The Pride of Nazareth
Jesus and Nazareth are inseparable. Jesus spent most of his life in Nazareth. The prophets had said, "He shall be called a Nazarene" (Matthew 2:23). History would remember him as Jesus of Nazareth. Even the demons called him that (Luke 4:34).
That's why this verse is one of the saddest in the Bible:
And he did not do many mighty works [in Nazareth], because of their unbelief. (Matthew 13:58)
It's a great irony that the Pride of Nazareth was rejected by the Nazarenes because of pride.
Can you believe this? Joseph the carpenter's son thinks he's a prophet! Well, we know his family and they're respectable enough people. But I know for a fact that he didn't receive any formal religious education. Where is he getting this teaching of his? Does he really think he's somebody great?
They were deeply offended (Matthew 13:57). Why? Because he was one of them. So if he thought he was superior to them, he had better think again. Jesus knew familiarity breeds the pride of contempt: "a prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household" (Matthew 13:57).
Think of what this pride cost the people of Nazareth. Because he had walked their streets, attended their weddings, worshiped in their synagogue, played with some of them as a child, and maybe built some of their houses and furniture, he wasn't so high and mighty. And so the mighty and merciful power of the Messiah was withheld from them.
This needs to put the fear of God in us. Pride has incredible power to blind our eyes and deaden our hearts. And there are things God won't do for us if we are proud. Is it possible that you're missing out on something because of pride?
"God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6). We need to fear pride more than we fear cancer. Cancer does not disqualify us from receiving the grace of God, but pride does.
Let this be our prayer today: "Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23–24)! Whatever it takes, Father, teach me to walk humbly with you (Micah 6:8). In the name of my humble servant savior, Jesus, amen.
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