In a world gone wrong, a world turned upside down, many think of prophetic voices, people saying the truth by declaring the undiluted word of God as narrow minded. The resigned world is noted for denying and separating itself from the truthful, sound world of the soul. Among the essence of a prophet especially in a world almost devoid of soul is the denial-free thinking. A prophet as emissary from the soul’s world are continually outcast by persecution and denial. It is therefore increasingly becoming more difficult to attain the prophetic vision when our reactions are very often filled with jealousy, selfishness, and meanness of spirit. Today with reference to the rejection of Jesus ‘the more corrupted humanity became the more confronting uncorrupted individuals were, and the more they were denied honour or recognition or acknowledgement.’ It is no longer a news that the ‘basic activity of resigned humans was not to honour the sound, truthful, soul existence that prophets represented.’
When you have never explore you own sense of belonging to Jesus just as Jesus’ own people could not recognise his holiness, miracles will be a scarce experience. The rejection of Jesus by his own people resonates with church goers today who are still rejecting Jesus as the Saviour and this warns us to overcome certain attitude that are incompatible with the example of Jesus. Because of the human tendency to be possessive, and egoistic and small in mind and heart, many prophets and messengers who ministers among us will struggle to be heard and be accepted for whom they truly are and represented. It is therefore possible for people to come together to hate and to refuse to understand, thereby see no other point of view than their own.
Many of us continue to find ourselves in similar and familiar situations and story of Jesus who had to move from Nazareth to Capernaum because he was not accepted. Just as Jesus’ own people were so possessive, it is very sad to see the depth of the possessive attitude that people manifest today. Indeed, ‘the people of Jesus’ native place were suffering from a particular form of blindness — a blindness that sometimes affects us, too’ today. Why are many people offended today about Christians just as Jesus’ own people were both astonished and offended about the gospel? The Bible says they could not get pass the fact they knew Jesus’ mother, brothers and sisters. To Jesus’s own people, he was just as carpenter. To the people, the problem is not only about Jesus’ teaching but Jesus himself, ‘they knew Jesus the carpenter, not the Messiah.’ The people thought they already knew Jesus just as Mary and Joseph thought when they found Jesus in the Synagogue. They’ve made their conclusions and Jesus could not change their assumptions about who He is. Miracles are lacking today because of our preconceived notions or past experiences that limits our ability to accept something or someone new or new life in Christ. To overcome our blindness, we must stop jumping to conclusion just as ‘Nazareth thought they knew Jesus, but they did not know the whole story. They would not accept that even though he was a carpenter, even though he was a man, that he was also fully God.’ Possessive attitude or love could produce a violent reaction with many acts of jealousy. People take offence when they refuse to renounce their possessive attitude. Are you one like Mary and Joseph and the people of Nazareth? Repent today.
On Jesus as the Carpenter, there is a deeper missional meaning to being a carpenter that lies hidden beneath the literal story. Jesus’ rejection by his own people invites us to stop the casual reading of Jesus being a carpenter because there are some hidden truth that it would not reveal. Carpentry beyond a ‘skilled trade and a craft in which the primary work performed is the cutting, shaping and installation of building materials during the construction of buildings, ships, timber bridges, concrete form-work is more spiritual and missional. Jesus as our spiritual carpenter and the symbol of salvation is the best maker, master builder, and ultimate repairer of every broken vessel, broken home and marriage, divided nations, and declining churches. Jesus, the carpenter is also the builder of the temple, I mean you and I as the temple of the Holy Spirit, the temple of God. Jesus as the carpenter is God within us, Emmanuel. The problem with Jesus’ own people which resonates with us today points to the words of Apostle Paul: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14).
The closing reflection is ‘Why prophets were ‘without honour’ in their ‘own home’ and ‘own country.’ Why was Elisah, Elijah, and other prophets like John Wesley, Samuel Chadwick among others are without honour in their own homes, own countries, or denominations today? Are these prophets also taking as mere carpenter or mere administrators? Lack of honour to our prophets hinders miracle, hence there were many lepers in Israel even in the time of Prophet Elisha. The Bible says none was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian. The question is, what led to Naaman’s cleansing who initially wanted the prophet to honour him rather than him honouring the prophet? The good news nearly became a bad news to him. His pride and possessive attitude nearly ruined him until he honoured the words of the prophet by going to River Jordan. There are many lepers in our nations today despite the presence of many prophets and churches. The challenge of marital leprosy, moral leprosy, pride leprosy among others are turning the world upside down, yet people take offence when they refuse to renounce their possessive attitude. The way Jesus’ fellow Nazarenes looked at him provides insights for us today to repent and change especially from our sense of entitlement and culture in order to experience divine and physical cleansing from every level of our leprosy.