NAZARETH.

I was born in the “Show Me State”.
I’m not sure if my deep rooted “show me” attitude can be attributed to the state that I entered this world in, or my dysfunctional childhood that surely created deep rooted security issues.
But, none the less, my state slogan is a part of my DNA.

Many arguments in my adult life and in my marriage have incurred because I just need to “see it to believe it.”

That’s why I love the disciple, Nathaneal.

 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.

“Come and see,” said Philip. When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”

“How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”  John 1:45-49

I’m convinced Nathanael was originally from the “Show Me State”.
Philip had heard from someone who heard from someone, who heard from God, that Jesus was the Messiah.
And Philip could not wait to tell Nathanael the juicy news.
It actually sounds like these men may actually have been the original pilot of “Desperate Housewives”.
The show probably tanked because the only news they had to share was the good news.
Not fake news.
I digress.

Back to the point.
Back in the day (Jesus’ day), last names were not used. If you wanted to know more about someone, you used the city they were from, or the lineage they were from. Jesus of Nazareth, or Jesus, son of Joseph, would have been commonplace instead of the modern day “John Smith” or “Susie Doozy”.

You get the picture.
When Philip couldn’t get good cell phone reception to text the news to Nathanael, he had to run to his house. And when he did, Nathanael knew not Jesus, but he knew Nazareth.

Nazareth.
It wasn’t that Nazareth was a bad city.
It was that Nazareth was barely a city.
Historians believe the population of Nazareth was a measly 400 people.
Everyone knew everyone.
Many people knew of Nazareth because it was not far from some larger cities in the area. But it was not a place where people would want to claim as their own.

I currently live in a much smaller city than the city I grew up in. And, when traveling, people ask the question, “Where are you from?”
When I was younger, living in my hometown, I was able to say the name of the city and everyone was familiar!
Those were simpler days.
Now, because I live in a town that is not known unless you have lived in a 30 mile radius of the town itself, I find myself describing where (in relation to cities other are familiar with) I actually live!
It takes 10 minutes longer for people to just have an IDEA of where you live.
Most times people would probably get so confused by your descriptors that they would just say, “Oh, yeah! Okay, cool.”
And then the akwardness of the conversation being primarily latitudes and longitudes is surely to not blossom any further.
Thus, you only have friends that live within a 30 mile radius of your home.
That was Nazareth.
A little place.
Near the Sea of Galillee.
With nothing to offer anyone from anywhere else.

This is why Nathanael was flabbergasted.
Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah?
Everything that comes out of Nazareth is corn fed and brain dead!
They have a ride your camel to school day!
And they are all homeschooled!
When you ride by on your camel, if you blink, you miss it!

Nathanael couldn’t believe that the greatest gift to the earth was the greatest gift to the earth because of where he came from.

Maybe that is your reality right now.
Maybe you feel like you can’t make a difference because of where you came from.
Maybe you live in a small town.
Or a large city.
Maybe you come from a family of alcoholics.
Or drug addicts.
Maybe you come from poverty.
Maybe you come from a past of terrible sin.
Maybe you come from a family line of broken marriages.
Or abuse.
Maybe you have been walking through depression.
Anxiety.
Suicidal thoughts.
Or just plain feeling inadequate to accomplish your dreams.
Maybe you feel that your Nazareth disqualifies you.

I want you to know, today, that your Nazareth does not define you.
It just describes you.
Let me explain.

DESCRIBE is latin. It literally means “to write down”.
Your Nazareth is what has been written down about you and your lineage.
It’s what has been recorded of your family.
It’s a past sort of thing.

DEFINE in the best definition for us, is to “mark out the boundary or limits of”.
Your record does not disqaulify you from re-defining your boundaries or limits.
It’s an always changing sort of thing.

Jesus used “Nazareth” to describe where He was from. But He did not allow “Nazareth” to define what He did.

Nothing about Jesus being from Nazareth mattered when Nathanael met Jesus from Nazareth.
Jesus conducted himself as God, and Nathanael’s presupposition disolved as his admiration for the Messiah became realized.

Nathanael said “…You are the Son of God.”
When you allow your Nazareth to describe you, yet not define you, people will echo similar sentiments.

And one last fact about Nazareth.
It was fertile ground.
Your Nazareth too, is fertile ground for what God wants to produce in you.

Stay Tuned for Profound Thoughts.

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