Jesus of Nazareth
For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. – Isaiah 53:2
Jesus was raised in Nazareth, a small and insignificant agricultural village, a place people would be little with comments like ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’. It was a highly religious Jewish village with synagogues, daily teaching of the scriptures, and prayers, yet when Christ first taught there, the people were filled with wrath and tried to kill Him! No wonder Isaiah spoke of the ‘dry ground’ of the environment Christ was raised in. The encouraging reality is that even in spite of the dryness of the religious environment Christ was surrounded in, He still grew, for He ‘grew before Him (God) as a tender plant’. The external dryness of formal religion never succeeded in gaining access to Christ’s soul. Rather than becoming a dry, formal, ‘religious’ leader, Jesus allowed God to develop Him as a ‘tender plant’. Christ’s soul remained supple and teachable to God. Certainly a positive spiritual environment encourages our walk with God, yet Christ proved that places don’t necessarily make people – rather, people can actually re-make or transform a place. Some of the greatest saints have found that their walk with God deepened and matured as they were rejected, persecuted, and imprisoned. Amidst the challenge of their circumstance, they tapped into God, and consequently grew in their faith and relationship with Him. Let’s not make excuses for the external dryness in which we may find ourselves. Instead, look to God as the fountain of living waters who can make streams in the desert for His people. God will often allow the external environment to stop feeding us, why? He does it to wean us from depending on the external, and makes us more dependent on Him alone, who is Christ in us; our hope of glory.
Prayer: Lord I thank You today for the overcoming and exemplary life of Jesus. Thank You for His tender heart towards You and the way He grew in spite of the cold religious environment He was raised in. Help me to live my life in your sight and to grow before you as a tender plant even during the dry times. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Scriptures for Reflection: John 1:46; Lk 4:16-29; John 8:44: John 19:19; Isaiah 35:5-7; Col 1:27