According to the Bible, what town was identified as Jesus’ “own city?” Furthermore, what is the background for this place having that noteriety? Did you say Nazareth? If you did you might be with the majority, but you would also be wrong! Jesus was brought up in Nazareth (Luke 4.16), but He later “adopted” another city as Him home. The reason may surprise, even shock you, but it has a direct bearing on the question of how someone who possess the love for the truth might be treated.

Yesterday we posed this very question: How was Jesus treated, the one person who absolutely and flawlessly epitomized the love of the truth? As He demonstrated this unequalled love, what reaction did He get from the general population? Consider that when Jesus cast demons out of a man in the country of the Gergesenes, the reaction was far from a hero’s welcome. In fact, Matthew records that “…the whole city came out to meet Jesus. And when they saw Him, they begged Him to depart from their region.” (Matthew 8.34). In response to this reaction, Jesus “…got into a boat, crossed over, and came to His own city.” (Matthew 9.1).

He went to His “own city,” but where was His own city. In Matthew’s earlier writings he answered this question. Here are his words: “Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee. And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum…” (Matthew 4.12-13). Why did He leave Nazareth and dwell in Capernaum? Why did He not continue to live in Nazareth following His youthful years? The answer to these questions will also answer the question of how someone who epitomizes the love of the truth can expect to be treated.

Have you ever heard the proverb, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country?” Well, that saying is one of Jesus’ sayings, and it was spoken at a time when His own country (Nazareth) was “offended at Him” (Matthew 13.57). Luke adds substantially more detail to Matthew’s record. “So all those in the synagogue [in Nazareth], when they heard these things [from Jesus], were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. “Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way. Then He went down to Capernaum…” (Luke 4.28-31). An even closer examination of these passages and the circumstances surrounding them raises the possibility that He had already moved to Capernaum before this event and only went back to Nazareth with the express purpose of reaching a few from His boyhood home. At any rate, He ceased living in Nazareth and took up residence in Capernaum due to the extreme contempt which His fellow countrymen had for Him! So strong were their feelings against Him that they would have murdered Him had He not miraculously escaped from their evil clutches!

When one possesses the love of the truth in biblical proportions, he/she can expect extreme opposition. Jesus experienced it; so did Paul, and Stephen, and Peter, and John, and countless others of the first century. It will be no different today! Paul said, “…all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3.12).

Questions:

1. Why did Jesus go to Nazareth initially?

2. Why were His countrymen so upset with Him (Read Luke 4.14-30)? What evidence is there in this passage that Jesus had already moved His residence to Capernaum?

3. If Jesus could not escape persecution, what basis is there to believe that any faithful believer could? On the contrary, what reason is there to think that faithful believers will suffer persecution?

4. Is someone is “universally popular” and “has no enemies” can it be know whether or not he/she is a faithful follower of Jesus?