“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46)
In our passage, Philip was telling Nathanael about this guy Jesus. Nathanael could not believe his ears when he heard where Jesus was born and raised. His response was, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Very little in the story of Jesus was done by coincidence. I believe Jesus' humble home was intentionally planned by God.
Nazareth represents all the backwater places that time has forgotten. I feel that way about Iowa sometimes. There are amazing people that have come out of Iowa. Yet, if you mention Iowa in different parts of the country, people turn up their noses and make some comment about corn. My daughter and her husband were on their honeymoon in Lake Tahoe, and when they were out, people asked where they were from and they said, "Nebraska." On numerous occasions the local's sarcastic response was, "I'm sorry." Like Iowa, Nebraska gets no respect. We're too often referred to as, "fly over states."
Jesus was raised in a disrespected place so people would know he wasn't born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but was like anyone else. That way all of us can relate to Jesus, not just the rich and pampered. Just like Jesus, from Nazareth, great things can come from Iowa and even Nebraska. You do not have to be from New York or California to be happy in life. You do not need an Ivy League education to be intelligent. A humble upbringing simply shows how far you have come in life.
Today, celebrate where you are from. Don't let anyone make you feel unacceptable because of where you were raised. Take time today to consider the moments in time when God put people and opportunities in your path that helped define you. The place you were raised molded you, set your values, and influenced your faith. Celebrate your background, and give thanks for those who blessed you.