Arenât high school reunions great ! Or, maybe they arenât so great. Personally, I avoid them. People at high schoolreunions usually gather around and do the old, "Do you remember so and so ? Do you remember when Bobby Jones did this, or Cindy Smith did that ?" "Do you remember the scandal it caused when · (Iâll you fill in the blanks)." Quite frankly, I donât like the game of "Do you remember." Letâs just say that some of my high school years are better left forgotten.
Then, you get those people at high school unions who stand there looking at you and say, "Oh my how you have changed." What they are really saying is, "Boy, youâve put on weight. Or, I remember you as having more hair, or blonde hair, not white hair. And by the way, were your glasses trifocals in high school ? But then they remember they didnât have trifocals back then.
And there are always those people who want your lifeâs update. They want to hear of your lifeâs struggles. Not because they care mind you, as statistics prove, 90% of the population doesnât care about your problems and the other 10% is glad youâve got them.
Theyâre really not interested in what you are doing either, they just want to see if youâve turned out the way they assumed you would turn out. Thatâs when the fun comes in for me. "So, Bob, what are you doing these days ?" they ask, assuming that I have just returned to society from living on a commune in the woods of Washington state for the last thirty years.
The look on their face is so precious when I say, "Well, ten years after high school I finally did go to college, graduate Magna Cum Laude with a degree in business, went to work in the computer industry, had a successful career for twenty years, went to seminary and received a Masterâs of Divinity degree and then entered into the ministry. Just about then, itâs time to call 911 and start resuscitating the individual. No, reunions are not my favorite thing.
This morning we hear of a reunion that Jesus went to. It was a hometown reunion where he caused just about as much shock as I do at my reunions. Jesus and his disciples had been on a road trip of late. Jesus had been carrying out his threefold ministry of teaching, preaching and healing.
You will remember over the last two weeks that Jesus taught the people on the shore of Lake Galilee, he then calmed the storm on the lake and when he reached the other side of the lake he drove out the demons of a possessed man, healed the woman with the hemorrhage and raised Jairusâ daughter from the dead. Now, Jesus decides itâs time to return home for a visit.
Mark tells us that Jesus and his entourage of disciples entered his hometown, and when the Sabbath day came, Jesusbegan to teach in the synagogue. We are told that when the members of the congregation heard him begin to preach, "they were amazed." Probably much the same way my Sunday School teacher would be amazed if she heard me preaching today !
The people who knew Jesus, and had seen him grow up wonder where he got his wisdom. They canât believe it is Jesus who is saying these things. They say to one another, "Isnât this the carpenter ? Isnât this Maryâs son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon ? Arenât his sisters here with us today ?"
The reference to Jesus as the "Son of Mary" can be seen as a derogatory way of referring to Jesus. In the first century, sons were identified by reference to their fathers. My Swedish ancestors have this same tradition in the naming of their sons. Our American Johnson is the Swedish Johnâs son or, Johannesâs son. And our Swenson, or further Americanized Swanson is the Swedish Svenâs son. To associate Jesus with his mother was a social dig against him.
We must also remember the image that the people had in their minds of Jesus. He had left Nazareth alone, and as a carpenter. He returns with a group of followers, and as a Rabbi. It is also important to note that when Jesus left town, some of the townsfolkâs probably frowned upon his leaving. Remember that Jesus was the oldest male child in his family. Joseph was now dead and if the father of the family was dead, the oldest male child was expected to assume the role of the head of the household and stay around to provide for the family.
Jesus may have been viewed by some, as the son who shirked his family duties and responsibilities by leaving the family to fend for themselves. His neighbors were probably not too eager to welcome this deserting self-proclaimed prophet back into their circle of friends.