Do You Really Know Jesus?

He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.  Mark 6:5-6

The author of Mark's Gospel recounts that when Jesus returned to his hometown of Nazareth, he was not very well received.  His friends and neighbors listen to his teachings, and then mockingly ask,  "Isn't this the carpenter?"

The people who had been the closest to Jesus never really knew him. 

When I was young I was taught that it was their "lack of faith" in Jesus as the Messiah that kept the people of Nazareth from experiencing the fullness of his ministry.  

But after a close reading of that text, I discovered that to interpret that last line is, "He was amazed at their lack of trust."  In other words, his hometown people let their familiarity with Jesus get in the way of truly trusting him, and following him completely.    

I feel like far too many of us Christians find ourselves in that same position.  We think we know Jesus, but find it hard to accept when what he's doing in the world around us challenges our assumptions about him.  

In his extraordinary book "The Divine Conspiracy" Dallas Willard writes:  
In [Jesus] case, quite frankly, presumed familiarity has led to unfamiliarity, unfamiliarity has led to contempt, and contempt has led to profound ignorance. 
There's a reason why Christians have fallen under such intense scrutiny lately.  

We've let our presumed familiarity with Jesus lead us to contempt and profound ignorance over the very things that Jesus demanded his followers do and say.  We've let what we thought we knew about Jesus affect the way we view the world.  

We presume to know Jesus intimately.  We claim to speak for Jesus.  We confidently assert how Jesus would vote.  We have such certainty about who Jesus would welcome and who isn't invited to the table.  We talk when we should be listening.  We close our eyes and our minds when they should be open.  We don't really trust him.  

And we miss out on the new and miraculous things that Jesus is doing all around us.  

If you desire a more intimate relationship with Jesus, make this your prayer today:  
"Jesus, I pray that you would open my eyes to see where you are at work in the world around me.  Challenge my assumptions about you.  Help me discover the new ways you are moving and leading, and have the trust to follow you.  Perform your miracles of healing and wholeness, and let them begin in me."  
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  


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