I am writing this post on the bus as we return to Tiberius from Cana. Today we visited Caesarea, Megiddo, Nazareth and Cana. We saw so much that it is almost overwhelming. We walked were Jesus walked, we visited the house where Jesus performed his first miracle at the wedding in Cana. We saw Mary’s house, Mary’s well and the churches built over them. I also learned that the manger Jesus was laid was hewed out of stone. It was not wooden. But the most interesting sight was the church built over the synagogue where Jesus preached his first sermon. The sermon recorded by Luke in chapter 4 that announced Jesus ministry, You would think that this synagogue would have been something ornate and special. But no, It was more like a small country church. There were only 200 people living in Nazareth in Jesus day. That’s it. Nazareth was nothing but a little redneck town of no consequence. Today it’s a city of 150,000.
Luke tells the story this way, Luke 4:14-21 4 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. 16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 17 The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: 18 "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." 20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, 21 and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." Of course after this they tried to throw him off a cliff. I saw the cliff too.
Jesus announced his ministry from a small synagogue, in a small backwater town. A ministry that would change the world. Today I stood on the same floor Jesus did when he read from the scroll of Isaiah. As Bishop Watson said all Christians participate in this miracle that has changed the world. A miracle literally out of nowhere. For me that makes it all the more believable. The only way Christianity could have spread out of this little backwater town is if God was in it from the beginning. But, hey, don’t miracles always come out of nowhere?