JOHN 1: Verses 35-51 (46)
Nazareth was a mean and a miserable place to live. It was a wicked place full of crimes, robberies, murders, a city where the poor, the rejects, the outcasts, the undesirables, and the drop outs live. Nazareth was like today’s inner cities, ghettos, slums, barrios, and hoods.
Nazareth was also known as a place of meanness, obscurity and of evildoers. The people from other cities looked down on the Nazarenes. They believed that no one from Nazareth could be a prophet, rise up to fame, honor, dignity or renown. The Nazarenes were despised and held in contempt by others.
It was in this setting and environment that Nathaniel expressed his prejudice and contempt for the people of Nazareth when he asked Phillip: “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Phillip answered: “Come and see. Come and see Jesus the Nazarene, the Son of man.”
Like doubting Thomases there are reproaching Nathaniels who always ask: “Can any good man or woman come out of the Nazareths of the world to lead productive, victorious, successful and meaningful lives. The evidence is abundantly clear that men and women from Nazareth overcame their hardships, artificial limitations and social dysfunctions to become ministers, lawyers, doctors, teachers and others who accomplish great things.
The good Nazarene, the Son of man, the Messiah, worked miracles: the sick healed, the blind receive their sight, the lame walked, the lepers cleansed, the five thousand fed, the dead raised and the poor have the Gospel preached to them. When Jesus returned to Nazareth, His hometown, the people were astonished at the new doctrine he taught. He delivered his sermons with power and authority and also performed miracles.
The accusing and detracting Nazarenes asked where Jesus received his wisdom since he had not been to any schools. He had not received any instruction from the learned doctors and wise men or from his parents. They were offended at Jesus and by his works. In trying to despise Jesus, they asked: “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not Mary his mother and his brothers and sisters without rank, title, class, or honor living down the road?” In response, Jesus said to them: “A prophet is not without honor, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.” (Mark 6:4) As a result of their unbelief and prejudice, Jesus did not perform any more miracles there.
The accusing Nathaniels are alive and well today. On my first appearance in Court when I returned to my hometown of the Ghaut, Sandy Point, the Judge asked if I was licensed to practice law in St. Kitts. Some people uttered that I was not a lawyer because I did not attend Grammar School when I left St. Kitts as a young man. They do not know and believe that with desire, will, determination, hard work, sacrifice and with the help of God one is able to accomplish great things.