This morning I am reading Mark chapter 6 and Matthew chapter 13 and 14 looking at the parallels between John the Baptist's life and Jesus' ministry. It is very interesting to me.
"He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, "Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at him. And Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household." And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them." - Mark 6:1-5 ESV
"King Herod heard of it, for Jesus' name had become known. Some said, 'John the Baptist has been raised from the dead. That is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.' But others said, 'He is Elijah.' And others said, 'He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.' But when Herod heard of it, he said, 'John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.'" - Mark 6:14-16 ESV
John had a primarily moral message, 'Clean up your act because God's kingdom is coming.' and that message got him is trouble because he was vocal about immorality on every level of society.
"For it was Herod who had sent and seized John and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, because he had married her. For John had been saying to Herod, 'It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife.' And Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death. But she could not," - Mark 6:17-19 ESV
Herod was manipulated into having John killed and then when he hears about Jesus it reminds him that he had a good man killed and his superstitious mind makes connections. Jesus becomes the ghost of John in Herod's mind.
The people of Nazareth took offense at Jesus in part because His message was not moral. Jesus had healing in His wings. John never had that.
Then I look at the world I live in today and see a similar dynamic. I am one of Jesus' disciples. There are those that look with familiarity and then there are those that associate Jesus with the ghost of a moral ministry. In the midst of it all Jesus is still healing. Healing took place in Nazareth but no 'mighty work' took place there. I think that mighty work is conversion and transformation.
Then there is a the culture that has blood on it's hands and when it sees Jesus it reminds them of that blood.
But the real truth stripped of familiarity and ghost stories is that Jesus is a gracious gentle healer who has come to be a lamb. He isn't the boy who lived next door and he isn't a resuscitated morality.
Those who walked with him then knew that and so do those who walk with him now. He heals. I wish people could see it. There is healing with Him that can be found no where else. My eyes fill with tears as I type this. He is not what religion says He Is. He is not a cross on a wall or a bad experience a person had in a Church. He is the Savior of the world and of each individual. He is kind and unique and eternal.
Please close your eyes and pray and open them again. Look and see Him as the scripture reveals Him. There is hope is him that can't be found anywhere else.