And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands!"
HEROES - Part 1
We all have our heroes. Who are some of yours? People we look up to and aspire to be like. From actors to politicians to athletes to singers to journalists to writers… somehow some people grab our attention and inspire us. We might have their poster on a wall; we might follow them on Instagram, or be careful to read/watch everything they create.
But then, sometimes, our heroes turn into something else. When they start to challenge and speak to situations and issues that we had no idea they supported, issues that we think and believe differently about, it can come as a shock. Especially our hometown heroes. When they start speaking out about things we don’t agree with, their heroism starts to dull, and we can begin to despise our connection with them.
Jesus had this experience in his hometown of Nazareth. His reputation was growing wide and strong; he'd been speaking, healing and performing wonders all over the country, and had returned to Nazareth to do the same. He went to the Synagogue on the Sabbath to speak, and at first, everyone was astounded. They asked, “Where did this man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to him, that such mighty works are performed by his hands!” Mark 6:2.
For a moment, he was their hometown hero – one of their own who was now at the top of his game, an inspiration to all. But then something strange happened. Mark doesn’t go into what or why in his book, but he relays that the people’s questions of amazement turned into questions of indifference.
They went from asking, ‘Who is this amazing man?” to “Who does this man think he is?”
What changed? What did Jesus say? How did he go from hero to zero in just a few lines?
Jesus said, presumably to his disciples, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.”
A hero is “someone distinguished by exceptional courage, nobility, fortitude; who is idealized for possessing superior qualities in any field.”
But a prophet? The word prophet means, “the one who sees” and “one who sees through us.” We box Prophets into being people who can see into the future and make predictions about what it is to come. But they are so much more than that. Prophets are people who see us for who we are and tell us the truth about ourselves.
The distance between our heroes and us is often what makes them so intriguing. We can admire, respect, watch, listen and learn from afar. But to turn that relationship into something more intimate, where the hero sees us and knows us, and we in turn see and know them, and the conversation becomes more personal and challenging, the heroes whom we once asked “who is this amazing person” become the people whom we ask of “who do you think you are?”
There is that old saying, “you should never meet your heroes."
Perhaps it's our addiction to perfection and convenience, or our hesitancy to deal with confrontation, or the loss of the ability to have a conversation with someone we don’t agree with that makes us keep our heroes just out of reach.
But Jesus is the kind of hero, prophet, and savior, who wants to come close.