Lord Jesus Christ, we start having the mind of Christ. Everything changes.

May the Spirit be with you.

More in this category: « Matthew 13:51-52 Matthew 14:1-12 »
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