INNER CIRCLE: Mysterious Prophets

INNER CIRCLE: Mysterious Prophets November 24, 2022

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SAYING 31:  “Jesus said, “A prophet is not acceptable in that prophet’s own native town. A physician does not heal people who are acquainted with that physician.”


The biggest obstacle to understanding sayings like this one lies in the fact that we think we already know what it means.


When Jesus says this in Mark 6:4 or John 4:44, we assume that he’s rebuking those in his hometown who lack the faith to be healed because they doubt Jesus’s identity as the Messiah. “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?”, they say. And so, this saying can only be understood as a warning for us to put our faith in Jesus and trust his ability to heal us or save us from our sins.


But, what if this isn’t what Jesus means to say at all? What if there’s another meaning here that we’re completely oblivious to?


Well, I think there is another meaning that, if we stop and take the time to think differently about it, we’ll start to see something we’ve missed.


Taken at face value, the statement here is about the ways we perceive those outside our community as compared to those inside. A prophet from our hometown is taken less seriously because of our familiarity with that person. They’re common, ordinary, normal people, just like us. So, we doubt whether they could truly be special, or capable, or talented enough to deserve such a title as “prophet” or “healer.”


But, why do we react this way to those within our own community? Isn’t it because we doubt ourselves? Isn’t it due to the fact that we cannot believe that anyone who is like us could possess spiritual insight or enjoy a unique connection with the Spirit of God? Therefore, we extend that disbelief and distrust of ourselves to the person from our hometown. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” we ask. Especially if we ourselves come from Nazareth and have come to believe that nothing special, or holy, or remarkable could ever arise in the same place where we were born.


The prophet here is not necessarily Jesus. The prophet in this saying is anyone from within our community we distrust or doubt. Ultimately, the prophet we doubt most is the guru who dwells within our own skin.


This saying is also warning us not to embrace the illusion of separation between those who are “in” our circles and those who are “outside” our community.


The idea that those who are like us are ordinary and those outside are special is an illusion. There is no difference between the one inside and he one outside of anything. We are all connected. We are all one in Christ. Therefore, the notion that prophets from other lands have a greater anointing than those who live next door – or within us – is misguided.


So, yes, human nature tends to ascribe greater authority to physicians and prophets from outside the familiar context of our reality, but this tendency is foolish and must be overcome if we hope to escape the persistent illusion of separation from one another, or from God.


Once we awaken from this dreamlike stupor that our healer dwells somewhere “out there” or that the prophet we seek is from a distant land, we can finally and fully embrace the reality that the greatest wisdom and the deepest truth is already present in our hometown, and within our own self.


Let the reader understand.

Keith Giles is the best-selling author of the Jesus Un series. He has appeared on CNN, USA Today, BuzzFeed, and John Fugelsang’s “Tell Me Everything.” His latest book, SOLA MYSTERIUM: Celebrating the Beautiful Uncertainty of Everything is available now on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

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