Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Can There Any Good Thing Come Out of Nazareth?

By Clifton Angel

    In the opening chapter of John's gospel account we read that Jesus found Philip and said to him, "Follow me." Philip immediately found Nathanael and said, "We have found the one that Moses and the prophets wrote about, Jesus of Nazareth" (paraphrased from John 1:43–45). Nathanael responded: "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:46a). "Philip saith unto him, Come and see" (John 1:46b). What is the significance of Jesus being from Nazareth?
    First, Jesus, being from Nazareth is a fulfillment of prophecy. In Matthew 2, we learn that Herod declared a genocide on all children ages 2 and under in Judea, in hopes that he would kill the child Jesus. Because of this, an angel informed Joseph to flee into Egypt with Jesus and Mary until further notice from the angel. Read Matthew  2:19–23. This is just one of the numerous prophecies fulfilled in the life of Jesus.
    Furthermore, Jesus, being  from Nazareth is an example of His paradox. A paradox is something that appears to be a contradiction, but is not. Jesus was a walking paradox. God taking on flesh is a paradox. God tasting of death is a paradox. God choosing to be a servant is a paradox. Yet, all of these were fulfilled in the Person of Jesus. Likewise, Jesus being from Nazareth is a paradox. According to Paul N. Anderson (

(1) Nazareth was very small in population during the days of Jesus;
(2) "Following the death of Herod the Great in 4 BC, the Roman armory in Sepphoris (four miles from Nazareth) was robbed, and the Romans retaliated by crucifying 2,000 Jews as a disincentive to such revolts. Sepphoris was burned to the ground, and its inhabitants were sold into slavery;"
(3) "Less than a decade later, when Jesus was just a boy, Judas the Galilean instituted a tax revolt, evoking another crackdown by the Romans in which many were also crucified."

    Therefore, in the minds of the Jews and Romans at that time, Nazareth was an unpopular location. While Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the city of David, He was mostly associated with Nazareth. Nazareth was not a royal city, but a wasteland. Nazareth was not a beloved city, but a despised place among the Jews and Romans. This better helps us understand Nathaniel's question to Philip: "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?"
    Finally, Jesus, being from Nazareth is a picture of His power. Being from Nazareth, Jesus came from a place associated with oppression, slavery, and crucifixion. Furthermore, while He deserved none of it, He subjected Himself to oppression, slavery, and crucifixion, so that we might go to a place of joy, liberty, and eternal  life. I am reminded of the wasteland that was the earth at the Noahic flood, and yet the beauty that we see today is the aftermath. What a wonderful picture of the power of our Savior! This same power can be seen in our lives. If you will allow Him, if you will obey Him, Jesus can transform your life from wasteland to worthiness.
    "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?" Like Philip, I invite you to, "Come and see." Subject yourself to faith, repentance, confession, and baptism, and begin walking with Jesus, so that you might know the BEST thing that came out of Nazareth.

 - Clifton Angel preaches for the Coldwater Church of Christ in Coldwater, MS. He may be contacted through that congregation's website:

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