Leaving there, he went to his hometown. His students went with him. On the holy day he began teaching in church. Many who heard him were surprised. They said, “Where’d he pick up all this? Where’s this wisdom we heard about? And where are all the big miracles we heard he could do? Isn’t this Mary’s son, the handyman, Jim’s and Joses’ and Judas’ and Simon’s brother? And here are his sisters, too!” They were totally offended.
So Jesus told them, “People who tell the truth are honored, except when they’re in their hometown, with their family in their own home.” Except for restoring a few sick folk, he couldn’t do anything significant with them. He was exasperated with their disbelief.
Sometimes the people who are the hardest to deal with are the people you know the best. It doesn’t mean you love them any less. It just means that doing what you’re called to do when they’re around is exponentially harder. Even exasperating.
Because they know you, or think they know you, they’re more invested in your being who they are used to. Changing their perception of who you are or what you’re about can be threatening to them. Either they have a vested interest in the way you were, or they know if you’ve changed then perhaps they will have to change too.
Then there is the matter of credentials. Sure, you may have gone off to that college and picked up a fancy degree or two. But they knew you when you were a high school goof-off. No matter how famous Jesus becomes, with the home crowd he’s still just “the handyman” and always will be.
When you find yourself in that kind of tough home crowd situation, here’s the good news.
In spite of the home crowd’s opinion, you can still be who you are called to be. You can still do significant work. It’s harder. But it can be done. Even in the face of their offense, Mark reports that Jesus was able to restore a few sick folk. It’s not as much as he would have liked. But it was something. They may think they know you. But they don’t. And their opinion about you is only binding if you let it be. Jesus knew who he had become, and he stuck with it. If he could do it, so can you.