Nazareth was the home village of Mary and also the site of the Annunciation
(when Mary was told by the Angel Gabriel that she would have Jesus as her
son) as recorded in Luke 1: 26-39). In Matthew 2:19-23, Joseph and Mary
resettled in Nazareth after returning from the flight from Bethlehem to
Egypt. Nazareth was where Jesus grew up from some point in his childhood.
Joseph is also from Nazareth.
LK 2:4 So Joseph also went up from the
town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David,
because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to
register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a
child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and
she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed
him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
LK 2:39 When Joseph and Mary had done
everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to
their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong; he was
filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.
Nazareth is the largest city in the North District of Israel. Nazareth
is known as "the Arab capital of Israel"; the population is made up
predominantly of Arab citizens of Israel, almost all of whom are either
Muslim (69%) or Christian (30.9%) (source: Wiki)
The town where Jesus grew up gave him a hard time (Mark 6:1)
MK 6:1 Jesus left
there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples.
2 When the Sabbath
came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were
"Where did this man get these
things?" they asked. "What's this wisdom that has been given him, that
he even does miracles! 3 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?" And they took offense at him.
MK 6:4 Jesus
said to them, "Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own
house is a prophet without honor."
could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick
people and heal them.
he was amazed at their lack of faith.
Nazareth was sited on a steep cliff and they tried to throw Jesus over it in
response to his first sermon!
LK 4:28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard
this. 29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of
the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff.
30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.
Interesting comment about the town
in Jesus' time
JN 1:46 "Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathanael asked.
"Come and see," said Philip.
|Church of the
Annunciation in the background
|Arabs stalls sells
It is one thing to be rejected by strangers. However
rejection by friends, relatives and family members are harder to take.
Jesus had a hard time in Nazareth. After his first sermon in his own
synagogue, the members tried to kill him by throwing him off the cliff
at the edge of the town! Such drastic action in respond to his sermon.
And these will be friends, relatives and the townspeople who knew Jesus
well. They would have watched him grow up. Joseph’s son he would have
been known. And some nasty gossip about his mother being pregnant before
the wedding. I wondered how Jesus would have felt. I am sure it would
have hurt him badly. But his mission would have sustained him. He quoted
“Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a
prophet without honor.” (Mark 6:4) This quote showed that Jesus is aware
of his role as a prophet.
Even James, his half brother, did not understand
Jesus until after his death and resurrection. James went on to be a
leader in the Jerusalem church. Rejection by your own family members!
His own brothers, sisters and even his mother at one time thought that
he was mad. In Matthew 12:46, his family came to take him home.
MT 12:46 While Jesus was still talking to the
crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him.
47 Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside,
wanting to speak to you."
Jesus used this as a teaching moment that “whoever
does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and
mother” (Matt. 12:50). This statement did not meant that he rejected his
family but that he used his mission to deal with the heartbreak he must
The betrayal kiss by Judas Iscariot must have hurt
terribly. Judas who was such a trusted member of his disciples that they
even appointed him to be treasurer. Yet, at the moment of this kiss in
the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus must have known that his friend had
betrayed him to torture, humiliation and death.
Being rejected by our own parents, friends, relatives
and community is very painful. We will be racked by self doubts. There
is also feel a sense of betrayal. Must of all, we would be filled with
agony of our rejection. Sometimes it is preferable to be rejected by
strangers than by those we love. At such times we often feel lost,
nursing our pain and even angry. We despair of ever be understood again.
Yet someone does understand. In another garden, God’s creatures rejected
their creator. Many years later, these same creatures crucified God
incarnate. God’s heart must be broken with pain and sorrow. Yet he still
loves us. In the pain of our rejections, let us cling onto him who will
never reject us.