Sunday, November 19, 2017

When I Had a Nazareth Heart and Missed the Miracle Before Me

I'm getting a new website for Christmas. 

Actually, that's not quite true. I'll have a new website BEFORE Christmas, and it's a ministry-expanding project, not a present. I'm super excited about this. 

In preparation for the new website, I've begun to go back through old blog posts. Some of them will be carried over to the new site. Some will not. This morning, I looked through past Thanksgiving posts, discovered the "Nazareth heart" post, and thought the truths were worth revisiting. 

I found an "ouch" here, so be forewarned.

Jesus grew up in Nazareth and, since it was a small village, everyone knew Him. No one ever expects the little kid next door to grow up into the Messiah who will save the world, even if He's a really nice kid. The people of Nazareth were no different. When Jesus was well-known because of His teaching and miracles, they wanted to see the miracles for themselves.

One day, Jesus spoke in his home church (aka the synagogue in Nazareth) and, instead of being happy about miracles, the people were enraged by His words. Luke (4:28) tells us there wasn't one person who was not out-of-control angry with Jesus.  

They were angry because Jesus said aloud what they were all thinking privately.  He exposed the truth they'd hoped to hide. They were happy to have Him in the synagogue because they wanted Him to do "tricks" like He'd done in Capernaum, but they didn't want words that required them to change their lives or their minds. 

Jesus reminded them that prophets are never popular in their hometowns, and Elijah and Elisha had been sent to Gentiles. He implied that the people of Nazareth would not see any special miracles, but other towns (possibly Gentile towns) would. This was true, but it was fuel for the fire of their fury.

Jesus knew the people of Nazareth didn't want truth or conviction. What they wanted was a miracle-side-show. They didn't love Jesus, and they weren't overwhelmed with gratitude for what God had already done. They didn't want to be disciples. They wanted to be observers. They just wanted a show, and they wanted it to be spectacular.

I had this problem recently, and I still regret it. We helped at the Stone Soup lunch one Saturday at Salvation Army. The last two times I'd been there, we'd seen loaves and fishes miracles that were very impressive. 

I wanted to see another miracle. It didn't happen. 

Instead, a woman walked through the room and sang with such power that I was reminded of the passage in Zephaniah which says God sings over us with songs of joy. (Zeph. 3:17) It was beautiful, but I was so busy waiting for a miracle that I overlooked the amazing truth she sang. 

She was the miracle and I missed it because I had a Nazareth heart.

I have a friend who often says, "If Jesus never does another thing for me, what He's already done is more than enough!" She's right and, I believe she has the kind of grateful heart we all should have.

As we begin Thanksgiving Week, let's take a few minutes for introspection. Do we have a grateful heart or a Nazareth heart? Do we want not only more, but something spectacular? 

"Nazareth heart" is a terrible disease, but the cure is simple. Gratitude. Today, let's look for evidence of the goodness of God at work in our lives and thank Him for all He has already done for us. 

"In everything give thanks for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18 nasb 
In case you missed yesterday's post, here's the link: In Defense of Drinking Tea and the Three-Kiss Greeting

p.s - I recently met someone from Nazareth and instantly loved her. She doesn't have a "Nazareth heart" at all, so please don't think badly of her town because of the events in this post that happened ~ 2000 years ago. 

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