Take a walk with me through some of the towns where the story of Jesus took place. Along the way you will meet people who struggled to understand what God was doing. In each town we will learn something significant about what it means to believe God. I’m sure the individuals had doubts, yet they were certain that God had a plan and would carry out His plan. As we walk through these towns, take notice, you may catch a glimpse of yourself and what God is doing in your life.
The fourth town we come to in the story of Jesus is Nazareth. Nazareth is where Jesus grew up.
“When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” Luke 2:39, 52
Most of what is written about Jesus’ life covers a three-year time span, specifically the last three years of his life. Yet, Jesus spent most of his life in the small, out-of-the-way town of Nazareth. After being born in Bethlehem and spending a short time in Egypt, he spent the majority of his childhood as well as all of his teenage and young adult years in Nazareth.
Here’s the thing…Nazareth wasn’t an impressive town. It definitely wasn’t a destination location. In fact, if ever anyone wanted to hide from the law, they often would go to Nazareth. No one thought well of this town. A well-known saying during that time was, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Yet Jesus became known as Jesus the Nazarene. It wasn’t a compliment. It was intended to define Him.
Jesus wasn’t embarrassed about growing up in Nazareth. When Saul saw the bright light on the road to Damascus and asked, “Who are you?” Jesus answered, “I am Jesus of Nazareth…” I like that. The sign nailed above Jesus’ head on the cross included: “Jesus of Nazareth”. While the world around him thought little of anyone from Nazareth, Jesus owned it, because that’s where he grew up. He redefined what it meant to be from Nazareth. But that didn’t mean it was always easy.
Tragically, as Jesus was launching His ministry he wasn’t supported by His hometown of Nazareth. He was rejected. Their familiarity WITH him hindered their faith IN him. In fact, the residents of Nazareth knew Jesus so well that once when He returned to his hometown…well, I’ll just let you read what happened.
“On the Sabbath, he gave a lecture in the meeting place. He made a real hit, impressing everyone. “We had no idea he was this good!” they said. “How did he get so wise all of a sudden, get such ability?” But in the next breath they were cutting him down: “He’s just a carpenter—Mary’s boy. We’ve known him since he was a kid. We know his brothers, James, Justus, Jude, and Simon, and his sisters. Who does he think he is?” They tripped over what little they knew about him and fell, sprawling. And they never got any further. Jesus told them, “A prophet has little honor in his hometown, among his relatives, on the streets he played in as a child.” Jesus wasn’t able to do much of anything there—he laid hands on a few sick people and healed them, that’s all. He couldn’t get over their stubbornness. He left and made a circuit of the other villages, teaching.” (Mark 6:1-6, The Message)
Jesus loved them but they did not believe in him. That didn’t stop him or slow him down. We may sometimes believe that where we grew up is holding us back or that certain people are not being supportive enough. Don’t allow the rejection in one place to stop you from doing what God has called you to do. Jesus chose to follow God. We can make that same choice. We get to choose how to best move forward in life. We are definitely PRODUCTS of our past, we are NOT PRISONERS.
We get to grow into what God has for us right where we are. Maybe you’ve felt like you were born in the wrong place or even at the wrong time? Have you ever felt like if you had just grown up somewhere else other than where you did, that you’d be better off today? Or maybe you believe that if you had grown up in a different family that everything would be so much better for you today. Whether we grew up in an inner city, suburb or small town, near mountains, an ocean or desert, we can see that we are products of our past. God knew where you would grow up. Maybe the reason WHY you live where you do is because that’s exactly WHERE you need to be to grow into WHO He intended you to be to do WHAT He’s called you to do.
Nazareth represents times of preparation and growth. What can you do to grow mentally, physically, spiritually and socially? One thing you can do is to take time to write down a specific action item next to each area. Here are some examples to get you started.
Mind: Be thoughtful.
Engage in meaningful conversations, listen to podcasts when you drive, or read a good book or magazine. Also read Matthew 22:37; 2 Peter 1:5-7; 2 Timothy 2:15; Romans 12:2
Body: Be active.
Move. Whether you walk, bike, surf, work out, or garden. Also read 1 Timothy 4:8; Romans 6:13; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 9:27; James 3:2-6; 1 Peter 4:1; 2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:23
Spirit: Be mindful of God.
Consider God in everything you do. Talk with God often, read his word daily, find a place to serve someone somewhere and do it consciously for the sake of Christ. Also read John 8:29; 2 Corinthians 5:9; Colossians 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 4:1; 1 John 5:3-4
Relationships: Be friendly.
Be social and plan time with a friend(s) and be patient and kind to everybody. Keep a few friends close…take time for a hot tea and conversation…or maybe call or text them just to check in. Also read Matthew 2:39; 7:12; Luke 6:31; Galatians 5:6b; 1 John 3:18; Romans 12:9-21; John 13:34-35; Galatians 5:13.
Everyone grows up somewhere. For Jesus, it was a town called Nazareth. Was it perfect? Not by a long shot. But He grew up mentally, physically, spiritually, and socially right where he was and so can you. We are PRODUCTS of our past, NOT PRISONERS.
I’d love to hear from you. Comment below. Where did you grow up? What difference has that made in your life?
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For more inspiration read Your Life in One Day (click here): https://danholland2819.wordpress.com/2018/11/18/your-life-in-one-day/