“When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.”
Matthew 13:54-58 NKJV
When it comes to sharing the Gospel, I have found that it is much easier to do so with people who are strangers. Sharing with family and friends is extremely difficult, for they know us, who were before the cross. There views are colored by that past knowledge, giving them a bias for or against us.
The people I have sought to share with with from my circle of family and friends, know what kind of person I used to be, and are less likely to take what I have to say seriously. They know me all too well.
Jesus took His message to His hometown, to the people who had seen the little boy Jesus running the streets, and growing up before them. They knew where he came from, and remembered His humble beginnings. Some might have even remembered the whispers about His dubious parentage, seeking to mock and cast dispersions.
Here was Jesus, preaching and teaching with authority, standing in the place of the leaders, who were higher born and better educated.
Here was this Man they knew, speaking the mind of God with authority. They focus to hear what He had to say, but could only wonder how this One had gotten all these things. They were lost on spectacle.
All too often, we are remembered for our past sinfulness, our lives back when we were lost and part of the gang. Some of my biggest struggles to share have come with those who knew me in my darkest days, when I was anything but holy.
As they look upon me with eyes of flesh, they are not able to perceive the spiritual changes that have happened within me.
I live as a sojourner in my own community, no longer earth borne, but now heaven bound. As a citizen of Heaven it is important that my behavior reflect that of my Savior. I. Must abstain from the fleshly lust of this world, and exhibit conduct that is honorable and fitting of a follower of Jesus.
“Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.”
I Peter 2:11-12 NKJV
As we are commissioned to go and tell, we are instructed to go far from home, but to tell people about Jesus whether they be near or far. Every word of the Gospel fitly spoken does not come back void, as the Lord is working hearts constantly.
Brothers and sisters, approach those near with the same enthusiasm as you might in taking the Gospel far away. Pray for those who are friends and family.
I have many people on my prayer list that I have known most of my life, who remember the good and the bad. I do not neglect to reach them, for it is the Lord who brings the harvest.
Though Jesus had the foreknowledge of the lack of progress when He went back home to preach to His own people, He went anyway.
You may have the desire to write people off, assuming that they will not hear you, but I can tell you that the Lord is always working.
Some of the people that I have prayer for the hardest are those with whom I had past conflicts. I marvel and praise God at the work He has done, as we have made peace, allowing an opening to share, drawing them closer to salvation in Jesus.
May the coming week be full of opportunities to share the Good News. Rest now, gentle readers! We have many people to reach while there is still time.