We begin with another of those little word sketches so well drawn Jesus himself might have been telling it into life. The undercurrents, tittle-tattle & backbiting of 'back home'. The kind of scene Jesus, such a keen observer of everything going on might have told about someone else's experience 'back home'. What goes on where you are when someone comes back - into home & family, society, church, & so on? Or you yourself make that pilgrimage 'back' somewhere? Or maybe we have to live all the time with those who grew up with us, knew us when we were 'young & silly', a larrikin, wild, immature, one for the girls or boys, ............? Think they still know us only too well! How good are we at seeing people as they really are, now, as God sees them, through Jesus' eyes? We free up not just ourselves but the other, too, when we see like that. Open up potential rather than stifle it.
That Jesus was not 'empowered to do any works of power there' apart from a few exceptions is a down to earth if thought provoking comment on the human-end-of-the-scale Jesus as distinct from the Jesus of the divine God-can-do-anything- end.
Today there's lots of room for 'empowering' God to empower us without going overboard in terms of an interventionist God theology? Whichever part of the church we're members of (even if, like so many, we're only hanging in there by the skin of our teeth) most of us don't see much evidence that God really is alive & well, empowered & empowering. Meaning that LOVE is allowed to energise us, rule, rather than being kept shut away in our ecclesiastical cupboards under lock & key. (Or kept only as a word for use in sermons!)
My observation & experience tell of church leaders & members who allow as little power to God today as the Nazarenes allowed to Jesus back then. With the same result. Nothing much happens. Is this recognizably the story of our denomination, congregation, Home Group, etc.?
If we allow little real power to God it stands to reason the kind of mission Jesus sends us out on in our day won't bear much fruit. The real demon needing to be cast out from many of us is making God so much in our image that he's about as useful / useless to us as we are to him!