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  • Rob White

Everything changed when Jesus stood up in front of that room

As one who serves a church in my own childhood hometown, I often am taken back to the time in which Jesus returned to his hometown. I think of the expectations folks must have had about him, especially since I've experienced a few of my own. My mind races to the committees the church wanted him to serve on and the hopes of him taking over the family business. I wonder if those who had watched him grow from afar suddenly thrust themselves into the limelight to take credit for every good trait. I imagine that when they found out he was set to preach that day, that folks from all around came out with their notebooks crammed with lists of things that Jesus can fix.

I can hear them now, "He's helped everyone else, he's saved the best for last." "If he can cure the sick, certainly he can fix the roads around here." "He's young, the kids will love him, let's offer him the youth director's job."

But before they could corner him, Jesus stood up in front of that room.

Before they could make up their mind up about him, Jesus stood up in front of that room.

And it all changed.

Jesus simply wants to tell his own story…about how God had called him to take care of the poor, to go to the neediest of folks ….but when he says this, people start to mumble and spit, what a disappointment….”this boy’s changed.”

Who does he think he is?

What does he know, his parents weren’t even married when they had him.

I can hear it now, “what does he think he’s too good for us?”

He’s supposed to take care of us! Not those other people.

Jesus’s cheeks are still red from the pinching and his back still bruised from the patting, but they wasted no time in turning on him.

He doesn’t say what they want him to say.

They don’t like that he acts like he has authority. There is jealousy that this kid from down the road is trying to teach them how to live when it had been them who raised him.

They wanted Jesus to make them comfortable. They wanted Jesus to be their yes man.

They thought they taught him everything he knew and so he should say things and agree with them on all accounts.

But soon Jesus is moving them out of their comfort zone.

And the truth is, Jesus was being forced out of his.

He had been out in the wilderness, he had been temped, he just wants to come home for a place to rest.

But home was not home anymore.

Jesus’ home town wanted to tame Jesus. They wanted God’s message to be one they understood and a story that they could tell.

But do we not do the same?

One of the most uncomfortable realizations for Christians is when we realize God is bigger than our minds let us believe.

We can let our own minds change about our children or other people, or even ourselves but we don’t let our own perspectives change to who God is.

We want Jesus or our relationship with Jesus to fit the mold we had 20 years ago or last year or even last week whereas we are different people who have had different experiences and God is calling us to the here and now and not the then and when.

Often our minds are made up about who Jesus loved and who Jesus can use.

Yes, we limit our faith because we think we’ve got Jesus figured out.

Friends, if we think we can tame Jesus then it is time to rethink Jesus

If we become closeminded to follow the expectations that others tell us we are supposed to have of Jesus, then we need to rethink Jesus.

If we as churches aren’t willing to do things because we’ve never done it this way, then we need to rethink Jesus.

If we as a people aren’t willing to do things because it didn’t work last time, then we need to rethink Jesus.

If we are comfortable talking about Jesus on Sunday but not living like Jesus on Monday, then we need to rethink Jesus.

If Jesus stays in a little box in our mind only to be let out when it is convenient for us, it is time to rethink Jesus.

Because Jesus stood up in front of that room and said


I came to preach to those who had always been told no


Not to echo the bigotry of the status quo


Jesus stood up in front of that room and said


I came to free those locked up for so long


Not to agree with those who think everybody who

thinks differently is wrong



Jesus stood up in front of that room and said


I came to teach you to be more caring.

And to be a little less of a Karen.


Jesus stood up in front of that room and said

It is time to step up and feed those without

Not to grow red in the face and shout


Jesus stood up in front of that room and said if someone is hurting take a stand

Not to confront with weapons in hand



Jesus stood up in front of that room and said.

I love you. I love them. Now you go do the same.

Not to ignore them just because you can’t pronounce their name.


Yes, it all changed when Jesus stood up in front of that room.

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