Morning Conversations with GodBible Study:
The Peril of Overfamiliarity
by William S. Stoddard Share page

“Is not this the carpenter?” (Mark 6:3)

Read: Mark 6:1-6; John 1:11; John 12:48.

What is God Saying?

It was not too strange that the people of His own village did not accept Him, They knew Him so well that they didn’t know Him – really -- at all.  They said, “Anyone who grew up in our village and played with our children and worked in his father’s woodshop, can’t be all that wise or have power to work miracles. 

Something is wrong here. 

He is a carpenter -- we’ve known him for years.”  Jesus Himself said (pointing out a recognized fact).  “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and among his own kin and in his own house” (Mark 6:5).

It is possible to know a multitude of facts about Jesus and miss the important facts of who He is and why He came. The result of their knowing Him too well was that He could do no mighty work there.

Unbelief is not a trivial weakness or a mild annoyance.  It is powerful.  Here it stayed the hand of God. 

Never underestimate the power of unbelief. 

Nothing can subdue it but faith in who Jesus really is and what He can really do.

How Does This Apply to Us?

There are many good people who have been through Sunday School lessons, listened to sermons and faithfully read through their Bible so many times (including preachers and other Christian workers) that they run the danger of becoming overfamiliar with the Sublime.

Our need in prayer today is to ask the Spirit of God to keep us from knowing more and more about Jesus and less and less about why He came,  who He really is and how much He can really do for us and in us.

Pray With Me

Lord, keep me from knowing more about You if it keeps me from knowing You more.  May You never become an object of academic interest or the subject of an interesting debate.  Help me to go beyond such fact as Your earthly occupation.  Your place of residence, and even the things You did.  Lead me to the wonder of who You are and to the discovery of what You want to accomplish in me.

The people of Your boyhood knew You only as a carpenter. Overfamiliarity kept them from the greater discovery.  They were blinded to the glory of Your divine perfection. 

God forbid that I should ever come to know so much about You that I fail to worship that in You which is always beyond my comprehension.  Yes, You were the Carpenter.  You knew the burdens of common and ceaseless toil.  Yours was the calloused Hand which duty molded to the handle of “plane and saw”.  You knew the ache of a long-bent back.  You understood the importance of a straight line and a clean cut.  You knew the strength of good wood and could bring out its beauty.

Carpenter of Nazareth, You are more.  I pray that You will fashion my soul until it is fit for Your heavenly dwelling.  By the miracle of Your forgiving and restoring grace, make my life useful to God and man.

In Your name, O Carpenter, Builder of life divine.  Amen.

Moving On In The Life Of Prayer

We must never cease looking upon Jesus with breathless wonder. When John, in Revelations, saw Him “as the sun shining in full strength and fell at His feet as though dead”, he was face to face with the very power and glory of God.  He was not confronted by someone who was just one of us as if He were a well-known carpenter in the village.  He was that but much more and totally other.

As one of us Jesus can do the compassionate thing.  He understands.  As Son of God He can do the impossible.   Isn’t that why we pray in His name?  We pray to One who is forever beyond us and yet a very present help in trouble.  We pray to One who not only cares, but who also can.


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Used with permission. From the book: First Light: Morning Conversations with God.

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