Nathanael’s cutting remark about Nazareth is another reminder that our Savior is indeed meek and lowly in heart. Nazareth, in our Lord’s day and today as well, is not a place that a couple checks out in the real estate pages. For economic and social reasons, Nazareth was for those “least likely to succeed”. So where does God have His Son grow up? Beverly Hills? London? Jerusalem? No, Nazareth!
That stigma of being from Nazareth and associated with Nazarenes followed Jesus His entire life. Because of where His “folks” lived, He would have been mocked and ridiculed. I’m sure that in His home there were many times of crying. Poverty-stricken Nazareth. No wonder Mary’s offering was the one that a “low income” citizen would bring. When the Lord ministered, no doubt the multitudes had mixed emotions at times when they declared, “This is Jesus of Nazareth.” He would hear the sinister comments. Even demons would attempt to insult Jesus because of His home town. Why didn’t He “name and claim” a new home? After all, He is the King’s Kid! No, to His cross He bore that oft maligned identification of being “of Nazareth”.
But you see, Jesus did not have anything to prove to anyone. He didn’t have one ounce of good old American pride. He stayed in Nazareth until the day that He was baptized – for 30 years. But oh, what beauty we find in this Nazarene! He couldn’t give you a red cent, but He could give you mercy.
I’ve wondered if Gabriel “faxed” God when he was told to find Mary and it turned out that she lived in Nazareth. Here’s the place where Jesus, as Son of Man, grew up. Here, His relationship with Abba developed. Here is where Jesus worshipped with His family and declared His mission. When our Lord ascended did He, after completing His mission, now use a more sophisticated title? No. Look how He identified Himself to Saul of Tarsus (a thriving provincial capitol, by the way)!
This same Jesus today is going about and doing good. He knows what it’s like to be poor. He knows what it’s like to live in a bad section. He knows all about pain, crying, shame. That’s why He’s such a compassionate Lord in our lives. After all, He’s from Nazareth.