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  • Debbie Salter Goodwin

When Jesus Went Home

Ever since making our first pilgrimage to Israel and Jerusalem, I see the story of Jesus with different eyes. That's why I've decided to re-post some previous blogs and share some new ones as I take a deliberate, reflective, and heart-changing journey to the hill and the stone cave that changed all our lives.

For me, the journey must start in Nazareth where Jesus grew up. I imagine little boy Jesus playing with his friends here, learning Hebrew at synogogue, shadowing his carpenter father, and growing in favor with God and man.

It is what happened when he returned home that marks the journey for me. Cousin John had baptized him before he spent 30 days fighting against the most basic of all temptations, to become who people expected him. He takes the long way home to Nazareth where he shares his mission in the same synogogue where he learned Hebrew. He walks to the wooden stand he might have made with his father, unrolls the Torah with respect and purpose and reads . . .

"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me

to preach good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim

freedom for the prisoners

and recovery of sight for the blind,

to release the oppressed,

to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Hometown boy returns

And word traveled fast,

Memories even faster.

"Jesus was friend to my firstborn."

"He was his father’s shadow."

"His mother’s joy."

" No one like him."

"None indeed."

With nods and smiles

and hometown waves

They welcomed him

With pride.

Then, he came to synagogue

And read the prophecy

from Isaiah 61 adding commentary--

"Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

Hope sowed.

Mission cast.

"Can a hometown boy be more than we remember?"

They asked.

"Isn’t he Joseph’s boy?"

They scoffed.

Was that a question or their answer?

Isn’t that the disconnect,

That our carefully held assertions

Need no examination?

After all, we know what we know.

Jesus stood among those who watched him grow up.

Did his heart beat with excitement?

Did his stomach roll?

Nothing stopped his words from

Dividing what had been from what would be.

Jesus wouldn’t be who they wanted him to be.

Welcome signs

So proudly displayed . . .

. . . were withdrawn.

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