From the Ghetto

When asked where we are from, most of us proudly acknowledge our home state or our country.  When God sent Gabriel to announce the coming of His Son to Earth, He by-passed Judea, the heartland of God’s work through the centuries, and – of all places – selected Galilee, a land that was the subject of abiding Jewish contempt because of its ‘mongrelized’ population. Even more astonishing, He by-passed the holy city of Jerusalem and came instead to the city of Nazareth.  It was a ‘non-place’ – not even mentioned in the Old Testament or in the writings of the Jewish historian, Josephus. It wasn’t until 1962 that a pre Christian mention   of Nazareth was found in Caesarea Martima.  The later prominence of the town is a result of the Christian Gospel.  It is described as a shoddy, corrupt, halfway stop between the port cities of Tyre and Sidon that was overrun by Gentiles and Roman soldiers.  Remember Nathaniel’s question when he first heard about Jesus?  “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”(John 1:46)

          Gabriel also ignored the temple which was considered the most holy place in Israel, but had been commercialized into a ‘den of thieves’.  He entered instead the lowly home of a young peasant girl, who would have been considered to be on one of the lowest rungs of Jewish society and not likely to climb much higher.  She was too young, too poor, and too insignificant to attract any attention, but Gabriel called her, “…highly favored of God…” Jesus later reminded His listeners, “The last shall be first…” in His kingdom. (Matt.20:16) It was her worshipful heart that desired to do God’s will that commended her to God.

          After all, it doesn’t matter so much where we are from – palace garden, lowly ghetto, or somewhere in between – it matters where we are going; and we all pass by the level social ground around the cross where our choice determines our final destination.  At His judgment seat we will hear the verdict, “Well done, good and faithful servant.  Enter into the joys of the Lord.”  Or His “Depart from me. I never knew you.” (Matt. 25:34 & 41)

           For further meditation, read I Corinthians 1, especially verse 27 where we read, “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.”