Nazareth, Jesus’ hometown, is situated among the southern ridges of Lebanon, about 15 miles west of the Sea of Galilee, in the middle of the lower Galilee. Today it is the largest Arab city in Israel, and one of the largest cities in northern Israel. In 2021, it has almost 10,000 inhabitants living in lower Nazareth. Arab residents mainly live in lower Nazareth while Jewish residents mainly live in upper Nazareth.
Back in the 1st century CE, in the time of Jesus, it was just an insignificant small town. The inhabitants of Nazareth were never going to get rich on the resources at hand. They had a water supply that was adequate but not particularly plentiful. A major trade route bypassed Nazareth. No wonder Nathanael was shocked when our humble Jewish Messiah came from a quiet little town of which nothing is mentioned in the Old Testament.
In Jesus’ day, the people of Nazareth were despised and received little respect because none of the famous events or persons from Israel’s history were from Nazareth. So, Isaiah’s prophecy could be viewed as an indirect reference to Jesus’ background from Nazareth.
“He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem” (Isaiah 53:3).
on the way to Nazareth ...
- It’s the home of Jesus’ parents Mary and Joseph. “When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth.” (Luke 2:39)
- It’s where the angel announced to the virgin Mary about the birth of the Messiah. “In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’” (Luke 1:26-28)
- It’s where Jesus grew up from his infancy until the age of about thirty. “And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.” (Luke 2:40)
mt. of precipice
Mount of Precipice is located near one of the entrances into Nazareth. Its height is about 1,302 feet.
Jesus' ministy in Nazareth
- When Jesus began His ministry in the synagogue, people were amazed. “Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. ‘Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?’ they asked.” (Matthew 13:54)
- Some people in Nazareth were so offended that they tried to push Him and cast him down from Mount Precipice. “They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff.” (Lake 4:29)
A view of Nazareth from the Mount Precipice. I do not know what kind of trees are down there. However, the trees remind me of lower Galilee, where sycamore trees can grow, while in upper Galilee, they don’t. The reason is because lower Galilee is mostly under 2000 feet which offers a suitable habitat for the sycamore.
The view from Mount Precipice is spectacular. You can see the Mount Carmel Mountain range to the west, the Jezreel Valley to the south, and the Sea of Galilee to the east.
Another magnificent view of the surrounding territory.