October 18, 2017
READ: John 1:40-46
“Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” (v.46).
It’s estimated that Howard Schultz, until recently the executive chairman of Starbucks, is worth three billion dollars. One might assume that such a successful businessman had been born into wealth and privilege, but nothing could be further from the truth. Schultz was born and raised in Bayview, a notoriously dangerous housing project in New York City. But far from resenting his childhood neighbourhood, he credits his upbringing with keeping him grounded and connected to those around him.
We can see a similar dynamic at work in John 1. Philip tells his friend Nathanael that he has met the Messiah, and that His name is Jesus (v.45). This news must have been shocking enough, but then Philip divulges an even more surprising fact: Jesus is from Nazareth! To which Nathanael replies disdainfully, “Nazareth? . . . Can anything good come from Nazareth?” (v.46). Nathanael couldn’t imagine that the Messiah would come from such an insignificant and despised village.
As strange as that might seem, Matthew 2:23 reveals that this was no accident but a fulfilment of God’s plan. Jesus grew up in Nazareth as a declaration of the central role that humility would play in His life, a kind of geographic reflection of the fact that He was a humble servant who had come to serve. And so, Jesus’ ministry didn’t take place in spite of His humble circumstances, but really as a continuation and celebration of them (21:5).
What an important reminder for us to not disdain the humble circumstances and seasons of our lives—as if they’re best forgotten and left behind. The humble circumstances of our past can remind us that humility is what Jesus desires to grow within us.
365-day-plan: Acts 8:1-25
Read Phil. 2:5-11, a hymn of the early church which focuses on the humility of Christ.
Is there a humble part of your past you would prefer to leave behind? How might that season be an important part of where God is leading you?