By Kohanova

Unfortunate residents of Slough are forever blighted by the infamous poem by John Betjeman, which suggests that the town is so awful it should be razed to the ground.

Though literary critics say it’s a protest poem against industrialisation, nevertheless, several mayors of Slough have objected to it.

If the destruction of Slough might raise a chuckle amongst London’s middle classes, you can picture that same smirk on the faces of the Israelites in Jesus’ day talking about Nazareth in Galilee.

‘“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathaniel asked’ (John 1:46). (It’s a rhetorical question that expects the answer ‘no’.)

Despite his celebrated lineage from David, Jesus was forever associated with Galilee, to the extent that the crowds use this as evidence that He’s not the Messiah: ‘How can the Messiah come from Galilee?’ (John 7:41).

Without a trace of irony, they continue, ‘Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David’s descendants and from Bethlehem…?’ (John 7:42).

Because of Joseph’s trauma of fleeing from Herod and his resulting fear of the next king (v22), Jesus would be dismissed as a Galilean instead of respected as a Jerusalemite (v23).

But if you remember the prophecy of Isaiah 9, this was God’s plan to bring light to the darkness of Galilee (Isa. 9:1–2). Jesus could have impressed people with His heritage.

Instead, God-in-flesh was happy to be disrespected by high society. God can redeem everything, even former trauma or social disgrace. Whether it’s our background or past, we need not be ashamed: God brings good out of our Galilees.


A Prayer To Make:
‘Dear God, thank You that You redeem everything and call everyone valuable. Help us to believe this for ourselves and others. Amen.’

An Action To Take:
Examine your own prejudices: what kinds of people might you sneer, despise, or patronisingly smirk at? Spend some time imagining Jesus as born into those communities.

Scripture To Consider:
1 Sam. 16:1–13; Isa. 9:1–7; Luke 7:36–50; 1 Cor. 1:18–25

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.