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“Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?”

February 19, 2011

It’s starting to sink in, and I think it’s because the Bishop’s enthusiasm is contagious.  Among the many stops today (Friday) this one was slipped in between almost nonchalantly.  We stood outside a tall stone building in Nazareth and were told that this was the synagogue where Jesus preached.  It was the only synagogue in a small town, and I was amazed to discover that there were only about 150-200 people who lived in this area during Jesus’ time.

Steve stood outside and read from Luke 4:16-30.  Bishop Watson stood next to me and leaned over to share his Bible with me, and the story took on living meaning.  “No prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown,” reminded me of the warnings I heard about going “back home” to Snellville UMC.

We walked inside the synagogue and noticed how small it was.  This was not a place where thousands would have heard Jesus speaking.  It was a fair sized room comprised completely of stone with a simple raised platform at the front.  The floor remaining was the original…so it quite simply could have been the very same stones Jesus walked on.  I could picture it as I was sitting there, imagining Jesus standing up in that modest room, or even sitting down on the step as he began to teach…boldly professing his faith and proclaiming how he was fulfilling the scriptures.

The true miracle of Jesus was to have such an influence on the world that thousands of years later, thousands of people from all over the world would be flocking to where he once preached.  His story was one of compassion, redemption, and love, and it was one that gave enough hope to the world that people continue to tell the story today.  It was enough to give courage and hope to any young preacher, knowing that certain crowds will reject you or others will praise you, but you must speak faithfully nonetheless to help spread the word further still.

 

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