As Jesus is the cornerstone upon which the Church is built, so are his teachings the unifying cornerstone of Christian doctrine.

Jesus' Home Synagogue

Have you ever known of a great preacher who returned to his home church to deliver an address, perhaps where he grew up? How well do you think he was received? Did you know that Jesus once preached in what was very likely his childhood synagogue? How do you think that he was received? We read about it in Matthew 13:53-58 where many translations describe the location as "their" synagogue. It is a reasonable deduction that this was the only one in Nazareth and thus Christ's boyhood place of worship.

The greatest preacher of all time was debuting at their house of worship, but they were too overly familiar with his family to be filled with faith. Despite their initial amazement at his great preaching, they were unmoved. Why?

They asked, where did this one get wisdom and miraculous powers, implying that it was not from a good source. Here we find another interesting lesson. Jesus did not perform many miracles because of their unbelief. In other words, Jesus, who is capable of performing any miracle at any time, would not do miracles to offset unbelief.

To back up their prejudice, the townspeople spoke of Jesus' being only the son of a local carpenter and their familiarity with the rest of his family, his mother and brothers and sisters. They seemed to impute a certain arrogance to Jesus. They probably had an attitude of, "Who does he think he is!" Perhaps they thought that any idea that Jesus was anything more than just an ordinary man was pretentiousness. Thus, Jesus spoke his famous saying, that a prophet is honored everywhere, except in his own hometown and among his own family.

Limiting people to their past is not the stuff of faith. Although a person's background often induces prejudice in our minds, we should not let it. A Tasmanian apple grower can be used by God just as mightily as a Cockney carnival worker from London, a West Virginia coalminer, a New Zealand sheep farmer or a Canadian logger.

As we say, familiarity breeds contempt. That is also perhaps why the Gospel was not so well received among the Jews. Because of their familiarity with the Bible, they did not accept the message of their Messiah as readily as the Gentiles did. Is this sometimes also the case with the children of Christians? Because of familiarity, do they sometimes accept Christ with greater difficulty than those who did not grow up in a Christian home? Does this danger also exist among long time Christians? Because of familiarity with the Gospel, do they too find it difficult unlearning old preconceptions?

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