I grew up in Evans, GA. You’ve probably never heard of it. Evans had 1 store and 1 church. The store was called “Roundtrees” and was smaller than my den. The only thing to commend Evans at all, perhaps, was that the influx of visitors who came for the Augusta Masters Golf Tournament might find a home to rent there. It wasn’t that Evans had a bad reputation, it had no reputation at all.
Nazareth, Jesus’ hometown, was a lot like Evans. Small, under the shadow of the capital city, Sepphoris, which was being rebuilt at the time. But, even more than that, many Gentile, foreigners, and immigrants lived there. Not many people were “from” Nazareth. But Jesus was. And the town had such a bad reputation and ill repute that Nanthaniel, upon hearing from Phillip that Jesus was from there, said, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”
Ever feel like you are from Nazareth? Or maybe that you are living in Nazareth right now? Like you have nothing in your past to give you credibility, and even some things that weigh you down. Or like you are in the middle of a really difficult time, maybe in small or big ways your reputation has suffered a little, you are unnoticed while those around you prosper and make a name for themselves, you are just a “stop” on the way to somewhere else, or maybe you even feel unloved. You ask yourself, “Can anything good come from this?
The resounding answer is, “Yes!” Jesus. Jesus can make our difficult pasts into a beautiful future. Jesus can make the stripping of pride, the loss of love and friendship, the hurt of being unnoticed, and the pain of being used into a dynamic, impactful, amazing place of greater faith in your life. And you will be able to say, “Yes, Jesus came from there.”