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."
With nods and smiles
and hometown waves
They welcomed him
Then, he came to synagogue
And read the prophecy
from Isaiah 61 adding commentary--
"Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
"Can a hometown boy be more than we remember?"
"Isn’t he Joseph’s boy?"
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.
So proudly displayed . . .
. . . were withdrawn.