You Can’t Go Home Again: Families, Pasts, and Life Change In Us

Posted: November 24, 2014 in 99-Uncategorized

Luke 4:14-30 — It is a bit ironic that as we approach the family gatherings of this week that Jesus returns home to Nazareth after being gone for a while. He had begun his ministry and had done miracles already and he, now, was returning home. His return was nice at first but turned sour. It is similar to what many of us will experience this coming long weekend. Jesus’ many rejections began in his hometown.

Jesus spoke of the fact that He was the fulfillment of Scripture’s prediction of the Messiah and He was rejected for it. It is so common in our life experience that our families or the people who know us best are the most critical of our life change. They knew us when. Jesus proclaimed Scripture and amazed them with His understanding of it. But, when He applied it to Himself, they could not believe what they were hearing. They ultimately rejected Him because He was proclaiming to be the Messiah. They were willing to listen to Him at first. He was a local boy done good. They had been hearing of his deeds in other parts of Galilee. But when He said He was the Messiah but yet they were going to receive no special favors from Him they turned on Him.

Have you ever experienced rejection from those that know you best when you received Christ as your Savior. Jesus was sinless and was rejected. Imagine the incredulity of the people that know us best when we have radical life change in Christ. Jesus understands what you are going through. The people that had know Him for 30 years rejected Him because He was speaking boldly about Him being the Messiah. When we accept Christ as our Savior, there are those who are going to scoff at us. They remember all the things we used to do when we were younger. Some of the rabble-rousing stuff we used to is all they remember. The arrogant self centered stuff we used to do. The stupid decisions that we used to make. They remember all that stuff but why is it that they cannot believe life change? Many times, can you blame them? Many of us have sordid histories of stupid mistakes, poor choices, and flagrant disregard for the feelings of others, for our own good, and for our own safety. It is only by the grace of God that many of us are still alive to tell of our past misdeeds.

As you go home again this Thanksgiving as a changed person living a new life in Christ, be prepared for rejection of your new lifestyle. Your family may not believe your life change. They knew you from way back when. They know of the trouble that you caused your parents. They may see your promise of life change as just the latest way that you are going to deceive them. The Nazarenes simply saw Jesus as a carpenter’s son. He was, to them, and untrained reader of the Scriptures not the inspiration of all Scripture. He was a poor boy from a poor family. To them, there was no way He could be the promised Messiah. Jesus was just a carpenter’s boy. Your life change may be questionable to your family. Your life change may be even more questionable to your old friends. They are not going to believe it and may call you a holy roller now. They remember when you were that party boy who didn’t care about anything but himself. We must remember that sinless perfect Jesus was rejected in His hometown. Because of the religious core of Jewish society, for Him to claim that He was Messiah was revolutionary. It was blasphemous. It struck at the very core of their beliefs. They longed for the Messiah but yet they would not believe Him when He stood in front of them. And that was Jesus my friends. Think of how much less grace our families and old friends have for an imperfect person such as ourselves.

What did Jesus do? When they rejected Him and always through Him over the cliff, He depended on His Father’s protection and just walked away. We cannot make people believe our life change and we cannot force them to do so. We can’t get angry. Yes, we have a past and we should never try to outrun it. It is part of our story. If we admit our past and not downplay it, we can then speak boldly of just how miraculous that salvation is. There were many who rejected Jesus and never came around to believing in Him. There will be those that will never believe that your life can be change so radically from the direction it was heading. You will never be able to convince those that are hard-hearted toward you. All you can do is just walk away. Let you new life speak for itself. Let you walk do your talking. As we go home again this week, give your family the same grace that Jesus gave us. It is not your job to convince them this weekend. Let your life change speak volumes going forward. Jesus is a life changer. We should live our lives in thanksgiving toward Him and simply love our families through their unbelief in our life change. Sometimes you will just have to walk away and let your walk do your talking. Maybe one day your family will accept your life change. Maybe they don’t. But just maybe your life change in Jesus Christ will radically change your whole family. You may have to walk away this weekend. But maybe your commitment to Christ over the coming years leads others to question their position with Christ and come to Him because of your consistency. Keep on keeping on. You are not rejected in Christ. You are accepted in your new family – the family of believers. Amen.

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