Nazareth was a small, rural village nestled in the hills of Galilee. It’s believed that in Jesus’ day the population of Nazareth was somewhere around one-hundred-and-fifty residents. When you think of Nazareth several descriptive phrases come to mind: hick town, wide place in the road, the middle of nowhere. Consequently, people from Nazareth (called Nazarenes) might have been referred to as country bumpkins, hayseeds, or hillbillies. You get the idea.
So when Philip told his friend Nathanael they had found the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, his response was one of unbelief. Surely, when the Messiah came He would arise from the religious class in Jerusalem. Why would God raise up the Prophet of prophets from some jerk-water village like Nazareth? No, when the time came the Promised One would come from among the religious elites in Jerusalem. As for this Jesus of Nazareth, Nathanael concluded he was just a nobody from nowhere.
And yet it was to this “nobody from nowhere” that God said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). I find that statement fascinating because it was made prior to Jesus’ earthly ministry. Jesus had not shared a single parable. He had not performed one solitary miracle. He had not preached a sermon, or introduced any of His great lessons like the Sermon on the Mount and the Olivet Discourse. All Jesus had done was grow up in Nazareth as the obedient son of Joseph the carpenter. And yet God said what He said!
Did you know that God’s love for you has nothing to do with where you are from, or what you have accomplished? The world’s acceptance is oftentimes based on where you were raised, where you went to school, what you have done, what you look like, who you know, where you live, and/or what you have accumulated. Not so with God. He loved you with an everlasting love before you could even pronounce your name.
In the world’s eyes you may be a somebody from somewhere, or a nobody from nowhere. Frankly, who cares what the world thinks! Be secure in this wonderful truth: you do not have to earn the love of your heavenly Father. Let your life be firmly established in the fact that God forevermore loves you. He really does.
Pastor Todd Weston