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DAY 24: THE GLORY OF THE LORD ACCORDING TO NAZARETH

Ang Kaluwalhatian ng Panginoon Ayon sa Nazaret

Filipino | Matthew 2:19–23

 

… and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.

– Matthew 2:23

 

I lost count as to how many times I rehearsed what I was going to do and say when my Lolo (grandfather) came out from the departure area towards the parking lot where the rest of the family—my Lola (grandmother), parents, siblings, cousins, aunties, and uncles—waited beside the parked rental vehicle. After being in another country to work as a carpenter for three years, his work contract finally ended, and we were seeing him again for the first time. What was more exciting was that, unlike other relatives who came home for a vacation, my Lolo returned for good. This is one of my happiest childhood memories—a family reunion at the airport.

Arrival in Nazareth

I can imagine the excitement Joseph and Mary must have felt when, after fleeing to Egypt, the angel of the Lord instructed Joseph in a dream to go back to his own country with his wife and child. Because Joseph was afraid to go to Judea where Archelaus, Herod’s son, was reigning and because he was warned by the angel of the Lord, he and his family withdrew to Galilee, to the city of Nazareth. The family’s settlement in Nazareth fulfilled what the prophets said, that Jesus would be called a Nazarene (Matthew 2:19–23). What a joy to both Joseph’s and Mary’s families when they were finally reunited!

The Gospels are silent about much of what happened after their return, but we know from accounts in the Gospels and Acts that Jesus became known as “Jesus of Nazareth” (Matthew 26:71; Mark 1:24, 10:47; Luke 4:34, 18:37, 24:19; John 1:45, 18:5, 18:7, 19:19; Acts 2:22, 3:6, 4:10, 6:14, 10:38, 22:8, 26:9). He grew from his infancy to manhood in Nazareth (Luke 4:16). The people of Nazareth witnessed how Jesus “became strong,” “was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him,” and “grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:39–40; 51–52). In Nazareth, Jesus quietly did a very relatable human thing: He grew up among family and neighbours. Nazareth teaches us that Jesus truly is one of us.

Departure from Nazareth

Later, Jesus returned to Nazareth and taught in her synagogue, and the people there were amazed at His wisdom and miraculous powers (Matthew 13:54). But Nazareth was not the final destination for Jesus. Despite their amazement, its people expelled Him. They took offense at Him and His teaching, and He did not do many miracles there “because of their lack of faith” (Luke 4:16–29; Matthew 13:54–58). When Jesus departed from Nazareth, He travelled to other towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness.

Nazareth also teaches us that Jesus is not merely one of us. He is God with us, as one of us, and therefore one to whom we must submit, even when His teachings are difficult.

“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

The Jews believed that the great “good” was to come from Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), not from anywhere else—and certainly not from obscure Nazareth! So, when Philip told Nathanael that he had found the one about whom Moses and the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, Nathanael challenged that assertion geographically (John 1:45–46)! The fact that Jesus grew up in and was identified with an “unimportant” place like Nazareth teaches us that He came to dignify and bring redemption to all of His creation.

Our Nazareth and Beyond

It is common that a Filipino family will have a family member (a parent, a sibling, an aunt, uncle, or cousin) who works abroad and sends financial help to those who are left behind. In fact, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) make up eleven percent of the total Filipino population. In the communities and churches that my organization works with, we encourage the OFWs and those who are preparing to go abroad to be witnesses wherever they go—not just to make dollars but also to make disciples, to go and live for a higher purpose. The OFW believers can consider the Philippines as their Nazareth—a place where they can serve and grow until such time that they leave their Nazareth and become Overseas Filipino Witnesses.

That’s a perspective we all can benefit from. Wherever God has placed you, He is at work. He may be preparing you in your Nazareth or have moved you to be His witness. In all places, our faithfulness matters because God works His perfect purposes in and through us.


Abby Falzote

ABBY GALZOTE
Quezon City, Philippines

Abby Galzote is a Facilitator for Langham Preaching and serves as the Training Director for Every Community for Christ Philippines in Quezon City, Philippines.

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