22 04 2008

“Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46). A sincere question from a man of Cana, just five miles away! Matthew 2:23 states that Jesus shall be called a “Nazarene”. There is no such Old Testament prophecy, so some suggest that it is speaking of the Nazarite vow. This is not possible since Jesus did not take a Nazarite vow and the context of Matthew 2:23 definitely speaks of Nazareth. Being called a Nazarine was synonymous with being despised and rejected, fulfilling such prophecies as Psalm 22:6 and Isaiah 53:3. And yet, Nazareth is forever enshrined as one of the most fortunate town’s inn the history of the world?


  1. Familiar with the world

There were multi-national caravans, business dealings with foreigners, and a Roman garrison nearly.

  1. Immersed with His work

He was “the” carpenter (Mark 6:3) and had to provide for His earthly family at the death of Joseph. When he was 30, I’m sure the business was passed on to the next oldest brother.

  1. Comfortable with the Word

It was His custom to attend the synagogue every Sabbath (Luke 42:16). Perhaps He was handed the Isaiah scroll because it was one of His duties to read.

  1. Identified with the despised

He was despised by the Romans, orthodox Jews, and even despised by his own hometown.

  1. Careful with his associations

He never identified Himself with the extremism of the Zealots. He cared more about seeking and saving Hell-bound souls than fighting an abusive and pagan government.


Besides satisfying (or inciting) our own curiosity, what does this journey to Nazareth mean to us?

  1. Geography does not dictate godliness

Nazareth was no Jerusalem, yet Jesus still grew in wisdom and in favor with God and man. We can complain all we want about where we live, how we were raised, or what disadvantages we had, but the decision to live godly is ours alone.

  1. Hardships shape character

“It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth” (Lamentations 3:27). Why? Because hard times shape our character. Our culture seems to be dead set against any child being raised with disadvantages. I contend that the disadvantages will shape that child into a better person. Jesus came from a large family in a single parent home at a despised city, and He did okay!

  1. Our citizenship is not of the world

Jesus did not immerse Himself into the highly charged political climate of Galilee. He simply rendered unto Caesar the things that were Caesars and went on serving God.

  1. Our priorities should be chosen wisely

Jesus had to choose to follow His earthly father and become a carpenter. He had to choose to follow His Heavenly Father and move away form home. He had to choose to die so that He could be the Savior of the world. We are daily faced with decisions concerning priorities. Like Jesus, we must choose wisely in spite of adverse circumstances or others objecting to our choice.

Nazareth is now in the occupied West Bank; Bethlehem gets all the attention at Christmas, but let’s not forget the 30 years that Jesus spent at Nazareth.




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