Acceptance; June 6, 2018

Mark 6:4-6 Jesus said to them, “Only in his home town, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith.

This is a prime example of familiarity breeding contempt, to the great loss of those being contemptuous. Because Jesus had grown up there, they pigeon-holed him as “that carpenter.” Knowing His family, they thought they knew everything about Him. Probably the most painful thing was that His own siblings didn’t accept Him as anything other than their big brother. That said, though, it is striking to me that this records that “He couldn’t do any miracles except heal a few people.” Today we call healing even one person a miracle! Even so, this was a painful experience for Jesus. Fresh out of raising a girl from the dead and having someone be healed by just touching His clothing, He wanted these people He grew up with, whom He really cared about, to share in the Father’s grace through Him. That they refused that grace was a painful shock to Him.

I can certainly identify with Jesus here. I have been used in prophecy, deliverance, and healing many times in various places, but not right here in my own church. I genuinely care about the people of this city, and particularly of this church, but they don’t see past my humanity to expect anything from God through me. I am certainly human, and focusing on Christ to let more of Him show through is a daily exercise, but I do know that I’m not a “mere human,” as Paul talked about to the Corinthians. (1 Corinthians 3:4) I know that “nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature, (Romans 7:18) but I also know that Christ lives in me and that is glorious indeed. (Colossians 1:27) In a sense I am caught between two conflicting desires. From childhood I have had a hunger to be accepted as “one of the group,” particularly growing up as a Caucasian in Japan while being a Missionary Kid at a military dependents school. I felt like I didn’t fit anywhere! However, that hunger runs counter to people expecting anything special from me. Thinking about it, Paul experienced wide variations in how he was received, with people around Ephesus being healed simply by touching things he had used, (Acts 19:12) but other people finding him very unimpressive. (2 Corinthians 10:10) I am not to try to demand that people receive me a particular way (it wouldn’t work, anyway) but rather find my identity in Christ and allow Him to use me however He desires, for His glory alone.

Father, thank You for this reminder. The wound of rejection has been very slow to heal, because it keeps getting reopened! As the song says, help me indeed place my trust, and find my identity, in Christ alone. Thank You that You have accepted me and continue to accept me, even though You know all my faults better than anyone. Help me indeed rest, relax, and rejoice in You, just as You have told me to do, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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