Can Anything Good Come From Nazareth?

Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”

Jesus and His movement originated some of the most foundational ideas of our western civilization. One ideal we hold true in western culture is taking care of the weak instead of exploiting the weak. This is not from Rome. It’s from Nazareth. In fact, in the world of Rome, children typically didn’t get named until the eighth day or so. Up until then there was as a chance that the infant would be killed or left to die of exposure, especially if it was deformed or of the unpreferred gender. But the legacy of this nobody from Nazareth is different.

On April 21, 2014, 36,000 runners ran the Boston Marathon. While many of the news stories highlighted the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, there was another story that also got a lot of play. It’s the story of Team Hoyt. Dick Hoyt and his son Rick ran their 32nd and final Boston Marathon. When Dick’s son Rick was born, the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck. He was brain-damaged. He’d never be able to walk or speak, much less run a marathon. In ancient Rome, he would have been discarded. But in the wake of the message of Jesus from Nazareth, as people watched the footage of Team Hoyt crossing the finish line for the 32nd and final time, tears streamed down the face of Christians and non-Christians alike. Rick’s life is worth something regardless of whether he was actually running or being pushed in a custom-made wheelchair. Friends, that doesn’t happen with the message from Rome. That only happens with the message from Nazareth.

Can anything good come from Nazareth? Come and see. Come and see.

 

Jesus is Far More

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The next day He purposed to go into Galilee, and He *found Philip. And Jesus said to him, “Follow Me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and *said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael *said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And He said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” (John 1:43-51, emphasis added)

Jesus is far more than Nathanael imagined. He wasn’t just a Messiah on a white horse who would free the Jews from Roman oppression. Jesus could do that, but that wouldn’t change the human condition. Jesus did something far greater. Jesus took all of humanity’s sin—all of our rebellion, guilt, and self-absorption—upon Himself, and He paid the price for it. He was raised from the dead, ultimately defeating sin and death, and He offers us a whole new life. Not a better version of you, but a new version of you. Greater things than these, Nathanael, greater things than these.

Jesus is far more than you can imagine.

Many people come to Jesus looking for a good, moral teacher who gives life principles so we can be better people. Well, Jesus does that, but He doesn’t stop there. He tells us that we can’t be better people in our own strength. He says that we can’t bridge earth to heaven and change our own hearts to be those better people. But He can help us. He can change us. Jesus is far more than you can imagine.

Or we come to Jesus to fix our relationships. Well He can and does do that, but He doesn’t stop there. He says, “I want to fix your relationships, but I need to start by fixing you. And you can’t fix what’s wrong with you until you know what’s wrong with you. What’s really wrong with you is this thing called sin, this condition that is deep within you that perverts and destroys the good that I know you want to do. You can’t fix that, but I can.” Jesus is far more than you can imagine.

Or we come to Jesus to help us fix our finances. And He can do that, but He does it by reorienting our perspective and priorities toward our stuff. He says, “I’m not just here to fix your finances. I’m actually here to turn your life and your value system upside down. I’m here to ground your security, value, and hope in Me and My love for you.”

Jesus is far more than you can imagine. He is God. He is the Creator and Sustainer of heaven and earth. He is the Only One who can defeat sin and death. The Only One who can bridge heaven and earth. The Only One who can change your life and who can change our world. Can anything good come from Nazareth? Come and see. Come and see.

 

 

New Series: Original Jesus

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“Who do you say that I am?” This was a question that Jesus asked His first followers, and Jesus is still asking us the same question. The whole story of the world and how we fit into it is most clearly understood through the story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. As one author put it—if Jesus had never lived, we would not have been able to invent Him. It is His life that helps us make sense of ours. Any intellectually honest answer has to admit that Jesus was no ordinary man—and someone this remarkable deserves a closer look.

Here’s the series schedule:

April 20 – Resurrected (Easter)

April 27 – Skeptics & Seekers

May 4 – Hesitant

May 11 – Broken & Forgiven

May 18 – Doubt

May 25 – Failure

For more information on Northshore and our Sunday worship gatherings, click HERE.