Nothing Good Comes from Nazareth, Right?

The famous words of Nathanael in John 1:46 when speaking of Jesus.  Boy, was he wrong.

This is where Mary lived according to Nazareth Tradition
This is where Mary lived according to Nazareth Tradition

Yesterday, I took the students to Nazareth, the place where the Virgin Mary and Joseph lived.  We saw the church built by the Catholics which is not the biggest church in the Middle East to commemorate the moment when an angel came to Mary to tell her she was going to be with child.

This is the Alter at the church in Nazareth
This is the Alter at the church in Nazareth

It was interesting to watch the students pray in the church, and find some kind of connection.  There were tears, comments about how overwhelming it was to stand in this place, and a couple who just walked right by and kept to themselves.  But it’s impossible to stand where Mary stood when she heard the angel and not be affected.

Some of the students took some time to pray while in the Church
Some of the students took some time to pray while in the Church

Then we went to the Synagogue talked about in Luke 4:17 where Jesus unrolled the scrolls to quote Isaiah 61.  ““The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” And then a few verses down he says, “Today, the scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”  

The Jewish leaders of the day were furious.  But Jesus escaped and began a ministry to usher in the Kingdom of God to the world today.   

We spent time working through a quick meditation exercise I learned from some of my Jewish friends, and just sat and prayed in the same place Jesus began His work.  I asked that God would open our hearts and our ears to whatever He wanted us to know this week, and so the beginning has begun.

This is the Synagogue where Jesus unrolled the scroll in Luke 4
This is the Synagogue where Jesus unrolled the scroll in Luke 4

What an unbelievable experience to see the sights that Jesus saw, smell the smells that Jesus smelled, and walk the same places where Jesus walked.  It just all makes sense.

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