Emily Thompson, '12
Initially, Jesus’s words may seem disheartening. Is he suggesting prophets should give up on their hometowns? Although Jesus recognizes the unique challenges of returning home, notice that he does not turn his back and leave. Jesus knows his friends and neighbors may reject him, and yet, he still preaches to them. He does not allow himself to become discouraged, frustrated, or embittered by their unbelief; nor does he force his message upon them. He seeks first to understand, rather than to be understood.
Reading this story, I cannot help but think of my sister. After spending a year volunteering in a children’s home in South Africa, last month she returned home to the United States. I can only imagine how difficult and shocking this transition must be—going from rural South Africa to suburban Leawood, Kansas!
When I was first reunited with her, I was a little afraid. Would it be my same Caroline? The girl with whom I attended high school and college, my sister and best friend? What if she was different? What if she had changed?
Seeing the growth and changes in loved ones can be disarming, but it can also be a source of wisdom, if we let it. The people of Nazareth allow fear and suspicion to rule their hearts, blinding them to the Good News Jesus has to share.
If we want to see the miraculous works of the Lord in our lives, we must open ourselves up to God’s transformative power. We must ask ourselves: In what ways are we letting preconceived notions blind us to God’s word? Are we willing to consider how God might be speaking to us through an unexpected messenger, an old friend, or even a kid sister?
Despite facing some less enthusiastic reactions to her experience, Caroline has responded with patience and grace, as Jesus does. I know her experience will enrich her family, and her entire community, for years to come.