We label people almost daily. We probably label ourselves too. And most of the time we downgrade both ourselves and others. Yet in a perverse way, every time we do it to others, we set ourselves up as superior, almost like a guilty pleasure.
When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.” And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.
The tragedy was the fact that because of their public labeling and downgrading, they were robed of enjoying the fullness of His presence. Think of the teaching they could have received and the miracles they could have experienced! Instead, they could have paraded their very own ‘boy done good’ or ‘one of ours’.
Sadly, that’s what labeling does. We think we know people. We box them into neat prearranged categories and we seal the box. And we do the same with Jesus. We figure Him out and we make Him safe. We customize Him to suit or needs and ignore anything that might spoil the applied label.
Peel off the labels, today, of yourself, others and even Jesus.
Engage in discovery.
Believe that people change.
Know that they are complex.
And above all, keep being surprised by new facets of Christ’s identity as you read about His teaching and lifestyle in the Scriptures.