Grace Lutheran Church, Clearwater, Fla.
Originally posted July 10, 2012, at Discovering Discipleship. Republished with permission of the author.
He left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him.
On the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being 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.
Then Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.”
Have you ever said or done something that provoked somebody (usually a defensive somebody) to say “Who do you think you are?” Those words may not be spoken aloud, but quite often they are communicated by gestures, glances (or lack of eye contact) that scream out to us that we are being discounted.
Being discounted is even more painful than being ignored, for we are not discounted unless somebody has actually noticed us and then judged us to be of no account.
This has probably happened to each one of us at some point or another. Depending upon our mindset at the time, we may have tried to assert ourselves more rigorously. Or, if we felt weak, we may have quickly been silenced and tried to disappear.
When we are relying upon our own strength (our ego stuff) to be effective, we respond to the question “Who do you think you are?” with a long list of our “qualifications” that represent our identity.
When we cling to our baptism and to our status as children of God, we respond with power, solidarity and with authority!
We are baptized — and we respond to the question, “Who do you think you are?” by proclaiming first whose we are!
We know that we are claimed by Christ and rooted in Christ. All that we say and do in his name points away from who WE are.
Our words and deeds may generate a degree of resistance from people, especially if we are communicating truth about a situation that calls for change or repentance. Naming a previously ignored or denied truth about a problem often does prompt, initially, some “push back” that conveys: Who do you think you are?
Christ empowers us and calls us to be effective — yes, even to the point of participating in “miracles” — and we do so because we, in baptism, bear his name. His name empowers our hands, and it directs our words.
Before we go out, it is critical that we return to our baptism. As Luther said, creep back to it daily. Always remind yourself whose you are and give thanks for the promises unleashed by that truth!
Find a link to Pamela Czarnota’s congregation’s blog Discovering Discipleship at Lutheran Blogs.