Nazareth?

“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip. When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.” “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.” Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that.” He then added, “I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” – John 1:46-51

OK so after spending roughly 10 days within view of Nazareth I totally understand Nathanael’s reaction about Christ. If you’ve seen Nazareth and the surrounding area it kinda reminds you of like the worst possible places from Oklahoma mixed with middle of nowhere Texas mixed with a touch of horribleness. The land is exhausted and the whole place is just one big dirt clod. I’ve seen some pictures and it sounds like maybe Winter and Spring in Israel could possibly be a bit more appealing, but my first thoughts are why the crap would anyone want to live around here anymore. Whatever life or fertility this land had it seems to have given up a long long time ago. I’d say the last significant contributions from the region happened something like 2000 years ago.

5 thoughts on “Nazareth?

  1. Eli, I am totally not believing this. Today I took a brief lunch at 2:00. I was eating in my car and picked up your Twelve Ordinary Men book that I’ve been reading whenever I’m waiting in line at a drive through. I was on the disciple Nathanael. I only read about 5 pages, but I wrote one page down so I could send it to you tonight. When I got back to work, I realized that I didn’t have time to check for a post this morning before I went to work. So I signed on and there it was “Nazareth?” I’ll quote a couple of paragraphs from the book. “Nazareth was a rough town. Its culture was largely unrefined and uneducated. (It is still much the same today.) It isn’t a particularly picturesque place. Although it has a nice setting on the slopes of the hills in Galilee, it is not a very memorable town, and it was even less so in Jesus’ time. The Judaeans looked down on all Galileans, but even the Galileans looked down on the Nazarenes. Nathanael, though he came from an even more lowly village (Cana), was simply echoing the Galileans’ general contempt for Nazareth. This was the same kind of regional pride that might cause someone from, say, Cleveland, to speak with disdain about Buffalo. Here again we see that God takes pleasure in using the common, weak, and lowly things of this world to confound the wise and powerful (1 Corinthians 1:27). He even calls people from the most despised locations. He can also take a flawed person who is blinded by prejudice, and He can change that person into someone used to transform the world (referring to Nathanael). In the end the only explanation is the power of God, so all the glory goes to Him. It was inconceivable to Nathanael that the Messiah would come out of a tacky place like Nazareth. It was an uncultured place, full of evil, corrupt, and populated with sinful people. Nathanel simply did not anticipate that anything good could come from there.”
    So I guess, just think that this is the place chosen for Jesus to grow up in and be glad that your stay there is even more temporary. I guess your aim should be to travel toward Jerusalem to check that area out when you have some time.
    I’ll eat some almonds in your honor this evening. Amazed at the connection of thoughts today, Love you, Mom

  2. Eli: I guess it is all in the eye of the beholder…I really thought Nazareth not so bad compared with some of the landscape in other parts of Israel. Know that these people are not upper class in most cases, not even middle class in a lot of cases. Imagine living with Jesus, doing without, having almost nothing, fully depending only on God every minute of the day.

    You need to look at my 2 scrapbooks of our trip to Israel when you get home.

    Just remember of the travels of Jesus when you are there. Imagine you are walking with Him 2000 years ago….not necessarily looking at the scenery, but what Jesus was doing and how he was living. This is the place where you can truly realize how He lived, his trials of the day, and you can really feel close to Jesus.

    As far as religion in Israel, it is just like every other place on earth…some people are religious and some are not. But Israel is a wonderful place to get good background on Jesus’ life and teaching and better understanding of some of the things Jesus referred to in his teaching that there is no background in the USA that give you that knowledge.

    Life was much different for Jesus than for us and how we live today. Israel can be a really good learning experience and background for your own Christian life.

    See as much as you can and inhale all the knowledge you can – perhaps you could go on a tour with a Christian group with much knowledge to share with you.

    Israel really strengthened our faith.

    With Love, and looking forward to seeing you when you get home.

    Grandma

  3. Your description was quite vivid, I have been to both of those areas in Oklahoma and Texas. Not sure about your Internet connectivity but, if you get a chance, check out You Tube “Greening the Desert” with Geoff Lawton. It was shot close to the Dead Sea. It might show some hidden potential. Just as Nathaniel came to realize its other hidden treasure.
    I agree it looks pretty bleak. Glad you are getting a good view of that, green grass will look so good.

  4. I hear the flowers over there are amazing when in bloom. Either way, take lots of pictures. Bought a homemade root-beer kit the other day. If it’s any good, I’ll give you a bottle when you get back. Enjoy your travels! I enjoy your writing.

  5. I have an entertaining thought that will hopefully amuse you while in the desert (take it literally or metaphorically, whatever you’d prefer). I have started my Behavioral nursing rotation aka psych nursing. Today at the end of lecture we were informed that our instructor is working with a med rep on some sort of program/tool that simulates hallucinations so we can have an idea of what it’s like. It’s true. It appears they really are trying to drive us crazy. So, if when you return I am MIA, please come visit me at the Marian Center.

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