We often forget, or don’t even realize, that Jesus, in His own hometown was looked at by many as a “mamzer”. Mamzer is a Hebrew word which means “illegitimate child”. Of course we know the truth, however, many in His hometown knew that Mary and Joseph weren’t married when He was conceived (yes, we know that Mary was conceived by the Holy Spirit, not Joseph). Here is my point, no matter what is in your past, no matter where you come from, no matter how you came into this world……you can’t let the opinion of others hold you down or keep you from allowing God to work through you.
Mark 6:1-4 (TNIV)
1 Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. 2 When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. “Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? 3 Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. 4 Jesus said to them, “Only in their own towns, among their relatives and in their own homes are prophets without honor.”
The clue to the townspeople’s thinking comes to us in verse 2 when the question is asked, “Isn’t this Mary’s son”. This was actually a derogatory remark. Because in ancient days, they would have asked, “isn’t this Joseph’s son?” Jesus was conceived prior to Joseph and Mary’s wedding while they were engaged.
Matthew 1:18 (TNIV)
This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.
I think the main thought that we can take away from this is that no matter what your past circumstances, and I recognize that we are talking about Jesus here, God in the flesh, having never sinned; we cannot let other people’s opinions keep us from accomplishing great things in Jesus name. As vessels, we can allow God to fill us, indeed, we can allow Jesus to fill us with His love and mercy and we can overflow with love and mercy for others. Jesus, despite the opinions of others, accomplished God’s work! So can you! Never allow your past to shackle you or to hold you down! I love the Nike slogan; I think it applies here………”Just Do It!”
Note that in verse 2 Jesus speaks in the synagogue and “many who heard him were amazed.” Oh yes, they were amazed! (See a deeper look at this here)
If friends, acquaintances or family members don’t respect your love for Jesus and your Christian work, don’t let their rejection stop you. Indeed, lovingly keep trodding forward, doing what God has called you to do. Additionally, don’t let the past of others around you to color your opinion of them when you see repentance in their heart and you see them stepping out and doing God’s work.
I was probably conceived out of wedlock, I was a drug abuser and all around not so great a guy when I was young……and today I still have much to learn and apply! Yet I have allowed God’s Spirit to fill me to the brink. It’s funny, other than my sister, I often feel that much of my family and past friends think, “this was Jan, the hard partier guy that was anything but on the right track”. Well, all I can say is, yes, that is true. But I love Jesus and no opinion of my past will keep me from serving Him with all of my heart.
Don’t ever be discouraged…..look to the great encourager that will not judge the past of a repentant heart. If you allow rejection to hold you down it will. However….if you look to Jesus and pray every day, “Lord, I am willing, show me what you want me to do and I will do it!”….He will!
Isaaiah 6:8 (TNIV)
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”