“And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled: “He shall be called a Nazarene”.” – Matthew 2:23
Scripture reading: John 1:43-51
It is difficult to understand how much Jesus was despised in His lifetime. Today many people hear Jesus’ Name used as a curse word. It is a sign of how sheltered my upbringing was that even now, I am shocked whenever someone spits out the Name of my Saviour in frustration. The Bible prophesied this—“He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). Intellectually you know Jesus was rejected, but how many sermons have you heard on this?
Soon after Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, Joseph was warned in a dream that King Herod would try to kill Him. So, the holy family became refugees in Egypt. They were displaced because Jesus was despised even before He’d done anything good or bad. When it was safe for Joseph and Mary to return to the Promised Land, they had to move to an out-of-the-way little town, so that they’d escape the vengeful eye of the King who followed Herod.
The conversation between Philip and Nathanael highlights the mockery Jesus received. Nathanael can’t imagine anything (or anyone) good coming out of the backwater town of Nazareth. Jesus was called a Nazarene all through His life. It was the place where many foreigners lived and intermingled with the Jewish people—so that those who lived there were not considered pure Jews. His reputation is, humanly speaking, sullied by association. All of this means that when you pray to Jesus, you are speaking with the One Who can identify with all your rejection and wounds.
Suggestions for prayer
Bring in prayer to Jesus, the hurts of rejection and wounds caused by the circumstances of your life—you will find in Him One Who is full of compassion; as the Spirit of God brings to mind people in your life who are suffering, remember their needs and circumstances in prayer.
Rev. Richard Vander Vaart served as a minister in the Christian Reformed Church of North America for over twenty years, before joining the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. He is now serving as the Atlantic Region prison-visiting pastor working with Redemption Prison Ministry. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.