Posted on December 4, 2013
#31: Would You Know Him?
If I’d lived in Jesus’ day, would I have recognized Him as the Messiah? Would I have accepted His deity? I think about it a lot. Apparently, I’m not the only one. Singer/songwriter Wayne Watson wrote a powerful song with the same theme, called Would I Know You Now? The first part says,
“Would I know You now if You walked into the room?
If You stilled the crowd, if Your light dispelled the gloom?
And if I saw Your wounds, touched Your thorn-pierced brow,
I wonder if I’d know You now.
“Would I know You now if You walked into this place?
Would I cause You shame? Would my games be Your disgrace?
Or would I worship You, fall upon my face?
I wonder if I’d know You now.
“Or have the images I’ve painted so distorted who You are
that even if the world was looking they could not see You,
the real You?
Have I changed the true reflection to fulfill my own design,
making You what I want, not showing You forth divine?
Get your Bible and let’s dive in to Mark’s sixth chapter, as we continue getting to know Jesus.
Read Mark 6:1-6, then the parallel accounts in Matthew 13:53-58 and Luke 4:16-30 (especially Luke’s record, which goes into the most detail).
Jesus was in His hometown of Nazareth, where He’d been raised. On the Sabbath He went to the synagogue. There, he was invited to read scripture and to speak. The hometown folks had heard of His miracles and His growing popularity. As He began to teach, they listened eagerly to their native son. They were impressed by His words. They recognized His wisdom.
Then He started to say things that made them squirm a bit. He read a familiar passage from the prophet Isaiah (which was, in essence, His “job description”), then applied it to himself! The townspeople looked at each other with amazement: was He really claiming to be the Promised One? Who did He think He was? After all, they’d known Him since He was small. They knew His parents and brothers and sisters. He was the local carpenter—not the Messiah!
While His townsmen were busy reducing Him to the familiar, Jesus brought deeper offense by exposing their disbelief. “Only in his home town, among his relatives and in his own house, is a prophet without honor,” He said. That was it! They’d heard enough. The angered mob forcibly carried Jesus to the edge of town, intending to throw Him down from the cliff. There, in power and authority He turned around, walked through the crowd, and went on His way.
At this point we read one of the saddest sentences in the gospels. “He did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.” (Mt. 13:58) In His own hometown, with people He’d grown up among and known all His human life, He couldn’t share the gifts He longed to bring. Why? Because they thought they knew Him, which caused them to miss who He really was.
All through the centuries since, people have made the same mistake. They’ve fitted Jesus with a tame description—maybe a great teacher or an ancient prophet, long ago and far away—nothing demanding or challenging. Assuring themselves they “knew” Him, they denied His true identity and His present power. They could go about their lives without having their darkness exposed by His light (John 3:19). In the process, they cheated themselves of His saving grace and of the life that is truly life.
Wayne Watson’s song concludes with a haunting verse:
“Would I miss You now if You left and closed the door?
Would my flesh cry out, “I don’t need you anymore?”
Or would I follow You, seek to be restored?
I wonder. I wonder, will I ever learn?
I wonder, would I know You now?”*
Will we live as we please, keeping Him at a comfortable distance, confident that we know Him well enough? Or will we choose to really know Him in all His breathtaking grace and truth?
*Would I Know You Now? Words and music by Wayne Watson, ©1987, Word Music.
© Diane McLoud 2013