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Can Anything Good Come Out Of Nazareth?

Updated: Mar 9, 2021

Where are you from?

That specific question could actually read ambiguous. It can turn out exactly the opposite of a chat kindler it is often meant to be, especially in a trying time racism is being called. But it is as down to earth as it can possibly be.

How does it feel to be asked about your place of origin?

One can almost bet that the best answer likely to be pooled is a counter-question: What does it matter? And that’s the matter here. Where would you call home apart from heaven? Yes, our citizenry is of heaven, but could there be a reason God created man and wrapped him in flesh formed from the earth? And then to live in Eden – an address which was not in heaven?

Could there be an explanation for which this teary and weary world, when it eventually passes away would still be replaced by a new earth alongside the new heaven? Could there possibly be a reason we were exiled: sacked from Eden to become pilgrims in a system we gave up to be ruled by the god of this world? Think about it. Could there be a purpose for which the scripture enshrined the books of genealogy, and Jesus went ahead to bless the meek to inherit the earth? Could there be any chance you hailed from your place of origin to fulfill a purpose? Maybe we could ask the question again, where are you from?

By now, our answers should be closer to our lips, if not already leapt of our hearts. We are talking of that one country where you are always a first citizen, for life, even if you denounced it. Now, this is what some hate to hear. Can this also be the same country that has given nothing to them other than give birth to them? And if given half a chance, she might have had them killed the day after birth! Yet it’s not uncommon to see those who dearly love their place of origin with a certain doubt that heaven exists elsewhere. So, however tied, or strayed you are from your ancestory pool, where would you call home apart from heaven?

For Jesus, it was Nazareth, lower Galilee. That might mean nothing until it really occurred to you that He wasn’t even born there. More appalling is the truth that Nazareth was a village with nothing to be proud of. Not only far from the temple and closer to Samaria —the city of half-bred Jews, it was the backyard of Israeli lowbrows. So mickey a place that you might not have had a knowledge it existed but for Christ’s sake. You would then wondered why He wasn’t called Jesus of Bethlehem – His actual birthplace with the world bells jingling manger! Given the chance, I would have even added to query list: why not Sepphoris, the Galilean City center? Or Tiberias, the other popular town in Galilee. Or even Judea, proudly coined from Judah, His prophetic birth state which rings a prophetic bell? And then, to cap it all, why was Jerusalem the nation’s capital not even pinned down to His identifier from all other Jesuses, since all these more biblical and viable places fulfill the scripture that says, Israel have I loved. You are about to find out the answer to these and the moot question of believers being patriotic – all in Jesus of Nazareth.

Yes, Nazareth. A place of His mere conception, many would say but seemed to have stolen the show on all supercities! While this isn’t about pitching a Peter’s transfiguration kind of tent on the spot where Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary to announce Christ conception, often called Annunciation, isn’t it amazing how Christ’s identity – the anointed one would root for His incarnation place before anywhere else? After being found lost in His father’s business in the far away temple in nation’s capital at the age of twelve, you wished he had just stayed there. But why would Jesus, in spite of the consuming zeal still come back to Nazareth every so often even after His ministry has picked?

After an enthralling encounter with Jesus, Philip would invite a friend, Nathaniel. Where to? Nazareth, to come and see the very Messiah that would liberate Israel from the occupation of Roman empire, the world superpower! Nathaniel wasn’t in doubt this would happen someday. He was a devout scriptural scholar whose credentials Jesus would recommend as having led a life without iota of deceit. Nathaniel was well aware that the Messiah would arise as a shoot from the stump of Jesse which was cut down in Solomon the offspring of David. And that this Messiah will at the same time come out as a root from its branch - all which ascribe to Him being the root and the offspring of David. The idle joke Nathaniel wasn’t expecting far less entertain was that the Messiah would come from Nazareth. It wasn’t even up for asking, what he actually asked was, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” – John 1:46.

In essence, speaking of the much expected Messiah coming from there was a downer. It was absolutely off the table as it appeared Nazareth had no historical or prophetic relevance despite meaning a Branch. You can then relate with Nathaniel’s rhetorical question if anything good could even come out of there in the first place. And so, you would still find it hard to sieve from history that this mysterious Nazareth was a newfoundland altogether. So, if Nazareth hit the jackpot as it turned out, was there anything more to her than the fulfilment of righteousness that Jesus would be called a Nazarene? Or was it just so that demons can call Him Jesus of Nazareth and tremble? Although this Kingdom is not of His, this is God in flesh we are talking about, having Nazareth on His first passport data page during the real life Augustus census!

Nazareth, in the time of Jesus was the headquarters of slums. It was one of those harnessed villages that would rather adopt the address of the central towns nearby where weddings happens like Galilee. Forgotten, with only a flashing memory that makes her a proverbial shame at best. The closest appeal to Nazareth was sharing the legendary mosaic assonance of being classed a Nazarite. And you might be disappointed that being a Nazarite has absolutely nothing to do with being born in Nazareth. Being a Nazarite would in the least mean to be consecrated: not touching anything dead, keeping one’s hair uncut and keeping off from not only wine but grapes. All of which were typified in Samson, the figure and vigor of Israel until his suicidal mission.

Great! You would then think Jesus had come to redeem the Nazarite vow when He showed up at this Lower Galilee. While we can’t say much of his hairs, we can tell for sure He looked pretty much the same like His disciplines even till the death that it would take a kiss of betrayer to identify him. Shame, His hair wasn’t any special. He touched the dead to raise them up, turn water to wine instead as the first public miracle in Galilee, drank of the grapevine with a dying quest of disciples doing same to remember Him.

This Nazarene doesn’t fit a Nazarite, not for a second. With no religious appeal, what glory then would Nazareth claim. It was so bad, really bad, that Nathaniel had to ask, Can anything come out of Nazareth? Next, we take Philip’s response, “Come and see”. Yes, the Word made flesh would hail from there. Conceived in the Nazareth, but the stigma of pregnancy outside wedlock would rob Nazareth of her first shine of His glorious birth. Census would further take the shining star of Jesus’ birth to the metropolis of Judea but the business of the city inns and lack of bed-space would further rest the shinning star in Bethlehem where He would born in the Manger.

But then, the blazing sword of Herod still wouldn’t help any closer to Nazareth. Every unfolding event kept Him away. He would be nursed a refugee in Egypt in another continent altogether. After Egypt, Judea almost won Him back but destiny yet beckon on Nazareth as His place of origin. What a script Matthew 2: 22-23 is, speaking of Joseph, “But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee. And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”’

It can’t be more glaring that while the Savior of the world right from His virgin womb to the virgin tomb has mysteriously ensured that no city can lay a geographical claim of Him to an idolatrous martyrdom, Nazareth was Home. Yes, He had no place to lay his head since His public ministry began and would go and prepare that continuing city envisioned to Abraham whose foundation the builder is no man, but for more than two decades he lived as a carpenter’s son in that lowly Nazareth. And He would always return there to start with the lost sheep of Israel He was sent.

Disappointedly, this long awaited Messiah would dare the Priests and the King He was meant to liberate. But would have mattered less if only He could become the rallying crown for Israeli emancipation from Roman’s Empire represented in Pilate the Governor. From daily miracles to feeding thousands and not found as corrupt; from standing against women injustice to exposing the hypocrisy on the altar; from overturning the temple bureau-de change to visiting notorious sinners, He was bound to trend on all media, social and unsocial.

His influence was viral, unique and undeniable that it He had to curtail it becoming a threat to the incumbent powers. In fact, at a point He had to escape when people almost crowned him the King of the Jews, now we are talking beyond Galilee. The power was always there for taking but He knew He gave it in the first place. Despite stating that a prophet doesn’t have honor in His own country, He would still maintain He was sent to the lost household of Israel. Even when raised to the hilly cross for the world to troll, the placard inscribed Jesus-of-Nazareth the king-of-Jews would become His dying moniker. In fact, it was even alleged that His territorial influence becoming a threat to the priesthood and falsehood of usurping the incumbent government had had big strikes in the final nail that pinned him to the criminal cross.

Though He said His kingdom isn’t not of this ruled world we know of His governance there would be no end , Jesus still identified with His place of origin. "Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him." - Mark 6:1

Paul would later affirm that our citizenry is of heaven but not without several mentions of his kinsmen in flesh. It then becomes clear that we are God’s mobile embassies in this foreign land we actually ceded to the prince of this world. Perhaps why God delayed giving us the glorious body until Jesus’ second coming. Our present body, His temple is an intercept between His Kingdom in our heart and the kingdom of this world on earth. As mobile ambassadors, wherever we move becomes His embassy. That’s like a mobile Eden, heaven on earth. So, we can expect a conflict of operation between ruling and governing.

How so, like Jesus paid his tax, God would want us to submit to the authorities as cleared in Rom 13 verse 1 just as the three Hebrew brothers didn’t resist arrest into the fiery furnace, but wouldn’t just bend or bow to anything lesser than God. We are subjects to earthly authorities whose ultimate power, however abused, is gifted from the only God we worship. However shameful it was, He didn’t reject being called Jesus of Nazareth. Perhaps God wants you to identify with your place of origin and be ready make an impact for Him locally and globally or in any order but not forgetting your place of small beginning. So, where are you from? Like Jesus, your place of origin doesn’t have to be your place of birth.

This question is far from pushing for xenophobia or advocating nationalism in a way it has no interests in foreigners which we all are, as Eden was our first home address. This is not idolizing one’s country to the jingoistic extreme of exploiting and demonizing foreigners. This is not being chauvinistic in which case intolerant patriotism goes on to fuel racial superiority and then genocide. Which really is the place where Paul implore us to exercise caution in patriotism, “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,”. You know it when the storge face of love for your home country is already tribal and obsessive and rivaling the agape love for a believer regardless of their place of origin. Paul begged us as Pilgrims not to gain the whole world and lose our soul on the platter of nationalism.

Perhaps this is a call for Pilgrim patriotism in the least. And it means not neglecting one owns place of origin. Jesus knows you can give to God what is God and give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. He’s not a author of confusion. This is about Pilgrimage impact as citizens of Heaven. It’s not just being born to die as compatriots but living as patriots. That’s why you don’t have be at home to sell or redeem the image of your city, culture, country, name it. A patriot can live in a foreign country while a compatriot does nothing more than being a residential native. But nothing compares to a patriotic pilgrim who identifies with his place of origin. Compatriots are borne of a nation, patriots rebirth the nation.

That anger in you when untold shame comes out of your place of origin is a gesture from the trait of patriotism to fix something. Your country’s humiliation gains pride in the narrative you give to your kids of their motherland or fatherland. That joy in you when your country is breaking good in the news is patriotism. Start of others today and give back to that country that gave birth to you. Without being parochial or tribal, patriotism is improving the quality of life anywhere without neglecting your homeland. That sense of belonging to that native urban compound when the anthem of your country pitch with the flutter of the flag for global applause is the flap of patriotism.

The love for your country is such a precious gift from God. It’s there in you to shadow your hunger for the new earth. It’s not to rival your bringing out the God’s kingdom which breaks the tribal divides between the Jews and the Gentiles, natives or foreign. Our places of origin are grassroots to mark down God’s kingdom on earth. The earth remains the Lord and the fullness in it it’s the system operations here yet, the world may be devils. But that’s why Jesus would come back. When Jesus said, Occupy till I Come in Luke 19, He meant that we should have territorial influence with our businesses. You are the righteousness of God in Christ that exalt a nation.

Your territorial influence might stem from simple places; your family ties, loving your neighbors, through academia, workplace ethics and our local impacts. But it’s actually local stepping in global direction. This ambassadorial influence can move the outstretched hand of God that turns the hearts of Kings, principalities and powers to birthing the beauties of the Kingdom in the physical. Adam was given the whole earth to subdue and replenish but needed to start out from a garden. Through Abraham, the whole earth would be blessed but he would first pursue a Canaan. Joseph, though dreamt of the celestial bodies taking bows for him, he didn’t start from the planets, he had to take a terrestrial foreign land first. He would save homeland from his host country just as Daniel’s understanding would influenced the end of Israel slavery.

Lost to slavery, though cladded in royal privileges in naturalized public purview, the homesick heart of Esther as that of Nehemiah was at home. And not only weren’t they expecting applause form citizens but were ready to die saving the lives of their kinsmen. Not even compatriots would discourage them as if though they knew Jesus would say we should expect in-house hostility as prophet doesn’t have honor in his own country. We operate kingdom love, power and sound mind in these territories. As it is leadership as against ruling, it is followership as against slaving.

Nehemiah would build with one hand and with the other wage battle against a bunch of naysaying kinsmen. Though the savior of the world, He knew He was sent first to the lost sheep of the divided house of Israel. Though they were to go into all the worlds and to the uttermost, Jesus would caution the disciples, to aim shots at Judea and Jerusalem first - Matthew 10: 5-15, before the uttermost in Act 1:8 when the Holy Spirit was poured out. Peter was a territorial influence in Israel. Paul to the Gentiles in revelation of Jesus is unmatched. In Luke 19:17, though a parable of the master coming with the kingdom, it hinted He would give authority over cities as reward of occupation. God said, ask of me nations, and I will give you. The Samaritan woman began with her city and brought it down to Jesus as read in the last edition. When are we going to be asking for districts, cities and nations in our prayers and thoughts!

And how can we ask for a reign with Christ in the millennia after His coming when kings haven’t yet come to His light in our world of influence. “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glory your father who is in heaven” -Matthew 5:16. Let’s not forget that after a millennia reign with Christ, the Satan would still be released to deceive nations, so this we are in is a dress rehearsal for our earthly subduing. How can we ask for the new Jerusalem when we ghost alive with no social responsibility in our local places as if we are already raptured!

Let your gift make a way for you in your territory and attract the lost to Christ like Solomon became a magnet. You are born to identify the glory of your place of origin, not to curse it. Even when Jesus return globally, Israel would still have a local side attraction for him, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” Your Pilgrim mark on earth isn’t to make a tombstone from dust to dust but as living stones built on the corner stone beyond the sand of time. Jesus is interested in your Nazareth. Mine is Ago-Iwoye in Nigeria. I have a free short story - excerpt from Old version of BICQ 11 - coming on every Oct 1st in Nigeria. Share the beauty of your country with us here in the comment section. There’s a patriot in every Compatriot. Your place of origin is a ambassadorial gift for eternal influence.

- Olusanya Olusola, Topic Writer Bicqmag.

Join us in bicq 10 as we share how Jesus chose his work to align his ministry, Why Wood And Nails.

INK AIRERS Salem Otto - Ghana Jeremiah Ishaya - Northern Nigeria Oluwatobi Shoyoye - Southern Nigeria Olusanya Racheal - Northern UK Odunayo Olashore - Canada Olusanya Olusola - Southern UK

©️Bohbup, Bohbup Ltd, 86-90 Paul Street, London EC2A 4NE

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