All Are Precious In His Sight

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One of the lines in a play I saw this week quoted a New Testament skeptic who said, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:46).

Prejudice comes in all forms and sizes, and obviously isn't anything new!

Jesus was known to have been brought up in Nazareth and was sometimes referred to as the Nazarene. Apparently Nazareth didn't have much of a reputation and people being what people are, race, colour, religion, gender, physical appearance, age, and home town, can influence people's opinions.

And if we are wrong to judge people based on race, colour, religion and all the others, then it must also be wrong to judge someone based on their home town! Well, it might be wrong, but it still happens. And the Lord carried around the stigma of being from Nazareth for all of His earthly life.

It makes you wonder why God orchestrated the life of His Son so that He was raised in Nazareth. Why not some other more popular place?

But then again, why choose Bethlehem to be the place where Christ would be born? Bethlehem might have had a better reputation than Nazareth, but it was just a bump in the road compared to some other places. Even the wise men came looking for the newborn king in Jerusalem.

The prophet Micah wrote: "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are of old, from ancient times" (Micah 5:2).

Little Bethlehem and sullied Nazareth. Odd choices to become the birthplace and the home town of the Son of God.

There is a lesson here.

Maybe, never judge someone based on their birthplace or their home town.

Duh! says you.

But we've all "been there and done that," haven't we?

We judge others all the time. Isaiah made a point of reminding his audience, when speaking about the Saviour,  that: "He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him" (Isaiah 53:2). So much for the majority of portrayals of Jesus as a handsome man!

Everything about the coming of Jesus was not what any of us would have planned or expected.

This very ordinary female from a small northern mining town understands prejudice. But what feels really good, as I think about Bethlehem and Nazareth and their connection to Jesus, is that Jesus understands that prejudice too. And He and His Father wrote both Bethlehem and Nazareth into the script for people like me.

They made a statement about worth that none of us should ever forget, and that all of us can rejoice in.

Little Bethlehem, sullied Nazareth, ordinary you and me—like the song says: "all are precious in HIS sight." He not only said so, He did so!

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