Wreckognized

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At the studio gates with Jack.  Recognize him?

And He said, ‘Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown (Luke 4:24).’”

“Wait! I know that guy! What movie did I see him in? Ah, this is gonna bug me.”

As a screenwriter, I’m always trying to recognize a familiar looking actor in a movie from a former role, trying to recall where I saw them before. It wrecks me when I can’t identify the actor when I know I know them so well.

When Jesus came back home to Nazareth where He was brought up, well known by everyone as Joseph’s son, the kid around the corner, no one recognized Him for who He really was…the long-awaited Messiah! They knew of Him…but didn’t know Him.

Granted, spotting the Creator-in-the-flesh, literally, is a bit new for sure, but how strange that those who knew Him so well, intimately, who were so used to Him, so familiar with Him, didn’t recognize Him?

We have that same myopia here in America. Jesus is so well known, that we ignore Him. Most of us have grown up in a church and heard His name almost daily. We know Jesus inside and out. We are very familiar with Him, so much so that we don’t actually know Him. The “kid around the corner.” We politely ignore Him.

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The synagogue where Jesus lived and taught at Capernaum.

I was in Israel last year on a writing assignment for the Israel Ministry of Tourism and stood in the very place where Luke chapter 4 records Jesus’ miracles in His local synagogue in Capernaum (v.23). It was a chilling experience to stand where He stood!

Another thing amazed me in Israel. Everywhere you go there are Orthodox Jews who still do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah. They study the Torah for 14 hours a day, phylacteries wrapped on their heads and arms, praying daily (even on our flight), inspecting ingredient labels to eat only Kosher foods, dressed in black, trying to keep their 613 commandments, with long peyots and beards, etc. Truly impressive devotion!

Look at what Matthew recorded in chapter 15 about Jesus’ reaction to those who professed to knowing God, who were experts in His Law, who saw Him face to face, knew His name, and still missed the point:

“You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you:

      ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS,

            BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.

      ‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME,

            TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’”

Just because you put a mouse in a cookie jar, it doesn’t make him a cookie. Don’t assume because you know of Him, that you know Him. Crack open the New Testament and meet the Man who stood in Capernaum. I bet you won’t recognize Him.

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