The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”
Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.
“Come and see,” said Philip.
Nathanael was skeptical of Jesus because of where he came from.
His gut reaction was that nobody worthwhile, or “good,” could be from the despicable town of Nazareth.
So, what was so bad about this town?
For most of my life, I’d understood that it was simply a nothing-burger of a town. An inconsequential, backwater village of about 150 people.
Honestly, Nathanael, seems a bit harsh here, doesn’t here? Who in the world even cares about a town like this?!
Well, the real story of Nazareth gives us a surprising look into what Jesus’ life growing up may have looked like.
You see, archaeological evidence tells a different story than I ever knew.
Instead of being inconsequential, Nazareth was likely the site of a Roman garrison.
A garrison was simply the home base for Roman soldiers. And because a large Roman bath was also discovered there, it indicates this was actually a pretty big garrison, too.
This means a couple of things.
First, instead of living in a town on the fringe of the Roman empire, it would’ve actually been a bustling military hub.
This would have meant Jesus had quite a bit of experience with the Romans growing up.
Second, it’s likely that Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father, would’ve had lots of work as a mason (carpenter) for the Romans.
So, it’s no wonder that Nathanael would’ve had a negative reaction to Nazareth. It was a town connected to the Roman empire.
On top of that, it was likely a closely-connected “affiliate center” for Jerusalem, which some Jews (like Nathanael) wouldn’t have respected much.
Regardless, Nazareth had more going on than I ever knew.
This matters because where we are from does not define us or our impact.
Whether Jesus was from a small village without much going on . . .
Or a Roman garrison town brushing shoulders with the evil empire . . .
Jesus had a mission to save the entire world.Your home town doesn't define your impact. Click To Tweet Your past doesn't define your future. Click To Tweet Your location doesn't define your calling. Click To Tweet
So, no matter where you’re from, God can use you to bring the Gospel in incredible ways. And I absolutely believe that he wants to.
Don’t let humble beginnings define the impact you believe God can make through your life.
Devotion by Jordan Loftis, author of The Men With Bare Feet and host of The Bible Better Podcast.