Jesus went back to his hometown of Nazareth, a newly famous itinerant preacher. One and all gave him a warm welcome and called him their beloved son. It's so cool to know a famous person. Many toasts were offered in his honor, and nice things said about him at the homecoming party.
But the worm turned. It happened something like this: Someone said, "Well, isn't it wonderful for Jesus that he is so famous now." Then someone else said, "Yes, it's wonderful for Joe and Mary too."
Others jumped in:
"I'm really happy for Joe and Mary, especially after all the gossip that has swirled around their marriage for years."
"It's kind of surprising, though, that Jesus made good when some of his brothers are so disappointing."
"Yes, you certainly can't attribute Jesus' good fortune to Joe's and Mary's parenting."
"I remember when Jesus was a little boy. I didn't think he was anything special, did you?"
"Kind of quiet, as I recall. Didn't always go along with the other boys. I always got the impression he thought a little too highly of himself."
"I know what you mean; I did too."
"Well, if you want to know what I think, this fame of Jesus is a flash in the pan."
"I agree, Rubin, and it's not good for young people to be promoted too soon. It isn't good for Jesus, and it does a disservice to the congregation too, don't you think?"
"I completely agree, Eliab. I heard that he is doing a lot of preaching on the Old Testament. Did he even go to school for that?"
"No, he didn't. Not as far as I know."
"I don't believe so. Do you think it's right that he is a teacher when he doesn't have any credentials?"
"I wonder if all this fame has gone to his head. Do you see the way he disappears into the hills in the evening rather than staying at one of our houses? Is he too good for us now?"
"A little success will spoil a person, that's all I can say."
"Look at how he stands elevated on that grassy knoll to preach, in the middle of the crowd. He looks so proud to me. What do you fellows think?"
"I noticed it too. And I have heard that he says pretty grand things about himself."
"Someone ought to put him in his place. I don't know why the authorities don't say anything. Where are the rabbis? Have they lost their tongues? Is this OK with everybody? Gamaliel?"
"I have always felt there was something dangerous about him. That last talk he gave at the synagogue raised a lot of red flags for me."
"Personally, I hate him. I think he's a heretic."
"Are we going to stand for this any longer?"
A visit that started with warm embraces and words (Luke 4:22) ended with an attempt to hurl Jesus off a cliff (verse 29). It all transpired very fast. No one who was there understands quite what happened, but a kind of ravenous bloodlust came over the crowd. It had been just below the surface all along, and some unknown spark ignited it. Before you knew it, it had erupted into an orgy of hate.
"Many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus, for his part, did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself know what was in man" (John 2:23-25).
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