Matthew 13:54-57 (The Message)
Jesus returned to Nazareth, his hometown. When he taught there in the synagogue, everyone was amazed and said, “Where does he get this wisdom and the power to do miracles?” Then they scoffed, “He’s just the carpenter’s son, and we know Mary, his mother, and his brothers — James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. All his sisters live right here among us. Where did he learn all these things?” And they were deeply offended and refused to believe in him.
At first, the people are impressed by Jesus’ wisdom and knowledge, but this very quickly slides into envy. Just who does this guy think he is? Why should we listen to him? What are his credentials? Who are his parents? What is his background?
I heard someone joke years ago that if Jesus applied for a job in a modern-day church, he would never get a second glance, let alone get hired. He had no formal education, no seminary training. He had no worldly status, no powerful earthly connections. His family had no political influence. He had no non-profit job history, no references from the religious community. He didn’t even have a permanent mailing address.
What traits do we look for in our leaders? In his letter to the church in Galatia, the apostle Paul wrote about some of the indicators that we’re living life God’s way. He said that when we’re in line with God’s will, our lives reflect “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (5:22-23).
How well have your recent actions and words lined up with that list of qualities? In which areas do you especially need God’s help right now?