Hardly anyone would deny the fact that most of us enjoy the admiration and amazement of others. When someone says to us: “Good Job!”, we become elated with happiness that someone noticed our efforts. This happiness is even greater when our family and friends give us the pat on the back and we feel like we’ve earned their respect.
On the other hand, we have all felt the sting of disappointment when family and/or friends have treated us with contempt or disregard.
When Lord Jesus returned to his hometown of Nazareth, instead of his friends and acquaintances feeling “proud” of his extraordinary knowledge and power, they became indignant. (Mark 6:1-3) Rather than feeling pride for the fact that their “son” was becoming a popular Rabbi, they shunned and criticized him.
When this happened, Lord Jesus felt a tremendous disappointment that led him to quote a popular proverb that is based on the Scriptural witness of how prophets are usually treated.
“A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” Mark 6:4 (NIV)
There’s a main reason why some of those who knew Jesus more intimately, despised him for transcending the limitations that were imposed upon him: Jealousy.
The people that knew Jesus were amazed by his enlightenment and ability to do miracles, but instead of celebrating that fact and humbly following him (or at least espousing an attitude of “if he can do it, so can I.”) they reacted by trying to find all the things that could serve to discredit his abilities and achievements by apparent, rational means. Mark 6:3b-4 says:
Where did this man get these things? What’s this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles! Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?”
Rather than wanting to use Jesus as a prime example for overcoming inherited limitations and achieving great things, they projected upon him their own feelings of inadequacy. They did this in order to keep him subject to the caricature that was imposed upon them by their prejudicial compatriots. Whether consciously or unconsciously, they had resigned themselves to the false designation of being “losers,” simply for being citizens of Nazareth. In John 1:46 (NIV) it says:
“Nazareth! Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Phillip.
At the core, Jesus embodied a spirit of non-conformity and rebellion against the notion that one must resign to what others think or say about us. In its essence, the Gospel itself is based on the message that because Jesus ascended to God’s throne, that we also have ascended from slavery to divinity, in him. (John 14:3; Ephesians 2:6-7) In fact, since nothing is impossible for God, nothing is impossible for us, since we have been immersed into the body of the incarnate God through Holy Baptism. (read in order- Matthew 19:26; Mark 9:23; 1Corinthians 12:13, 27; John 14:12)
Although in many instances it is natural for discouragement to follow disappointment, Jesus made the decision to use his disappointment as an opportunity to change his tactics. Jesus was convinced that the world needed his message and mission- even if his own people (including his family) could not recognize this. (Mark 3:21; 31-34; John 1:11)
According to the Gospel of Mark, it was his disappointment with family and friends that led him to extend his mission and message by means of sending his main disciples. (Mark 6:6-13) The people that leave their mark and change the world are those who are resolute in their mission in the midst of great opposition.
Christopher Columbus once said:
“Nothing that results from human progress is achieved by unanimous consent. And those who are enlightened before the others are condemned to pursue that light in spite of others.”
One of the greatest elements that helps us overcome disappointment is the belief that there is an intrinsic need for our message and mission. Without Faith in who we are and the solutions we have to offer, we can never overcome our inherited prejudices and limitations. Only by being convinced that we are needed, can we overcome the many who will try to confine us to the fantastical paradigms that oftentimes limit us. Ephesians 4:22-23 (NIV) says:
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
The most seemingly insignificant act that we do for the benefit of another human being has such enormous ramifications, that oftentimes it transcends our limited and oftentimes flawed scope of perception.
If you are convinced that your mission and message is needed for the well-being of human kind, and that your purpose transcends the caricature that has been imposed upon you, then every disappointment will serve as a learning opportunity and a time to change tactics.
You are needed in this world…You are the Light of this world…Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You have purpose in life. Believe it, and you’ll achieve it…especially if what you have to offer is for the selfless benefit of humankind.
Every disappointment has the potential to become a great blessing if you simply believe in your mission and don’t give up. You are the “stuff” that history books are written about.
What made Jesus extraordinary was not the fact that he is God-incarnate, but rather, the fact that he believed that the world needed him. If you also believe that you have a purpose in life, you too would be unstoppable.