Astonishedly Offended

Not Many Miracles From A Miracle Minded Man

Finally Finishing Matthew 13

And it came about that when Jesus had finished these parables, He departed from there. And coming to His home town He began teaching them in their synagogue, so that they became astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom, and these miraculous powers? “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? “And His sisters, are they not all 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 home town, and in his own household.” And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.

How true it is that a prophet, and more than a prophet, is not welcome in his hometown. Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah and the list continues, were not welcome in their hometowns. And while a prophet not being welcome in his home town is the conclusion of this snippet of scripture, along with their unbelief, this is also a great example of how to consider the context.

In the CAGED method of Biblical hermeneutics, one first considers the immediate context and the surrounding context. One also should attempt to understand the author’s aspiration to his audience. In this case we wonder why Matthew writes this to his first century, primarily Jewish audience. One must also keep in mind the genre and sub-genres. One also benefits greatly by searching the scripture for examples, but not examples alone, rather expository exegesis of examples. That simply means we also consider the context of said examples. What does the rest of scripture say about the current content and context? Then one must divide rightly the word of truth, it will either confirm or cancel by putting everything together. One way–the best way, that I know when I am wrong is when I have an apparent contradiction in scripture. Scripture doesn’t contradict it connects, therefore the disconnection is in my mind.

Back to today’s text, notice the following: “And it came about that when Jesus had finished these parables, He departed from there. And coming to His home town He began teaching them in their synagogue, so that they became astonished, and said, ‘Where did this man get this wisdom, and these miraculous powers?'” let’s look closely at the statement of the people without considering the context, which is foolish yet I think it will help to demonstrate the need for the CAGED method, context being superlative.

“Where did this man get this wisdom, and these miraculous powers?” Let’s look at it again, “Where did this man get this wisdom, and these miraculous powers?” Let’s add a bit more context: “He began teaching them in their synagogue, so that they became astonished, and said, ‘Where did this man get this wisdom, and these miraculous powers?'” Were not the people impressed by Jesus? The context says that they were astonished. The context reads; “that they became astonished, and said, ‘Where did this man get this wisdom, and these miraculous powers?'” It seems that Jesus blew the minds of the people. The people were amazed by Jesus. Jesus literally astonished the people by his wisdom, teaching and miracles, the context confirms this: “He began teaching them in their synagogue, so that they became astonished, and said, ‘Where did this man get this wisdom, and these miraculous powers?'”

Problem: are our attention spans so short that we have already forgotten the conclusion of this snippet of scripture? “They took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his home town, and in his own household.’  And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.” Let’s see that again, “He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.

Sure, the people were astonished– astonished and offended. Let me use a very short example of how words can be misconstrued. “Wow!” Did I mean wow in a good way? Like “Wow, great speech!” Or did I mean it like, “Wow, that was the worst thing I have ever heard?” I am pretty sure we all get the point, although astonished, the context is clear that it was not a good astonished, but rather an offended astonishment. The context continues to clarify. “‘Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this man get all these things?’ And they took offense at Him.”

More proof that Jesus had siblings, but that is not the point Matthew makes to his audience of first century Jewish people. The people who knew Jesus from childhood could not believe that he was the Messiah. He couldn’t be because they knew him, they knew his family. In fact, his family was still in their midst. Matthew presents people who knew Jesus and his family as having heard the wisdom and seen some signs yet they do not believe because of preconceived notions. Matthew begs his readers to not make the same mistakes. We see this by how Matthew writes. They were astonished but questioned and were offended. Should not the miracles have spoken for themselves?

Luke records the same, or very similar situation. Luke’s account is early in Luke’s gospel yet I think it is the same scene. Again, Luke tends to zoom in on certain themes and then return to a semi-chronological flow. Notice a slice of context, condensed for time’s sake, from Luke; “And He said to them, “No doubt you will quote this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we heard was done at Capernaum, do here in your home town as well.’” While Luke places Jesus teaching in Nazareth immediately following his baptism and temptation, within the context we see that the people have heard of his miracles in Capernaum. Like Luke does in the book of Acts, which is Chronologically written overall, he doesn’t write entirely chronologically. Luke often times will stay on a theme or particular person for a time and then zoom back out to continue the over arching timeline. But even if the events are not the same, the message is.

One can be completely amazed and astonished by Jesus but it doesn’t necessarily indicate agreement with him. “Judge not lest you be judged yourselves,” is a passage that the world loves. But what about, “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you?”

In Luke’s account of this scene, the people were excited to hear from Jesus. It wasn’t until he exposed their incomplete belief in him that they turned on him and tried to throw him off the cliff.

“‘A prophet is not without honor except in his home town, and in his own household.’ And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s