Jesus came to his native place in Nazareth, accompanied by His disciples…and He began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. They said, “Where did this man get all this?… And then they belittled Him and gave offense upon Him.
Jesus said to them, “As it’s been written, a prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house…thus it is so here.”
So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.

This is the sad text of Mark 6 of Jesus’ own hometown people badly underestimating Him.

Never underestimate Jesus.

The prophecy of the coming Messiah said that He’d come not by overwhelming us with His impressive appearance.  He would be an everyday person, even if a little extraordinary too.

Isaiah 53 prophesizes… “He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. Then, He’d be despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces was He despised, in the end, and we held him of no account.”

In another prophecy it’s said of the Messiah: “He shall be a Nazorean.”  Indeed he was.

Funny thing, though. One of his first apostle-followers was taken aback at Jesus’ humble beginnings, saying: “Can anything (anyone) good come out of Nazareth?”  John 1:46, said by Nathaniel.

Never underestimate Jesus, but you may be in for a surprise how He presents Himself to you. Don’t miss it.  Many did, if you read the Gospels like we did today of His own time and place.

Life is full of stories of people being underestimated by others. People underestimate others for lots of reasons, most of which say little about a person’s actual importance or capability. These reasons often include a person’s personality, outward appearance, or background. They typically reflect the bias of one group towards another. We know their stories, frankly, because they remind us that a person’s value does not depend on the assessments of others.

Jesus’ critics constantly underestimated him. For some, the questionable marital status of Jesus’ parents made him illegitimate. That view upon Him could still have been happening there at Nazareth, even in Jesus’ 27th or 30th year of life, in this account.

Others felt His apparent lack of concern for religious tradition disqualified him for being a special holy leader.

Jesus associated with the wrong kinds of people in the eyes of many. Even his miracle-working power became a source of suspicion.

Worst of all, perhaps, Jesus died a criminal’s death on a Roman cross. None of this matched what people expected of someone sent by God, so they dismissed him. Again, Jesus knew how the Word has predicted it so. Isaiah 54:3 says: Surely, He has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted Him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.

Jesus’ resurrection reminds us that Jesus’ critics were WRONG. This weak, pathetic, nuisance of a man whom His critics thought they could silence by murdering him now sits at the right hand of God as an Intercessor for those who trust him and judge for those who do not. He is the King; the Lord.

What has Jesus done for you or me? St. Paul makes a very big deal of it, as he writes in the 2nd chapter of Colossians. … “when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with Him, when He forgave us all our trespasses, erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.” (Colossians 2:13–15)

We should never, never, ever underestimate Jesus. Yet, perhaps we DO underestimate Him at times. We underestimate Jesus when we think that our problems are too big for Him to solve. We underestimate Jesus when we think that others are beyond redemption. We underestimate Him when we equate His grace with indifference towards our own sin. We underestimate Him when we trust the guidance of others over the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We understand Him when we don’t share the Gospel with others, or our testimony, thinking it is now of the power of God for salvation, and that people need salvation, and need to hear the saving message of the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus. Or do you underestimate it? Or underestimate our part in Him?

Today, take some time to consider these descriptions. Do they apply to you? When we underestimate Jesus we are choosing to live by sight and not by faith. We do this at our own peril. Choose today to live by faith, trusting Jesus’ saving power in every circumstance and relationship. Jesus is able to accomplish far more in us than we can imagine when we humbly trust in him.

I give you this great verse: “Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)  Pray it and take it to heart!

Let’s Pray: Lord, show me where I am underestimating your power in my life. I repent of those attitudes and choose to humbly trust you to work in and through me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Lisa Stahli was a shy young woman that people told her she’d not amount to much. Yet her mom was a role model to dream bigger. Lisa was encouraged to study hard and in finishing high school showed a surprisingly good score in math and physics aptitude. Yet could she socially make it next in college or grad school? She lived in Switzerland and got into a Tech School and took on studying Geomatics Engineering. It pertains to GPS, navigation, surveying, and such. Lisa was fascinated in the high precision measurements and methods needed for projects like the Gotthard Base Tunnel, the world’s longest railway tunnel. It was not easy, for Lisa had to take part time jobs while studying full-time, and she also had to live independently. Yet in 2018, she graduated at the top of her class with a master’s degree in Geomatics Engineering.  If you’d meet her, then you’d think she was younger than she looks, and her modest appearance and self-presentation might lead you to not realize she is a woman of great accomplishment.  Yet she works today as a software engineer building web applications for urban planners to plan for the cities of the future. She does meet many people that are surprised by her, but she says she likes surprising people. She calls her professional glow as a becoming empowered by her being underestimated.  She smiles in moments when, for example, she shows up as a speaker at an event with her slides and then gets mistaken for being the assistant of another speaker. Oh well, let me surprise them!

Decoding Tech, 4-20-21.

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