Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:14-30 NIV)
Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith. (Mark 6:1-6 NIV)
In these Scriptures Jesus shows us how important it is that we believe in him and in each other in order to experience the fullness of God’s work in us. People in his hometown had heard about the miracles and wonders that Jesus had done in other places. They were impressed by his teaching and wanted to see him do the same things in their town that they heard he was doing elsewhere. However, they did not believe in him for who he is. They just wanted him to come and do his program for them. Even when they saw him to do miracles and heard him teach and marvelous ways they could not cross that line into belief because they thought they already knew who he was. He was just one of them. They knew where he had grown up, they knew his family, they knew all there was to know about him, or so they thought. Because they could not believe in him, he could do only a few miracles. So, the first lesson for us is that we must believe in Jesus for who he is in order to gain the fullest expression of his Grace and power through the Holy Spirit.
The second lesson for us is the importance of believing in each other for the work of Christ to be complete in us. This must begin with faith in Christ. That faith allows us to believe what Christ’s Grace can do in an through others. It enables us to believe in God’s calling on another’s life. We can declare, I believe that you can do all that Christ has called you to do and to be.
If you and I would share the gospel with someone else, we must believe in the power of Christ to save and transform that person. In a sense, we must believe for them in order to open the message to them that they might believe. Sometimes we have to believe in someone before they can believe in themselves. Others can step out into something new based on their belief in their abilities, their product, their plan, etc., and launch out boldly into the future. Even then, eventually someone else must believe in them in order to gain success. The empowerment to faith and action when we believe in Christ and the work of Christ in each other is immense.
I began to realize the power of believing in someone else when I was in high school. In ninth or tenth grade I happened to be seated next to two different students who were always low scoring/failing students. I realized they did not have anyone at home helping them with homework and pushing them to try hard. So I began to encourage them as we talked. I always was at the top of my class and did well in academics. If they confirmed an answer with me, they gained the confidence to put their hand up. It was awesome to me to watch them try for the first time to give an answer. However, the teacher’s in both of those classes routinely ignored them when they had their hand raised. Worse, the one teacher seemed to make a point of calling on that student when he did not raise his hand and ignored him when he did. It almost guaranteed his failure. It confirmed that the teacher did not believe in him and reinforced the message that he should give up.
When we believe in Christ and believe in the work of Christ in each other it opens us to seek and pursue the fullness of Christ.
Who has done that for you?
Who are you doing that for?