128. Called a Nazerene.
'So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: "He will be called a Nazerene."(Matthew 2:23) Born in Bethlehem, brought up in Nazareth, started his ministry in Capernaum and died in Jerusalem! All of Israel seemed to have got the chance to witness their redeemer . Though it was to escape from Archelaus, the son of Herod, that Joseph decided to go back to Nazareth, the decision was however a fulfillment of prophecy. When Joseph and Mary returned back to Nazareth, after a few years, it might have caused such a stir because they had left for Bethlehem for the census and Mary was pregnant but then nothing was heard from them for a few years and people might have wondered what had become of them. Now they have returned with the child but the stories they had to say about the events during his birth and the the visit of the Magi and their sojourn in Egypt, all might have sounded so far fetched ( unlikely and unconvincing) to their relatives and neighbours but Mary treasured them in her heart. 'But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart' (Luke 2:19,51) because even she didn't comprehend fully the grand scheme of things!
He could have started his ministry in Jerusalem because that is where Rabbis tried to win followers. Therefore his own brothers later said to him, "You ought to leave here and go to Judea, ... No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret ..." ( John 7:3-5) Instead he worked his way to Jerusalem because he knew he wouldn't be welcomed at Jerusalem. So had started his ministry at Capernaum because his own home town of Nazareth had rejected him. 'Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up', but when he spoke, 'all the people in the synagogue were furious and got up and drove him out of the town ...' (Luke 4:14-30) 'Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee... and began teaching the people. They were amazed at his teaching because his message had authority.' ( You can say all the right things but if you are in the wrong place, it will prematurely cut short your ministry.) There were so much of odds stacked against Jesus but nevertheless he worked through them. People were prejudiced because he was a Nazarene. When Philip found Nathaniel and told him that they found the one Moses wrote about in the law- Jesus of Nazareth, son of Joseph, but he exclaimed, "Nazareth! Can anything good come from there? " "Come and see," said Philip. Not Nazareth but the Nazerene! There were many in Israel with the name Jesus. It was not an unique name. Therefore he was identified as Jesus of Nazareth, not a good place to be known by. Today Nazareth is known world over because of the Nazarene called Jesus ! Your recognition does not come from the world but from God. He might put you in a place where you are least celebrated and there he will train you for your mission at Jerusalem. The Nazarene faced the stiffest opposition in Jerusalem but there he triumphed over everything by his death and resurrection. Don't be ashamed of Nazarene and his Gospel. Amen.