Glimpses of Israel - Nazareth

by Joseph Hunting

Whereas Bethlehem's history dates back to the period of the Patriarchs, Nazareth's first Biblical mention is in the Gospels associated with the boyhood years of Yeshua haMashiach. The New Testament records that his foster-father Joseph was the village carpenter and that both he and the lad's mother were of the tribe of Judah. After Joseph's death Yeshua took over the carpentry shop until He was thirty years old.

No doubt His trade as a carpenter would have brought Him into close contact with many, if not all, the families in Nazareth. He would have been a first-class tradesman and an indispensable member of the community. Perhaps it was because of this familiarity with Him that many doubted His true identity when He commenced His brief ministry. Mark reveals this sad fact. "And when the Sabbath day was come He began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing Him were astonished, saying, from whence hath this man these things? And what wisdom is this that is given unto Him, that even such mighty works are wrought by His hands. Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, Joses, Juda and Simon. And are not His sisters here with us? And many were offended at Him ... And He could do there no mighty work save that He laid His hands upon a few sick folk and healed them." (Mark 6:2-5)

Today, Nazareth is a bustling city of both Jews and Arabs. Apart from the shuk or market place there is very little evidence of the village of Nazareth conjured up in our minds from Bible stories.

Crowds of tourists, busy traffic, ultra-modern architecture and row upon row of apartments, soon jerk us into the reality of the present. Nevertheless, this Galilean town is immortalized in the hearts of countless millions through its association with the Carpenter who lived there nearly two thousand years ago.