I’ve seen the headlines: “Hometown Hero” or “Local Boy Caught in Drug Bust.” I went on to read the stories, one in which those interviewed would say, “He was such a nice kid; I knew he’d do something important with his life.” And in the other, “He was always a troubled kid; I knew he’d never amount to anything.” Sometimes the hardest people to impress are those we’ve known all our lives.
Jesus had the same experience. He returned to Nazareth, where He’d been raised. He went to Synagogue on the Sabbath and read from the scroll of Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19) Then He sat down. They all looked at Him wondering what this could mean. He said, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:21) They looked at each other puzzled. “Wait a minute!” “Hey, isn’t this Joseph’s kid?” “We’ve watched him grow up since he was a little kid; there’s nothing special about him.” I can just hear the muttering.
Jesus responded, “I tell you the truth, no prophet is accepted in his hometown.” (Luke 4:24) Then He went on to tell how Elijah had to go to the widow of Zarephath during the drought and famine, and Elisha healed Naaman the Syrian. Those people who thought because they’d known Him, would never accept His message. They even tried to throw Him off a cliff! But miraculously “He walked right through the crowd and went on His way.” (Luke 4:30)
It doesn’t matter what you were before, God can use you. You don’t have to accept what others think of you as what you will become. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come.” This is a picture of the change from a caterpillar to a butterfly, a complete metamorphosis! Just because you were that kid always in trouble, doesn’t mean God can’t make you into the next Billy Graham. Don’t listen to those naysayers; Jesus didn’t.