John 4:43-45

After the two days [Jesus] left for Galilee. (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.) When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, for they also had been there.

After encountering the Samaritan woman, Jesus resumes his journey to his home area of Galilee. John says the Galileans welcomed him, but at the same time, he recalls Jesus' comment that a prophet has no honor in his own country. Why the apparent double speak?

John is cautioning us not to expect sudden acceptance in Galilee. Jesus had been hugely accepted in Sychar by the Samaritans, but it wasn't a guarantee that he would be as accepted in Galilee. The Galilean's belief in him was primarily based on his miraculous signs, not in recognizing who he was.

So, why is a prophet not recognized in his own country?

One reason is familiarity. Familiarity can breed contempt or indifference, leading people to overlook the extraordinary in the ordinary. The people in Jesus' hometown may have found it difficult to reconcile the person they once knew with the divine figure now performing miraculous signs.

Another reason is jealousy. The people might have struggled with the idea that one of their own could be a great prophet or Messiah, as it might have threatened their own sense of importance or perceived superiority.

Cultural and social prejudices could also have played a role. Nazareth was a small, insignificant village in Galilee, and people from such places were often looked down upon by the more significant cities and regions. The idea of a great prophet coming from such a humble and despised place might have been hard to accept for some. As Nathaniel once asked scornfully, "Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" (John 1:46).

Would we react differently? Don't we often overlook the miraculous simply because we are familiar with the circumstances or the people involved? When someone from our own community or circle rises to prominence or displays remarkable abilities, don't we get envious? What if God were to raise somebody from a different church; would we accept them as being from God?

Let us not be confined by our prejudices and narrow-mindedness. Let us recognize and honor the presence of God in our midst and be open to the miraculous power of God working through those around us.

God bless you.

More in this category: « John 4:39-42 John 4:46-54 »
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