They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”
Some early church history suggests that, while Jesus was growing up with Mary and Joseph in Nazareth, he worked with Joseph in his trade as a carpenter. That same early church history also suggests that some of the items they manufactured together were things like yokes and plows.
If that’s the case, put yourself in the place of someone listening to Jesus in John chapter 6. You know that Jesus grew up in nearby Nazareth. You know his family. Perhaps you even have fresh memories of Jesus repairing your plow or selling you a new yoke. But now, as you’re listening to him preach, he’s telling you that he, Jesus, has come down from heaven.
“Heaven?” you might say. “I don’t think so, Jesus. You can’t pull that on us. You’re from Nazareth. You’re Joseph and Mary’s boy. You’re the man who fixed my plow. You’re not from heaven. I know you too well.”
Familiarity with the Christian faith is a blessed, beautiful, powerful, comforting thing. But the evil genius of your old sinful self and mine can also use such familiarity as Jesus’ listeners did here. The evil genius of your old sinful self and mine can also use such familiarity as an excuse for not taking seriously the only Savior you and I are ever going to have. For not taking seriously the reality that the arrival of God the Son in the person of Jesus Christ is THE WAY by which God himself has entered our world to rescue us from the damning curse of our sin.
Thank God that he returns to us again and again in his Word. Thank God that, again and again, he calls us to repentance. Thank God that, when we come to him in repentant hearts, all is washed away, cleansed in the blood of the Lamb, all is made new. And thank God that, in this forgiveness, the Holy Spirit refreshes our eyes to see Jesus for who he truly is.
Forgive me, Lord Jesus, for all the times I have allowed my sense of familiarity to dismiss my desperate need for you. By your Spirit, keep me close. Amen.