It’s not a joke!

What do you call a scouser in a suit? The accused.

Liverpool city centre was closed all one day as police had found a suspicious car. It had an MOT, was taxed, insured, had wheels and a radio.

Why does the Mersey run through Liverpool? Because if it walked it would be mugged…

And so on. People take delight in taking the micky out of Liverpool and Liverpudlians. It is actually a fascinating, atmospheric city, with some very nice inhabitants with a great sense of humour (I used to be one) but admittedly there are some scallies who give the place a bad reputation. Some people even try and cover up that they came from there. Nazareth was a bit like that too. Not the best address on your C.V. – but it was the place God chose for his son Jesus to be brought up and educated (Matthew 2:22-23).

There are no actual references in the Old Testament to Jesus being called a Nazarene, but there are some that speak of the rejection and dubious background of the Messiah, such as Psalm 22:6-8, Isaiah 53:2-3, and Daniel 9:26. The fact that Nazareth had no mention in the Old Testament or other Jewish writings, may have reduced its street cred, but it may have been the very reason Joseph chose it as a destination – after all it was through those writings that Herod had tracked them down to Bethlehem.

Nathanael had no respect for the place, and was doubtful about Jesus on account of his home town – “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46). On the other hand, Jesus himself had no qualms about referring to himself as ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ (Acts 22:8). Others may have seen it as a perjorative term, but that did not worry him! He was not embarrassed by his humble origins. In fact, Nazareth is now one of the most famous towns in the world – because of him! He brought a blessing on the place.

You may or may not be very proud of the place you come from, but speaking negatively about it does it no favours. Instead, pray blessings over it, and seek to be a blessing to it. Pray that its greatest fame may be because of what God is doing in that place.

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