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“Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is honored everywhere except in his hometown and with his own people and in his own home.’” Mark 6:4 (NCV)
OUR FAMILIES WON’T LISTEN TO US.
We love them, and our hearts are burdened for their salvation and their *eternal* destiny.
We see our adult children — beautiful, young and vibrant, successful in a worldly way — and yet, when we look into the eyes that look back at us — eyes that look like our eyes set in a face much like our own — we see rejection.
Rejection of the Bible. Rejection of Jesus Christ. Rejection of salvation.
We cannot help but morn.
THEY DO NOT SEE their rejection of the Savior as actually *rejecting* the offer of salvation from the Lord of all creation. They see it, more likely than not, as a rejection of people, people like their mother and father, people like some of their aunts and uncles, and rejection of a grandparent or two.
Maybe it’s just a rejection of “those people” — a projection of every negative stereotype they can project onto people they neither know nor associate with — yet, who nevertheless become shields as they protect themselves from the Truth of Jesus Christ.
“It’s a lifestyle choice,” they say. “I’m glad it works for you,” they say. “You be you, and I’ll be me,” they say. “Okay?” they say.
Another translation presents our text source this way: “Then Jesus told them, ‘A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.’” Mark 6:4 (NLT)
EVEN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST faced rejection of His message from His immediate family, as well as His neighbors and townspeople. It was not until He was raised from the dead that the family came around.
We read in Acts that James, Mary, and other siblings of His were gathered with the apostles in the Upper Room. James became a church leader and wrote the book of James, one of the most instructive tomes in the Holy Bible.
The rest of us will not be raised from the dead, so we will not have a dramatic moment of confronting our disbelieving family members, showing them our execution scars and reminding them of the many times we told them about our earthly fate.
We know in Heaven, the Lord will bathe us with a blessing that will wipe away every tear and keep us from sorrow (Rev. 21:4), but that’s for Glory; this is for now, and our family’s rejection of the Messiah’s call (Rev. 3:20) pierces our hearts with pain.
It’s supposed to.
WHEN JESUS TOLD US, “You will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8 ESV), He wants us motivated to be intentional in spreading the Good News of what the Lord has done for us (see Mark 5:19). It’s that pain for the salvation of our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and anyone else the Lord places in our lives that motivates us to share the Gospel with others.
As we try but we fail to convince our loved ones of Jesus’ love for them as individuals, we are reminded over and over again that it never is within our power to convince someone to accept Jesus Christ.
The verses of 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 tell us that one person sows the seed by witnessing for the Gospel, another one waters the seed, but it is only God’s Holy Spirit that can open a hardened heart and turn it in a new direction (cf Ezekiel 36:26, 1 Corinthians 1:18).
None of that reassurance takes the pain away, of course. The Lord prepared us in John 15:18 that the world (those close at hand and those far away) will hate us because first it hated the Lord, and again in John 3:19 that men (and women) love the darkness more than they do the Light.
We are to do our job, and our job is clear: To witness by our actions and our words (see 2 Peter 1:5-8).
The rest is up to others and their relationship — or non-relationship — with the Savior. We turn the matter over to Him through prayer.
Our Heavenly Father, You have burdened our hearts with sharing the salvation story withour loved ones … and even with those we barely know. We confess our inability to carry the message forward with grace and conviction, when we are too aware of our own shortcomings. We feel we are unworthy ambassadors for so great a message. Yet Jesus called us to be His witnesses and assured us, that with the power of the Holy Spirit, we could accomplish more on earth than He could do in his bodily form. Lord, we believe Your promises to be trustworthy, and we ask Your guiding hand as we seek to live lives — in word and deed, and in thought — that honor You and Your Kingdom. In Jesus’ mighty name we pray. AMEN
QUESTIONS for Discussion Groups:
1. Have you experienced this difficulty in witnessing for the Gospel with your family? If not, is it because they’re believers … or because you haven’t tried?
2. If they are believers, how was the Gospel presented to you at home? If they are not believers, what keeps you from sharing the Good News with them?
3. Regardless of your success or failure at home, what experiences have you had sharing the Gospel with neighbors, more distant friends, and even strangers? Are they more receptive to your testimony than family? If so, why is it? If not, why not? Have you tried to share the Word? If not, what stops you?
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