“After the two days He went forth from there into Galilee. For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country.” - John 4:43-44 NASB
“Familiarity breeds contempt.” This well-known phrase has origins that go back thousands of years. It was used in the 14th century by Geoffrey Chaucer in his “Canterbury Tales” and even by Aesop in the 6th century BC in his fable, “The Fox and the Lion.”
There is something about familiarity that changes the way we respond to others. Twentieth-century humorist, Will Rogers, captured this point when he described an expert as “a man 50 miles from home with a briefcase.”
We tend to think differently about people we don’t know well. It can be easier for these people to shape their reputation and position themselves as authorities. On the other hand, it can be easy to feel differently about the people we know. Why? We know more about them. We can think of them just as ordinary people, not “experts.”
Jesus addressed this point when He observed that “a prophet has no honor in his own country.” The Greek words suggest Jesus’ meaning here: Among the people of the land of one’s father, prophets are not valued, prized, or honored.
Because many were familiar with Jesus and His earthly family, they did not listen to Him objectively. They were prejudiced. Why? Because He had lived among them, they had closed ears to His message.
This is a practical matter that applies to each of us. How do we look at the people around us? Is it possible that God actually can be speaking through them? Could they have insights that would be useful to us? Are we ignoring the people we know, and placing an imbalanced importance on people we don’t know?
In your life, remember that God can use anyone. Be careful not to ignore someone just because you may know them. And don’t just honor someone because they are unknown.
PrayerFather, help me to be sensitive to Your Spirit. Help me to know when You are speaking to me. Give me ears to hear and obey. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Extended ReadingJohn 4