The Nazareth Syndrome
Oct 15, 2018 1790
When Jesus walked among us, he was always calling, and he’s still doing it today. What is Jesus calling you to do now? Whatever it is, you have to beware of the Nazareth Syndrome.
What’s the Nazareth syndrome? It’s when you think you know Jesus but you don’t.
Let’s see how it played out in Nazareth.
After spending forty days and forty nights in the wilderness, Jesus returned to Nazareth to commence his ministry. Nazareth was his home town, where Jesus had grown up, and where he had run the carpenter shop after the death of his father.
On the Sabbath day, Jesus went to the synagogue, where he was invited to teach. The response of the people typified the “Nazareth syndrome”:
All who were there, watching and listening, were surprised at how well he spoke. But they also said, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son, the one we’ve known since he was a youngster?” (Luke 4:22, MSG).
The people of Nazareth had grown up with Jesus, so they thought they new him, but they didn’t. What follows next is shocking. They try to kill him (v.29).
Never let yourself become so comfortable with what you think you know, that Jesus no longer challenges you.
I wonder if that could happen to us. There are many people who think they know Jesus, but they don’t.
The Nazareth Syndrome is everywhere. You see it in people who reject Jesus because they think they know who he is. You see it in people who’ve grown up in church and they think they know Jesus because they know church. There are also people who have been going to church for years. All these people think they know Jesus, but what if they don’t. Could it be that because of the Nazareth Syndrome, they end up rejecting Jesus? Could it be that they might even try to kill him: not physically, but by silencing his claims on their lives?
There’s a personal challenge here for us as well. We have to protect ourselves against the insidious influence of the Nazareth Syndrome.
Never let yourself become so comfortable with what you think you know, that Jesus no longer challenges us. That day in Nazareth, Jesus challenged the people with something they would never have expected from him. They knew him as a pious and godly carpenter, but not as one who claimed to the servant of the Lord who would bring redemption to his people, as the prophets had foretold. And they weren’t prepared to accept that.
Jesus is always leading us to newer, higher places. His claim on our lives is absolute. Wherever he leads we must always be prepared to follow.
If you have entrusted your life to Jesus, then you have opened up your life to be constantly examined by the Spirit of the Lord. You have committed yourself to being constantly challenged by Christ. And you have surrendered to following where Jesus may lead.
Growing up in a Christian family is not good enough. Going to church is not good enough. Doing the things that Christians do is not good enough. Your life must be open to the Spirit of God, so that wherever Jesus calls, you will follow. Are you open to the call of Jesus?
– Eliezer Gonzalez