(John 19:19 KJV) And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Tomorrow we celebrate Jesus’ death and Sunday His Resurrection. This is an exciting time. Glory to God!
This morning we continue our “Passion Week” mini-series. In our last message we looked at the pain Jesus endured for you and I told you to live your life worthy of His death. Today we will look at something a little different. Let’s focus in on where Jesus was from. Theoretically, Jesus could have been born anywhere on the planet, but to fulfill prophesy Jesus was born in Bethlehem and He was raised in Nazareth.
Nazareth was on the main road between Damascus and Egypt, located in lower Galilee about halfway between the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean Sea. Many travelers passed through Nazareth, but not many stopped or stayed. The city did not have much to offer. It was not a coastal town, so it did not have a fishing industry. It was not at a crossroads town, so it was not a trading hub. Nazareth really did not have much at all. The city did not get many visitors, and that was just fine with the Nazarenes who were not keen on visitors anyway. Instead of taking their trash to the normal trash dump, many Nazarenes dropped their trash by the side of the main road. This way, when travelers came by, they were repulsed by the smell of the city and they kept going. Because of this, Nazareth came to be known as the City of Trash. In modern terms it would be known as a ghetto.
Jesus was called many names and titles throughout His ministry. Jesus was addressed as Master, Lord, Rabbi, Teacher, Son of David, Son of man, Son of God, and Jesus of Nazareth. Today you see churches with the name “Nazareth” or “Nazarene” but in Jesus’ day that would not have happened. Those who called Jesus, “Jesus of Nazareth” were not paying Him a compliment; they were reminding Jesus that He was from the ghetto, from the City of Trash.
So what does this mean to you today? To find out we need to go back to our text and look at what Pilate had written over Jesus’ head on the cross: JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. Let’s glean some nuggets from that statement.
- The title over Jesus’ head on the cross tells a story. JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS tells of the life of Jesus, from one extreme to the other. Jesus came from the lowest of lows to go to the highest of highs. Jesus was raised in the the City of Trash, so He could identify with all the filth in our lives. He came from the City of Trash so He could reach all of us born on the ‘wrong side of the tracks.’ He came from the City of Trash so He could reach out to the thief, adulterer, whoremonger, backbiter, backstabber, and every other shifty character. Jesus came from the City of Trash and He was taken back to the City of God so He could reach everyone in between.
- Jesus can identify with you. Whether you were born in the ghetto or a mansion, whether you have never stepped foot in a church or you were raised in the church, whether you feel like you are not worthy or you are making the mistake of thinking you are, Jesus came for YOU. Jesus can meet right where you are. Maybe you’re from Brooklyn like me with a zip code of 11207, or from Beverly Hills like the rich and famous with a zip code of 90210, Jesus came to save you from your sin. You know where you have messed up. You know all the things you have done that no one else (on the earth anyway) knows about. You know who you are when no one else is around. Jesus also knows and He is willing to reach you right there, right where you are, in order to pick you up and take you higher. He will meet you where you are and take you to where He destined you to be!
- Jesus came for everyone. Our Savior is both Jesus of Nazareth (the lowest of lows) and the King of the Jews (the highest of highs). Jesus came for all people — rich and poor, Black and White, Hispanic and Asian, male and female, educated and non-schooled. If you are breathing, Jesus came for you. Jesus loves you just the way you are, and He also loves you too much to leave you that way. He will save you, deliver you, disciple you, set you on His desired path for your life, and then use you for His glory, by His grace! That’s the God we serve.
- The God-man lived as a common-man so common men could live as God-men. Jesus was both fully God and fully man at the same time. As a common-man He lived in an ordinary place, attempting to live an ordinary life, even though He was everything but ordinary. He did this so He could identify with the ordinary and lead us into into the extraordinary. The writer of Hebrews said that Jesus is “not out of touch with our reality” (4:15). He was fully God, but He chose to live as a common man, to become the pattern for how common men are anointed by a holy God. Jesus did nothing without asking the Father first. Jesus only said what He heard the Father say. He only did what He saw the Father do. Why did He live this way? The answer is simple: so we could do the same. Jesus is our pattern. Jesus is our example. The Son of God came as a son of man, so we, the sons of men could become sons of God. Once you are Born-Again and anointed by the Holy Spirit, you are expected to live JUST LIKE JESUS in the earth. As Jesus IS, so are WE in this world (1 Jn 4:17).
Closing Confession: Father, I thank You for teaching me about the amazing life of Jesus, Your Son, and my Savior and Lord. Jesus could have been born anywhere, but He was born in Bethlehem, to fulfill prophecy. Jesus could have been raised anywhere, but He was raised in Nazareth, the City of Trash, in order to identify with the lowest of lows. Your Son was both JESUS OF NAZARETH and THE KING OF THE JEWS. Jesus was raised in the City of Trash and He was taken back to the City of God. Jesus came for all people, He died for all sin, He was crucified for all mankind, and He was raised from the dead with all power. This very same Jesus lives IN me! So Father, I give myself over to You, to be used of You for Your glory, by Your grace. Whether Black or White, Hispanic or Asian, rich or poor, Private or General, male or female, I am ready to reach the world for Jesus. I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes. We are just days away from celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus the Christ and I will tell the world that Jesus lives, because He lives IN me! Jesus died, but He rose again. My God’s not dead and I am ready to share Your truth, Your light, and Your love with all people. I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper.