“Would the Christ come from Galilee?”


Why did the Pharisees claim that no prophet ever came from Galilee, when they knew that the prophet Jonah came from there? Galilee received little respect from the rest of Palestine. It was the furthest province from Jerusalem and the most culturally backward. Galileans were portrayed as bumpkins, fodder for ethnic jokes. Galileans pronounced Hebrew so crudely that they were not called on to read the Torah in other synagogues. Jesus spoke Aramaic in the Galilean dialect, no doubt encouraging skepticism about Him: “Would the Christ come from Galilee?”

Jesus provoked various opinions about Himself from different people who heard His preaching. Some were excited: “Could this be a prophet from God?” Others were convinced that “This is the Christ.” And still others were skeptical that He was the Messiah as they questioned His origin. But the Pharisees and Scribes reacted with anger and cynicism, seeing Him as a threat to their established traditions. It was only Nicodemus among all of them who had enough sense to give Jesus the benefit of the doubt, but at the time, he was not brave enough to compromise his standing with his compatriots, and so backed down. But the power of Jesus’ words also moved the temple guards who were sent to arrest Him. They came back empty handed because His time had not yet come.

So, does it mean anything for us that Jesus came from a small, rural village in Galilee? Having spent His early life there, Jesus understood rejection, poverty, even the pain of oppression. At the time of Jesus, Galilee was treated with contempt; in Galilee, there was anguish and gloom. But, God changed Galilee into a place of glory, a place of honor, the place of Christ’s birth. So, no matter what our past or where we come from, God is able to bestow upon us the same miracle He bestowed upon Galilee….but only if we turn from sin and turn to Him!

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