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  • Writer's pictureLou Hernández


Updated: Nov 28, 2023

Personal quote: Let's pray: Father God we know you hear our cry in desperate times as your word says; that when one or two are gathered praying, your holy Spirit is present listening to our prayer. With humility, we ask you to listen to us asking for healing for dear friends and family who are suffering from health issues. Only you Father God can give them back their health if you are willing to. Asking for a miracle in their lives Father God, so they can be a testimony of your great love for them. You know every one of them and you call them by their name: GP, NR, TG, MAHM, ST, SC, MAHL, LN, CH, MD. We also pray for those countries that are living with wars with devastation and are many Father God, we pray for our brothers and sisters and special for the children who don't know why this is happening, give the leaders the wisdom to find the way with peace for their people.

We pray in the name of your beloved son Jesus Christ

our Lord of Lords and King of Kings. AMEN.



We don’t give much thought to the context in which Jesus lived His early years. And rightly so because Scripture barely speaks to it. But for a few minutes let’s think about how some of that plays out, both in what we see in our passage this morning and far more importantly, how it plays out in how we live now. I want to do that with something we are briefly told in a way that is easily overlooked. Notice :3 where we are given a listing of 4 brothers – Jesus 1 of 5 brothers with the additional information that He had sisters – not 1 but a few.

So what does that tell us? Well, there’s the obvious – that for a brief period of time, Jesus, like any firstborn, would have been ‘top dog’ in terms of receiving 100% of his earthly parents’ attention. Unshared attention, unlike anything his brothers and sisters coming after Him would receive.

No surprise there. But He also got attention for reasons that would have challenged his parents in ways we can’t begin to imagine - His arrival was spectacularly made known by heavenly announcement then heavenly enacted and heavenly anointed. How does any parent deal with that? Taking Him in your arms, then raising Him not so much as a God-given child but as God’s given Son. This Son held in your arms, fully God.

But as we’re told this verse reminds, us that Jesus also came as fully man which meant practically speaking, Jesus living with brothers and sisters younger than He. Brothers and sisters who quarrelled and complained. Brothers and sisters who almost assuredly would have positioned and schemed in efforts to win their parents’ favour. And yes, brothers and sisters who, at times would have been doing their best to outdo one another in the day-to-day reality of sibling life. In other words, Jesus lived in surroundings no different than what is true for many of us.

Kind of strange to think of it this way, but also wrong not to think of it this way. Jesus in the thick of things, among brothers who fought and sisters, quick to report those fights. And yes in some cases when it served their purposes, try the roles reversed of who reported on whom. In this mix, parents try to lead and direct in a household of competing personalities – harmony in one moment and pulling out hair in the next.

The point, Jesus in His humanity grew up in a world much like ours. And in His immediate world, His siblings in their familiarity with one another, seeing Jesus in the every day, not much different than they. Okay, that He was different - obviously undeniable. Over time, that difference is even more evident but in the day-by-day rubbing of shoulders, something likely overlooked. So much so, that later John tells us, that when Jesus finally begins to make Himself known, “Not even his brothers believed in Him” Jn 7:5. They, living in the day-by-day familiar, missing the One who lived among them.

And that is exactly what we see in this passage when Jesus comes to His hometown, others familiar with Him caught in a disconnect they can’t put together. On one hand, they are witnesses to the amazing – His wisdom and mighty works beyond anything they’d ever heard or ever seen. Wisdom and mighty works we are told, ‘astonished them’. But having no place to put those things, it didn’t take long for them to push the astonishing aside. After all, to them He was part of their local landscape - obviously precocious and uncharacteristically obedient but when they looked at the family pedigree, they had no reason to be impressed.

And in the brief moments, they were tempted to think differently, they quickly defaulted to the familiarity they had with a young Jesus following in the footsteps of His father. He was just a labourer - a carpenter – more accurately, a worker in stone and wood. And what great teacher, what great prophet Messiah comes from a background like that? He had no idea that one day, this prophet Messiah would do the spectacular both in what He accomplishes with wood and what He achieves when moving some stone – particularly moving a very large stone. And yet even then, His accomplishment was mostly not recognized; His achievement was mostly not believed. Those spectaculars are missed by most, other than those who saw with open hearts.

Because those who lived around Him refused to see beyond the familiar having no room for the amazing. And with that – familiarity stepped in and the amazing stepped out.

Don’t miss what we’re told about how quickly their response to Jesus changes – from standing in wonder incredulity to openly expressed animosity, where they take offence at Jesus.

How dare He act in ways that suggest He is different from them. Greater than them. Having answers more true than them.

Because admitting that He is ‘more than’ in the way Jesus stands before them, not just: wiser, as a must-be-listened-to man, not just mighty, as a must-be-considered prophet but as Someone who far exceeds even the greatest of what they could have imagined - changes everything. And they weren’t about to go there. Their experience with the familiar wouldn’t allow them to.

This is what Jesus observes, A prophet is not without honour except in his own hometown ... And He could do no mighty work there … and He marveled at their unbelief. :4-6

So where had familiarity taken them? Far more importantly, where does it take us if we are not careful to be on guard against attitudes that so easily slip in?

1st, with what we just observed - familiarity dims what we see and mutes what we hear. Unable to get past what they thought they knew, they missed where the miracles pointed and what His words would have them hear. And with that, they are representative of what Jesus spoke of earlier of seed cast on hard ground that was eaten before it could plant and take root.

2nd, FAMILIARITY CRIPPLES CURIOSITY. Those who knew Jesus saw Him with eyes that determined they’d seen all there was to be seen. They’d seen the sawdust in His hair and the stone dust on His clothes that told them all they needed to know. And then there were His siblings - obviously impressed by the things He could do and the things He would say but for the longest time, just one among them but beyond that ....?

3rd, FAMILIARITY ROBS US OF AN OPEN HEART AND WILLINGNESS TO BE FILLED WITH WONDER. Choosing instead familiarity that’s predisposed to explain away or tone down. Familiarity that’s predisposed to focus on things understood, things that fit into contexts already known. And fixed on looking there, we conclude there is no wonder to be seen, no passion to enter into. Because that’s where familiarity takes us. That’s why Jesus will observe, I entered into your house, and you gave Me no water for My feet... you gave me no kiss (of welcome) … you didn’t anoint My head with oil Lk 7:44-46. You didn’t care. You didn’t see. You didn’t value it. You didn’t act.

The truth is when we stop hearing what we need to hear, when we stop seeing what we need to see when our curiosity is gone and our hearts no longer bow in wonder, unbelief is never far behind.

It may not be full-blown is unbelief that turns us away from Jesus, but it easily becomes unbelief that doesn’t turn us fully to Him – not in any significant way where we see Him for who He truly is. The One for whom we really live. Familiarity where we allow God to be less than who He is. Again, it’s not that we don’t believe; it’s that we don’t truly believe. Notice how Mark describes the impact of this form of unbelief, Jesus could do no mighty act there:5. This is a very telling comment telling us that Jesus is limited in what He can do because of our unbelief. Not because His power is less but because we don’t enter into how God wants to work with us to accomplish what He desires. When we choose not to enter into that, it hinders what God is willing to do.

As Tony Evans observes: Unbelief is so powerful it will keep you stuck where you are. Unbelief is so powerful, it will keep God at a distance. Unbelief is so powerful, it will stop what God wants to do in our life.

Contrast the unbelief Jesus experienced in His hometown with what we see in the actions of another who saw Jesus far differently than those who had opted for the familiar. She came in worship to pour out her flask of alabaster. She came with no eyes that saw familiar; with no heart that let love grow less. Falling before Him, she anointed His feet with a gift worthy of the King she knew Him to be. No familiarity here. Just awe. Just wonder. Just unashamed and unrestrained love.

So how do we get to the place this woman came to? And is that even possible?

Well, it begins by acknowledging where we really are in our present relationship with Jesus, a relationship of familiarity far distant from who He is with the result that:

Our sight is less clear

Our faith is less strong

Our prayer is less bold

Our wonder is less radiant

Our passion is less intense

Our relationship is less alive

Rather than letting those slip by, we need to pause and reflect on these for a moment and determine – who is the Jesus I come before to worship, what wonder will I open my eyes to see, what passion will I allow myself to express?

But, acknowledgment alone may tell us where we are but it doesn’t take us where we need to go and how we are to get there. For that, we need to move from acknowledgment to action by beginning a demolition project by tearing down the walls of the familiar we’ve come to believe. Walls like:

A VIEW OF JESUS THAT HE CAME TO BE OUR SAVIOUR. He didn’t. He came to be our Saviour and LORD. He came not just so we can be in heaven, He came so we could live as His disciples in heaven to come, yes but fully living now in obedience, knowing His peace, knowing His joy. His disciples who experience the life He has for us, living that life out now so others, can have that life too. That does not mean a trouble-free, all-will-be-well life, but it does mean a life with God, His presence and power enabling us in the things we face.

Another familiar that needs dismantling is A VIEW OF JESUS THAT WE TOO EASILY SETTLE INTO. When people first encountered Jesus, He was missed by most because He didn’t come as expected.

In appearance, HE DID NOT LOOK AS HE WAS EXPECTED TO LOOK. Isaiah tells us, He grew up … like a tender shoot, like a root out of the parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him Is 53:2. In other words He was no king Saul, standing head and shoulders over all, more handsome than any in Israel 1 Sam 9:1,2. Nor was He King David, a victorious, handsome warrior.

In attitude, HE DID NOT IMPRESS WITH ATTRIBUTES BEFITTING A KING. No surround of glory. No conquests were made by power. Instead, it takes on the nature of a servant. Jesus, who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped rather He made Himself nothing (emptied Himself) by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death - even death on a cross! Phil 2:6-8

In actions, HE DID NOT DO WHAT HE WAS DEMANDED TO DO. He did not satisfy people’s willingness to believe IF He delivered in ways they thought that He should; IF He gave answers they determined were best; IF He responded the moment they asked; IF He okayed the lifestyles they chose. In other words, He did not allow others to fit Him into a God of their choosing.

It’s of this, Solomon reminds us, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and LEAN NOT don’t put your trust in your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil Prov 3:5-7. That our view of God, as informed as we think it is, will always come up short.

A VIEW OF JESUS THAT IS SEPARATED FROM HIS GLORY – when Jesus emptied Himself, He lay aside the privileges of divinity setting aside His rights and veiling His glory, choosing instead the position of a slave. We are reminded of this when at the end of His earthly ministry, Jesus prays for His Father to restore His former glory. Father, I have glorified you on earth. I have finished the work which you have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory I had with You before the world was. John 17:4,5

The point? Those who live and rub shoulders with Him have no witness of His glory, which is understandable because we are told that His glory is veiled but we are also told that Those who seek Him will find Him when they seek Him with all their heart Jer 29:13. God revealing enough of His glory to we who believe so that, by seeing it, we might be changed into His very own image! But the little of His glory we see is far removed from the Glory we will one day see.

When we give little thought to God’s glory, we enter into one of the most dangerous places familiarity wants to take us because it gives us a view of God far less than Who He is. It’s in this place we determine the God to Whom we will listen, the God we will follow, the God we will obey. Against that, consider what the prophets said when they got a glimpse of God’s glory, Isaiah - Woe is me, I am undone. I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips Is 6:5. Ezekiel - When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as though dead. Ez 1:28. Moses - I am terrified and trembling Heb 12:21. And when John sees a heavenly Jesus, I fell at His feet like a dead man Rev 1:17. And why?

Listen again to what we read from Rev 1, Among the lamp stands was someone like a Son of man dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held 7 stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. 1:13-16

This image reminds us of one more dangerous place familiarity takes us to which is A VIEW OF JESUS THAT DOESN’T CAUSE US TO FEAR GOD.

Come again? Aren’t we told again and again how much we are loved by God? How He is our Father. How He is our Shepherd. How He is our Helper. So how does fear of God fit into that?

For that, I want to draw on some other Scriptures for us to consider,

Beloved let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God 2 Cor 7:1 If you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear 1 Pet 1:17. Ps 25:14 The Lord is a friend to those who fear Him

Okay, so that last verse really helps because it puts fear and friendship with God together – in other words the fear you’re talking about is awe. Well yes, and no. Is there a sense that we are to be in awe of God that brings us into a place of worship? Absolutely. How can it be otherwise when we see His glory? In awe because of what He has done. In awe because nothing and no one can compare. In awe because One so great has, in His love, drawn us so close. In awe because this God has called you His child. This God who opened seas walked on water, made the lepers clean and raised the dead to life. This God who IS worthy of our awe.

But while the fear we are to have may include awe, there is also a fear we are to have that is different than awe. And without this fear, we are so easily deceived to enter into sin rather than live a life that is called to holiness. Take a look at what we see here:

God is grea to be feared in the assembly of His saints AND to be held in reverence by all those around Him Ps 89:7 and, Since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence AND godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire. Heb 12:28,29.

In these verses and more, we see that reverence and fear are related but different. Reverence deals with awe. Godly fear and consuming fire direct me past His goodness, past His love, past His grace so we never forget His greatness, a greatness SO far beyond anything we can imagine. A fear far more than awe. A God before Whom, we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. 2 Cor 5:10,11

This God who were it not for His grace, a mere glimpse would destroy us. God is unfathomable and unmatchable The Psalmist understands that when he wrote, What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You care for him? Ps 8:4 This God before Whom the angels day and night never stop saying, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty Rev 4:8. A God of unapproachable holiness but because we stand forgiven in Jesus’ righteousness, we can draw near to.

Yet even in our forgiveness, don’t miss what the Psalmist says that God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of His saints. That is to say, He is to be feared where God’s people gather. This isn’t a warning to those who don’t believe. It’s a warning to those who do. A warning to not take Him lightly. To not come - our hearts somewhere else. To not come - as just another thing we do. To not come - thinking how we live and how we act is something we decide, no one else. Where we pick and choose what things God says we will accept and those things we won’t. Remember Jesus’ warning, Because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth Rev 3:16. Some translations render that wording, spit you out. That’s a nice sanitized version but it’s just not right. The word is vomit which conveys in strong language how God views it when we dishonour Him, treating Him as less than who He is. 1 Samuel 2:30 tells us, I will honour those who honour me and I will despise those who think lightly of me. Don’t miss the strength of this language describing God’s reaction when we dishonour Him. This is the God of greatness we are to fear – not because He’s out to get us but because we, in our foolishness, do not get Him. That He is God Supreme. God overall. God before whom we all will bow. Does this mean we are to be afraid of God? No, not for those who have put their faith in Jesus but it does mean, not forgetting for a moment who HE IS.

Joy Dawson said it well, When we see Him face to face in all of His awesome holiness and blazing glory, it will seem incredible to us that we ever had a casual thought in relation to Him.

So this morning where does this leave you and me? I’ll tell you one place it cannot dare not leave us – in an, It doesn’t matter shrug. This morning God calling you to decide who God is to you? Is He one, considered little more than familiar? God, whose glory we choose not to see? God, whom we no longer look with wonder? God before Whom we’ve lost our sense of fear?

We would do well to remember what C.S. Lewis observed, A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.

This Jesus: our Saviour and Lord - worthy of ALL our worship

Our Saviour and Lord who calls us to follow and obey

Our Saviour and glorious Lord before Whom we bow down in wonder

Our Saviour and glorious Lord before Whom we bow down in holy fear

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