FOLLOWING IN THE PATH OF THE DIVINE….NAZARETH (Part 3 of 10).
“And Nathanael said unto him, can there any good thing come of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, come and see.” (John 1:46).
“A Diamond in the Rough” is what came to my mind when I was meditating on Jesus of Nazareth. The place where Jesus lived, worked and grew in wisdom for the majority of his life. The Savior of the world, this priceless diamond of salvation, path was paved through a town called Nazareth. His life was prearranged by God, to experience a life of peasantry and poverty, in order to understand the very deprivation of the human living conditions. Nazareth was a place where Jesus was hidden from the world. He lived in a place where the high-minded people mocked and frowned upon him. Jesus, this lowly and unassuming man, was now ready to step out of the dust of Nazareth, and shake the entire world’s spiritual foundation. God lifted him from the shadows of obscurity to the mountain of righteousness. Following in the Path of the Divine through Nazareth, is where we witness Jesus displaying an abundance of patience and masterful endurance.
While some may choose to overlook that Jesus experienced poverty to a dehumanizing degree. The fact is, Nazareth’s very reputation of poverty and doggish living, screamed through Nathanael’s reaction to Philips’ proclamation, of the Messiahship of Jesus of Nazareth. It was unheard of that anyone who came from Nazareth was worth anything! How could a man that was raised in such degrading conditions teach them anything? What could Jesus have learned from laboring in the fields or cutting wood that would be of any importance? Nathanael was pre-judging Jesus because he had labeled every Nazarene worthless! It is what we do today and that is called being prejudice! We labeled every person in a race as being the same. As soon as a person from a particular race or religion enters into our presence, we have already labeled them. Nathanael was wrong about Jesus, just like we are wrong when we judge others because of their cultural or racial makeup. Jesus was a wise and literate young man. We read when he was twelve years old, he went into the synagogue and read the scrolls. The religious leaders were astonished at his wisdom! Jesus was “A Diamond in the Rough,” he is the Prince of Peace. Unknown to Nathanael, Philip is about to introduce him to the Son of the living God, who just happened to live in Nazareth!
Many Christians have been called by God from some of the poorest stations in life, just like his Son Jesus. But it is from those humble beginnings that equips us to understand what people are going through. If we study Jesus’ ministry, he was always concerned about the poor and the sick. “Blessed are the poor….” He preached about feeding the poor, and healing the poor and clothing the poor and sheltering the poor. Why? Because he understood the plight of the poor, because Jesus lived among them and experienced poverty in its lowest form! How can the wealthy understand what it is like to be poor? Yes, the wealthy donate to charities, mostly for tax write-offs, but to actually know what it is like to be poor. They don’t have a clue and they do not want to reach that level of need. Honestly, who wants to live lacking the basic necessities of life? When Jesus became famous, he did not forget about the poor. He did not buy himself a large palace, or a horse and golden chariot to pull him around, or a silk tunic. He continued to live a humble and meek life. There are some people who get rich in their ministry and they go crazy! You can always tell when someone grew up poor because they are always overspending. Jesus never did this, he took only what he needed and nothing more! Following in the Path of the Divine through Nazareth, Jesus conveys compassion for the poor; and their depths of human poverty and the yoke of indignity. Which unveiled his deep understanding and love for the poor in the world.
The patience and endurance that Jesus displayed in his condition in Nazareth, teaches us that even though our living conditions are not superior in the world’s view. It is our heart and our mission in God’s salvation plan that should be centered. Our ministry calling is far beyond the luxuries of this life. Jesus had to be patient for thirty years before God let the spotlight of his ministry illuminate the world. He had to endure the flickering light of patience and the masterful endurance of hard work before he reached the place where God wanted him to be. Many Christians have been working in the vineyard for many years and we feel that their work is in vain. We feel like nothing is happening and no one appreciates or notice the work we are doing. We wonder if God even notices our struggles in our ministry. For example, I write these posts, which are time consuming, and I feel like I’m just writing in thin air. But the Lord said to me, “Write and keep writing”. He calls me his SCRIBE! I don’t understand why God wants me to continue, but I keep writing posts and articles and books. Jesus kept working and building until his change came. Your family and friends may not even understand you when you witness to them about Jesus Christ! They may even hate you for preaching to them. They can only see your Nazareth, your past, and think they know who you are now in Christ. Jesus townsmen were ready to kill him because they thought they knew him! In the name of Jesus, keep on preaching and teaching and don’t you dare stop. Because you are “A Diamond in the Rough.” And one of these days you are going to step out of your Nazareth, and shake up this entire world in the name of Jesus! Keep “Following in the Path of the Divine,” in your town of Nazareth and show the world that God has planted something good in you! Amen!
For the record, this is a message of encouragement and a charge to keep for the Body of Christ. God bless you and amen!
Written by Reverend Jessica L. Matthews, Missionary Pastor
This is (Part 3 of 10)