Years ago I remember this incident. It was a cold rainy day in March on my lunch break, and I was eating a soggy 2-day old grocery store submarine sandwich. The bun was soggy, the cut tomato was thin and limp. After praying before attempting to eat it , I exclaimed out loud in my car, “Jesus wouldn’t have eaten this in Naz…” but before I could get the word, “Nazareth” out of my mouth, I actually heard the Lord interrupt me. He didn’t speak audibly, but I heard Him in my mind. “I ate worse than that” He said with such a calm , matter-of-fact tone in His voice.
He shut me up without any effort. I felt convicted and ashamed. From that day forth, I learned never to whine or complain about food. I also noticed that Jesus chose to interrupt me before I completed my whiny sentence.. especially at the part where I was about to say “Nazareth”. That was His home-town and even though they rejected Him there, it will always be a special place in His heart– a sacred place for Him.
He suffered much there in those hidden years before His Final Ministry. Nazareth was an impoverished area in those parts. It wasn’t only looked down upon by all Hebrews, but also by the Romans as well. There was much poverty there , with very poor living conditions. There were neighborhood brawls and neighborhood scream matches., laborious survival conditions, lack of education opportunities, children playing in dirty puddles in the streets, etc. In poor areas, there is commonly a lot of alcoholism , rowdy behavior, profanity and prostitution. No doubt, Jesus saw a lot of this growing up… and our Lord , don’t forget,. while Son of Man, is also the Son of God. He was used to living in Heavenly Mansions with Ivory and crystal palaces with gold streets and gemstones embedded in the Kingdom walls. He was used to the Father’s Love and harmony everywhere- the beautiful graceful music and lush trees, flowers and plants— and beautiful waterfalls. Nazareth was the polar opposite of where He had come from but He willingly chose to come to these conditions to bring man back to the Father .
When Jesus was born to Mary — He was born in a manger with livestock– literal beasts surrounded Him. This was not by coincidence. It speaks of how our Lord was to come down from Heaven to live with Beast-Like man- to live in exile with unredeemed mankind who acts just like the beasts. Even Jesus’s 40 day wilderness experience in the arid desert signifies this as well. It speaks of how our Lord came to man– came down from beauty and harmony to the arid hearts of men living in arid conditions. In Mark 1:12-13, we read, “He was in the wilderness 40 days tempted by satan, and He was with the wild beasts and the angels ministered to Him…”
Jesus was always surrounded by wild beasts– and most of the times, these wild beasts were those He walked among– We are those wild beasts . Still He loves us. It is said that satan fell down to Earth from Heaven, but Jesus Christ CAME willingly to Earth from Heaven.
Only on the Beyond, will we fully realize just how much a price our Lord paid to live and die for us on this Fallen dysfunctional planet. Yes, He ate worse than that. He ate far worse than I can ever know!