He’s “Joseph’s son.”
“The carpenter’s kid.”
These were the comments from the people of Nazareth when Jesus dared to express his individuality.
He had already established some obvious success. He had partaken of the baptism of his cousin, John, been in the wilderness seeking guidance, garnered some followers and had made quite a splash changing water to wine in Cana.
Rumors of his escapades had already come to his hometown. So when he arrived at the synagogue and was given the scroll to read, and he spouted the words of the prophet Isaiah about the Gospel being preached to the poor, and then told them that “this day the prophecy was being fulfilled,” they became infuriated.
They attacked him. What was the weapon? They chose to lump him in with his family. “You’re just a local boy.”
That brings me to a thought.
One of the more crippling proclamations being uttered in our time, when referring to our offspring, is to say, “They will always be my children.”
No, they won’t.
There comes a time when they need to be themselves.
They need to take responsibility for their lives and their kids, knowing when they grow up they will need to let them go as well.
Family sucks–it sucks the life out of each and every one of us, trying to make us dependent on a tiny nucleus of identity. Sometimes we stop growing, but more often than not we end up mimicking the actions of our parents instead of creating the fresh soil for an awakening in generosity and mercy.
Jesus was rejected in his hometown because he dared to be something different from just “Joseph’s son.”
The Nazarenes became infuriated when he explained that he would be unable to do much to help them “because of their unbelief.”
It caused them to rise as a mob and push him to the edge of a cliff, with the intention of shoving him to his death. You see, they went from being a small town church gathering to an enraged, out of control gang, ready to commit murder.
All because Jesus refused to follow the rules of family.
What would have happened if Jesus had stayed in Nazareth, been the carpenter’s son and complied with the local menu of activities?
We would be lost.
Yet it is possible to love your family, honor your mother and father and still quickly and intentionally separate yourself from them, find your direction and pursue your calling.
I would hope that my sons would find comfort in their upbringing, but never, ever consider themselves to just be my sons.
America is drunk on the elixir of family. We use it as an excuse for all sorts of indifference to the world around us.
Fortunately for us, Jesus of Nazareth was not really Jesus of Nazareth.